QPAC’s Summer Set Program: Brisbane

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The girls and I were invited to attend a preview day for QPAC’s popular school holiday family program, ‘SummerSet’ which runs until the 13th January 2018, however this post is not sponsored and all opinions (as always!) are my own.

ChickPea, PudStar and I were utterly delighted to be able to see ‘Emily Brown and Thing’ and the official world premiere of ‘The 78-Storey Treehouse’ today. The day began with milkshakes, toast and revisiting the world Andy, Terry and Jill books. I used to dream of the day when I might once again drink my coffee in peace… 

I always book some sort of live performance for each school holiday break, because I don’t think we should underestimate the value of The Arts in the life of a child. Live performances and visits to galleries add immeasurable richness to our lives and allow children to expand their horizons beyond the everyday and into fantastical worlds, or the world as experienced by others. I have such strong memories of seeing the ‘big’ musicals at QPAC as a child and of my mum taking us to the Qld Art Gallery for all the major exhibitions.

To get the most out of a book based production it is a great idea to read some the books first – it helps to give context, introduces the characters, and for really young theatre go-ers, it is very helpful if they are familiar with the basic narrative beforehand. It’s also lovely after the performance to revisit the book and talk about the differences. You can purchase ‘Emily Brown and The Thing’ here and ‘The Treehouse’ books here

Our ‘Day of QPAC Goodness’ started with ‘Emily Brown and The Thing’, an imaginative adaptation of my favourite Cressida Cowell book, adapted to the stage by Tall Stories.

Something MONSTROUS is keeping Emily Brown awake…One evening, Emily Brown and her old grey rabbit Stanley find a Thing crying outside their window. He has lost his cuddly and absolutely can’t get to sleep without it. 

Photo Credit: Tall Stories

The girls were absolutely captivated by this production, while I breathed a sigh a relief that the stage adaptation did the original book proud. The costuming and puppetry sprang from the pages of the book and it was magical to see paper illustrations come to life as physical storytelling with lots of comedy. To see Emily Brown a real person (with the most gorgeous accent which reminded me of Bubble from ‘Ab Fab’) really was a delight, and The Thing was just as I imagined him every time I’ve read the book aloud to kindy children at school. This is the perfect introduction to theatre for little people from 3+ and a fine example of book to stage adaptations done well.

 * 12 – 23 December 2017 *  qpac.com.au/summer or 136 246 *

Pud and ChickPea with Emily – Josie Cerise, Stanley – Timothy Richey and the Thing – Samuel Buitekant

After fuelling up on sandwiches (with all traces of tomato wiped out – dear glory my children drive me mad) and lamingtons, it was time for ‘The 78-Storey Treehouse’ based on the ridiculously best-selling books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton and adapted to the stage by Richard Tulloch.

I have spent the last few days thinking about how Dan and I would take turns reading the Treehouse books and how when we drove to Sydney we listened to all books on audio and Dan spent much time imitating Mr Big Nose. It’s hard knowing Dan will never read future Treehouse books, but I am grateful that the girls experienced a father who was a reader and who loved reading with them. PudStar is a firm Treehouse fan, but I suspect ChickPea’s first Andy and Terry love will always be her well-worn copy of ‘The Cat, The Rat and the Baseball Bat’

I’m always pleased when I see the name Richard Tulloch as playwright as I have been so impressed by Richard whenever I have seen him work with children at Story Arts Festival. He genuinely understands what interests children and he has an amazing ability to create theatre for young people which draws them in, makes them laugh and allows them to enter into the lives of the characters, the setting and the story of each of his productions.

Andy and Terry’s treehouse just keeps on growing. With yet another 13 levels, it’s now got a Scribbletorium, a high-security potato chip storage facility (guarded by one very angry duck) and an open-air movie theatre.

Photo Credit: QPAC

‘The 78-Storey Treehouse’ was everything a family could wish for in a stage production. The sets were outstanding (I loved AndyLand), the deceptively simple narrative had something for all ages, the humour was clever and multi-layered and the actors outstanding. What a pleasure to set aside parental woes for an hour and just laugh with my children.

 * 13 – 23 December 2017 * qpac.com.au/summer or 136 246 *

Thank you to QPAC for a most excellent day out…we’ll be back. Quite soon actually…grandma has purchased tickets for ‘The Little Mermaid’.

Still reading as the lights went down…

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