Blog: Stacey Sampson

The award winning writer and actor introduces Quest, Breaking Tradition’s new show for 7-12 years and their families featuring folk powerhouse The Demon Barbers

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There’s been a special delivery to the rehearsal room – tiffin. Homemade no less. It’s ridiculously good. What is actually in tiffin?! I look it up. Biscuits, cherries, raisins and syrup, bound together with melted chocolate. Basically, a load of great stuff mixed together. It was always going to work.

It got me thinking about what makes the right ingredients for a show. I’m here with Breaking Tradition, and as the name of the company suggests – they like to do things a bit differently. Their USP is fusing traditional folk dance and music with contemporary break dance and hip-hop, making spectacular shows full of movement and live music. I’m stepping in to work on story, hopefully binding together their amazing moves and sounds with a narrative, though not many actual words.

It began with a series of excitable conversations with their artistic director Damien where we say: “We’ll have magic, martial arts, sword dancing, a bit where everyone stands on each other’s shoulders to make a giant baddie…Yeahhhh.” Then came the bit where I looked nervously at the seemingly disparate sea of Post-it notes before me and wondered: “How will we make this work?”

It’s been a case of thinking, experimenting and refining – working with a team of incredible dancers and musicians who respond to things in the moment, creating music and sequences of movement as an ensemble with everyone feeding into each other’s process. We’ve taken all the disciplines, which are brilliant in their own right – Border morris, breaking, locking and popping, staff fighting, clog dance – and we’ve mixed them up, bound them together inside a magical video game world where our heroes Gem and Kai go missing on the eve they’re supposed to move house. All sound-tracked by a live band and original score.

I’m just finishing off my third piece of tiffin and watching them come to the end of a run. The show’s made. There’s magic, martial arts, swords and yeah, even a bit where everyone stands on each other’s shoulders to make a giant baddie. Basically, a load of great stuff mixed together. What was I nervous about? It was always going to work.

Quest opens in Breaking Tradition’s new home, Kala Sangham Bradford on 25-26 May before a national tour in September, which includes more Yorkshire dates. To book tickets (£10/£6) and for more information click here

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