This Spring the Rose Theatre brings a brand new production to Kingston. Giraffes Can’t Dance is the delightful story of Gerald, a giraffe who wanted to join the jungle dance. Despite the other animals laughing at him, Gerald learns to dance to his own rhythm.

We wanted to find out why Gerald’s journey is so appealing to children and what we can all learn about dancing to our own music. So Time & Leisure Junior spoke to Sophie Coward who plays Gerald.

Copyright Pamela Raith Photography

What do you like best about playing Gerald?

The best part of playing Gerald is his journey through the show. You can really explore his hope, his fears and how this manifests itself when he learns to dance in his own unique way. It’s empowering and magical every time, especially when the audience really get behind the character!

What is it that makes Gerald so likeable?

I think Gerald is likeable because he is so relatable. His fears are echoed in all of us: of not being good enough, of being left out, of being useless. We see him struggle with failure, which can seem to validate those fears, but we also see his hope! That little kernel of positivity running through him makes him vulnerable and also likeable. It reminds us of our own hope, and how important it is to hold on to it.

What is your favourite dance?

My favourite dance is the Lions tango. It’s passionate, romantic and also technically very difficult! Every time I hear the music crescendo, I get swept up in the moment.

What is your favourite part of the play?

My favourite part of the play is sharing the show with such a wonderful bunch of animals on and off stage! The beetles are so cheeky (they really keep you on
your toes/hooves) and the cricket is so kind, generous and wise.

How much rehearsal have you been doing for this show?

We do weeks of rehearsal as a cast and team, working everyday on different parts of the script or ‘blocking’ the show (where we figure out how each scene looks and where the characters go). But it doesn’t end there… we also rehearse individually, learning our lines, exploring our characters and also practicing all the dancing and singing!

Copyright Pamela Raith Photography

What is the hardest part about playing a giraffe?

The hardest part about playing a giraffe is keeping ‘tall’. I am actually quite a small person and many of my family and friends find it very funny that I will be playing such a tall animal! As a show, we really explored how to make Gerald as tall as he can be, using staging, props and also my physicality.

I have to keep very good posture and move at a slower pace. I’m usually very quick and like to fidget, but Gerald doesn’t… it takes a lot of self control!

What is the wisest thing that the cricket says in the show?

“Watch out for falling coconuts” – it’s great life advice. No one likes a bump on the head.

What is the one thing that you hope children will learn from Gerald?

I hope that everyone, regardless of their age, learns that it is okay for them or others to be completely individual, different and unique.

It can feel very lonely being the ‘odd one out’, and make you feel very, very small. But always remember how wonderful that difference makes us. It can become your super power, and take you to fantastic places, as long as you believe.

Giraffes Can’t Dance is showing at the Rose Theatre 8-19 April 2020. For more details visit www.rosetheatrekingston.org

Treat the family to this new production at the Rose Theatre Kingston.

The tickets are for four people and are only valid for the performance Saturday 11 April, 1:30pm. Tickets can not be exchanged for any other performance.

To enter please visit: www.timeandleisurejunior.co.uk/competitions