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Featuring a narrator who encourages audience participation, The Australian Ballet’s upcoming Adelaide production is a performance that is somewhat out of the ordinary for the national company.
A twist on the ballet favourite Sleeping Beauty, the Australian Ballet’s production (Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty) is in town right now to entertain children and their parents with a show that brings together characters from classic fairy tales including Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. Director David McAllister says the Australian Ballet wanted to stage a production aimed at children for a number of years but did not have the resources to make it happen until now. “This year we have enlarged the company to allow us to be able to stage Storytime Ballet,” McAllister says. “So it is great to finally have this production touring around the country.” Storytime Ballet will be performed in Noarlunga at the Hopgood Theatre on April 27 before five performances at the Festival Centre on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1. At only 50 minutes, and featuring a narrator (Sean McGrath) who encourages audience interaction, Storytime Ballet is short and interactive with McAlister saying he wants the young audience to “feel as though they are a part of what was happening on stage”. “Our Narrator Sean McGrath tells the story through the character of Catalabutte and invites the audience to be a part of the unfolding of the story through using the ‘magical’ powers to help progress through the scenes. He also interacts with them as he tells the story including one time where he asks them to tell him if the evil Carabosse arrives at the party, much in the pantomime mould. “ Ballet, as well as dance, has a huge participation rate for children and McAllister thinks it’s ideal for children to not only participate in dance but to watch is as a part of an audience. “I think it is great for children to experience both. Being a part of a ballet class promotes your understanding of your body and teaches you co-ordination, musicality and kinetic learning. Coming to a performance like Storytime then gives context to the studio experience and also takes the children into a world of fantasy and theatre. It shows the end result of what you are doing in the studio and could possibly inspire some young dancers to become professional dancers.” Storytime Ballet: Sleeping Beauty Noarlunga Hopgood Theatre Wednesday, April 27 Adelaide Festival Centre Saturday, April 30 to Sunday, May 1 (various times) australianballet.com.au Photos: Jeff Busby