A taste of the theatre for the very young
ACCLAIMED producer Garry Ginivan believes children should be introduced to theatre at a young age to instil in them a love of theatre.
His current production, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, coming to Gladstone in late August, aims to engage with children as young as two years old.
The production, based on the book of the same name by Michael Rosen, sees the characters navigate a range of environments from thick mud to a wild snowstorm before they finally encounter the bear in a cave.
It's an English production originally and has been touring the world for about 13 years, says Mr Ginivan, but he was determined that the show's cast and crew would be Australian to support the home-grown industry.
It took only three months to prepare the show for touring, in that time, all the costumes were created and music, songs and dances learnt.
Mr Ginivan said "a lot of the show has the audience reciting lines from the book, there is great audience participation and of course there's a big brown cuddly bear”.
Unfortunately the children cannot meet the bear in person at the end of the show.
"We have a 22-week tour (of 50) venues, (so) we need the bear to last and (if we let him meet the kids) we'd need a riot squad,” Mr Ginivan said.
The show first opened at the Adelaide Festival Centre in early May.
At the moment cast and crew are in Ipswich and will wind up in Cairns in mid September.
Mr Ginivan has been producing children's shows for 40 years.
Very early on, he started out as an actor, performing in London's West End by the time he was 19.
He says when he was growing up there was no theatre in his life and he hopes that children today will be given access to the theatre.
"It's best to get to them early,” he said.
"It's important to engage them. The average age (at the shows he produces) would be about three, I'm always looking for new, young, Australian talent.”
The GECC is providing pre-show entertainment for children in the foyer one hour prior to the show where they can recreate scenes from the book.