James Haddrell comments on stand-up comedy show designed to explain politics and elections to children ‘How Does This General Election Thing Work Then?’

A little over three years ago a generation that had become politically apathetic found itself considering the very real importance of political interaction in defining the future.

James Haddrell is the artistic and executive director of Greenwich Theatre

The EU referendum may have divided the country – along various intersecting lines drawn by location, age and socio-economic position – but it succeeded in re-engaging younger voters with politics.

Finally there was a single, apparently simple yes/no question which required their input, and which would define their future, and that of their children.

Sadly, three years on and with a general election on the horizon, the apparent inability of our elected officials to either deliver the result promised at the time of the referendum, or to offer a fresh and better informed opportunity for voters to cast their EU votes again, is bringing that sense of apathy back.

Why vote for anyone if the very notion of democracy can fail so appallingly?

For me there are a lot of similarities between political apathy and apathy about classical theatre.

Young people who have never experienced Shakespeare’s work presented in an accessible way, or who struggled with it at school, feel they won’t understand it, so they don’t come.

They believe that it’s boring, that it’s meaningless, that it’s somehow ‘not for them’.

Young people who have not had politics explained to them or who have failed to understand the implications of an election result feel the same – disconnected, disinterested, disenfranchised.

At Greenwich Theatre, in a small way, we have an opportunity to tackle both issues.

Just as we can programme high quality accessible productions of Shakespeare, and host the annual Shakespeare Schools Festival giving young people the chance both to understand and to perform Shakespeare, now we have programmed a special stand-up comedy show for children designed to explain politics and elections – How Does This General Election Thing Work Then?

Presented by Tiernan Douieb from Comedy Club 4 Kids and Simple Politics website’s Tatton Spiller, the short notice booking will see the show performed on November 30 ahead of the election.

Tiernan said: “I met Tatton, who runs a brilliant website, and somehow manages to clearly explain Parliament, British politics and even Brexit in a way that even primary school children can understand.

“It’s a very necessary service, especially at the moment.

“We both realised that if we combine his clever explanations with my stupid jokes and ridiculous cat pictures we’d have a fun show that we could use to make kids laugh, but also understand why their parents keep shouting at the telly.

“How will it work?” he continued. “Well, it’s a silly, funny theatre show for ages seven and above with lots of audience interaction – and we run a live general election on the stage.

Basically, Tatton explains all and I ruin it with silly jokes.”

How Does This General Election Thing Work Then Saturday, November 30, 11am

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