Christmas at The Place Pirates Show

All a’board at The Place for festive family show Pirates!

Scottish Dance Theatre are swashbuckling their way into Euston


We’re big fans of taking a Christmassy voyage to The Place here at Camdenist. The Euston-based dance institution always float something memorably different upon the seasonal sea of pantos.

And so it is for 2023, where you can join best friends Tom and Daisy as they are swept away into the world of Captain Sandy Rogers and her rowdy crew in Pirates! It’s a story of identity and friendship, featuring quirky zombies, strange underwater creatures, and an exciting duel with the wicked Admiral O’Greed.

We asked Scottish Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Joan Clevillé, to tell us a bit more about the joyous mix of dance, theatre and swashbuckling storytelling that has gone into creating the Pirates! show. 

How did you settle upon the buccaneering theme for this show?

When thinking about making a work for children, I was drawn to the creative energy of pirates. Like dinosaurs or astronauts, they are part of the imaginary world of many children. Personally, I’m not so interested in the stereotypical representations of historical pirates, but rather on how they can embody a spirit of creative freedom, play and community. The pirates in our production dare to be themselves, use their imagination to be resourceful and are driven by the thrill of play.

What have been the biggest challenges and joys of putting the show together?

Undoubtedly, the biggest joy has been interacting with children throughout the creation process. I was keen to spend as much time as possible with children, so me and the dancers understood how their imaginations work, what excites them or worries them, what makes them laugh… As part of the creation process, we visited a local primary school and also invited children to come to play in our studio and watch rehearsals. I wanted to make sure the show is actually for them. In terms of challenges… this is a big production! I love working with objects, but working with so many props and such a big set can be a logistical nightmare.

What do Londoners need to know about the Scottish Dance Theatre?

We are a repertory dance company based in the city of Dundee, on the Northeast coast of Scotland. The company started as a grassroots initiative in the 1980s and over time has become Scotland’s flagship contemporary dance company. The only one with a full-time ensemble and one of the very few in the UK to be permanently based in a theatre. We collaborate with artists from all over the world and take our work everywhere we can: from remote village halls in the Scottish Highlands to opera houses in South America. From art festivals in Europe to local schools, prisons and shopping centres. The company performs regularly in London, and we’re honoured that The Place commissioned Pirates! and invited us to perform for their Christmas run.

Why is a visit to this show a festive family essential?

Because even though it is a performance for children, it is also made for the adults in their lives. We have had entire families of three generations coming to watch and telling us how much they enjoyed sharing the experience together. There is something in the show for everyone, and at the core of our story there’s a beautiful message about friendship, that really chimes with the spirit of Christmas at The Place!

Pirates! runs 16th – 24th December at The Place, 17 Duke’s Rd, WC1H 9PY

More info, a preview video & to book tickets here


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