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2017: Josephine Bean…Interview

In nearly two weeks you will be taken on a mysterious journey and it all starts with a scrapbook. We caught up with Shona Reppe the producer about her show The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean.

How did you begin creating work for families?

I trained as a stage designer and always loved to make puppets then gradually ending up making puppet shows and performing them myself! No looking back. Although I don’t use puppets much these days I still make theatre for families because I love the audiences and their reactions, young audience are vibrant and honest and a joy to perform for. I am able to express myself as an artist and have fun so it’s a win win for me!

Tell us about The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean

JB is part CSI detective sleuth scientist and part romantic Victorian Scrapbook story. There. Just come and see it, then that will make sense. Basically I can’t tell you too much or it will spoilt the story for you (it’s mystery and will not benefit from being given away) but imagine a scientist trying to discover the clues in a Victorian Scrapbook and finding more than she expected! I play Patricia Baker a Scrapologist (and founding member of SCRAPS) who examines scrapbooks to find the story within. I am very thorough, I wear a white coat and have some interesting tools to sleuth with.

What can families expect?

To be taken on a strange journey, an unpredictable one where fantasy meets reality in th setting of a homemade laboratory. My shows are as much for the adults as the children, this is family theatre.

What does it mean to you to come to bOing! ?

Weirdly I nearly went to Kent at Canterbury university to study drama, I was accepted but decided to go to Glasgow university instead. I won’t have been to the campus since…..1988! Also I have known Liz Moran (who runs the festival) for many many years since she worked in Scotland – she is fantastic and it’s a joy to be part of bOing! after all these years!

At the bOing! 2017 Symposium (Child’s Play) we are discussing creating work for Early Years, what was the first piece of art/performance you experienced?  Why do you think access to the arts by children & young people is important?

My mum took me to Panto and ballet in Aberdeen, that’s about it. My imagination was nurtured and hot housed at home in making stories up with my dolls house and toys and Lego. My love for theatre came later but I do think if you are lucky to be taken to Theatre at a very young age it can only help to spark the imagination and inspire play and exploration, develop language and help socialise! I think the bottom line is that the arts for children should be engaging and exciting and thought provoking. For all ages. These days it’s essential because it’s live and not on a screen. It’s a genuine connection with a performer and the telling of a story and the audience are part of that, something you can’t get from an iPad.

The theme for this year’s bOing is fabulous beasties – can you describe, draw or creatively show us a fabulous beastie?

My fabulous beastie is a deep cobalt blue in colour, with bright orange horns and a head the shape of a cornflake box. It’s ears are near its knees so it can hear music from far below. It breathes fire and can be hired to toast marshmallows. It can fly but it cannot swim. It’s name is Floff and it sleeps upside down wearing a coconut as a bed cap. It is not dangerous unless it sits on you which you won’t like because it’s bottom has spikes on it.

Find out more about The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean