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Children’s show about love, courage and letting go

Posted onPosted on 11th Oct

An uplifting tale of love, courage and letting go is coming to libraries as part of Black History Month celebrations.

Grandad Anansi will be at:

  • Worksop Library: Monday 17 October, 10.30am
  • Mansfield Central Library: Monday 17 October, 3pm
  • Sutton Library: Wednesday 19 October, 11.30am & 1.30pm

Grandad Anansi is a playful celebration of the love between generations and the joy of storytelling. Written for children aged 4-9, it shines a light on Jamaican culture and the Windrush generation.

Abi and her grandad tell each other Anansi folktales. They play games as they work together in the garden among the beautiful flowers and tasty vegetables. As they plant memories, they share secrets and develop a bond that nothing can break. Grandad is as smart and mischievous as the wily legend of Anansi, a part human, part spider and the subject of many West African and Caribbean folk stories. Can he find a way to tell his granddaughter about his plans to return to Jamaica, his beloved homeland?

Grandad Anansi is the latest co-production from Half Moon and Z-arts, the team behind Dust, winner of a 2022 Off West End Theatre Award. Featuring live music, singing and dancing, it is touring throughout October 2022 for Black History Month. Inspire have programmed the production in association with The Spark Arts for Children.

Grandad Anansi is a contemporary re-telling of traditional folktales, which has particular resonance after the Windrush scandal and conversations brought about by the Black Lives Matters debate. The 40-minute show makes use of a mix of English and Jamaican Patois.

Grandad is played by stage and TV actor Marcus Hercules (Coronation Street, Brookside, Holby City, Casualty, Shameless) who shares his character’s Jamaican heritage. Whilst Jazmine Wilkinson takes on the role of his preteen grandchild Abi. Grandad Anansi is directed by Chris Yarnell (The Outbound Project, Haste Theatre Company) and the sound designer and composer is Tayo Akinbode, who has created work for The National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and New York Public Theater.

Grandad Anansi is the first piece of children’s theatre by Elayne Ogbeta, a Greater Manchester writer of Jamaican heritage. Elayne, a former ESOL tutor, lives in Salford with her high-achieving family. Daughter Naomi Metzger is triple jump 10 times British champion and Commonwealth bronze medallist and son Nathanael Ogbeta was signed by Manchester City aged 10 and is currently a defender for Swansea City.

The character of ‘Grandad’ is partly based on Elayne’s own father, 89-year-old Ashley Malcolm, who moved from Jamaica to settle in Preston in the 1960s as part of the Windrush generation.

Elayne Ogbeta said: “I grew up listening to lots of wonderful stories about the roguish spider Anansi told by my dad. He is still a great storyteller to this day and has continued to delight all nine of his grandchildren with gripping versions of the classic Jamaican tales. Grandad Anansi takes these oral stories, which have been passed down through generations, and places them on the stage, in front of new audiences. The stories are framed within a wider, universal narrative about intergenerational love, growing up, growing older and the meaning of home.”

Chris Elwell, director of Half Moon and co-producer, said: “Grandad Anansi is a story that will resonate with everyone who prizes their family ties. It is a show full of fun, laughter, silliness, music and movement, whilst still managing to touch on more serious issues, including the hopes and dreams of the Windrush generation and their families.”

Liz O’Neill, chief executive of Z-arts and co-producer, added: “Grandad Anansi is a must watch for children aged 4-9 and their parents and carers this Black History Month.”

Peter Gaw, chief executive officer at Inspire, said: “I am delighted that we are able to offer such an affordable, high-quality family theatre performance in the accessible, relaxed spaces of our libraries. Grandad Anansi is not to be missed this October half term.”

Tickets are priced at £3 for library members and £6 for non-library members and can be obtained by visiting or by calling 01623 677 200.