Encouraging young generations to care about the environment and those we share it with, Nest uses shadow puppetry, original songs and clowning to follow Birtle and Piper, two birds and their eggs, in the only tree left in the city. A high energy show with giant sized props and steampunk costume, this two-hander gives a bird’s eye view of humans who leave their clutter in the urban landscape below. We spoke to the dynamic duo taking on the roles of Birtle and Piper, Cynthia Emeagi & Emily Spowage.
Can you describe Nest in five words or less?
We need love, not stuff.
That was not an easy question!
Are there any challenges to keeping a young audience engaged? How do you navigate this?
Young audiences are great. They’re very generous but will let you know if they’ve lost interest. Like any audience, they deserve a good story with characters that they care about and can relate to. Alongside being great fun and enjoyable, Nest takes the audience on a journey and has a lot of emotional truth – even if the characters are crows! There are lots of visuals, which really helps children’s understanding and has a beautiful, ingenious set and props that just delight them. A young audience deserves the same high production values as a grown-up audience and we’re always really happy to hear how much the adults have enjoyed the show alongside their children. It’s really important not to patronise young audiences. They’ve got so much emotional intelligence and they always blow us away with their level of understanding and compassion.
What would you like the young audiences to take away from the show?
We hope everyone leaves Nest having had a really engaging, enjoyable experience. Crows are really clever, sociable creatures, so we do hope to spark an interest in the natural world and through following Birtle and Piper’s experience, perhaps we learn that it isn’t ‘things’ that make us happy – not really. Real happiness comes from looking after each other and our relationships.
Why did you want to incorporate the element of steampunk costume?
Crows are such clever birds – inventive and problem solvers. We didn’t really want to go down the route of feathers and wings so tried to translate the characteristics of the clever, streetwise creatures into the costume. Once we found the tailcoats and fans, it sort of all clicked into place!
What do you enjoy most about touring shows?
Meeting all the different audiences and working in the wonderful theatres and performance spaces all over the UK. Sadly, like the nest in our show, many of them are endangered too and we have to protect them. So do support your local theatre and come and see us!
Nest heads on a UK tour 16 September – 3 November 2023. Find out more and how to get tickets here: https://m6theatre.co.uk/shows/nest/