In an intimate sized room in the largest multi-space venue outside of London one important question is being asked, ‘How Does This Politics Thing Work Then?’ A question even the most clued up adults are probably currently wondering, let alone children. Luckily there are 2 gentlemen prepared to sift through the jargon and teach your family the ins and outs of politics, with a fair few cat jokes thrown in.
The comedy focused live show written by Tatton Spiller, former teacher and founder of Simple Politics, and comedian Tiernan Douieb was brought to the Lighthouse on Friday 22nd March and they brought a whole lot of laughter with them. Tatton, although funny in his own right, takes a more serious, and ironically, ‘teacher’ stance. On the other hand, Tiernan is on this learning journey with the audience, and is consistently asked to provide facts on each subject. But hilariously confuses the word fact with cat. Which resulted in a Brexit cat and a Police cat picture, to name a few.
Tiernan said; “The whole thing was that Tatton is really good at explaining things and I can make children laugh. People absorb stuff, especially kids, when they’re laughing, they absorb it a lot quicker. And we also thought that the way things are at the moment, kids should really know about politics and should know what influence they have on the future.”
The show puts the children at the centre of what can only be described as contained mayhem, placing them in constituencies and getting them involved in elections and voting. Tiernan said: “it obviously needs to be non-partisan, but we just thought we’d explain how it works and make sure they don’t watch tv and go this is too complicated I don’t care. If they are a young age and start having an interest then when they grow up, they can get a bit more into it, and at least value voting, I think.”
Tatton and Tiernan take you on a journey from how democracy works, to how to decide things like budgets, with talk of poo in between. Its universal knowledge that talking about poo gets laughs out of kids. With the main focus to get kids to engage in politics in general, their passion is commendable.
Tatton said: “I don’t see voting as the be all and end all, I think it’s about being engaged and switched on and knowing what you like to see and thinking about the path to those values becoming reality, which could be voting but could also be a petition or speaking to the right person.”
After all the rowdiness of a staged election, with one young boy keeping the prize sweets to himself, the children were taught about how they can engage in politics even though they are unable to vote until they reach adulthood. Tatton and Tiernan explained in the simplest of terms how they are able to speak to their councillors no matter what age they are, that they are able to express their concerns and what they want to see in their futures. And that its never too early to make an impact.
Tiernan said: “There’re so many things being decided on now and they get no say, I mean Brexit is having a huge impact and anyone who was under 18 at election didn’t get a say on it and now has to live with it. Which is really upsetting, I think. So, anything that can kind of persuade kids to get involved in it is really useful.”
As the show rounds to an end and the laughter subsides, the children, and most probably some of the adults, are left with the power in their hands. With their new-found confidence in the messy and confusing world of politics, it’s now down to the kids.