Monday’s Child

By Brendan Murray

A simple, poetic, magical production about memory – for early years children, their families and teachers.

The performance is accompanied by workshops and educational materials to support school readiness, with an additional ‘open to all’ public performance.

Project and performance

Monday’s Child is a fully designed and staged performance production enriched by participatory workshops and educational resource material.

The show tells a simple and poetic story of the unique bond between an old woman and a little girl. Together in a dream-like garden, they sing, play, dance and dress up as they joyously explore a treasure trove of memories. Original, inspirational and culturally rich, the production is a magical mix of movement, music and beautiful design.

Read about the creative thinking behind the production in this blog post by our designer Chris de Wilde.

The story explores how people learn, remember, grow older and cope with the challenges of recall and retention. Brendan Murray, the multi-award-winning writer of Monday’s Child, found his initial inspiration from a colleague whose mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s – as a result, Brendan became interested in the relationship between different generations as memory changes with age.

Read about the writing of Monday’s Child and the moving schools feedback which followed the play’s Gateshead tour in Brendan Murray’s blog post.

The play was developed with input from neuroscientists at the University of Sussex and the Alzheimer’s Society, and the tour also involved local Age UK service users who joined the children in workshop activities and in watching the school performance. This link between early years pupils and older adults enables the transfer of knowledge and experience between the two, thus creating a truly intergenerational and interactive encounter.

Central to the project is the educational strand offered to early years pupils, their families and teachers, with particular focus on developing practical, emotional and social ‘school readiness’. The blend of learning activities, experiential workshops and performance promotes a wide range of crucial skills including listening, speaking, creativity, problem-solving, emotional literacy and group participation. In particular, Monday’s Child deepens the mutual understanding that older and younger generations have, particularly around conditions such as dementia.

There were also audio-described and BSL-integrated public performances.

Monday’s Child is also fully COVID-compliant, with contingency plans if it proved difficult to tour directly to the schools involved.

Monday's Child poster

Watch the video!

Watch a 5-minute video about the production, ‘A Glimpse into Monday’s Child’.

team

Kate Adams

Sound Artist / Composer

Kate Adams

Read Kate’s biog

Mahsa Hammat Bahary

Performer

Mahsa Hammat Bahary

Read Mahsa’s biog

Darren Cheek

Artistic Director

Darren Cheek

Read Darren’s biog

Craig Davidson

Stage Manager

Craig Davidson

Read Craig’s biog

Chris de Wilde

Designer

Chris de Wilde

Read Chris’s biog

Brendan Murray

Writer

Brendan Murray

Read Brendan’s biog

Karen Spicer

Performer

Karen Spicer

Read Karen’s biog

Creative partners

We were delighted to be supported in presenting Monday’s Child to the Gateshead community by the following organisations whose financial backing, creative engagement and ongoing assistance proved invaluable.

 

Bluestone Collaborative
Age UK Gateshead logo

A huge thank you to Rev. Tom Worsley, Mavis Worsley and all the team at Christ Church Felling; Julie Latimer (Gateshead Age UK); Karenza Passmore (Religious Resources Centre); Rev. Danie Lindley; Greg Daniel; Tom Murray; Kate Ellis. Without their support, Monday’s Child would simply not have happened.

Community

Damn Cheek is deeply committed to individual and social wellbeing through community-based theatre. Since 2013 we’ve been combining performances of original writing with community outreach in the form of skills-based workshops and developmental education.

At the heart of our work is that we welcome in communities and audiences – in this case the children, seniors, parents and teachers of Gateshead – to be active partners in our productions.

In Monday’s Child we support both early years pupils to develop school-readiness and also older members of the community to benefit through intergenerational awareness and communication.

Legacy

As with all our projects, Damn Cheek strives to leave a profound and lasting legacy.

Given that school readiness skills have a strong effect on future educational outcomes and life opportunities, Monday’s Child will have an enduring impact upon the young participants’ academic attainment, physical, mental or emotional health and even their avoidance of crime involvement. Older participants will also gain lasting benefit from contact with the younger generation, leading them to build their own health and self-esteem.

We also aim to reduce environmental impact and promote environmental sustainability. Production and design for the project incorporates recycled materials, an avoidance of all ‘one time use’ products, and a commitment that materials and costumes be upcycled or exhibited in the local area once performance is over.

Finally, the evidence of our previous Gateshead-based community project Passion for the Planet is that Monday’s Child will further leave legacy by promoting an increased general appreciation of the arts and by building enhanced community networks.

Past and future

Damn Cheek was born out of 24 years of collaborative practice and from a deep commitment to accessible, inclusive theatre. With wide experience of community projects – small-scale, large-scale and everything in between – we are also proud to have so far produced 19 new shows during the pandemic.

Monday’s Child is one of a series of large-scale community productions from Damn Cheek including Passion for the Planet (2021) also based in Gateshead and Mysteries (2019) at Malvern Priory. We are currently developing a new multi-faith and intergenerational community project in the North East for the summer of 2022.

We are keen to further tour Monday’s Child, offering the production to arts centres, community centres and other spaces that can bring older and younger audiences together to watch, listen and share stories.

Partnership opportunities

Book Monday's Child for your community

To book the production for your venue or organisation, please email us.

We’ll get in touch to talk through how we can best work together to bring a tailored-for-your-needs version of Monday’s Child to your community.

The generous support we have so far received on this and on previous projects is based on our track record of delivering successful large and smaller-scale productions with partners such as the Arts Council, Gateshead Council, The Gladiator Trust, the Religious Resources Centre, Well Newcastle Gateshead and Westhill.

We are very keen to hear from other funders, organisations and businesses who may want to support Monday’s Child on future tours, or to support our upcoming large-scale production based in the North East in summer 2022.

For details of partner involvement, or to find out more about any of our ongoing projects, please contact Artistic Director Darren Cheek: