World premier for Brighton Festival, May 2018

A new magical underwater adventure told through live music played by a world-class pianist and a beguiling blend of puppetry, dance and projection.

The Boy, The Piano & The Beach opens with a boy waking up on a beach - to see the tide coming in fast. As he tries to work out how he got there, an unearthly sound draws him into an extraordinary adventure - into a sea full of magical creatures and dangerous encounters.

This is a wordless treat for the senses, promising a piano recital as you’ve never seen one before. The show features classical piano pieces by Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev and Glass, among others, alongside innovative puppetry, projection and dance, to delight and stir the imaginations of young and grown-up audience members alike.

Classical music is often seen as elitist and is almost completely inaccessible for families and young people, but this show demystifies the whole experience and makes it an exciting adventure, told through music.

We don’t compromise the music at all, it’s world class and played by the fantastic young pianist Ed Liddall, but we’re making it more accessible through the story we’re telling.

We’re also doing some relaxed performances, so whole families can come and enjoy the show, and through a specially-designed part of our website young people can begin to compose their own pieces, which will feature during the ‘stay and play’ encore after the show, a chance for the audience to join us on stage.

The show will feature puppets created using the childhood piano of Brighton Festival’s Classical Music Programmer Gill Kay. 

It was the piano Gill first learnt to play on and she is donating it to the show so that it can be reborn to inspire a new generation of musicians and composers.

Gill said: “We’re delighted that Slot Machine Theatre are working with us on this project for the 2018 festival. We have always had a very full and supportive audience for classical concerts here in Brighton and have been thinking about how to introduce classical pieces to younger audiences - and introduce some new repertoire to older audience members! It is important to build the audiences of the future and this is an ideal opportunity to work with a company who are able to bring the music ‘alive’ through animation and  puppetry. I am particularly delighted that my old family piano (sadly no longer playable!) is now literally taking on a new life.”

Not only will Gill’s piano be re-purposed as puppets for the show, we’re also commissioning the great instrument maker Rod Arthur to use some of the wood to make one of his exquisite ‘Minimus’ ukuleles, which we’ll be giving away as a prize.

You can see Rod’s Minimus Ukes here:   Minimus Ukes


The Boy, The Piano & The Beach will be at the Brighthelm Centre the May Day bank holiday weekend

Saturday 5 May - Monday 7 May and is recommended for ages 6+. 

Tickets are £6 (children) and £10 (adults) and available from


The Boy, The Piano & The Beach

Saturday 5 May | 3pm

Sunday 6 May | 11am (relaxed performance) & 3pm

Monday 7 May | 11am & 3pm

Ages 6+ | 50 minutes (approx) plus stay & play encore

Pre-show touch tours are available for children with special needs, please speak to box office when you book your ticket

Brigthelm Centre

North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD

Tickets: £6, £10
Box office:
On sale: 15 February 2018

For images, further information, interviews or other press enquiries for Slot Machine Theatre, please contact: Katie Kennedy 07981401094