Gumnut babies in blossom
WA Ballet is taking children on a wondrous journey into the imagination of May Gibbs with The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie at the 2020 AWESOME International Arts Festival for Bright Young Things.
Choreographer Andries Weidemann has returned after the success of last year’s production of Peter and the Wolf, with the free event at Perth Cultural Centre marking the company’s foray into children’s ballet and garnering positive feedback.
Originally from South Africa, Weidemann admitted he needed some help when searching for this season’s follow-up, determined to make it a more West Australian story.
“Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was suggested to me by a friend who gave me a copy of her book to read,” Weidemann, of Northbridge, said.
“When doing ballet you have to show, you can’t tell, so Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was great because it’s really big on imagination and action.
“The good and evil dichotomy is evenly drawn and I thought that natural conflict would make a good ballet for children.”
Weidemann, who lectures at WAAPA, said the 30-minute production was a studiously curated version of The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, taking the episodic nature of the Gibbs classic and creating a single narrative of gumnut brothers Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’s adventure to see some humans.
“The central conflict is between Mr Lizard and Mrs Snake, so we engage with that and the gumnut babies get caught up in the drama,” he said.
“One of the best things we did was decide to have some original music composed. I’ve worked with composer Emma Jayakumar who created a 30-minute original score for the work (recorded by Perth Symphony Orchestra), which was very much driven by the narrative and does most of the storytelling.
“The music is memorable and (there's) a theme that’s like an ear-worm.”
Dancers include WA Ballet’s young artists and members of the corps de ballet, performing with set and costumes by recent WAAPA graduate Amalia Lambert.
The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is on 11am daily from September 28 to October 2 at Perth Cultural Centre. No ticket required.