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Gumnut Gossip: May Gibbs’ characters spring to life

A stage adaptation has the ability to make a story jump off the page and bring it to life for children. This is not only great for young bookworms, but also a real boon for reluctant readers.

Theatre has the magical ability to be a life-changing experience, jumpstarting the imagination and sparking a unique kind of learning. It has not only proven to be an exceptional resource that links to many areas of knowledge such as geography, language and science, but also in developing creative gifts and a lifelong appreciation of performing arts. Theatre has the ability to touch the imagination, arouse curiosity, or fire an artistic impulse. It allows children to laugh uproariously, learn to empathise and participate freely in culture.

Riverside Theatres is committed to offering families the special experience that page to stage adaptations provide. Previous adaptations that have been performed at Riverside include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Gruffalo, The Bugalugs Bum Thief, Room on the Broom, The 13-Storey Treehouse, Emily Loves to Bounce and Emily Eyefinger.

In July, Gibbs’ classic Australian characters will spring to life on Riverside’s stage in Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – Live on Stage. Her most famous books including Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (1918), Little Ragged Blossom (1920) and Little Obelia are the basis of this new adaptation that Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Elridge and Tim McGarry of Monkey Baa Theatre Company have created.

Producer Christine Dunstan says the new production is aimed squarely at children, as Gibbs’ tales were. “We’ve kept the spirit of May Gibbs, the stories, the characters, but we’ve put it in today’s language,” Dunstan says. May Gibbs wrote Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to be read to children; these days, children’s books are written to be read by children.” The play, she says, “speaks directly to kids in a language they understand.”

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie plays at Riverside 15 – 18 July. Secure your tickets now before the Banksia Men get you!

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