The classic folktale of imagination and greed is brought to life for children using dance, video and a beatboxing-inspired soundtrack

Directed by Nathan Stickley | Choreographed by Darren Ellis
Touring from October 2016

The Magic Paintbrush
The Magic Paintbrush

A vibrant storytelling adventure with a quirky urban soundtrack, The Magic Paintbrush is a new dance show leaping, splattering, swirling and boogying onto stages across the UK. The tale of a young person who is given a paintbrush that magically brings paintings to life is given a zingy new energy by choreographer Darren Ellis, whose own dance company Darren Ellis Dance is known for collaborations with companies such as Richard Alston Dance as well children’s shows including Meeting Mr Boom! With a beatboxing-inspired soundtrack and video design accompanying four dancers, The Magic Paintbrush has been created for everyone aged 3+, and will be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Once upon a time in a grey, colourless world, someone is scribbling. As the young girl paints, her drawings appear on the surfaces of the theatre where they wiggle to life before magically floating out in 3D form. Can our imaginative young artist vanquish the mighty shadow of greed? Inspired ancient and modern versions of the Chinese folktale and exploding with energy, surprises and giggles, this is The Magic Paintbrush as never before.

Director Nathan Stickley said, “The Magic Paintbrush is a modern retelling of an old folk tale – a girl who is given a magic paintbrush brings joy and hope to a bleak world. We’ve created an imaginative production that keeps on inspiring both children and adults long after coming to see the show. Our audiences haven’t stopped talking about the shows’ magic and surprises.”

Nathan Stickley is an acting teacher and an associate director for an independent film company. He’s been working with young people for over fifteen years, creating new theatrical works for audiences of all ages in multiple schools and academies across the South East.

Darren Ellis’s choreography for children includes The Selfish Giant for Springs Dance Company and Meeting Mr Boom!, commissioned by The Place and produced by Artstrust. Other choreography includes Unentitled, a collaboration with Barbara Dougan Taylot, After Effects (commissioned by Dance Digital), Sticks and Bones (developed through The Place’s Choreoroam and toured in the UK and internationally), and From the Waist Up (Place Prize commission). He is currently developing a new show with inflatable objects for young audiences with Theatre-Rites and a new project inspired by the 1970’s cult Sci-Fi movie Silent Running with Greenwich Dance.

The Magic Paintbrush
The Magic Paintbrush

Springs Dance Company

Formed in 1979, Springs Dance Company is one of the longest established contemporary dance companies in the UK. Reaching thousands of people each year through a unique and diverse programme, the company tours across the UK and internationally, and has an outstanding and highly praised education programme that includes workshops in schools and in the community, a year-long apprenticeship scheme that nurtures and trains young dancers, and an annual summer school.

Artstrust Productions

Artstrust Productions is a centre for ideas and innovation in contemporary dance and education situated in Greenwich. Since 2006 Artstrust has created an environment where ideas, careers, creative partnerships and diversity of contemporary dance practice can survive and flourish. Artstrust Productions works locally, nationally and internationally to identify, develop and present breakthrough independent dancers and choreographers and provide a hub where independent artists can connect to a professional, creative and interactive dance network in which they can edify their work. As well as The Magic Paintbrush, Artstrust Productions are also touring Bouncing Cats & Boom Boom Pups.

@Artstrust | @SpringsDC | #magicpaintbrush |

Running Time: 45 minutes | Suitable for ages 3+

Company Information

Directed by Nathan Stickley                Choreographed by Darren Ellis
Produced by
Martin Collins                  Springs Dance Company Artistic Director Ruth Hughes


Naomi Cook, Hannah Rochelle, Charles Washington and Emily Yong

Listings information

 13 Nov             Live Theatre Winchester 

Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB
11.30am and 2.30pm | £13 (£44 Family) | 01962 840 440

14 Jan             The Marlowe Theatre, Kent
The Friars, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2AS
Times TBC | Prices TBC | 01227 787 787

11 Feb             The Brewhouse, Taunton
Coal Orchard, Taunton TA1 1JL
Times TBC | Prices TBC | 01823 283244

5 March           Jacksons Lane, London

269A Archway Road, London N6 5AA

11 March            The North Wall, Oxford

South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN | 01865 319450

25 March           New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Civic Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2AS | 01473 295 900

14 May             The Civic, Barnsley

Hanson St, Barnsley S70 2HZ | 01226 327000

Supported by artsdepot, Foyle Foundation, and Arts Council England.

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