Curious Jac

Riverside Archives

This event has occurred in the past

Riverside Theatres presents

Curious Jac

Venue Raffertys Theatre
Dates 29 September - 30 September 2016

We loved this show so much when it came in 2015 that we made sure it is returning this year.

Bilingual storyteller Lilli Pang will captivate you with this musical and magical story. Jac is curious and wants to know about everything around her, so come on an adventure as she travels the globe and discovers some answers to her questions.

Performed in English with some Spanish, Hindi and Twi language.

Principal Creative Artists
Script – Lillian Rodrigues Pang
Score – Ann Lehmann-Kuit with assistance by Alison Garvie and Kaija Upeneiks.

Recommendation: Ages 4 – 9 years

Relaxed Performance Thursday 29 September 12:30pm & Friday 20 September 10am

Dates & Times:
Thursday 29 September 10am & 12:30pm
Friday 30 September 10am & 12:30pm

Please note, children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times, including performances and workshops. Riverside Theatres is not responsible for the supervision of children.


A special relaxed performance Curious Jac will be held for children with additional needs, or anyone who might benefit from a more relaxed atmosphere. Modifications to this performance include the option to enter the performance space early, house lights being kept on during the performance, an introduction by the performers to aid with comprehension and sudden loud noises or lighting states reduced or removed. Patrons will be welcome to come and go as needed. Children will also be able to meet the performers before the performance begins to ensure they are comfortable and relaxed during the show. A social story is available to download below.

The dedicated relaxed performance of Curious Jac is Thursday 29 September 12:30pm.

Download the Curious Jac social story here: Curious Jac Social Story

Riverside is committed to making theatre accessible for all people. We are happy to be able to offer the following services to assist patrons.

Wheelchairs – Riverside offers level access and space for wheelchairs in all venues. Spaces are limited, however, so booking is required. Please let the Box Office know when booking.

Courtesy Wheelchairs – A limited number of courtesy wheelchairs (standard manual wheelchairs) are available for loan if required.

Accessible Toilets

Parking – Limited paid parking is available at the venue for patrons with a current disability parking permit. Please note, there is a $5 fee for parking and pre-booking is essential, as there are limited spaces available.

• Guide Dogs or any animals trained to assist people with disabilities are welcome. Please let the Box Office know when booking.

• Hearing Assistance – Riverside has installed new state-of-the-art hearing systems in all three theatres to assist patrons who are hearing impaired. Please let Box Office know when booking.

• National Relay Service – Users who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment can call (at no cost) through the National Relay Service TTY users phone 13 36 77, then ask for 8839 3399. Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users phone 1300 555 727, then ask for 8839 3399. Internet relay users connect NRS ( and then ask for 8839 3399.

• NSW Companion Card – Recognised for all performances held at Riverside Theatres.


$12 per student/additional teacher (1 teacher free per 20 students)
Vacation Care Groups – Please download and fill out the booking form



    All bookings require a completed Booking Form. Riverside’s risk assessment can be downloaded here and education support materials (where provided) are available below.
    Fax or email your booking form to Riverside Education
    Fax: 02 9683 3267
    Scan and email:
    Mail: Riverside Education, PO Box 3636, Parramatta, NSW, 2124.
    N.B. Please do not send any payments with your booking form. Riverside will confirm your booking and then forward a tax invoice for your deposit. Bookings are made in strict order of receipt of booking forms.
    Riverside will confirm your booking and invoice the school for a non-refundable $125 deposit. Carers receive complimentary seating on a 20:1 ratio. Once you have paid your deposit, your booking is secure.
    Final payment. Riverside will invoice you for the balance, payable 4 weeks before your performance or workshop date. At that stage student numbers are FINAL. Bookings cannot be held if your final payment is not received and the deposit is forfeited. An increase of numbers is possible after the final payment day and is subject to availability.
    Final information sent to vacation care group. You will be issued a booking confirmation instead of individual tickets. Please ensure you have given a valid email address on your booking form, as we will use this to notify you of changes to the performance running time or other important information.
    We advise arriving at the theatre approximately 30 minutes prior to your performance. We will seat each group individually to ensure students sit with their carers. Please note all bookings made within 4 weeks of a performance date must be paid in full within 1 week of confirmation and are final. There are no refunds or changes to numbers or dates on these bookings. If you have concerns about meeting the terms and conditions, please call 8839 3308.


Make your trip to the theatre a day out for your group! If the children need to have a run around or eat their lunch after the show, the theatre is across the road from Prince Alfred Square and the Old King’s Parade Grounds. Also, there is a fantastic children’s playground only a short stroll along Parramatta River. In wet weather, Riverside has an undercover Courtyard and a covered entrance walkway where your group could eat their lunch. We recommend high visibility tabards, hats or wristbands to identify children in your group.

For some children, this may be their first experience with live theatre. For many, this can be very exciting and we want all patrons coming to the theatre to have the best theatre experience possible. Please click here to see our “Guide to Theatre Etiquette’ for suggestions about appropriate behaviour and how to make the most of your trip.


Riverside is committed to providing access to quality arts experiences for all. This includes patrons with disability and special needs. Here are some specific access points Riverside can provide:

RELAXED PERFORMANCES where the “rules” of theatre are modified to allow people with Autism or other special needs to enjoy the performance in a safe and welcoming environment. The modifications include opening the doors to the theatre early to allow the children to find their seats, lights being dimmed but not turned off throughout, children are allowed to leave the theatre as needed and loud noises or bright lights are removed from the performance.

WHEELCHAIR AND LEVEL ACCESS is available in all our venues. Please notify us if this is required when making a booking.

ACCESSIBLE BATHROOMS are available at each end of the foyer.

HEARING SYSTEMS and HEADSETS are available. Please ask at the time of booking.

SOCIAL STORIES introduce your children to what they can expect when they arrive at the theatre helping to alleviate anxiety. Download the social story for Riverside Theatre here: Riverside Social Story

For more information on access at Riverside Theatre please click here.


MapSafe and easy bus drop off/pick up is immediately behind the theatre in the Market Street bus stops. The theatre is accessible by train, bus and ferry. For more details about getting to Riverside click here or call the Transport Info Line: 131 500.


We loved Curious Jac so much when it came in 2015 that we made sure it returned as part of our Spot On Children’s Festival this year! We caught up with Lilli to find out more about this captivating production and her thoughts on the importance of storytelling and children’s theatre. Plus, she share’s her tips on bringing storytelling to life for your children at home.

What inspired Curious Jac? 

The creation of Curious Jac was a collision of a number of events.

Firstly, was the fact that I have always been fascinated by the idea of curiosity. Many years ago I heard three or four different versions of the Native American Indian creation tale, Curious Woman. One version in particular celebrated the fact that she was curious. I fell in love with that version and began to notice that many institutions/traditions in our world spoke negatively about curiosity, for example, curiosity killed the cat.

Secondly, I had recently returned from an international storytelling tour to Colombia and Peru. Whilst in Peru I lost all of my puppets. These were puppets that I had lived, worked, created and loved for over ten years. I posted this event on Facebook while I was overseas and seriously grieving the loss of my puppet friends. Upon my return to Australia a wonderfully generous and caring range of creative friends found, made and purchased puppets for me. One friend, Tracey, gave me a Folk Manis eagle. As soon as I put my hand in the eagle I knew he was the main character of a story.

Put the two together and Curious Jac was born. The story follows a curious girl who is guided by the time eagle who has the answer to all of her questions.

What will families get out of the show?

What I hope families will gain is a fun shared experience. A bit of a song worm to annoy the parents for the next few weeks. A love and curiosity of world stories, language and play. Inspiration to go and play with puppets and stories and to create.

What do you love the most about storytelling on stage?

Being on a theatre stage means I am sharing stories in a quiet space that is dedicated to families sharing the experience. I can’t explain how much I love that. It’s different to the noisy, tiring festival and the school environments as all people including the staff, the performers and the audience have come for this one shared experience and I feel that that is an absolute honour.SPOT ON Curious Jac

Tell us about the puppets and music you use throughout Curious Jac.

So you know about the eagle puppet, which is the one that I primarily use. I also have a range of puppets that I give to audience members to help curious Jac tell the Indian story. They include a large prop of Anansi the spider which allows the audience to experience the West African story.

The music is delicious. It is an original score created and lead by Ann Lehmann-Kuit who is a wonderful music therapist and music teacher based in the Illawarra. She worked with Alison Garvie a music teacher in South Sydney and North Illawarra and my two children Jiah and Nicola Pang. The music includes pan pipes and Charango when we tell the story from Ecuador and the classical Indian guitar when we tell the Hindi story. It also includes the djembe when we tell the West African story. We try to keep the music authentic to the region and honour the roots of the story we are sharing. They are all talented multi-instrumentalists and working with them has been like living in the perfect creative storm. The results are just beautiful.

You speak a mixture of languages in the show. How long did it take you to learn these multiple languages?

My mother was born in El Salvador so she is a Spanish speaker, my father was Australian born and speaks only English. So I grew up with a bit of Spanish and as a teenager I got motivated to learn more so I put in the time and effort to study and travel to learn Spanish. Becoming fluent in a second language takes a long time and I am not completely fluent in Spanish yet so I take my hat off to all those dedicated students and parents who work to keep a second, third or fourth language alive in their homes.

The other two languages are minimal – just a few key phrases which I asked native speakers here in Australia to teach me. I learnt the Hindi from the Australian based storyteller Kiran Shah and the Twi from Ghana born and Newcastle based musician Afro Moses. This is the benefit of living in the diverse community that is Australia, there are so many people with so many stories and languages around us.

What tips do you have for parents to enhance their storytelling with their children at home?

You’ve read the book a thousand times, put it down and have confidence that you can share this story without it. Children want the time with you, the eye contact, the space to create and share…that’s what it’s all about, not the performance so give it a try – it’s addictive.

I have embedded three traditional folk tales in this show (from Ecuador, India and West Africa) and we end this show with an improvised story using the words that the audience give us so there is a strong model to take home and play with.

Why do you think children’s theatre is important?

From a community perspective theatre and storytelling are critical. They create empathy and understanding, it creates a situation where ‘listening occurs’, where we learn about others and ourselves and find our connection to those universal elements. 

I think that it is important in its own right too as it gives the whole family time out of clock time. This is very important for our relationships and connection to each other. A child with their sibling share the experience, children get to share the story and the event with a parent or other family member and it creates a bond. These moments lead to a heartfelt connection, a closer connection that will stand strong against the tide of teenage years and change what occurs in the “structured” society of school and expectations.

We are dealing with the grand universal concepts – the tough stuff. In this play alone we touch on self-confidence, empathy, perspective, danger, life and death. The theatre experience can open up these conversations that are sometimes hard to get going. It offers a platform to talk about death or a character to talk about bullying, or ethics, these stories and conversations are important to share.

It feeds imagination. Theatre and storytelling does not provide all the images for the child in the way that television or computer games do. It provides opportunities for children to spark their imagination, practise the art of imagination and to keep that art going. Imagination or creative thinking is the key to innovation in all fields, engineering, medicine, art, design, IT, everything and creative thinking is a practice not a gift. Children’s theatre feeds this practise.

Folk tales, children’s stories, children’s books they are concise engaging and wonderful things to interact with. A children’s story doesn’t babble or become over wordy. For me as the creator I am aiming for engagement. I am aiming to produce an hour of entertainment, creativity, inspiration, curiosity and sharing. I have challenges to deal with age and cognition that create a pressure point and I am doing this for a group of people who are honest, immediate and straight forward in their feedback. Any flat parts, failures in the piece and I will know immediately because kids don’t have the ‘polite’ restrictions that adults have as audience members. Children’s theatre (and literature) is well edited as a fundamental.

There are education and literacy benefits that have been well studied and written about time and time again. Our brains are wired for storytelling; neurological data is supporting the fact that stories are our primary way of communicating, learning and connecting now and throughout human history.

There are many other true and relevant points that have been made in articles written by people with far more experience in theatre making than me. The point I’d like to end with is that children’s theatre or children’s stories are not just for children – they are for the child in all of us.

Curious Jac plays at Riverside Theatres 29 & 30 September. Relaxed performance available Thursday 29 September at 12:30pm and Friday 30 September at 10am. Click here for more information and to book.

Explore more Riverside shows

The true story of the first Aboriginal filmmaker William Bill Onus.
Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common but a black lace bra, memory loss, hot flushes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more.


Approximately 50 minutes (No interval)
Relaxed Performance: Approximately 1 hour 10 minutes (No interval)

Ticket Prices

Sidekicks Members $14
Single Tickets $16
Groups 4+ $14.50

Transaction fees apply

Phone $4.60
Web $3.60
Counter $2.60
Screen $1.65
School Bookings $4.00