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Saturday, July 24, 2021

The captivating children’s theatre coming to town

As school holidays nears toward a close, Canberra Weekly takes a look at some of the enchanting, exhilarating, and endearing family entertainment gracing the stages of Canberra and Queanbeyan over the coming weeks.

Inspiring the dancers of the future

With The Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet Coppélia coming to town, this is one is for the aspiring ballerinas and ballerinos and dancers in general.

Appropriate for children aged three and up, Storytime Ballet Master Paul Knobloch said the Australian Ballet program sets out to engage its young audience in an education of ballet, dance and theatre.

“It’s basically a ballet for children, its narrated so it’s very relatable and understandable; it’s also interactive, and it’s roughly 50 minutes long, so it’s really great to keep the children’s attention span.”

Storytime involves a performance of the classic comedic ballet Coppélia tailored for children by way of narration that tells the story as it’s performed, and audience interactions including question times and parts of the show where the audience can wave to use their magic.

“It’s great for kids, you’ve got all the dolls that come to life, so they really end up enthralled in the magic of what this story can bring.

The Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet Coppélia sets out to engage its young audience in an education of ballet, dance and theatre. Photos Supplied.

“For me as the ballet master, getting to be in the audience and witnessing the little kids joy and responses is really beautiful … by the end of the show you’ve got kids dancing in the aisles,” Knobloch said.

Having grown up in Canberra and gone on to global critical acclaim as a ballet dancer, Knobloch said it’s always a joy for him to come back through Canberra.

“It’s a joy, and even through I’m not performing, a big part of what I do helps bring it to life, so it’s nice to feel you’re a big part of inspiring the next generation of dancers.

“Having that exposure at a young age to see professional performers and shows it quite important,” he said.

The Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet Coppélia will be performed at the Canberra Theatre on 17-18 February; canberratheatrecentre.com.au

Off the page and onto the stage

Meanwhile over the border The Q will host The Gruffalo’s Child based on the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

The team behind The Gruffalo return with this charming sequel; bringing together physical theatre, music and puppetry to deliver songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up, and their adults.

The Gruffalo’s Child runs to 55 minutes and will be performed at The Q, Queanbeyan on 26 – 27 January with 5 shows. Ticketing is available at theq.net.au

Take the lift or the stairs?

The team behind the hit adaptations of The 13-, 26-, 52- and 78-Storey Treehouse have come together once again to bring Andy Griffiths’ and Terry Denton’s bestseller The 91-Storey Treehouse to life at the Canberra Theatre Centre.

This time Andy and Terry are back to face their biggest challenge yet with the treehouse having reached an amazing 91 storeys. It’s now more fantastically dangerous than ever, with a deserted desert island, a whirlpool, and even a giant spider!

In this adaptation Andy and Terry are going to be challenged like never before! Mr Big Nose has sent his grandchildren to the Treehouse, and they don’t want to just sit quietly.

Can Andy, Terry and Jill master this extreme babysitting challenge? What does mysterious fortune teller Madam Know-It-All really want? And will the Big Red Button really destroy the world?

The 91-Storey Treehouse will entertain audiences aged 6 years and over at The Canberra Theatre from from 1-2 February, with tickets available at canberratheatrecentre.com.au

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