Building Temporary Utopias

As a touring company we’re constantly working in other people’s spaces, or in temporary, transient and sometimes less-than-perfect spaces. We want to distill the ingredients of our own particular brand of creativity, and then work out how to bring them with us wherever we go, creating – perhaps – a portable rehearsal kit; something that provides exactly what our performers, designers, stage managers, director and producers need. A Temporary Utopia Kit, you might say – or a Tuk Tuk! With our Tuk Tuks we want to be able to rock up at a disused shop or warehouse, roll out our kit and build a bespoke creative space that works for the whole company.

We called in Emma Chapman and Lucy Osborne from Studio 360 (the brains behind Paines Plough’s Roundabout) and David Lockwood from The Bike Shed Theatre to help us unlock some ideas. We also assembled friends and colleagues including performers, designers and stage managers to help. Between the 15 people present we realised we’ve made shows in a vast amount of very different spaces, from factory floors to Cornish cliff tops. We all agreed that it’s an exciting part of the process, but that it can also be hard work as not every space is suitable and needs to change over time. The first step in creating our Tuk Tuks has been identifying what those needs are. So Emma and Lucy got us thinking about what we want from a space – from the most basic (heating and light) to the wildest dreams (hanging cocoons! Kittens!).

We all agreed we want shelter, companionship, and security. A space that is clean and warm and flexible. That can accommodate a company rehearsing, a band tinkering and a producer making phone calls. We want to be able to make our dinner in it, and have a nap in it. We want to store a whole lot of props and costume. And we want it to reflect Wise Children’s personality. Not too much to ask then.

Now Emma and Lucy go away with all our ideas and come up with some possible solutions. We’re really excited about what the Tuk Tuks will be, and what new opportunities they will open up for us.

The reviews are in!

After months of hard-work from an immensely talented team, we’re feeling incredibly proud that Wise Children has been so well received and that the reviewers have loved the show as much as we do.

We’re at The Old Vic until 10 November and then touring until April 2019 so there are plenty of opportunities to see the show and make up your own mind, but until you do – allow us to sway you:

‘Fantastic. Life-enhancing, brilliantly uninhibited, all-singing and dancing… Stars? I’m not sure why you would stop at five.’ ★★★★★

The Observer

‘An explosion of theatrical glee’ ★★★★

The Times 

‘It is a spectacular show, distilling the carnivalesque spirit of the book… Rice’s relaunch is a splashy one, celebrating the sheer razzle-dazzle of a life in theatre.’ ★★★★

The Guardian

‘One huge love letter to theatre’ ★★★★

The Stage

‘Glorious. It’s great to be back on Planet Rice’ ★★★★

Time Out

‘An exuberant celebration of theatre’ ★★★★

Financial Times

‘It’s pure, unadulterated theatre with an airtight company, subject, direction, and production. Rice not only blind-casts the whole piece, but single-handedly gives a masterclass on how to play with gender.’ ★★★★★

Broadway World

‘Emma Rice does justice to the verve and racy humour of Carter’s writing… tinged with melancholy yet joyous and inventive.’ ★★★★

Evening Standard

‘Bonkers but brilliant, a very English Rice pudding’ ★★★★

Daily Mail

‘It’s impossible not to be enchanted’ ★★★★

Radio Times

‘Rice honours perfectly the dark enchantments of Carter’s imagination with this carnival-esque tribute to theatre as a substitute family.’ ★★★★


WhatsOnStage Awards – we need your help!

These are the only major theatre awards in which you, the audience, are the judges across all categories, so take this opportunity to use your voice and cheer loudly for Wise Children!

As a brand new company launching our first show, it would mean the world to us to win in any of the categories, but as an ensemble production we think we’re particularly applicable for:

  • Best New Play: Wise Children
  • Best Director: Emma Rice
  • Best Costume Design: Vicki Mortimer
  • Best Set Design: Vicki Mortimer
  • Best Lighting Design: Malcolm Rippeth

Head to to have your say.  Then help spread the word using #WOSAwards #WiseChildren.
Nominations close at the end of November so don’t hang around.
Thank you!


Podcast Episode 6 – Previews

It’s preview week for Wise Children at The Old Vic, and Emma talks to the company backstage as they get ready for a performance after a day of rehearsals. She finds out how they prepare for each show, how they keep going in this demanding period before press night – while they’re performing every evening and continuing to work during the day – and what it’s like to finally put the piece in front of an audience.

Hosted by Emma and featuring The Wise Children Company.

You can find it where ever you get your Podcasts.

Podcast Episode 5 – Tech Week

After all the planning, we’ve moved into London’s Old Vic to prepare for the opening of our first show: Angela Carter’s Wise Children.

This week, while the actors take a well earned day off, Emma bothers everyone in the auditorium and asks them what they do.  We meet the creative and technical teams as they prepare for the start of technical rehearsals and get ready for the Dress Rehearsal.

Hosted by Emma and featuring Wise Children’s Creative and Technical Teams including Cath Bates, Vicki Mortimer, Malcolm Rippeth, Simon Baker, Lucy Martin, Lizzie Frankl, Steph Curtis and Charlie Smalley.

You can find it on iTunes and everywhere else you get your Podcasts.

We’re In Previews

We could not be more proud. The show marks the beginning of Wise Children as a company, the start of an exciting new chapter for Emma Rice and her collaborators, and the culmination of many months of hard work by a stellar creative and production team.

Wise Children is an adaptation of Angela Carter’s last novel, which is in itself a tender love letter to the theatre. And it’s timely: a story about the strength and agency of women, told by a diverse cast, the show is already resonating with audiences and provoking discussion.

We are giddy with excitement and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our audiences so far, and hope many more of you will join us over the coming months. The show remains at The Old Vic, where Wise Children is Resident Company, until 10th November and then begins a UK tour.

Enormous thanks go out to all our producing partners, collaborators, supporters and members of the Wise Children Club. Without you this journey would not have been possible.