The Coat of Umpteen Pockets (2011—13)

A  Hackney primary school, tour of Suffolk and Shropshire primary schools, Ledbury Poetry Festival and The Suffolk Fun Festival

"I loved your play. I liked all your poems. My favourites were The Giant and The Nose.  I liked it when you said bum, it was funny because you said a rude word. The fat cat was funny because he ate lots of sausages " — Saffy, 9

This show for primary schools, performed by Wonderful Beast theatre company, is based on ‘Umpteen Pockets’, a book of collected poems for children written by the late beloved and most popular of poets, Adrian Mitchell (favourite of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival).  Wonderful Beast is committed to keeping Adrian’s words alive and, like he did, visiting schools and encouraging children to write and perform their own poetry.


Two actors, including Adrian’s daughter Sasha, and a musician, bring these funny, insightful, playful and beautiful poems to life. Each performer has a magical coat with ‘umpteen pockets’out of which appear poems and songs to make children laugh, listen, dig deep into their imaginations and to sing.


After the performance Wonderful Beast provides a workshop, in which the children write and perform their own poems under the guidance of the artists (all of whom have extensive experience of working in schools). We aim to leave the school with inspiring ideas for writing poetry that can be developed and built on.



Cochemé Charitable Trust


Artists Taking Part


Actors: Sasha Mitchell

Matthew Prendergast

Director/Pianist: Alys Kihl

Photography: Anthea Sieveking

Feedback from schools


"The children loved it. They were actively engaged throughout and responded well to the visual aspect particularly. A lovely mix of music, poetry and drama." —Teacher


"I thought poetry was boring but you proved me wrong." — Euan, 10


" dont just read a poem, you feel a poem as well. And you (the actors) put real power and expression into the poems." — James, 8


"I like it how you told us a really quiet story then at the end Matt done a really big sneeze what really ruined the moment." Marney, 8


"We closed our eyes and went to our own magic land" — Tom, 10