Freya Sharp stars in Ballooniana! by Alexander Knott and produced by BoxLess Theatre, which is coming to the New Wimbledon Theatre.
Ballooniana! is a new play about the invention of the hot air balloon, told by clownish Vaudevillians, with live original music, movement and balloons.
Off the back of winning the 2022 Off West End Award for Theatre for Young People, Families and those with Special Needs, Boxless presents this witty, heartwarming new play about the relationship between the Montgolfier brothers, the inventors of the hot air balloon.
Ballooniana! is at New Wimbledon Theatre Studio 22 September – 1 October 2022.
You’re starring in Ballooniana! What can you tell us about this new play?
Ballooniana! is an incredibly uplifting play about the invention of the hot air balloon. We follow the story of the two inventors who are played by two mischievous Vaudevillians (myself and Zöe Grain) alongside their musical Troubadour pal (James Demaine)!
It has three stories of our collective desire to go up into the sky, and imagine what could be possible. There’s laughter, tears, dancing, mythological discovery and a sprinkle of moon dust too.
What was it about Alexander Knott’s writing that made you want to be a part of this production?
Alex’s writing is fun, challenging and unique. As an actor there’s so much to explore and I feel his writing has always included the audience so they feel welcome and part of the story. It has so many levels and an abundance of emotional moments. Having worked together before on ‘Cratchit’ I knew I would be in safe hands… if “safe” is a multi-rolling extravaganza!
You’ll be starring alongside Zöe Grain as the Montgolfier brothers, how have you researched the role and what has surprised you the most about their story?
The most surprising part is how easily they’re played by myself and Zöe Grain, we’re finding uncanny resemblances! We found their family life to be a good place to start to research too, they have many a sibling (there were 16 Montgolfier children!) and this formed an unlikely bond in their brotherhood.
I think me and Zöe both work quite similarly, in the sense that we come from movement backgrounds so their expression, emotions and even their voice have been affected by the choices we made physically from our research.
Tell us a little more about how music plays a part in this production and how it links to BoxLess Theatre’s trademark style?
We have live music during the play to compliment and lift the show. James Demaine and Sam Herron are really talented composers, and James executes their music onstage perfectly, with multiple instruments in tow.
It’s a real joy, privilege and pleasure to have that with us throughout the performance. BoxLess have continued in their stride to use original music to compliment and add to the flow of their stories.
What have you enjoyed most about rehearsals so far?
It’s been a highly creative company to work with and every single day there’s been laughter and discovery in the work. The best moments are when things happen out of nowhere, for instance a prop becoming something it isn’t, or choreographing a movement sequence without speaking, something just clicks and it feels like magic. It’s a real joy to work with BoxLess again and continue our love language of theatre together.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Ballooniana?
Buy. Your. Ticket. You don’t want to miss it! It’s a beautifully, well-crafted show with a talented but humble bunch of creatives. Wink wink. But In all seriousness, it’s a story of making the impossible, possible. It’s about belief, friendship and following your dreams. If you want to feel warm and cosy tingles, then come on down to the New Wimbledon Theatre, 22 September to 1 October!