HAVING performed two shows a day for virtually the whole of the past eight months, you could forgive Emma Carroll for being a little jaded.

But Emma, one of four actors bringing the classic children’s story What the Ladybird Heard, can’t wait to bring the show to the Lowry, Salford Quays where it will run throughout August.

“We are just so lucky that we get to do such a really happy show,” said Emma, who has also starred in the production in London’s West End. “You fell invigorated every time you get on the stage.”

Based on the book by Julia Donaldson, What the Ladybird Heard, the 55-minute adventure is aimed at a young audience and their families.

“We knew that Julia’s book is well-loved,” said Emma, “but it always surprises us at how attentive the children are. They just love it.”

Lydia Monk, who illustrated the best-selling book, has worked closely with the design team on the production.

“The moment you walk in the theatre it is like you are looking into pages from the book,” said Emma. “It is so bright and colourful even the youngest children can’t take their eyes off it.

“As a cast that gives us a real head start and then we bring it to life with the puppets and all the singing and dancing they are really with us. They know the story and they soon join in.

“But I think adults are surprised at how much they enjoy the show too.”

Set on the farm, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len have a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But they reckon without the tiniest, quietest creature of all - the Ladybird.

Emma has a dual role in the show, playing Lily who works on the farm and helps narrate the production, but she also has the key role in bringing the Ladybird to life.

“The Ladybird is so small that she is depicted on stage by a light and whenever I sing or play the flute she flies around the stage,” said Emma.

“Lots of little girls turn up with their ladybird wings and wands and we want to keep it magical for them. It’s so sweet.”

Emma, who trained at the Mountview Academy, has appeared in a number of productions ranging from Shakespeare to musicals and she has noticed that people react differently when they find out she is starring in a family show.

“In the industry children’s theatre is seen as a niche thing,” she said. “But you have to be so multi-skilled and need a lot of strings to your bow as an actor to do it successfully but it is regarded differently from doing a straight performance.

“But when people see the theatres you are going to, including the West End they realise that actually this must be of really good quality to do so well and to be such a commercial success.”

The show will end its tour after its month-long run at the Lowry.

“We’re all going to miss it after being part of the show all this time,” said Emma. “But we just want to make the most of the next few weeks.”

What the Ladybird Heard, the Lowry, Salford Quays, until Sunday, August 26. Details from 0843 208 6005 or www.thelowry.com