Beep friendship at Awesome Festival
LEARNING how to find your place in the world and how to deal with being an outsider is all part of growing up.
Adelaide’s Windmill Theatre decided to give two to seven-year-olds a helping hand with this through their children’s theatre production Beep.
Director and co-creator Sam Haren said the show explored the story of robot Beep, who must flee her world when she is no longer able to stay.
She arrives on a different planet which is home to cute village creature Mort.
“The villagers are initially frightened and don’t know how to deal with the presence of this new outsider,” Haren said.
“Mort forms a relationship with her. It’s a story of their friendship and what it means to find a new home and new friends.
“It’s trying to open up the kind of things children are thinking about or grappling with in their experience of the world.
“In a very subtle way it mirrors ideas and issues happening today where we see people being displaced from places like Syria.
“Those ideas are very much the backdrop of telling a story that is still very playful and fun.”
Haren has been a freelance director at Windmill Theatre for the past 10 years, working in the early childhood audience space directing book adaptations of Plop! and Grug.
He said it had been exciting to have the opportunity to create an original story using music and performers who doubled as puppet operators.
“Often in a traditional puppet context, the operator is invisible,” he said.
“We decided to take the same approach to puppetry and performance that had been characterised in the Grug shows, which we thought was an exciting theatrical form.
“In the style of these shows, the performer is both a puppeteer but also a character or narrator in the story too.”
Beep premiered in Adelaide before tours of China and Australia, which includes a Perth season at UWA’s Octagon Theatre as part of this year’s Awesome Festival for Bright Young Things.
The 35-minute production will head to the US next year.
“It’s really exciting that Beep gets to have that kind of life,” Haren said.
“These shows for me have always been joyous collaborations.”
Where: Octagon Theatre, UWA
When: October 12 and 13
Awesome Festival dances with WA Ballet’s Peter and the Wolf