Theater Terra brings playful puppy Spot to the stage


Theater Terra production Spot.
Theater Terra production Spot.

ADAPTING a beloved children’s book for the stage has its benefits but with that also comes additional pressure.

Netherlands children’s theatre company Theater Terra premiered Spot, based on Eric Hill’s playful puppy, in Amsterdam in 2013 and the show has since been performed in Belgium, the US, Canada, Hong Kong and Macau, with an Australian tour in October.

“The fact that the books are well known around the world helps us selling tickets for the shows,” executive producer Michiel Morssinkhof said.

“But with that comes a lot of pressure to get the show just right.”

Morssinkhof said the company created children’s theatre that focused on the visual performance, where everything you see on stage is more important than the spoken word.

Hill’s Spot series was the ideal marriage of creative mediums, given their visual nature.

“The interactive aspect of the books, like looking for animals under the flaps, makes them very attractive to young children,” Morssinkhof said.

“We have incorporated many of these interactive elements into the show, such as searching for animals and completing a giant jigsaw puzzle on stage with the audience.”

The production is roughly based on Spot Goes to the Farm, but tells a new story developed by the theatre company’s creative team.

The 50-minute show for ages two and older features Spot and his friend Helen the hippopotamus, who visit Spot’s dad Sam on the farm, only to find all the farm animals missing.

All three main characters are puppeteered live on stage and the family musical has songs composed by director Fons Merkies.

“Since Spot is targeted at very young children, this will probably be the first time they experience a theatre show,” Morssinkhof said.

“We hope the experience of seeing Spot will inspire young children and their parents to visit more shows when they grow up.

“Performing theatre for children today is creating audiences for tomorrow.”

Community Newspaper Group has 15 double passes to give away to Spot on Wednesday, October 12 at 12pm. Enter here by September 23.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Spot

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre

When: October 11 to 15

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au