The exciting and magical kids show encouraging imagination
Arts Centre Melbourne’s Summer Families Season has kicked off, starting with the fun, colourful, and captivating performance of I Wish… from Patch Theatre and Gravity & Other Myths.
Launching on January 18, the show’s Victorian premiere has been long-awaited due to its ability to step into the imagination of children and explore the magic of individuality within each and every audience member.
Creating sophisticated work for children is something the show’s creators, artistic director of Patch Theatre Geoff Cobham and artistic director of Gravity & Other Myths Darcy Grant, are deeply passionate about implementing through I Wish….
“Children’s’ imaginations are like super computers, and they are so much better at it than us, so the challenge for us as adult makers of children’s work is to try and level up to them and get into that imaginative space with them,” Darcy said.
“To quote my daughter, I think I Wish… is about what people can be, and about what is possible for kids to be and become. We have tried to have it that each one of the scenes has a central focus around one of the three key criteria of where education is going; becoming, belonging and being.”
As a playful show featuring high calibre acrobats as they experiment with 400 bursts of colour cues, from around the stage and their own individual tube lights, I Wish… is both a creative and technically advanced production of the highest calibre.
Its previous and current success as a magical masterpiece is evidently due to the bringing together of the two strong, renowned and unique theatre companies.
Patch Theatre’s 50-plus years of experience in children theatre and Gravity & Other Myths’ world-renowned acrobatic performances are what makes I Wish… a show that left the audience members of all ages pleasantly surprised and enthusiastic after its opening run.
But ultimately the show was created with children between the ages of four and eight in mind, and both Darcy and Geoff have taken this responsibility very seriously.
“It’s a real pressure and precious thing to be children’s first artistic experience of theatre, and if we get it right, they’ll be the subscribers of the future and they’ll engage with art,” Geoff said.
“We also really love encouraging them to talk through the show and have a ‘no shush’ policy, because they are only ever talking about the show, and they like to make their own stories up and so we leave room for them to do that.”
Using colour as a way to connect with children, who so often use colour as a way to start conversations and express emotions, is one of the show's additional highlighting features.
Each child in the audience is given something tangible to hold, in a specific colour, that directly allows them to relate to the performers onstage and make them feel like they are part of the magical world before them.
I Wish… is at the Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse for only a short run, with performances taking place every day at 1pm and 5pm until January 21.
For more information and tickets, visit: artscentremelbourne.com.au/whats-on/2023/kids-and-families/i-wish
Photo 1: Andrew Beveridge.