Casting announced for Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic Christmas co-production Boing!

7 May 2019

Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic today announced the casting for Sally Cookson’s award-winning production of Boing! with Wilkie Branson reprising his role as 'Wilkie' and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduate Kel Matsena making his professional debut as Wilkie’s mischievous and playful brother.   

There are beds to be jumped on, pillows to be fought with, seas to be sailed...  Who can sleep on Christmas Eve? This piece of dance-theatre captures the delirious excitement of two boys waiting for Santa to arrive on the most magical night of the year. 

Boing! has been a Christmas fixture in theatres since its conception, achieving sell-out Christmas runs at The Unicorn Theatre and Saddlers Wells in London. Designed for 2-7 year-olds, the show premiered at Christmas 2010 in Bristol Old Vic’s former New Vic Studio. It was directed by Olivier Award-winning director Sally Cookson and choreographed by Bristol B-Boys Wilkie Branson and Joêl Daniel. It went on to win the 2016 Off West End Award (OFFIE) for Best Show for Children and Young People aged 0-7. 

Having toured New York and Beijing from Dec to Jan 2019, it now returns home to takeover Bristol Old Vic’s new Weston Studio throughout the Christmas period.  

Wilkie Branson is an interdisciplinary artist; the focus of his work lies in both dance and film, with origins rooted in b-boying (breakdance). He was awarded The Arts Foundation Choreographic Fellowship in 2012, the John Brabourne Award in 2019, and is a New Wave Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells and was an original member of the Sadler’s Wells Summer University – an international selection of emerging choreographers. He is currently developing new work for Sadler’s Wells while his new award-winning short film Little Dreams is being screened and broadcast internationally. 

 His other choreography credits for young people includes: Varmints, White Caps (Travelling Light); Baddies: the MusicalMinotaurThe Nutcracker and The Mouse King and The Velveteen Rabbit (Unicorn).  

Kel Matsena is currently in his final year at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. With a background in an array of dance forms from folk and traditional dances all the way to ballet, he has been able to develop a unique style. He has worked with National Youth Dance Wales for three years with choreographers including Kerry Nicholls, Neil-Fleming Brown and Eleesha Drennan and is also co-Artistic Director of Matsena Performance Theatre and Three Tone Theatre Company. Kel will be seen this summer in the title role of 'Nicholas' in the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School production The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, which will play at Bristol Old Vic this June. 

Travelling Light Theatre Company specialises in creating moving stories, told with exquisite skill, sensitivity and warmth for young audiences and their families. Featuring stripped-back sets and costumes, original music, song and movement, their productions are inventive and playful, exploring big themes and ideas with a lightness of touch and a depth of feeling which resonates with adults and children alike.

Travelling Light have been touring their outstanding productions to schools, theatres and festivals around the UK and internationally for over 30 years. Alongside their well-loved tours, the company also run an extensive program of education and development projects created for and with young people from their home in Bristol, UK, engaging young people from all backgrounds in vibrant, hands-on creative opportunities which inspire their thinking, engage their emotions and fire their imaginations.

Bristol Old Vic is the longest continuously running theatre in the UK, and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. The historic playhouse aims to inspire audiences with its own original productions, both at home and on tour, whilst nurturing the next generation of artists, whether that be through their 350-strong Young Company, their many outreach and education projects or their trailblazing artist development programme, Bristol Ferment.

They use their funding to support experiment and innovation, to allow access to their programme for people who would not otherwise encounter it, or be able to afford it, and to keep their extraordinary heritage alive and animated.

On 24 Sep 2018, Bristol Old Vic completed its 2-year multi-million pound redevelopment project, which transformed its front of house space into a warm and welcoming public building for all of Bristol to enjoy, created a new studio theatre and opened up its unique theatrical heritage to the public for the first time.

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