Hey, KidO: Scottish Opera's new show caters for kids aged 3–4
The company's new show for wee ones explores ideas of sharing
With the spotlight increasingly turned on performances for ‘early years’ and ‘pre-school’ audiences, younger children are becoming progressively well served. But given the rapid development that takes from birth to 5, that’s one enormous age range for any company to bridge.
In recognition of that fact, Scottish Opera has been busy creating work tailored to the different requirements of babies, toddlers and children. BabyO catered for infants aged 6 to 18 months, SensoryO was for ages 18 months to 3 years, and now along comes KidO, for the far more grown up 3–4 year olds.
Director, Lu Kemp explains how they went about making this new show age-specific: ‘I spoke to friends of mine who have 3 and 4 year olds, and we came up with a list of what they find funny, what they struggle with and what they’re beginning to get their heads around,’ she says. 'And then, in rehearsal, we talked a lot about the differences between what the three year olds will understand, and what the four year olds will understand narrative-wise.
‘One of the things that came up again and again was they both love transformation – that changing one thing into another is something they can both appreciate the humour of and the story behind'
It was during these discussions that Kemp and the team realised there’s one thing in particular both the children in the audience and the adult sitting next to them will identify with: sharing. Whether that’s sharing a toy, space in your home, or even a country, it’s something we can all appreciate the challenges of.
Featuring two singers and a percussionist, KidO tells the simple tale of an extraordinarily tidy person, who has to share space with somebody with a propensity for mess. The stage, says Kemp will be a ‘set of sound’, with ordinary objects used to make extraordinary noises. The biggest sound of all, of course, will come from the talented Scottish Opera singers – although as Kemp points out, they won’t be putting their long training to full use.
‘Obviously the operatic voice is developed for enormous auditoriums without amplification,’ she says, ‘and in this scenario, the audience is very close to the opera singers, so we’re simply not using the full operatic voice. The mode of singing will stay the same – just at much less volume.’
On tour from Thu 19 Mar