Little Top brings to magic of the circus to babies in St Andrews

Little Top, by Starcatchers, introduces very young children to the delights of the circus.
Little Top, by Starcatchers, introduces very young children to the delights of the circus.

A new production is offering a magical first circus experience to babies and young children.

Inside Little Top has been created thanks to a unique partnership between Starcatchers and Superfan, bringing professional circus up close to a new audience of children age 0-18 months and their carers.

In a specially-designed set that miniturises the magic of Big Top, professional circus performers will execute spectacular balances, tumbles and juggling up close in babies’ line of sight, making eye contact, interacting and responding to their young audience.

This new work is the brainchild of award-winning circus artist Ellie Dubois and early years artist Kim Donohoe.

Whilst Ellie – named as one of the British Council’s ‘Artist’s to Watch 2017’ – is reinventing traditional notions of what modern circus can be, Kim strives to push the boundaries of what kind of performances can inspire very young children.

Little Top’s talented cast and crew includes former elite gymnast Gabbie Cook, acrobat Nat Whittingham and juggling artist Arron Sparks.

Ellie said: “I am passionate about circus and I want to push the boundaries of what it can be, where it can exist and what it tells us about the world.

“When I mention circus to people, their eyes light up, but traditionally it’s something an audience experiences from far away as part of a large crowd.

“When you get to see circus close up, as you will in Little Top, you get a different experience that I hope is going to be really special for the babies and their adults.

“It’s very important for me as a circus artist that all of Little Top’s cast are professional circus performers. We are creating a real circus in miniature.

“The set, the acrobatics, the colour and the magic will simply be distilled down into a much smaller, comfy and welcoming space.”

Kim added: “People still ask me ‘How can babies watch and experience theatre?’ The answer is ‘In so many different ways’.

“We have to be absolutely focused on creating a multi-sensory experience. Narrative is often the starting point in theatre productions, but for very young children it’s just as valid to start creating from movement, colour, lights, sound, textures, and new ways for performers to engage and interact with their audience.”

Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “Over the past 12 years Starcatchers has developed a strong reputation for creating beautiful, innovative productions for very young audiences.

“Each performance pushes the boundaries of expectation about what kind of arts experiences babies and young children can benefit from and Little Top is no different.”

Little Top is at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, on Wednesday, May 8, with the performance at 11am.

For more information about Starcatchers and its productions, and to book tickets for Little Top, go to Starcatchers