Black Beauty at Southbank Centre: meet the creators

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 13:56

Black Beauty is a five-star show for ages five and over which retells the much-loved children’s tale of a very brave horse. Blending storytelling, music and puppetry this vibrant production is appearing at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room until 5 January 2020 and is already a firm favourite with children.

Black Beauty | see it at Southbank Centre


It’s easy to see how Black Beauty won Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland for both Best Production for Children and Young People, and Best Design. But who are the people behind this accolade-heavy entertaining production, presented by Red Bridge Arts and Traverse Theatre Company? Well, we’re glad you asked. Though not starring, in this current run, the people behind this ‘stable’ show (sorry) are the two Andys, Cannon and Manley, and designer Shona Reppe.


Andy Cannon (pictured, right with book)

Andy Cannon

Andy is a writer, performer and professional storyteller based in Scotland. In 1996 he set up Wee Stories Theatre for Children, and as well as serving as Artistic Director he was also the lead or co-artist of a number of acclaimed shows, including the award-winning Labyrinth and Arthur.

Since leaving Wee Stories in 2012 Cannon has been creating and performing his own work including 2017’s Tales of a Grandson, which was nominated for CATS Award for best performance for children and young people. Other projects Cannon has undertaken with Red Bridge include Is this a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth, Space Ape, and Oor Rabbie.


Two men holding a black beauty book
Andy Manley (pictured right, with book)

Andy Manley

Andy Manley is a theatre artist based in the UK and has been involved with many of the children’s theatre companies in Scotland. He was a founding member of Visible Fictions Theatre Company and is an Associate Artist of Catherine Wheels Theatre Company.

Manley has been involved in a number of shows that have toured globally, including his solo show My House, and he previously appeared at Southbank Centre with Potato Needs a Bath, on which he collaborated with Shona Reppe. Other projects Manley has worked on with Red Bridge include Night Light and Stick By Me.

Shona Reppe

Shona Reppe

Shona Reppe established Shona Reppe Puppets in 1996, having previously studied at Glasgow University and the Welsh College of Drama. Having gone on to perform all over the world, Reppe has won numerous awards for her work, including a Total Theatre Award (2002), a Tron Award for best children’s production (2003) and a TMA Award for best children’s theatre show (2012).

Reppe’s previous appearances at Southbank Centre include Potato Needs a Bath (2009) and BABA YAGA (2019). Having also worked with Manley on HUFF, an art installation for children based on The Three Little Pigs, Reppe joined forced with him again in 2016 to co-create and design Black Beauty.



Cannon, Manley and Reppe’s Black Beauty is at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room from 14 December 2019 until 5 January 2020.

book tickets   find out more