Zookeeper Sam needs help
hen Zookeeper Sam and his animals have a bad day, they need children at the Globe Theatre to help them out.
In Tall Poppies’ holiday production from July 11-15, children of all ages in the audience play a very important part in helping Sam and his animals solve their problems.
Zookeeper Sam’s Bad Day is a new production written especially for Tall Poppies by former student Amy Atkins, a poet and playwright, who’s now studying at Massey University.
Tall Poppies director Del Costello commissioned Amy last year to write the play especially for children aged between three and 10 and it’s having its premiere at The Globe next month. The play is set at Aotearoa Zoo where all the animals are troubled. For example the tuatara has hiccups and the kiwi is afraid of the dark but, with the help of the audience, their issues can be resolved.
‘‘They all have separate problems and personalities that children will relate to and enjoy,’’ Del says.
Tall Poppies had open auditions for the roles and Del has chosen five youth actors between the ages of 13 and 18, to play 10 different characters including the kiwi, tuatara, fruit bat, dog and Zookeeper Sam and his helper.
Zookeeper Sam’s Bad Day is directed by Del and Amy who’ve designed a set that’s close to a real jungle. With the help of plants hired from Palmerston North City Council’s reserves department and their imagination, they’ve transformed the entrance and stage into a leafy enclosure.
The production is an amusing, fun show with a strong message and catchy music that will delight children of all ages.
‘‘The audience will learn about New Zealand animals and their special characteristics and realise that, by working together, problems can be solved,’’ Del says.
The two daily performances at 10am and 2pm last for nearly an hour and afterwards children can meet the characters.
Del established Tall Poppies in 2006 to provide an opportunity for youngsters to learn performance skills and grow in confidence. Each year there are several opportunities to take part in productions at the Globe Theatre.
Del is also keen to give her young audience the opportunity to experience live theatre at an affordable price and develop a love for it. With the support of Creative Community Grants and an army of volunteers, Del can offer quality productions during the holidays for $7 a ticket.
This year is Tall Poppies’ 10th birthday and Del is holding an anniversary party next month.
Zookeeper Sam’s Bad Day runs from July 11-15 at 10am and 2pm. Purchase tickets ($7 plus booking fee) from the Globe (06-351-4409).
Learning Zookeeper Sam’s script, from left, director Del Costello, Olivia Costello (Kea), Erin Gilchrist (Fruit Bat) and Amy Atkins (playwright and co-director).