Photo: Manuel Vason

There was once only the sound of bees and the wind in the wiry grass, the low murmuring of moles in the cool dark earth, and the song of birds in the high blue sky.

Varmints tells the poignant story of a woodland creature’s struggle to preserve a world in danger of being lost to the ever expanding city.

Inspired by the award-winning book by Helen Ward with illustrations by Marc Craste, the show is choreographed by and also stars B-boy and Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Wilkie Branson and is directed by children’s theatre specialist and 2013 Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson.

In the pursuit of artistic excellence for work for children and young people, East London Dance, Sadlers Wells & Stratford Circus came together to form a dynamic producing partnership. They saw something very special in the children’s book Varmints and brought together an unbelievable set of creative collaborators to create this incredible work that blends hip-hop, visual imagery and film with theatre.

In 2013 Varmints completed a national tour to 10 venues, ending with a sell out run at Stratford Circus accompanied by an action packed family day with workshops, film screenings, book readings and face painting so the building filled with hundreds of little Varmints.

To enhance the audience engagement, an interactive digital experience has been developed. Through creative gaming and a series of creative tasks, users delve deep into the themes of the book and behind the scenes of the production. Go explore

“Utterly dazzling.. rumbustious, exhilarating dance theatre, enrapturing for children and adults alike .”

The Guardian

“Poetic, moving, witty and wonderful!”

Venue Magazine

“The piece works brilliantly as a metaphor for teaching ecology and the value of nature in one forward roll after another.”

Rachel Nouchi,


DateSummer 2013

Location National tour

PartnersCommissioned and produced by East London Dance, Sadler's Wells and Stratford Circus. Tour Producer Travelling Light. Supported by Bristol Old Vic, Pavilion Dance South West with kind permission of Templar Publishing and thanks to the Unity Theatre Trust

Wilkie Branson

Sally Cookson

Benji Bower

Adam Peck

Lighting Designer:
Guy Hoare

Holly Waddington

Yoav Segal

This show is available for touring Spring/Summer 2015