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Backstage chat with the cast of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live

Home » People » Backstage chat with the cast of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live

This summer We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live, based on the much-loved picture book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, returns to the Lowry direct from London’s West End. We sat down with the cast – Tim Hibberd, Benjamin Hills, Hannah Donelon, and Artie Godden to find out their favourite bits and some secrets about the show.

Q – Can you tell us a bit about the show?
Artie: A family go to find a bear. With their dog.
Tim: It’s a beautiful day, and their aiming to catch a big one.
Benjamin: They’ve got to go over grass, a river, mud, a forest, a snow storm, and a cave.
Tim: The main trouble being that we can’t go over them, we can’t go under them…
Hannah: We’ve got to go through them.

We're  Going on a Bear Hunt Live. Credit - Lesley Cook
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Live. Credit – Lesley Cook

Q – What can we expect from the show?
Tim: I think audiences can expect a lot of silliness, running around, songs, dances, a lot of mud, water…
Artie: Surprises!
Benjamin: And live music!

Q – What special moments are there in the show?
Artie: Special moments in the show are always when we come out and we see the new audience. It’s always really different, and the children are always so enthused and willing to give us so much. So that’s always a surprise just how excitable they are. They want to get involved.
Tim: Even if they don’t know what the format of the story is before, eventually they’re all just joining in anyways and it’s always lovely to see.
Hannah: And there’s never a dip in that, every audience is always just so willing to get involved.

Were Going on a Bear Hunt Live. Credit: Lesley Cook
Were Going on a Bear Hunt Live. Credit: Lesley Cook

Q – Will we be seeing the Bear?
Artie: Hmm it depends, do we find the bear?
Tim: There is a bear in the story, and we go on the hunt for the bear, that much is true. (Whispers) We do find the bear.
Hannah: The audience always help us the find the bear!
Benjamin: If you’ve read the book, spoiler alert, it’s in the cave.
Tim: We always come out and the first thing audiences shout it “where’s the bear!” If you’ve read the book… the bear is at the end, we get the bear in the end.

Q – How does the play differ from the book?
Hannah: hmm what’s different about the book?
Artie: It’s just like a big pop out book.
Benjamin: The main difference is each obstacle needs to come alive on stage. And how the director, Sally Cookson did that was to make sure the kids are using their imagination as best as they can. So we’ve got buckets instead of an actual river. Because we can’t make a river on stage.  So we use water pistols, squelchy squirty paint mud…
Tim: No spoilers!
Hannah: Which is great though because I think the children take from that that they can make their own bear hunt.
Tim: Yeah its only stuff they can find around the house.
Hannah: Yeah like cardboard boxes… but the children, it’s beautiful, they never question it, they’re never like “oh they’re not trees” They’re just so on board and willing to engage their imagination. So Sally Cookson I think, the genius she is, capitalised on that.

Were Going on a Bear Hunt Live. Credit: Lesley Cook
Were Going on a Bear Hunt Live. Credit: Lesley Cook

Q – Have any of you performed at The Lowry before?
Artie: I’ve never played The Lowry
Benjamin: I haven’t
Hannah: I haven’t, but I watched my first play at The Lowry.
Tim: I have played at The Lowry, a couple of times.
Artie: Which show?
Tim: Oh well, funny you should ask. I was last here for Snail on the Whale, I’ve probably been there with The Gruffalo and with some other shows I’ve done in the past. So I’ve been many times. I used to have a company called Regents Revenge, we used to play here as well.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is at The Lowry, Salford Quays from Sat 3 August – Sun 1 September 2019.

Competition to win a family ticket to see the smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt on tour, when it comes to The Lowry this summer.

Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason