Earlier this month, Michelle James and Chloe Shimmin were darting around Castle Rushen, popping up in turets, dancing and singing around. This wasn’t the result of a mad one in Castletown, but part of their theatre company Little People’s first show, ‘A Beg Adventure’: a show that took all the incredible elements of Manx mythology and wrapped it into a 1 hour musical adventure to entertain children and parents alike.
There are very few silver linings to Covid, but the formation of Little People is one of them. As the theatre industry came to a standstill, Chloe and Michelle, two talented actors, returned to the Isle of Man. After meeting for a coffee, so the myth goes, ‘Little People’, the island’s only children’s theatre company was born.
“There is a real appetite for [Little People]’“, Chloe tells me. And she’s right- the initial run of five shows sold out. They received excellent feedback, with few people knowing what to expect, they managed to exceed any expectations.
A beg adventure, performed by Michelle and Chloe, is as Manx as the hills. Inspired by the mythology of the Isle of Man, the show is jam packed with characters and stories, taken from Sophia Morrison’s Manx Fairy Tales. Chloe and Michelle fell in love with these stories, having revisited many of them for the first time as adults. Their creative process is exciting, responding to the stories and seeing how they can flip them on their head and do something different with them. Michelle and Chloe, both on and off stage, bounce off each other, and work together to create something exciting. They clearly respect and value each other’s creative decisions, and have complete freedom and ownership of their work, characters and artistic direction as they work within their own company.
Their time away from the island has also influenced ‘Little People’. Most obviously, Michelle and Chloe are highly trained and experienced actors, both having obtained Musical Theatre degrees; Chloe studied at the London School of Music, Michelle studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Both have worked in children’s theatre before, and love the energy that children bring. Moving away from the island gave them a greater appreciation for the quirks of the island that the island has- what we think is normal, like saying hello to the little people, is actually incredibly interesting. They are bringing new life to the old stories.
Beg adventure’s initial run at the iconic Castle Rushen may have been short— but Beg Adventure, Michelle can confirm, is not over- it will be back. The future is bright for Little People, as they look for new collaborations with creatives on island, and find new venues for concerts. Michelle and Chloe truly are on a “beg adventure, and we can’t wait to see what they have planned next.
You can find more about Little People on their website: hellolittlepeople.com