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Babies and theatre are not usually two things one would automatically put together. In fact any parent who has taken a baby to a performance, knows it can be challenging at best and a disaster at worst.
Turning that whole idea on its head are three Christchurch creatives who have launched Cubbin Theatre Company which will perform shows especially for babies and toddlers.
Amy Straker, Hannah Wheeler and Melanie Luckman all have impressive theatre whakapapa which includes The Court Theatre, NASDA (National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art), Te Kura Toi Whakaari (New Zealand Drama School), Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Lewis Eady School of Music, to name but a few.
“Our vision is of a world where high quality art is as integral to early childhood as the playground, and as accessible,” says Mel.
Cubbin’s first production Up and Away is informed by current neuroscientific research and has been developed in consultation with a speech and language therapist through a series of rehearsal workshops with babies.
“This one is for pre-walking babies and will be performed in a tent which will mean everyone is in a safe and cosy environment which is perfect for the babies to explore and engage in what’s happening,” says Mel.
Of course, every baby will respond differently to the performance and Cubbin embraces that.
“We encourage it,” says Amy Straker. “When I worked at the Lewis Eady School of Music in Auckland, my role as programme leader of Singing Rainbows was to expose tiny tots, under the age of 5, to different instruments, rhythm and sound. Over time I watched the children grow in confidence through curiosity and play. I adored their ability to be un-guarded and in ‘the moment’, and how the music made them connect with their carers,” she says.
Hannah Wheeler was working at LATT Children’s Theatre and living in South Korea when she saw her first baby theatre performance.
“It was 5 years ago and what I experienced has stuck with me ever since. I am really excited about bringing high quality, respectful and intelligent theatre to children in Christchurch,” she says.
Up and Away opens on July 3 at the Gloucester Room at the Isaac Theatre Royal and is supported by Creative New Zealand.
For more information please contact Amy Straker on 021 139 2635 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Up and Away: Isaac Theatre Royal – Gloucester Room, 3-8 July 2018
Performances at 10am, 11am and 1pm; Running time approx 30 minutes
Tickets available from Ticketek.co.nz
Tickets range in price from $16.75 (additional adult observing) to $24.75 (adult with baby).