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Over the past two years I’ve photographed theatre group Tin Can People as they have developed their show Katie and Pip.
It’s about a girl and her dog.
Actually, it’s a bit more serious than that. The show unfathoms the relationship between Katie Gregson, a 15-year-old Type 1 Diabetic and Pip, her five-year-old border collie. Pip can detect when Katie’s blood sugars are too high or low and alert her to.
Pip saves Katie’s life by doing this and has been doing so every day for five years.
I saw the show performed in its first full preview at Media Factory, Preston (July, 2017). It was a barnstorming piece way beyond my anticipation in terms of engaging an audience with a difficult subject – an area so easily misjudged in theatre.
Katie and Pip succeeds in its aim to demystify mis-representations around diabetes with a hugely visual performance backed up by music and humour. It’s a success story for the young pair of performers in Tin Can People (Charlotte Berry and Rob Gregson) as much as for the discussion of the subject matter itself.
Katie, who is Rob’s younger sister, tackles her role in the piece to perfection – she is involved in the theatrical side of the show as much as the performers.
The same can be said about the dog, Pip, who also has a major role. I’m not sure if this show will enjoy years of touring – having a dog in your set is not the most practical arrangement – but it’s there to be enjoyed until Katie gets a job or the dog decides to retire.
You can see Katie and Pip at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer (details below).
Charlotte of Tin Can People said: “We were inspired to make the show due to the miss-representation in the media surrounding Type 1 diabetes as well as the special bond that exists between Katie and Pip.
“The performance investigates the pairing between humans and dogs as a vehicle to exploring compassion and companionship in the human social condition.
“On a journey of extreme highs and extreme lows, they celebrate freedom and living life to the full; watch dogs be humans and humans be dogs as this chaotic and unpredictable collision of youth unfolds.
“We wanted to face the challenge of working with both children and animals to embrace the liveness it creates in a theatre space. The bond between the participants is so strong and we want to be able to share that with an audience.”
The show was commissioned by Derelict, supported by Arts Council England and has been developed with Making Room & Lancaster Arts through their artists’ development programme Foot in the Door with Dramaturgical support by Andy Smith.
At Edinburgh Fringe: C+2 Venue, 12.20pm, August 20, 22, 24, 26 & 28.