Family

Portal to other worlds with this interactive live theatre show for kids

The Patch Theatre and Restless Dance collaboration gives kids the opportunity to come onstage with chalk and integrate their own ideas into the performance.

Written by Simon Lancione

Photography by Matt Bryne

How do other people live? What sort of houses do they live in? What is it like to live in an igloo or a ship? To children, these questions are fantastically exciting and a collaborative live theatre performance from Patch Theatre and Restless Dance Theatre called Home, will take the audience into magical and mysterious new worlds exploring the concept of what a home can be.

Patch Theatre, which turns 50 years old this year, creates theatre for 4-10 year olds, while Restless Dance Theatre creates live performance working with people with and without disability. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with the Artistic Director of Patch Theatre Geoff Cobham and Artistic Director of Restless Dance Theatre Michelle Ryan, to talk through their inspiration for the work.

“[Children] are fascinated by other people’s homes, other animals’ homes and I suppose that’s what we’re interested in, namely the differences in people and the variations in how people live,” says Cobham.

The performance is based around a magical yellow door that acts as a portal, taking the audience and their imagination into other worlds. The set gives young audience members the opportunity to experience life from other people’s homes and engage with the show itself by coming onstage with chalk and integrating their own ideas into the performance. Every performance will be different as the children contribute to the ever-changing set. 

“A few children are chosen to come up and draw on an illustrating panel that is projected onto the set backdrop so the children are actually creating and changing the backdrop in real time. It gives kids the opportunity to be involved in the show, where they feel part of the creative process and it’s awesome for us to give them that sense of theatre,” says Cobham.

As Australia’s leading creator of dance theatre for dancers with and without disability, Restless prides itself on celebrating diversity. Michelle Ryan explained how the collaboration came about.

“When Geoff approached us to do a collaboration it was a really wonderful opportunity to place two of our performers on stage in front of a young audience, it’s important for young people to see that diversity from a very young age,” says Ryan.

“Because a snapshot of our society is in the audience, reflecting that on stage is key, it’s really important to have representation on stage.

“HOME is about making great art with a collaborative team that puts children front and centre of the performance. The work is not about disability but highlights two fabulous artists working together in a theatre context.”

Home features original music, animation and projections together with dance, puppetry and sculpture. This finely tuned show is expected to enlighten and delight over 10,000 children and their adults with a season in Adelaide and at Noarlunga, before touring through regional South Australia throughout August and September.

Home opens at the Space Theatre on Saturday August 13 and runs until August 20, then tours to Noarlunga Saturday August 27 before heading to Renmark, Mt Gambier, Port Pirie and Whyalla.

To learn more or book tickets, click here.

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