Josephine Wants to Dance

Riverside Archives

This event has occurred in the past

Josephine Wants to Dance

Venue Riverside Theatre
Dates 08 May - 12 October 2018
Category Live Event

Riverside presents A Monkey Baa Theatre Company Production
Based on the book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

The award-winning team behind Pete the Sheep bring the popular picture book by 2014 – 2015 Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French and illustrator Bruce Whatley to life on stage in this brand new musical about a bush animal you will never forget.

Josephine is a kangaroo – who loves to dance. When a ballet troupe comes to the sleepy town of Shaggy Gully Josephine learns that there is another way to dance – ballet. However, on the day of the first performance, the ballet company is in trouble: the prima ballerina has twisted her ankle and the understudy has a splinter in her toe!

Who could dance the lead role? Who else could leap that high? Josephine’s talents are called upon to help save the day. Can she do it, and more importantly, does it matter that she’s a kangaroo?

A delightfully funny tale that looks at the importance of believing in yourself and realising your dreams.

Download and print the Josephine Wants to Dance colouring-in sheet here: Josephine Wants to Dance Colouring-In Sheet

Please note: This production contains fog and smoke effects
Suitable for: Ages 4 – 9 and their families

Dates & Times:

Tuesday 8 May 2018 at 10:15am & 12:30pm
(Relaxed Performance)

Thursday 11 October 2018 at 2pm
Friday 12 October 2018 at 10am & 12:30pm (Relaxed Performance)


The performance of Josephine Wants to Dance on Friday 12 October at 12:30pm will be a Relaxed Performance. 

This is a sensory friendly performance where the perceived ‘rules’ of theatre will be modified to allow patrons with Autism and other specific needs to enjoy the performance in a welcoming environment. For more information about Relaxed Performances please click here to visit our Accessibility page.

Download the social story here: Josephine Wants to Dance Social Story

This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW and has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding body.

Jonathan Biggins

Phillip Scott

Choreographer (Courtesy of Australian Ballet)
Tim Harbour

James Browne

Lighting Designer
Emma Lockhart-Wilson

Eva Di Cesare
Sandra Eldridge
Tim McGarry

Illustrations by
Bruce Whatley, 2006, from Josephine Wants to Dance
By Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Production Photos by
Heidrun Löhr


Suitable for Preschool & Years K – 4


I’m bouncing with excitement about Josephine! There’s so much to love about Jackie French’s adorable story about a roo who follows her dreams, and what could be better than seeing it live by the company and director who brought us Pete the Sheep – one of my favourite productions! French’s stories are full of scope for the imagination and are a great tool for teaching characterisation, language techniques and plot in picture books. They’re also an excellent accompaniment to units on Australia, with French’s uniquely Australian characters and voice. This would be a great first theatre experience for your littlest students, or an excellent return excursion for slightly bigger ones.


Download the Curriculum Links here: Josephine Wants to Dance Curriculum Links


Download information on how to book here: How to Book

Download Riverside’s Risk Assessment here: 2018 Risk Assessment


This production has a strong music focus.

Visual Cues:
This production has strong visual cues giving students a different reference point for comprehension of the narrative or subject matter.

Relaxed Performance:
The relaxed performance for Josephine Wants to Dance is on Tuesday 8 May at 12:30pm.

Download the social story for Josephine Wants to Dance here: Josephine Wants to Dance Social Story

Download information about access at Riverside here: Access at Riverside



Download information on how to book here: Vacation Care – How to Book

Download Riverside’s Risk Assessment here: 2018 Risk Assessment


Download information about access at Riverside here: Access at Riverside

“A compact version of a classic musical, with a great variety of songs, fantastic costumes, broad humour, and a whopping dose of optimism. We were thrilled to see Josephine earn her pink tutu.” – Artsplorers
Read the full review here

“Joyous family entertainment.” – Sydney Arts Guide
Read the full review here

“Wonderfully whimsical and utterly inspiring.” – Broadway World Australia
Read the full review here

“The 2017 Sydney Theatre Awards gave a special award to Monkey Baa’s Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry in recognition of their extraordinary and tireless work in top rank children’s theatre and, yet again, another new show tells you why.” – Stage Noise
Read the full review here

“Based on the book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, this adaptation (by Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Elridge and Tim McGarry) brings the story of a stage-struck macropod to life with enormous charm and sly wit. Its appeal extends far beyond the target of four to 12-year-olds.” – The Audrey Journal
Read the review here

“This delightful adaptation, by monkey baa’s Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry, entertains children and adults alike. It’s fun, lively and realises the deeper message to kids in Jackie French’s story … that if you really believe in yourself, your dreams can come true.” – Stage Whispers
Read the full review here

“Josephine Wants to Dance is the ultimate production to bewitch and inspire any aspiring prima ballerina.” – Alphabet Street
Read the full review here

Jackie French, the director Jonathan Biggins, composer Phillip Scott and performers Rebecca Hetherington and Hayden Rodgers talk to ABC Radio National.
Listen now


Spot On Children's Festival, 9 - 13 October 2018

To keep up to date and coordinate your play date, don’t forget to like and share our Spot On Children’s Festival Facebook event page!

Visit Facebook Event

Explore more Riverside shows

A hilarious adventure into the hitherto majestic world of Vaudeville Burlesque and Cabaret, where song, dance and slapstick collide to create a theatrical Cabaret sensation.
A one-woman show that interrogates the conflict between a woman’s ambition and her sense of duty and longing to be with her family.


45 minutes (No interval plus 20 minute Q&A for Schools Shows)

Ticket Prices

Student/Teacher $22
Members $23
Single Tickets $26
Family of 4 $88
Vacation Care Student/Teacher $16

Transaction fees apply

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