Australia’s leading theatre producer John Frost and Her Majesty’s Theatre owner Mike Walsh have announced an exciting new initiative, Kid’s Week at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from 4-8 December 2019. During this week, every child 15 years and under will receive a free ticket to the show when accompanied by a full paying adult. Plus, as a special behind the scenes bonus, children will get to experience the fun, the people and the magic behind the show; a first for the Australian theatre industry.
The idea of Kid’s Week at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is to help children who may not yet have experienced world-class theatre productions to do so, by providing the free ticket for a child under 15 when accompanied by an adult, and a supporting ‘behind the scenes’ experience. At the beginning of each performance during Kid’s Week, a host will take to the stage before the performance and introduce the audience to Her Majesty’s Theatre, the people of the theatre (Stage Manager, Wardrobe, Lighting, Sound, Orchestra etc) and a special on-stage scene starring competition winners from the audience. I caught up with Craig Donnel, executive producer of the production to find out more.
“The idea came about from the wants of a few people,” he told me, “Myself and John [Frost] wanted to do something around the concept, which has not been seen in Australia up to this point and Mike [Walsh] was very supportive. The idea works on two levels, firstly to support parents of children that are interested in theatre and want to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes. Secondly, provide an opportunity for kids never been to the theatre before and help share this magic with them.”
Before each performance during Kid’s Week, there will be a 20-minute presentation where the audience can learn more about the process of producing theatre.
“7 kids will have the opportunity to come up and participate. These children will spend some time with the musical director conducting the orchestra, meet the head of lighting and learn about lighting cues, meet the stage manager and call some cues and even get to act on stage,” Mr Donnel told me “we are limited to 7 kids for logistical reasons, but the audience will experience this through the eyes of this lucky group.”
The ultimate aim of the programme is to help develop new audiences and demonstrate first hand that live entertainment has all the ingredients to compete with staying home and watching TV.
“At one point, we will be bringing all the team members on stage to show just how many people it takes to put on a show. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the team, like never before. We want to demonstrate the depth of the process and highlight that we are a thriving industry. We have world-class skill in this country and that needs passing down. It’s going to be so much fun and this is such a wonderful show to do this with.”
Experience the magic of theatre and a world of pure imagination during Kid’s Week at Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from 4-8 December 2019. Be prepared for the Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper.