A dairy-based dance event

Java Dance Theatre dancer Emma Coppersmith and musician/composer Charley Davenport. Photo: Tom Hoyle

SOMETHING cheesy is coming our way.

Java Dance Theatre is returning to Invercargill this weekend to perform Cheese as part of this year’s Southland Festival of the Arts.

Artistic director Sacha Copland said this was the next show in their Artisan Series, after performing The Wine Project during the festival in 2015.

As part of the series they had been making shows for children and adults. While this one was aimed at a younger audience, there would be plenty for all to enjoy.

“You can come even if you’re allergic to dairy products,” she laughed.

The show premiered during the Capital E National Arts Festival in March with 12 sold-out performances. Copland said Southland was the first region to get to see the show, with several festivals lined up.

The performance features three dancers and two musicians, who blend dance, music and theatre to tell a fun, farmyard tale.

Antics include bolting animals, chase scenes, milking and “very, very stretchy cheese”.

“The cheesemakers are trying to make the cheese, but the animals have other ideas.”

Copland said they had a lot of fun with the theme, the animals involved and the process of where milk comes from.

“It was quite a natural place to make a kids’ show from.”

Research included observing goats and cows on farms and watching the cheesemaking process.

“We’ve also watched how the cheesemakers interact with the animals and the role they play in it as well.”

The music had been composed especially for the show, with instruments including the banjo, cello and violin.

A Wellington costume designer had also helped create a “chic cow” costume.

a mum and calf in there, so it’s played by two people and they’re actually wrapped together for part of the show in a very sort of high-fashion cow costume.”

Copland said they also had design interns help them find a way to bring things like cheese to life on stage.

The tactile substances played quite a big part, she said.

“Finding a way to do milk was really, really interesting… We’d love to hear your guesses as to what the milk’s made of.”

Cheese, SIT Centrestage Theatre, Saturday, May 13, 6pm. Book at TicketDirect

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