Wise Children – inaugural tour announced with free first performance and further details of the School for Wise Children

Wise Children

Wise Children

Emma Rice on Wise Children…

After months of hard work and a lifetime of dreaming, Wise Children is up and running!

 Our first show, an adaptation of Angela Carter’s iconic novel Wise Children, has just gone on sale at The Old Vic in London where we are proud to be the first Company in Residence. To mark this historic moment we’ve decided to open up the final dress rehearsal to our friends and supporters. It will be our first ever public performance, and we want you to be there to start us off with a bang.  All the tickets will be available for free!

 Since receiving our funding from Arts Council England we have experienced an overwhelming show of support from friends, colleagues, theatres and charities alike. We feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such goodwill and to be embraced by our home, the South West!

 This energy and enthusiasm has made our first months a rollercoaster of possibilities and delight. We are particularly indebted to The Old Vic and the amazing group of regional co-producers, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Oxford Playhouse and York Theatre Royal, whose very real investment in Wise Children has made our dreams a reality. This brave and creative support is what will keep regional touring alive and we couldn’t be more excited to be waving the flag for this vibrant, joyful and historic way of life. Tickets for Wise Children at venues across the country will be on sale soon.

 We are also proud to announce that The School for Wise Children is well and truly underway. We’ve already completed our first course with 12 astonishing theatre musicians, and will be announcing dates for a second course very soon.

 Wise Children is heating up, but the proof will be in the delicious theatre pudding that we are making! Come and taste, come and play, come and be part of this new and thrilling theatre adventure.

Wise Children today announce the tour of their inaugural production as a company – an adaptation of Angela Carter’s Wise Children. Following the world première at The Old Vic who co-produce with Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Oxford Playhouse and York Theatre Royal, the production will tour to venues across the UK including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, York and Coventry.

To mark the launch of the company, tickets for final dress rehearsal at The Old Vic will be available free. Tickets will be available through a lottery via Wise Children’s website: www.wisechildren.co.uk.

Also announced today are further details of the company’s School for Wise Children – a new training and apprenticeship scheme. The scheme aims to develop skills across the sector, training independent artists and diversifying the creative workforce. All courses will be affordable and 50% of places will be available free, either to people receiving means-tested benefits, or through referrals from partner organisations. The company is working towards accreditation for courses and the scheduling will be sensitive to artists who need to subsidise their training by working alongside it.

Created and led by Emma Rice, with Executive Director Judith Dimant and Executive Producer Poppy Keeling, Wise Children is an Arts Council, National Portfolio Organisation for 2018-22. Based in Spike Island in Bristol, Wise Children will create and produce world-class, innovative ensemble theatre; a culmination of the process and ethos Emma has developed over her theatrical career. Wise Children will work in partnership with venues to create ensemble work to tour nationally and internationally. Through a series of residencies, the company will develop and diversify audiences.

Website: www.wisechildren.co.uk 

Blog: www.wisechildren.blog

Twitter: @Wise_Children

Facebook: @WiseChildrenCompany


Wise Children and The Old Vic present

The world première of


By Angela Carter

Adapted and directed by Emma Rice

Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre CoventryOxford Playhouse and York Theatre Royal

‘Let’s have all the skeletons out of the closet, today, of all days!’ It’s 23 April, Shakespeare’s birthday.

In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance – twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river – are celebrating their 70th birthday. Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he’s still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all…

A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand.   Emma Rice brings her unique, exuberantly impish vision to Angela Carter’s great last novel, Wise Children, launching her new theatre company of the same name and its London residency at The Old Vic.

The production opens on 17 October at The Old Vic, where Wise Children are a Company in Residence, with previews from 8 October, and running until 10 NovemberWise Children then tours to Oxford Playhouse; Cambridge Arts Theatre; Bristol Old Vic; Derngate Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Belgrade Theatre Coventry, with further venues to be announced shortly.

Emma is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (2016/18), she directedRomantics Anonymous, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales).

 For the previous 20 years, she worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director and Artistic Director. Her productions for Kneehigh include: The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Tristan & Yseult, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, The Wild Bride, The Red Shoes, The Wooden Frock, The Bacchae, Cymbeline (in association with RSC), A Matter of Life and Death (in association with National Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre), Brief Encounter (in association with David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Productions – the production has been revived this year and is currently playing at the Empire Cinema Haymarket), Don John (in association with the RSC and Bristol Old Vic), Wah! Wah! Girls (in association with Sadler’s Wells and Theatre Royal Stratford East for World Stages) and Steptoe and Son.

Other work includes: the West End production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Oedipussy (Spymonkey); The Empress (RSC); and An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).

Wise Children is a company in residence at The Old Vic.

The London run of Wise Children is supported by funding from the London Community Foundation and Cockayne – Grants for the Arts.

Suitable for ages 12+.


At the heart of Wise Children’s core mission is a commitment to training the next generation of alternative, multi-disciplinary theatre makers and independent artists. The School for Wise Children will provide these opportunities, offering high quality training courses and structured apprenticeships leading to employment for actors, musicians, directors and writers.

Led by Emma – and the leading industry figures who are her regular collaborators – the School for Wise Children is made up of flexible modules of different durations, scheduled in a time frame that is realistic for those who can’t afford to stop work while training. The training will be accredited, and students will complete a series of modules to achieve recognised qualifications.

All courses will be affordable and 50% of all places will be available free, either to people receiving means-tested benefits, or through referrals from partner organisations. These partners are all organisations which use theatre and/or music to engage disadvantaged groups, and will refer talented people who they feel are ready for the next step into a career in the industry.

This commitment is particularly urgent in light of the escalating costs of arts training which is making access into theatre unattainable for young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Black and Minority Ethnic young people are disproportionately represented in these groups and, consequently, poorly represented on our stages.

School for Wise Children graduates will also have access to annual paid apprenticeships with the company. Apprenticeships will be paid at living wage or above and will include a position on a Wise Children show, where apprentices will work alongside an experienced mentor who will then continue to provide support and guidance for a further five years.

Students will have access to business support – with sessions on freelancing and financial management, establishing and running theatre companies, arts administration and funding – and to a casting director with particular expertise working with alternative artists.

For further details on how to apply for the School for Wise Children:


Wild Children                                                                                                                                        Tour Listings

The Old Vic

Monday 8 October – Saturday 10 November

Press night: Wednesday 17 October


Box Office: 0844 871 7628

Oxford Playhouse

Tuesday 13 November – Saturday 17 November


Box Office: 01865 305305

Cambridge Arts Theatre

Tuesday 20 November – Saturday 24 November


Box Office: 01223 503333


Bristol Old Vic

Weds 23 Jan – Saturday 9 Feb


Box Office: 0117 987 7877

York Theatre Royal

Tuesday 5 March – Saturday 16 March


Box Office: 01904 623568

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 April


Box Office: 024 7655 3055