At 6.45am it was calm and quiet out the front of the Queensland Performing Arts Complex. The city looked almost like a cardboard cutout framed by the banner of the Out of the Box lighting rig. It was the calm before the storm. A moment of silence before the bus and train loads of school children arrived. It was beautiful.
I could never be an early childhood educator.
I love the innocence and enthusiasm of children. I admire their boundless energy and wish I could harness just a fraction of it. But they are exhausting and watching parents and teachers trying to herd them to events this week has made me glad I teach people old enough to open their own drink bottle.
Kids may be hard to control but this is what makes them so interesting as audience members. There's a real honesty about them. They will not clap politely if they are not enjoying the show. They fidget or wiggle. They want to go to the toilet. They whinge or simply turn away. They are a tough crowd - but a very rewarding one if you get it right. Everything I have seem at this year's 20th birthday Out of the Box Festival for Children suggests that the organisers have got it right. The enthusiasm was genuine - and loud. That's infectious. I love it but secretly confess to loving even more being able take it all in without the soundtrack of childhood blaring out.
Review. Stradbroke DreamtimeThe children sit crossed legged on cushions on the floor around an upturned boat painted in traditional dot art. Three indigenous performers have then eating out of their hands as they tell them stories from "Aunty Kath" , the Aboriginal poet, author and artist who became Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
Stradbroke Dreamtime is a collection of stories of the then Kath Walker's early years growing up on Stradbroke Island. They hear about carpet snakes in the toilet and in the baby's crib, they hear about children being punished for being left handed and about traditional hunting and fishing.They hear songs and get to play the grasses and the trees and the birds. They seem totally engaged.
This production was created especially by QPAC and the Queensland Theatre Company for this year's Out of the Box Festival. It's an intimate work without the wizardry of performances in the larger performance spaces but it is well worth a look.
Verdict 4/5 stars. Recommended for children aged 4-8. 40 minute show.
Stradbroke Dreamtime is playing at Studio 2 QPAC until Saturday. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children.