The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle has delighted generations of readers since it was first published in 1969, selling more than 43 million copies worldwide. Now the timeless classic is making its way off the page and onto the stage in a critically-acclaimed production which brings together Carle’s legendary stories through the use of puppetry. Currently embarking on a tour across the UK, White Light has been called upon to provide the lighting equipment.
Produced by MEI Theatrical Ltd, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been adapted by Jonathan Rockefeller and consists of four classic Carle stories: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Ros Spiers-King, Dream Manager at MEI, comments: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a brilliant show that manages to encapsulate the magic of Carle’s novels and bring this alive from the page. Many of our young audience have heard the books being read but have never seen what these would like look animated; which is exactly what the show provides”.
The books are re-imagined through the use of more than 75 puppets and a hard-working cast of four. Ros adds: “As this is a children’s show, it is extremely busy with lots happening at a very rapid rate. Alongside the cast and props, we rely heavily on the lighting to help push the story forward”.
As a result, working with David Goldstein’s original lighting design, Ros and Technical Manager Tom Boucher approached WL to supply them with equipment suitable for the show. Ros states: “The set is actually entirely white which can potentially be a nightmare when lighting! However, as Eric Carle’s books and stories are so colourful, we wanted to use the lights to capture this”.
WL supplied the production with Martin MAC Aura LEDs, ETC Source Four Zooms and an ETC Ion 1K Console. WL also provided a series of gobos to help create the polka dots that are synonymous with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Ros comments: “As the show is visiting over 50 venues, we had to choose a selection of lights that were both specific yet adaptable. The venues we visit vary enormously in size, from large regional theatres to intimate town halls. Thankfully, the kit supplied by WL meant we had a wide range of options that could bring the show to life regardless of the location”.
The tour marks the latest chapter of the production which first embarked on a tour last year before having a limited run at the Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End; both of which were supplied by WL. The show is currently playing at the Newbury Corn Exchange and will visit the Atkinson Theatre in Southport later this week. Over the next few months, it will tour venues all across the country. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit: www.hungrycaterpillarshow.com
Ros adds: “We are really proud of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the incredible cast and crew and the impact the show is having on young audiences. We are also extremely grateful to WL, especially Senior Hire Co-ordinator Dan Last, for providing such brilliant service and going out of their way to ensure our needs were always met”.
Photos courtesy of Pamela Raith and Ros Spiers-King.