Licketyspit Theatre Company

Licketyspit – sparking a drama-led play revolution!

Licketyspit is a specialist early years theatre company creating innovative and engaging theatre and drama-led work for and with children, their families and communities.

Licketyspit was founded in January 2004 and is a Registered Scottish Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Licketyspit developed out of the Wee Stories Early Years Project (2001-2003) directed by Virginia Radcliffe. The company has been delivering innovative, high quality theatre and drama-led practice to early years children and their families for over eleven years. Licketyspit is committed to participatory, socially engaged work that explores the transformative power of arts and culture. This work is rooted in continuous practical artistic research, dialogue and developmental practice with 3-8 year olds. Licketyspit is a national company working from its base at North Edinburgh Arts in Muirhouse Edinburgh, where it has been Theatre Company in Residence since 2012.



DRAMATIKA is the overarching approach for the work of Licketyspit, which connects all strands of our work over the last eleven years. DRAMATIKA aims to facilitate, champion and embed the engagement and participation of children, families and communities through child-centred theatre, stories, songs and drama-led play.

DRAMATIKA has five interconnected strands of core activity:

  1. LicketyLeap (the story of ‘Margaret and Margaret’): drama-led early intervention programme for 3-5s, their parents/carers and early years professionals delivered in nurseries and family centres, prioritising disadvantaged communities and working in partnership with local authorities and third sector organisations.
  1. Porridge & Play: outdoor and indoor drama-led play and social sessions for 3-8s with their parents/carers led by actor-pedagogues. Includes take-home Play Card resources to support and encourage playing outside the sessions at home, school/nursery and in the community.
  1. Children & Families Network: ongoing face-to-face, online and hardcopy communications, resources, events, opportunities and information for children, families and professionals who have engaged with Licketyspit’s work. Breaking down barriers to families’ participation in Scotland’s cultural offer.
  1. LicketyKitchen: development of new theatre and drama-led work for early years children with our associate artists and continuing professional development (CPD) for children and family professionals.
  1. Touring theatre productions: 7 original national touring theatre productions for 3-12s and adults which tour to theatres, communities, schools and nurseries. Includes with educational and family resources and opportunities for collaborative satellite events.

Licketyspit builds monitoring and evaluation into its activities, sharing its learning widely among practitioners and policymakers

Our achievements

  • 7 Licketyspit plays have toured Scotland-wide (2001-2010) filling theatres and community venues to critical acclaim, putting early years children at the heart of large, loyal, inclusive, multigenerational audiences (7-10,000 audiences per tour). 4 productions have additionally toured in England. “Your stories have become part of our children’s lives.” (Mother)
  • Inspiring Scotland’s, Early Years Early Action Fund (2011-2013) supported LicketyLeap, delivery to over 1700 children and 1500 parents/carers in 4 local authorities, in 6 areas of multiple-deprivation in Scotland. Independently evaluated children demonstrated improvements in confidence, social skills, problem solving ability, emotional literacy and resilience. “There is no doubt in my mind that we have children whose lives were changed by doing LicketyLeap.” (Teacher).
  • A successful LicketyLeap pilot with Stepping Stones for Families (2014) led to a nomination as finalists in the Scottish Charity Awards for Public Partnership Award (2015). The pilot led to further partnership with SSfF, Action for Children and Glasgow City Council Public Social Partnership (2015-2016) delivering DRAMATIKA (LicketyLeap and Porridge & Play) to 350 Glasgow children and families.
  • Porridge & Play (2015) created in response to LicketyLeap parents/carers. 38 drama-led play pilot sessions delivered with 500 children/parents/carers to date. A specially created 32-piece ‘Play Card’ resource set featuring the ‘Margaret and Margaret’ brand produced to inspire continuing family/peer play at home, nursery/school and in the community. Porridge & Play sessions are now being delivered in Glasgow following on from LicketyLeap programme.
  • LicketyKitchen: Two LicketyLeap reports (2011/2013) distributed to 1500 children’s professionals; two international symposiums (2013/2014) attended by 100 cross children’s sector professionals/ artists nationally and internationally. Over 100 presentations, seminars, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops delivered to share learning. LicketyLeap has been included in four EU studies into innovative early years practice in addressing inequalities.
  • Licketyspit’s Children & Families Network continues a digital and face-to-face dialogue with families and provides access to resources, information and events. Over 2000 families have joined to date.


Current projects / Up-coming events

January – March 2016: Licketyspit are currently delivering block two of our LicketyLeap and Porridge & Play programme with three nurseries in Glasgow as part of our DRAMATIKA Glasgow pilot with partners Action for Children, Stepping Stones for Families and Glasgow City Council, with support from Scottish Government. Rehearsals and pilot sessions are being delivered at North Edinburgh Arts with St David’s RC Nursery.

March 2016: Licketyspit will be hosting a Symposium on our DRAMATIKA Glasgow pilot at Glasgow City Chambers alongside partners Action for Children, Stepping Stones for Families and Glasgow City Council. Further information in due course.

Summer/Autumn 2016: Licketyspit hope to re-mount and tour our wonderful play about play – Heelie-go-Leerie. Watch this space

Contact us

  • Virginia Radcliffe – Artistic Director/Chief Executive
  • Beth Harvey – Associate Director/Project Manager

T: 0131 332 0410 I M: 07970 749 138 I E: | Twitter: @LicketyTweet | Facebook: Licketyspit-Theatre-Company

Online Information

  • Earlyarts Blog: Listening to Children (January 28, 2015)

Virginia Radcliffe, Artistic Director/Chief Executive, Licketyspit Theatre Company 2015 talks about how learning to listen and engage with early years children has informed her approach to creating early years theatre.

  • Virginia Radcliffe (Artistic Director/Chief Executive), LicketyLeap PechaKucha presentation on LicketyLeap – ArtWorks Scotland Conference, Dundee (November, 2013):



  • Leaping into Ourselves: A study into the layers of engagement made by early years children through Licketyspit’s immersive theatre project, LicketyLeap (Stephanie Knight, April 2011) commissioned and published by Glasgow Life and East Lothian Council.
  • The Adventures of LicketyLeap: Transforming lives – the possibilities of theatre (Licketyspit, May 2013).