The Stick Man offers Christmas treat in Chichester

Touching, funny and original, Freckle Productions’s adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man arrives in Chichester for a run which will take it through to Christmas Eve.

Clair Gleave as Swan and Tyler Ephraim as Stick Man. Stick Man. Photo Mark Senior
Clair Gleave as Swan and Tyler Ephraim as Stick Man. Stick Man. Photo Mark Senior

Playing the Minerva Theatre (December 10-24), it will feature Tyler Ephraim as the Stick Man of the title.

What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him and he even ends up on a fire. How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree? You can find out in the Minerva. But Tyler’s giving nothing away when he promises it all turns out happily in the end.

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“It’s great. It’s based on a children’s book and it looks at the different seasons. Stick Man goes on an adventure and gets lost and he ends up away from home for more than a year, away from the children and away from his wife. He has to overcome all the challenges to get back to them and it goes through all the seasons, but he is being attacked by different people and different animals! They all think he is a stick, and he is a stick but he is actually Stick Man!”

And he is a great character to play: “He is a gentleman. He is a very lovely person, very friendly, very kind. He has got a warm personality but his kindheartedness gets mistaken for weakness by all the people that are chasing after him. Eventually he loses his temper, but it all works out in the end because he is saved and he is rescued.

“There are only three of us in the cast. We started the tour in September. It has been lovely to get back to it all after however many months away from the stage. Just to be back performing to people is wonderful.”

Tyler studied at The Arden School of Theatre in Manchester and The London School of Musical Theatre where he graduated in 2019. After graduating, he joined the UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, playing the role of Brother Judah.

“After I graduated I wasn’t really out there very long before everything shut down, the whole industry, everything went into meltdown. From the March I was back at home doing nothing. I couldn’t get a job and there were not many jobs to pick from. I had to sit at home and read books but then my old job in a restaurant opened up again when they were doing take-aways. They were able to take me back on. I think that started again in the July of last year and I worked there until I landed this job so it was about a year really and it was 100 per cent relief to get back to this.”

The big moment for Tyler in determining his future came in about 2005 when he saw The Sound of Music at the Palladium: “I was still at primary school and I must have been about ten or so but watching this great spectacular I was just completely blown away by it and it was great. There was the feel-good energy of watching a live show in front of me and from then I started doing little classes and I picked the subjects at school and at college and at uni. It has been a long journey. It takes a lot of work and training to make a name for yourself, so it is great to be doing this now. And on tour you get to see a lot of the country as well which is lovely. I think some people are nervous about coming back to the theatre but the majority of people are just so happy to be back and to be watching shows again. For most of the venues we have been we have had really good turn-outs. People are loving it.”

Tyler has only ever been to Chichester once before, a trip with his family when he was about six or seven maybe: “I was very young but I love coastal areas. I just love the water. I just like being next the water, even The River Thames. I’m bang in the middle of the city and I want to be next to The Thames. There is something so tranquil about it!”