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Topsy Turvy Theatre

Touring Children's Theatre Company

What I do:

We’re a touring children’s theatre company specialising in theatre for children aged 2-7 and their families. We use puppets, imaginative scenery, original music and high energy storytelling to bring our work to life and give little audiences a high quality and meaningful theatrical experience.

All of our shows are now Makaton Friendly!

Our seven touring shows are very versatile, and we tour to theatres, schools, nurseries, libraries and community settings with all our work.

What steps I took to get where I am now:

Our Artistic Director, Claire Alizon Hills, started Topsy Turvy Theatre in 2010 with a vision to adapt the children’s book Ruby Flew Too! With no experience of running an arts organisation, it was very much a case of learning on the job!

Claire writes (or adapts), directs and performs in all of our shows, and as a company we build our own scenery and puppets with freelancers. It can’t be underestimated how much work goes into creating a show and over the years this process has developed as our skills have grown.

We don’t develop new shows very often. Each time we create a touring production it becomes part of our portfolio of work. New shows will be the focus and older shows (and puppets!) will have a break for a few years until the time is right to revisit them and make them available to audiences again. This way of working means our shows periodically get refreshed and benefit from our growing experience, influences and skills. Over the years it has also made us more environmentally and financially sustainable.

We have always tried to improve the quality and accessibility of our work. Claire and our regular freelancers are now Level 3 Makaton qualified and Topsy Turvy Theatre is an official Makaton Friendly Organisation. Over the last few years we have developed a range of online ‘Story Signs’ resources to support the use of Makaton in our productions which can be found on our YouTube channel.

What creative opportunities I'm looking for:

We are always looking for opportunities to bring our work to new audiences and new spaces.

Our portfolio of shows include;

Christopher Nibble
Christopher’s Caterpillars
Isabel’s Well
Ruby Flew Too!
The Lost Present…A Christmas Adventure!
Sorry…Christmas is Cancelled! Katie Saves the Day!
Christopher’s Christmas

If you would like to find out more about our work, do contact us for more information.

We are always happy to talk to other arts organisations and individual practitioners about their practice and how we might be able to collaborate on a project together.

My proudest moment:

More a series of little moments. Hearing children’s gasps and giggles when they come to watch a show. Being told that they’ve never sat for such a long time. Seeing the delighted faces when they see us signing in Makaton. Freelancers beaming at the end of a really fun performance. Mum watching me perform at the age of 40. My Goddaughter saying my “shows are AMAZING” as we sat down to watch Wicked on the West End after I’d joked that I was about to be upstaged.

My dream creative collaboration:

I have three Godchildren. Isabel’s Well was created for the eldest and Sorry…Christmas is Cancelled! Katie Saves the Day! for the youngest.

It was always my intention to create a show for Eden, but I never found the right project whilst she was little. Now she is a teenager, (she has just about forgiven me for my oversight), it would be a dream to be able to spend a summer with her creating a show that she would like little children to watch. I think we could both inspire each other.

What does Wakefield mean to me?
Wakefield, and the districts, are my home.
My gallery
My showreel