IN March, the ground-breaking children’s theatre company Travelling Light pack their cases to bring their production of Sammy and the Snow Leopard to the North-East for the first time.

Travelling Light creates exciting and inspiring theatre for and with young people from its base in Bristol. For over 30 years they have been creating outstanding productions, touring in theatre venues to family audiences throughout the UK, in local schools and community venues and to festivals in Britain, Europe and beyond. The company also works with young people through education and development projects as well as five thriving youth theatre groups. Over the course of its history Travelling Light has performed to, or worked with, more than a million people.

Central to the company’s core values is the importance of taking enough time to create high quality work through an extended period of research and development and trying out new ideas and inspirations. Most productions are created through devising with a group of artists, and include a variety of art forms such as puppetry and dance. Music is integral to all productions and stories are told in visual, physical and inventive ways.

Sammy and the Snow Leopard is the brain-child of New Zealand born writer and performer Brad McCormick who is now based in Newcastle. He studied acting at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and subsequently studied Commedia dell’arte with Antonio Fava in Italy and Clown, Bouffon, Vaudeville and Neutral Mask at the John Bolton Theatre School in Auckland.

He told us: “The idea for Sammy and the Snow Leopard came to me literally as I was watching an advertisement for the ‘Adopt a Snow Leopard’ charity programme. And after the initial thought of ‘wouldn’t it be funny if….’ I realised that there could be a show in it.

"The premise behind the piece is that Sammy loves animals but his mother won’t let him have any in the house. When he hears about the Adopt a Snow Leopard scheme he reckons he’s found the perfect way to have a pet. But then a parcel arrives and Sammy finds himself on a crazy adventure involving stuffed animals, evil neighbours, school projects and limes.

"Two years ago I completed an initial tour of the show to schools and venues around the south-west and really learned a lot about what audiences enjoyed and what they were curious about. And when we returned to look at the script when preparing for this next tour, some more ideas came up around how the story could be clearer and more fun for the audience. The new version of the show isn’t radically different from the one before but thanks to help from the team at Travelling Light it feels much stronger and is exploring some really interesting ideas around the environment and our relationship to animals.

"This is a dynamic blend of physically comedic storytelling, audience interaction and brilliant new music for young audiences from 5 to 10 years.

  • Sammy and the Snow Leopard is presented at the Crown Street Art Gallery, Crown Street Library, Darlington on Saturday March 11 at 2pm and 4pm and also on Monday March 13 at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Tickets are priced £5.

To book call the Civic Theatre box office on 01325 486555. For further information please visit