New show explains Brexit to four-year-olds

The dance show teaches kids about Brexit. Picture: PA
The dance show teaches kids about Brexit. Picture: PA
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The complexities of Brexit and the many possible permutations of the negotiations with Brussels are enough to confuse even the most erudite of commentators.

But now a Scottish dance company is taking the challenge of communicating the issue to the next level by putting on a production aimed at children aged four and up.

When we saw the result we were devastated. We thought: ‘We are from different countries and maybe this will not happen in the future’

GIULIA MONTALBANO

The show, called W-hat About?, tells the story of Robert, a Scottish man who is meeting his estranged Italian grand-daughters for the first time since they were infants.

Stuck without any way of communicating with him, his grandchildren Azzurra and Alessandra instead use a combination of Italian, dance, and an array of different hats to convey their message.

The humorous show seeks to emphasise the international nature of many Scottish families to its audience of children, while highlighting that Europeans still have much in common.

The production, which will appear at 11 venues around Scotland from next month, was created by Fuora Dance Project, which was founded in 2014 by two Italian dancers based in Dundee.

After a successful tour in 2017, the company have a new, refreshed show due to tour in Autumn of 2018.

Artistic director Giulia Montalbano said that the show was intended to be “a way of letting them [the children] know that love goes beyond borders and boundaries”.

She added: “It’s about the concept that love and family ties go beyond just how we look and what language we talk.”

The show can also be read as a commentary on the Brexit negotiations.

“It shows that even in a close family there can be problems with communication, but at the end we can find a solution.”

The 28-year-old has lived in the UK for ten years and in Scotland for six, but she and her husband could not vote in the EU referendum as they still have Italian citizenship.

On the day that the result of the vote came in, she was working in Edinburgh as part of a group of six dancers, from Italy, Spain, Holland, England, Ireland and Scotland.

She recalled: “When we woke up and saw the result, we were devastated. We thought: ‘We are all from different countries and maybe this will not happen in the future’.”

Ms Montalbano, who also works as a dance teacher, said many of the 11-year-old children in her class had parents from other European countries and discussed Brexit.

“They came to me and said ‘Giulia, are you going to leave the country? We love you, you are our teacher, please don’t leave’. I was like: ‘I’m not going anywhere’.”