Over-50s acting troupe from Immediate Theatre captivates kids at Hackney primary schools

Hungry dragon played by Sharon Aspess.

Hungry dragon played by Sharon Aspess. - Credit: Lola Carter

An over-50s acting group toured Hackney primary schools this summer with a thought-provoking and fun rendition of George and the Dragon.

George fights the dragon in the sequel to Immediate Theatre's George and the Dragon show. Picture: L

George fights the dragon in the sequel to Immediate Theatre's George and the Dragon show. Picture: Lola Carter - Credit: Lola Carter

The group from Immediate Theatre got kids in Years 3 and 4 dancing, roaring and voting on whether or not Fafner the Dragon - played by Sharon Aspess - should live or die.

The retired and semi-retired actors told the Gazette how much they loved performing to kids and how acting has got them out of their comfort zones, meeting new people and staying active.

Sharon said: "I didn't take early retirement just to sit at home and watch TV. I wanted to do something and stimulate my brain and this is a great way of doing it."

During the players' school tour, they asked young viewers their ideas for a sequel.

Cast of Immediate theatre's George and the Dragon answer school kids questions. Picture: Gbenga Olop

Cast of Immediate theatre's George and the Dragon answer school kids questions. Picture: Gbenga Olopade - Credit: Immediate Theatre


You may also want to watch:


And that play was performed at Homerton's Wally Foster Centre last month.

It was put together over just a few days during the heatwave.

Most Read

The play, written by Penny Cliff with help from the actors, dealt with themes of democracy, forgiveness, female empowerment and environmentalism.

There was even an alternate ending.

Actors young and old sing together in the Immediate Theatre's sequel to George and the Dragon. Alice

Actors young and old sing together in the Immediate Theatre's sequel to George and the Dragon. Alice Mckenna (right) Picture: Lola Carter - Credit: Lola Carter

Steve Latner, who played the judge, believes in the power of theatre to transform lives.

"I grew up in Hackney on quite a rough estate," he said, "and I joined a youth theatre at Hoxton Hall.

"It totally changed the direction of my life.

"If somebody does see a different pathway it's so valuable and [theatre] like this does that."

Benthal Primary School kids captivated by the queen and dragon played by Heather Qualtrough and Shar

Benthal Primary School kids captivated by the queen and dragon played by Heather Qualtrough and Sharon Aspess. Picture: Gbenga Olopade - Credit: Immediate Theatre

The group thinks more activities should be available for people their age as well as young people.

Actor Alice McKenna said: "People think that when you're 60 and retired you're going to stay at home and do nothing. "They say to me: 'Why are you doing that at your age?'"

Janet Evans relished playing Cleolinda.

She told the Gazette: "It's been a lovely experience to be a 74-year-old princess."

The sequel to the production featured Fafner the dragon's baby Dragonette. Picture: Lola Carter

The sequel to the production featured Fafner the dragon's baby Dragonette. Picture: Lola Carter - Credit: Lola Carter

Originally the acting troupe performed to older people at care homes, lunch groups and hospices and was formed through a partnership between Immediate Theatre and Arcola Theatre in Dalston.

In the sequel school kids took on roles previously played by over-50s actors such as the Queen and t

In the sequel school kids took on roles previously played by over-50s actors such as the Queen and the Judge. Picture: Lola Carter - Credit: Lola Carter

School kids performing the sequel to George and the Dragon after a few days of rehearsals. Picture:

School kids performing the sequel to George and the Dragon after a few days of rehearsals. Picture: Lola Carter - Credit: Lola Carter

Hungry dragon played by Sharon Aspess.

Hungry dragon played by Sharon Aspess. - Credit: Lola Carter

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus