Beginning his career as a founder member of Taking Steps, a Birmingham-based theatre company for young people, Robin has continued to be a strong advocate of the importance and value of theatre for children and young people, and a committed to maintaining the highest artistic standards in work for young audiences. He continues to teach, direct and write for young people. Below are examples of his Young People's theatre writing (For links to his most recent production for young actors, "PCUK - A Mid$ummer Night's Remix" click here)

For other plays for performance by young people, click here

R&B superstar DJ “Prince” Charmin’ has just rolled into Enfield searching for his next Big Star - and maybe someone who will love him for himself.  And since downtrodden local cleaner $yn Da Rilla has a big talent and an even bigger heart, a happy-ever-after should be just around the corner. But Eva-Lynn Tent, $yn-Da-Rilla’s employer (and wicked stepmother) has other plans. She will stop at nothing to keep her stepdaughter off the radar, and set her own two girls on the road to stardom. It looks as if $yn-Da-Rilla and her DJ “Prinz” Charmin’ might be doomed to disappointment. But fate and Fairy Godmothers have a habit of stepping in, and with help from $yn-Da-Rilla’s BFF Buttunz, who knows how things might turn out! With all the fun of the traditional pantomime: Ugly Sisters, slop-scenes, even a song sheet – as well great beats, a lot of laughs and Pineapple Arts’ trade-mark stunning Street Dance (Chreographed by Sam Golle) “$yn-Da-Rilla – The Urban Panto” was a huge success with a family audiences and teens alike

 UNDER THE STORY TREE (2011) Directed by Andrew Breakwell

Commissioned by Nottingham Playhouse's Roundabout Company, this play follows the adventures of a motley bunch of hungry animals in a time of drought, as they  as they cross the hot, dry desert, and try to remember the name of a delicious fruit-bearing Magic Tree that could save them all from starving.

One by one, animals are sent to a wise woman who knows the name of the tree. As they wait,m they pass the time telling all their favourite stories. Will they be able to stick together and save themselves from the drought? Will they be able to solve the mystery and remember the name of the tree?

Featuring fabulous folk tales from Pakistan, Britain, Somalia and Poland, Under the Story Tree is a magical story of friendship and co-operation with stories told in a variety of ways - through music, action, acting out and traditional tale-telling. Featuring live music, puppets and lots of fun and laughter.

REVIEW:

Nottingham Playhouse uses its rehearsal space for this simple offering for young families, a sequence of folk tales from Pakistan, Britain, Somalia and Poland told largely with the aid of a few paper lanterns, a washing-line tent and some household junk. Running round a circle of duckboards creates a real sense of journeying across the desert. 

The movement and antics of the story’s animal heroes are beautifully replicated by Rebecca de Souza as a mimicking monkey, Liz Jadav as a sinuous cheetah and Jim Findley as a regal lion. Makeshift puppets go down well with the children, particularly the wily rabbit who persuades a king that he can sow a field of gold. He’s made of sackcloth, some bent trowels and a pair of rubber gloves, and straps on his head torch when he wants to create a bit of night mischief.

A flying spirit and a wise oracle create moments of stillness. There’s plenty of interaction for the audience in these tales of merchants, peasants and nobles, and some gentle guidelines for life too. The tortoise might be slow and the monkey forgetful, but if the two help each other and then everybody joins in, the result can be magic.

                                                                                                      The Stage

Rebecca D’Souza (Monkey/Rabbit) , Jim Findley (Lion/Tortoise)

Jiz Jadaf (Cheetah/Bird)

picture © Robert Day/Nottingham Playhouse

Robin has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the highly regarded Quicksilver Children's Theatre, as both a performer and writer. Some of his most highly praised plays have been for the company...

Based on the classic "Happy Families" book by Allan and Janet Ahlberg

When Mr. Biff's old sparring partner, Mr. Bop is invited to take part in a charity boxing match, and Mr. Biff is left out because he is "a bit out of shape", the two friends end up not speaking to each other. Soon their children, siding with their respective fathers, have fallen out too. As Mr. Biff embarks on a crash fitness course, determined to fight, it is left to the boxer's wives to work out a way that foolish pride can be put  to one side, and mutual friendship and respect restored...

 "A Joy to Behold" (Time Out)

"A knock-out! Has [children's] eyes and ears tuned in without stop for a full hour - no easy task!" (TES)

 Jo is not happy when her childminder, Fran, brings a new child into the house. She doesn't want him there, refuses to speak to or even look at him, and won't share any  of "her" toys. Slowly though, through the rituals of wordless negotiation, and through their own make-believe play and "storying",  the barriers are removed, and the two discover a way to play together. 

"Pretend We're Friends" - based on research in nurseries - was one of the first pre-school plays to explore the "egocentric world of the child". Written in collaboration with Fiona Shepherd, an early years practitioner, based on first hand observations and talking to pre-schoolers, and with genuine audience participation with no “pre-set” answers or closed questions, "Pretend We're Friends" presents a sequence of events that almost every child will be familiar with, presented in an engaging way that entertains while holding a mirror up to the children's own experience. It led the way for Quicksiver Theatre's later, hugely successful and ground -breaking pre-school work.  


"Bright, bold & cheerful, but with an underlying  thoughtfulness." (Lyn Gardner)

"Simple but lively tale... handled with sensitivity and humour" (TES)

 To read an extract, click here

 "What? Has your heart compacted to a rock? That pity cannot find a root in it?"  

A Modern, blank-verse play inspired by Shakespeare's "The Tempest", but exploring single-parent childhood. The play set Prospero as driven and distracted by his preoccupation with his books, and three of the play's other characters as three "children" - Ariel, the eldest, expected to be responsible , while longing to be free, Caliban the "difficult" middle child, and Miranda, the youngest - loved, but over-protected and "babied". Prospero's decision to use his magic to wreck a ship and bring his enemy into his power leads to strife, but ultimately to forgiveness, acceptance and redemption..

"Prospero's Children" toured Britain twice before being performed at the English Speaking Theatre of Singapore. 

“full of light and sparkle…. "The Tempest" has always been one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and I have seen four productions of it - this one which did not aim so high flew the furthest.” (Flying inkpot reviews”, of  the English-Speaking Theatre of Singapore production)



  "A mountain will tumble and crumble to rock/ The rock can be ground to a stone. /The stone wears to pebble, the pebble to sand/ But the pearl in my hand forms from one grain of sand all alone…"


Asked to deal with the sensitive subject of bullying, after extensive research  Robin took a Brechtian approach, removing the subject form a school setting, and  instead telling a faux Japanese folk tale of a bullied fisherman:

Fisherman Koto's wife, Kishima, spares the life of a magic turtle,. The turtle in turn keeps Koto alive after his neighbour's bullying drives him to try to drown himself. As Koto performs an arduous task for the Sea King, Kishima is compelled to remain silent, even as the bully turns his attention to her. Offering no pat resolutions - there are none, according to experts - the play  instead explores the power of  endurance, hope, and clinging to one's self esteem:  "From a single grain of sand , a pearl is formed"

Sea of Silence was toured twice by Quicksilver Theatre to great acclaim, and was later produced in Mexico under the title "Mar De Silencio" by Grupo 55.

 "Thoughtful and compassionate" (the Stage)

  "Powerful, Magical and Beautiful" (ITC)

Click here to read an extract 

Left,  a production still of  "Sea of Silence" ("Mar De Silencio") Grupo 55, Mexico.

   Robin has also written for Polka Children's Theatre in Wimbledon:

“Beyond what we understand of the world is darkness. I want to take you to the edge of that darkness and have you say… “I wonder..””  

The brief from Polka's then Artistic Director, Vickie Ireland, was to write a show to encourage scientific curiosity. Robin's answer was to send a modern teenager back in time to meet the great Baker Street Detective.  Scheduled almost exactly on the 100th "anniversary" of Holmes's showdown with his nemesis Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the story revolved around Professor Moriarty's plot to humilate and then destroy Holmes :

It is 1993 – Jo Watson’s’s prospective Sister in Law works at the interactive Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street. When Jo has to meet her there after hours, a weird cabinet catapults her back one hundred years, where she becomes embroiled in a nasty plot by Moriarty to discredit his arch nemesis, Holmes, Along the way, Jo teaches Holmes to rap, warns him of the dangers of smoking, sees what docklands was like before it got gentrified and tries to explain dvds, traffic, and the moon-landings. In turn she learns the joys of scientific curiosity.

Directed by Roman Stefanski

Inspired by the original ballads and legends, which tell of a hero outlawed, not by injustice, but by his own failings, this version of Robin Hood - more layered than average - is more brooding “dark knight” than chortling hero in Lincoln green. This is a Robin Hood trying to make up for his earlier failings, and struggling with the burden of having so many others  trusting him to fight oppression. For all that, the play buckles a swash with the best of them, and has plenty of lighter moments and high adventure to keep an audience entertained. And Peace is still restored with the return of Coer de Leon!



Directed by Vicky Ireland

Hitherto unproduced (due to issues with the Disney Corporation) this script was based entirely on Felix Salten’s original story, with no forest fire, no Thumper, no skunk and no walking on ice. This script revolves instead around a subplot – omitted in Disney’s version – featuring Gobbo – another fawn who is eligible to succeed as leader of the heard. Intended for more mature audiences of 7-9, it is a dramatic story with some humour, and a good deal of emotional depth.  

Bambi is born, and explores his new world. He befriends Faline and her slightly frail twin brother, Gobbo, whose mother is convinced he will lead the herd some day. Later, when Man first comes to the forest, Gobbo is too weak to run with the others and is assumed to have been killed. Bambi slowly assumes more authority. When another deer tries to take Faline from him, he fights for her. Everybody assumes Bambi will now lead the herd, but suddenly Gobbo returns, having been, not killed, but caught and taken home as a pet. He has the mark of a halter around his neck. He is full of stories of how loving man is – not the monster to be feared that Bambi describes. When man returns there is a battle of wills., which deer will follow Gobbo and run towards Man, and which will run away from him with Bambi. Some follow Gobbo… and with him are cut down by the hunters guns. Bambi, saddened, but now recognised as leader whose instincts are good, takes over the herd, until his own fawn is born to Faline, and the cycle begins again.

Original commission from Quicksilver Ttheatre Company

To read an extract click here  

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