Fun Palaces 2019 The Dragon In the Sea. Koro Sciascia, Sam Downes and Lucila Urquiola. Photo Erin Johnson

Artworks Theatre was full to the brim on Sunday with an audience which included child pirates and adult mermaids for an interactive show to cap off the Fun Palaces weekend.

The performance of The Dragon In The Sea had actors in captivating costumes and stunning make-up making use of the entire theatre space. The audience swivelled on their cushions to keep up with the action as the fate of the golden dragon egg unfolded around them.

Director Renee Casserly had adapted American author Kate Klimo’s The Dragon In The Sea to a Waiheke setting where the cast included dragon-keepers Benjamin Tauarea and Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman, the accordion-playing Nora West, a mermaid played by Toni Elliott, a giant sea slug and the zombie red-eyes.

The play culminated in a tea party where Renee says many cupcakes were consumed.

A busy schedule of workshops led up to the performance. On Saturday, keen snorkellers braved the cold to explore kina barrens near Enclosure Bay with the Kelp Gardeners, and film score composer  Graeme Revell held a workshop on capturing and manipulating sound for movies at Whittakers Musical Museum. Meanwhile, at the library, children spent the morning preparing to become top dragon-keepers and, in the afternoon, Timmy Smith ran a workshop on tea at Waiheke Adult Learning and children returned to the library to convert cardboard boxes into tiny homes ranging from a space station and science lab to tree houses.

On Sunday, the library ran a dragon-themed Makerspace and an African drumming and dance workshop out of Waiheke Adult Learning.

Fun Palaces director Renee Casserly says the event had been a great success with a good response to workshops and many people choosing to dress up for the show. 

“It all ran off pretty much without a hitch,” says Renee who is not sure at this stage if there’ll be another performance of the show as she would need to go back to Kate Klimo and her publisher to request further permission. 

She says the show has invigorated her to do more kids theatre which she’d like to get going on over the summer. • Erin Johnson


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