It’s a jungle in Te Anau

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THE Fiordland Players are taking a leaf out of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for their annual production.

The company will perform Mike Carter’s musical adaptation of the beloved story from July 5-7.

Director Kathy Singleton is being assisted by Brian Johnston, with musical direction by Pauline Nicholson.

The story is set in the forest in India.

“A young woman takes a young baby into the jungle and leaves it there close to a wolf den,” Singleton said.

The child, Mowgli, meets a host of animals in the jungle including bear Baloo, python Kaa and the fierce tiger Shere Khan.

Singleton said a cast of 19 played 23 different roles, including some of the characters at different ages.

“There’s a scene where there are three different Mowglis come out while they’re singing a particular song about growing up in the jungle which shows the transition of Mowgli growing up.

“All of the traditional characters are there and we were lucky we got some funding from Creative Communities. We’ve been able to create some really good costumes.”

The show will be accompanied by a band, which includes piano, violin, flute, saxophone and bongo drums.

“It really adds to the sound.”

Along with locals, Singleton said the cast also featured an out-of-towner who became involved with the production after a chance meeting with herself and another woman in town.

Te Hunt, who is working in the region for a few months, will be playing the friendly bear Baloo.

“I said ‘You’d be great in the cast, I think you should come along’.

“He fit the role perfectly.”

Singleton said the players decided to stage a musical this year because they had an exciting project they were working towards.

Members of Fiordland Players had been looking into building a theatre, she said. After investigating several options, their idea went public and they were approached by those who were also planning on building a museum in the area.

“They felt like an arts centre would be a good fit for Te Anau.”

At the moment, they were working with Venture Southland to come up with a strategic plan, which would be followed by a feasibility study, she said.

“We’ve still got a long way to go.”

However, in the near future they hoped to be able to build an arts centre which would include a purpose-built small theatre.

“Because that was in the pipeline we decided we wanted to do a show which would get the community involved.

“It’s really worked, we’ve got so many more people involved… It’s very encouraging.”

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Thursday, July 5, to Saturday, July 7, 7.30pm, Fiordland Community Events Centre. Tickets from Clementine’s, 26 Town Centre, Te Anau (cash only), adults $25, children $15, family of four $60 (minimum of two children).

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