The Good Neighbour

Battersea Arts Centre2009

Battersea Arts Centre

Battersea Arts Centre

The Good Neighbour is an incredibly important example of how BAC developed a process of scratching work for young audiences and families through its work in primary schools. Starting life as a project with 8 different Wandsworth classes and 6 professional artists, the idea to take audiences on a trail across different spaces in BAC was developed by Producer Ruth Dudman as a solution to the sheer number of installations created as part of the project. It was the excitement in which young audiences and their families explored the building and opened each new door that led Ruth and Sarah Golding to see this formats theatrical potential. I joined the team as a junior producer in 2010, and together with artist Tom Bowtell we would develop the show through a series of scratches in partnership with local schools. These scratches enabled us to hone a complicated frame reliant on plotting intricate journeys for 9 groups of 10 children to move safely through the building staircases, corridors and attics. The strong and trusting relationships we built with our local primary schools meant we had an incredible resource of young adventurers, who helped us test and perfect the piece, and the multiple mini artist lead pieces within it. By the time the first families saw a public performance when we opened in October 2012, we already had a show we knew held space for children to imagine, to explore, and to fall in love with our magical building. The show was a massive success, and returned for a second run Christmas 2013. It was a scratch process which involved over 18 different professional artists, and also acted as an incubator for ideas, giving artists the space to test them our alongside young audiences. Many of the ideas seeded within these scratches went on to have lives as full length shows for children, independently of The Good Neighbour. These include Polarbear’s Mouth Open, Story Jump Out, Little Bulb’s Antartica, Inspector Sand’s Rock Pool, and Kirsty Harris and Matthew Blake’s Momentorium.

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  • Title: The Good Neighbour
  • Creator: Battersea Arts Centre
  • Date Created: 2009