Our mission

Our mission

We are the Wind-Up Penguin Theatre Company. We create professional-standard original musical theatre performances, which we then perform to underprivileged children in hospitals, schools, orphanages, and special needs centres in developing countries.

Our aims
• To bring professional-standard musical theatre to children who don’t have access to live art.
• To uplift children in difficult circumstances.
• To provide a cultural exchange between the members of the Wind-Up Penguin and the children abroad, and to enable the children to discover more about different cultures.
• To inspire children to generosity, and to show them that creating their own project is not only possible, but extremely rewarding.
• To offer an experience of a lifetime to the children, that they’ll be able to hold on to through difficult moments.

“The Wind-Up Penguin are a group of highly motivated students who are really interested in charity work. They produce really dazzling and colorful productions to entertain children throughout the world.” Jonathan Vaughan – Head of Music at the Guildhall School

Performance at the Clineci school, Romania, December 2012

Our Story

Our story

Music in hospital wards at the Roosvelt hospital, Bogota

Music in hospital wards at the Roosvelt hospital, Bogota

We are students and alumni from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and RADA, London, UK. We create new musical theatre for children from scratch, which we then perform to underprivileged children in hospitals, orphanages, rural schools, and special needs centres in developing countries.

The Wind-Up Penguin theatre company was founded in April 2012 by Ioana Macovei-Vlasceanu and myself, Elisabeth Swedlund, both at the time second year singing students. The two of us had previously worked a lot with underprivileged children, and surrounded in London by music and drama of an incredibly high level, felt we needed to bring live art of an equal quality to children who live difficult lives and have a very restricted access to live entertainment.

After a few months of inspiration, organisation, planning, rehearsing, and sending lots of e-mails, the two of us alongside seven of our Guildhall friends from the music, acting, and technical theatre departments found ourselves on a flight heading to Romania, on the 1st of December 2012, with a magical musical show under our arm to be performed to children in need.

I can very truthfully say that this trip was one of the most inspiring experiences in the lives of myself and my teammates. We performed our show in one hospital, one special needs centre, and three rural schools, to children who were leading difficult lives. Performing in the Bucharest hospital for children with cancer most certainly wasn’t easy, but seeing all these children’s faces light up and smile, hearing them laugh and laugh, and being asked again and again ‘when are you coming back !?’, can only reinforce our conviction that using our artistic talents to bring laughter and inspiration to children who live difficult lives is high up there on the list of ‘the right things to do’.

From this project in Romania stemmed another project in Romania in December 2013, with 17 people taking part, two brand new shows created, twice as many performances, and twice as many underprivileged children inspired.

After both these projects, we felt confident and very enthusiastic about starting to bring our performances to underprivileged children across the globe. From one Eastern European adventure, over 15 projects have stemmed all over the globe: we’ve been to Colombia, Brazil, Peru, India, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Greece, Germany, and Belgium (the three latter countries have seen us focus our performances to refugee children). This summer (2018) we’re planning three adventures to Greece, India, and Lebanon & Jordan – and don’t plan on stopping our projects any time soon!

We are extremely thankful to each and every person who helped us on our path to deliver music, theatre, and a breath of fresh air to children around the world living difficult lives.

For the team,
Elisabeth

Workshop at St. Ivan Rilski orphanage, Sofia

Workshop at St. Ivan Rilski orphanage, Sofia, Bulgaria, December 2014

Meet the team

Meet the team


Director

Director

Elisabeth Swedlund


Trustees
Charlotte Bartley
Barney Medland
Thomas Moss
Hannah Tyler

Past and Present Team Members
Jesse Angelo (actor)
Eleanor Arnot (Stage and Costume Management)
Charlotte Bartley (Recorder Player/Clarinettist)
Friederike Bieber (classical voice)
Megan Bird (jazz singer)
Ella Bodeker (classical singer)
Lauren Brown (clarinettist)
Isabella Brownson (actor)
Adi Chase (Composer)
Rachel Coe (Clarinettist)
Jacob Coleman (Actor)
Victoria Creighton (Flautist)
Rodrigo De Vera (Pianist)
Ruth Dingle (French Horn player)
Anna Driftmier (Stage Designer)
Raphael Eilenberg (actor)
Jack Flammiger (Actor)
Elisabeth Flett (Recodrer Player/Violinist)
Julia Hamilton (violin player)
Abi Heath (Clarinettist)
Edward Holmes (Clarinettist)
Jack Holton (Singer)
Ellis Howard (Actor)
Ana Ikkos-Serrano (Singer)
Shreyans Iyer (singer)
Bozhana Karadalieva (pianist)
Lina Kosi (Stage Manager)
Rebecca Lee (actor)
Anna Litvinenko (cellist)
Ioana Macovei-Vlasceanu (Classical singer)
Chavdar Mazgalov (pianist)
Barney Medland (Trombonist)
Tom Moss (Bassoonist)
Christian Needle (Lighting/Sound and Video Designer)
Sissel Nielsen (Stage Manager)
Abigail Palmer (stage manager)
Joseph Partridge (classical singer)
Verity Poulston (Jazz singer)
James Ratcliffe (composer)
Ilar Rees-Davies (classical singer)
Jessica Rhodes (actor)
Caleb Roberts (Actor)
Valerie Sanders (Violinist)
Gero Shipmann (Guitarist)
Tegen Short (actor)
Charlotte Skidmore (Singer)
Wesli Spencer (Actor)
Jessica Sweeney (spoken word)
Sarah Sweet (Stage Manager)
Emma Whyte (Actor)
Tom Widdicombe (Viola Player)

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