Jaz­za­matazz! in Spot On Chil­dren’s Festvial

Time Out (Sydney) - - THIS MONTH IN SYDNEY -

River­side The­atres' fes­ti­val has a packed pro­gram for kids up to 12. By Emma Joyce

Amy Matthews has been in­volved with the chil­dren's fes­ti­val since its in­cep­tion in 2012, and one of the things she's driv­ing this year in her role as Spot On's pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor is a se­ries of “re­laxed per­for­mances”, catered to young au­di­ence mem­bers who have ad­di­tional needs or anx­i­eties. “Re­laxed per­for­mances are where the rules of theatre are thrown out the win­dow,” ex­plains Matthews. Au­di­ence mem­bers are free to come and go dur­ing shows; lights are dimmed, rather than pitch black; and chil­dren can make noise or roam the theatre if they wish. “It's mak­ing it a more com­fort­able and re­laxed at­mos­phere, so peo­ple can en­joy the work with­out hav­ing to worry about those rules,” she says. The move is thanks to a suc­cess­ful re­laxed per­for­mance pro­grammed last year called Señor Rab­bit. The same per­former, Lilli Pang, will be of­fer­ing a re­laxed per­for­mance of the sto­ry­telling show Cu­ri­ous Jac, and there'll be a tai­lored per­for­mance of Mr Snot Bot­tom’s Stinky, Silly Show – a gross-out stand-up com­edy show aimed at older chil­dren. Matthews' top pick for young'uns is the cabaret show that has par­ents and tots bop­ping along to jazzy pop songs – Ali McGre­gor's Jaz­za­matazz! “She's an amaz­ing jazz singer,” says Matthews. “She'll be singing songs from my grand­par­ents' time right through to Bey­oncé.” ABC Kids and CBee­bies view­ers will be thrilled to hear that Lah-Lah's Big Live Band is on the bill, as well as a fam­ily show, But Wait… There’s More, from the Cir­cus Oz troupe. But the top pick for ten- to 12-year-olds is the retro movie day, Be Kind: Rewind, fea­tur­ing screen­ings of The Goonies, Labyrinth and newer films like Big Hero 6. Matthews says: “We're en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to wear their one­sies! The ben­e­fits are twofold: it's for par­ents who are my age and want to share those movies with their kids – but it's also for slightly older kids who are in­ter­ested in do­ing a movie marathon.” In ad­di­tion to the per­for­mances, there'll be free ac­tiv­i­ties in the court­yard, so kids can let off some steam be­fore or af­ter see­ing a show – like face paint­ing, colour­ing-in, Jenga and bal­loon twist­ing.

River­side Theatre Cnr Church & Mar­ket Sts, Par­ra­matta 2150. 02 8839 3399. river­side­par­ra­matta.com.au. $0-$49. Sep 29-Oct 4.

Spon On Chil­dren's Fes­ti­val

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