Zookeeper Sam needs help

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY! -

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).

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