Two girls. One trunk. And some really big pants
After our very first show on a hot July morning in 2014 we started packing up our set, occasionally stopping to grin at each other and hug in our rather sweaty costumes, elated at how well it had gone. The children were now outside for their break time. As we crammed the last prop into our trunk, four young girls came back in. They asked if they could show us the dance they had just made up in the playground to the song we had taught them in the show. That moment sealed the deal. If we could’ve floated out the door, we would’ve… (instead we staggered through the school’s sports hall with our heavy trunk, bruising our shins on the way). It worked! Really Big Pants decamped to the nearest café to celebrate with a cup of tea.
We met years ago through a playwright, a mutual friend, and started to support each other’s work. We continued to meet up, acting in a sketch show together, Willow reading Joe’s screenplay at informal presentations and Joe assisting Willow with her one woman shows at children’s parties. And then we thought… shall we bring all our vast experience together – of writing, performing, working with children (and having them) – and see what happens? We decided we would do a show with a theme we both cared deeply about, the environment, and if we felt really good about it we would get cracking. Which led us to that cup of tea.
We also decided that it would always be the two of us doing the performing so we could keep enjoying our job and not get desk-bound, but also control the quality and preserve the boutique nature of our company. So who you see here is who you’ll see on the day. We love theatre, bruises and all, and find it thrilling to introduce children to its power to educate and inspire.
PS Writing this in 2021, we never imagined that we would have expanded in so many ways – and we don’t just mean our waistlines. We started with three shows and thought that would be that, but now have an audiobook, an illustrated chapter book, an illustrated poetry book, a longer form picture book which accompanies our fourth live show, plus four online shows and counting, and have reached thousands and thousands of children. A Really Big Pants empire! Who knows what the future holds? Whatever it is, we can’t wait to share it with you.
PPS Incredible to think that those four seven-year-old girls who wanted to show us their reduce-reuse-recycle dance are now teenagers…