Over 2000 city schoolchildren will be treated to a performance of The Messy Magic Adventure next month, thanks to some passionate arts advocates.
Jade Gillies, of Gillies Creative, and Sarah McCarthy, of McCarthy Media and Communication, both of whom are involved in the Invercargill theatre community, have been working with funding agencies in Southland to help bring the beloved children’s show to Invercargill years 1-3 pupils at no cost to either the children or their school.
“One of the reasons the arts are slowing in places like Southland is because it isn’t always part of people’s culture to pop out and see a show. But we think if we keep providing children with quality theatre, they will naturally go to shows of their own volition when they’re grown-ups,” McCarthy says.
One of the barriers between children seeing quality theatre is often cost and logistics, she says.
“Between ticketing and transport costs, it’s often just too hard for a school or kindergarten to send their kids to see amazing theatre,” she says.
“But it’s just so important, not just giving kids the greatest time but things like learning how to behave in a theatre and to see cool stuff that isn’t on the telly. It also funnels into a lot of different areas – sport, live music, dance – we’re all trying to keep hold of our audiences and this may just be a way of making sure there’s a future for everyone.”
The Messy Magic Adventure was devised by two of New Zealand’s most exciting performers – Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman. The duo tour their adult shows all over the world – Mr and Mrs Alexander: Sideshows and Psychics, Battle of the Bastards, The Dunstan Creek Haunting and Seven Deadly Stunts, but also have a wonderful children’s show up their sleeves. Hugely physical and hysterically funny, The Messy Magic Adventure is a joy to behold and represents how much fun children’s theatre can be.
The pair will be in Invercargill to also perform their hit show, Seven Deadly Stunts, and are thrilled to be performing The Messy Magic Adventure for so many city kids – Tollemache believes bringing quality theatre to children on their level is crucial to growing the next generation of both audiences and performers.
“Do you remember watching a play or hearing a story when you were very small? Did something broaden your horizons, make your world sparkle or inspire you? And is there a moment, an image or a line that has stuck with you, even after all this time?’’ Tollemache says.
“This show is a tale of two cleaners, created for children and their families. It’s si
lliness and fun that asks the audience to find magic in the everyday. It’s slapstick and mess and a chase scene through the audience. It’s belly laughs from five years olds who have not yet learnt how to be self-conscious.”
However, while Gillies and McCarthy have done most of the hard work in terms of securing funding, they still need the help of the community to get the kids to the show.
“We need about $5000 to pay for the buses to take the kids to the stadium, and we’re hoping the community will rally around and help us get this project over the line,” Gillies says.
A Givealittle page has been launched, and McCarthy and Gillies are “hitting up” local businesses in the hopes that they will be able to raise the necessary amount.
“We believe that kids and theatre together make magic. And magical kids make for a magical community one day, which is good for all of us.”