Creating a connection with nature

Roger Sanders performs with some of the puppets in Kokako's Song. Photo: Supplied

CHILDREN throughout Southland will have the opportunity to get lost in a story during the Southland Arts Festival this month.

Birdlife Productions, a Nelson-based theatre project created by Bridget and Roger Sanders, will present Kokako’s Song in Winton, Te Anau, Lumsden, Invercargill, Otautau and Nightcaps.

Bridget said the couple hadn’t performed in Southland before and were looking forward to travelling throughout the region.

Kokako’s Song was largely a puppet show, she said, but it also featured masked characters and live music and they would teach children a waiata along the way.

“It’s very funny, but at the same time it’s quite poignant as well because it’s based around a small child, a little girl called Angel, who starts off in the story very shy.”

Bridget said Angel would hide a lot and didn’t like to speak out.

“What she really wants to be in life is a secret superhero rapper, which she feels like she’s never going to manage to do.”

However, things change one day after she loses her little dog and chases after him.

“She ends up in the native New Zealand forest and has all these beautiful encounters with various native creatures,” Bridget said.

“Particularly she meets old Mrs Kokako, who basically gives her the gift of her voice, and also just the courage to have a go at doing some rapping.”

The story, set, puppets and music have all been crafted by the Sanders and although it was aimed at younger children, Bridget said parents and teachers loved the story, too.

She said having an experience that they could get fully immersed in added to children’s lives both creatively and imaginatively.

“I just think it’s such an important thing for children to have an experience of good quality live theatre that’s designed specifically for them.”

The 45-minute show will be performed at the following venues:

Tuesday, May 15, 1pm, Winton Memorial Hall

Wednesday, May 16, 10am, Fiordland Community Events Centre, Te Anau; 2pm, Lumsden Memorial Hall

Thursday, May 17, 11am and 6pm, SIT Centrestage Theatre

Friday, May 18, 10.30am, Otautau Sports Pavilion; 2pm, Takitimu Primary School, Nightcaps

Tickets are $5. Door sales from 30 minutes prior. Tickets for the Invercargill performance are available from TicketDirect (service fees apply).

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