Jazzamatazz! in Spot On Children’s Festvial
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