Recently I attended a concert by the WA Symphony Orchestra with several eight year olds and their mothers. We sat in the choir stalls behind the orchestra where we could see the percussionist preparing the crash cymbals and watch the conductor’s face. It was such an exciting experience; the sound was so immediate and enveloping it made the skin tingle. The children were utterly transfixed and had animated discussions amongst themselves as they left the concert hall.
The experience reminded me that we don’t need to wait for special ‘children’s’ events. Children lap up mainstream exhibitions and performances right alongside their adults. If you want to try something similar over the holidays WASO are doing two very exciting programs which would be perfect: Symphonie Fantastique with a young star conductor Fabien Gabel, and Beethoven Eroica. Try the $30 choir stall tickets for a truly vivid experience.
That said, there is also something wonderful about art made especially with children in mind. One of the highlights of the October school holidays is AWESOME Festival, an event which over it 23 year history has firmly established itself as the premier event for families and schools in Western Australia. The arts festival has been ranked as one of the top 25 events in the world for young people. The program this year is bursting with world class shows and workshops including a free performance of Peter and the Wolf by WA Ballet. Read an overview from artistic director Jenny Simpson who gave Seesaw the low down on this year’s programme.
If you want to dive deeper into the story of Peter and Wolf you can also check out the orchestral version with narrator which – in lovely synchronicity – will also be performed by the WA Youth Orchestra on October 12 and 13, perfect for children aged four and above.
More music treats (for those under seven) can be found at the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra’s Jazz for Juniors concerts on October 1st and 2nd.
In the world of theatre get ready for a hands-on, participatory experience at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s world premiere season of On Our Beach. Be transported to an imaginary beach where strangers become friends and you have a chance to ride a surf board, be part of sculptures by the sea, play a game of beach volleyball and swim in a sea of shimmering balls.
Older youth might take interest in a world premiere by Black Swan State Theatre and Barking Gecko which opens October 10. Fully Sikh is a new Australian work by one of Australia’s most talented and celebrated spoken word artists. Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa made headlines around the globe when she performed a poem confronting racism on Australia’s Got Talent and went on to tour her poetry across Australia and overseas. Fully Sikh is Sukhjit’s story, features a Punjabi meal cooked live on stage and marks her highly anticipated theatre debut.
There is more theatre later in October when Eric Hill’s beloved puppy Spot arrives at the State Theatre Centre with a show full of puppetry, songs, and puzzles, suitable for children from 18 months old and their adults.
The Art Gallery of WA are offering several free workshops to coincide with Botanical Beauty and Peril. The exhibition explores the abundant beauty of the botanical world and the threats that assail it. After your visit draw a magnificent winged beauty or a frightening flight of feathers in response to the exhibition, or visit the Imagination Room and contribute to Conversations with Rain, a project exploring poetic responses to weather and our relationship to the environment and climate change.
AGWA will also host Artmaking Workshops with Eveline Kotai. The multi-generational workshop involves constructing your own creation or working as a group. Let your imagination run free and take home your own unique piece of recycled art. And don’t forget the Fremantle Arts Centre which is a hub for art workshops for five year old through to teenagers, offering everything from anime and photography to film making and pottery.
Keep an eye on Seesaw Magazine as there will be dozens of reviews coming in over the holidays, many from our junior critics who will be keeping you informed. And don’t forget to share your own responses on our Facebook page.
Picture top: Awesome Festival features art events curated especially for children.