A new play that started life at The College of Richard Collyer, Horsham, is set to tour the country next year with an important message.
Titled Pangolin, the production aims to raise awareness about the plight of a remarkable animal facing extinction.
Ships in the Night, the theatre company behind the show, is calling for public support to raise funds for the show.
Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal and there are eight species in Africa and Asia that are either ‘vulnerable’ or ‘critically endangered’.
The pangolin is the only mammal in the world that is covered in scales, which act as armour to most natural predators. However, these scales are highly sought-after for use in traditional medicines and they are often used as decorations. Pangolin meat is also considered a delicacy by some.
Director Sheryl Hill created the production with the goal of inspiring young people to be passionate about conservation.
She said: “We wanted to create something that had a playfulness but also was effective in telling this urgent message about stopping poaching to help save the pangolin from extinction.
“Jon Boustead has written a fantastic script that’s full of mischievous poetry – it feels like something Roald Dahl would be proud of.”
Pangolin should tour to venues in England in autumn 2019.
Created and directed by Sheryl Hill and written by Jon Boustead, the original version of the show was developed and first performed with a cast of sixth form students from Collyer’s in Horsham.
This first incarnation of Pangolin was the result of a chat with Collyer’s principal Sally Bromley, who was looking for a director with an idea for a student-led community theatre piece.
“The opportunity at Collyer’s got me thinking about our roles within our global community and how we can all play a part in the positive future of our planet,” Sheryl said.
“The play is about a girl who chooses to stand up for what is right, even if it might cost her.
“We are now launching a Crowdfunder campaign to raise funds for this production. It’s an amazing opportunity for the public to get behind a number of important issues: to raise awareness of the remarkable pangolin, to support artists and theatre makers who are creating new work for families, and to inspire a young audience to take a stand and make a difference in the world.”
Born Free, the charity co-founded by actress Virginia McKenna OBE, works to protect threatened species in the wild and is proud to already be supporting this production.
A spokesperson said: “This play is a refreshing opportunity to share what is a current and vital conservation message. Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world, and thousands are taken from the wild each year for their meat and scales. Despite this, many people are unaware of these amazing animals.”
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