All the fruit and vegetables are ready for the party. Onion is practising his guitar, Aubergine is wearing her new necklace and Peach is bouncing with excitement.
But Potato, who loves mud, is too dirty to join them.
Potato Needs a Bath, a witty drama for children aged three and up, will come to Perth from Scotland for the 21st Awesome Festival, which starts next Saturday (September 30).
“Shona Reppe, who created Potato, is one of the funniest women alive,” says Jenny Simpson, Awesome’s CEO and artistic director (who is also co-director of Mosman Park’s Mighty Camelot Choir).
“She is one of the most respected children’s theatre makers in the world and it was a real scoop to get her to Perth for Awesome.”
The festival targets children up to the age of 12, but many of its shows appeal to all ages.
Among other international visitors is best-selling New Zealand children’s author Dame Lynley Dodd, famed for her zany animal heroes Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum, Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony, and Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town.
Dame Lynley (“call me Lynley”) will spend four days at Awesome, taking part in a launch of her latest book – Scarface Claw, Hold Tight, a Meet the Author session and an open Who Are You? interview with the ABC’s Geoff Hutchison.
Among the festival’s ticketed events are Polar Bears Go Up, from the Netherlands; Kaleidoscope, a Queensland circus show starring a 13-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome; shadow puppet shows Swamp Juice and Slapdash Galaxy; and Touch and Go, a creative dancing game for two-year-olds.
There are intriguing workshops: making shadow puppets, shaping clay, building a coral reef with textiles, learning the secrets of film-making – special effects, zombie makeup, fantasy head gear, screen acting.
The West Australian Make and Play Space at the Urban Orchard has a week full of creative activities such as rock painting, noodle sculptures, T-shirt transfers, soap-making, mad hatters, mud kitchen, felt faces, crazy hairstyles and totem poles, all for $20.50 for the week – or $5 concession!.
Most activities will be in and around the Perth Cultural Centre in Northbridge, but the festival will expand to the UWA campus on the opening weekend, for two days of Awesome pop-up creative activities, including free 20-minute tours of the solar system with real astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy.
Barking Gecko will present the astonishing Babbert’s Book of Lost Stories at the Octagon Theatre and Canadian puppeteer Jeff Achtem will perform Slapdash Galaxy at the Dolphin Theatre.
Prices for the festival’s ticketed events are heavily subsidised and range from $10 to $28, but Health Care/Pension Card holders can go to shows and workshops for only $5.
There is also a long list of free events, including Revelations’ Mini Rev films, WAJO’s Jazz for Juniors, the Lollipop Ladies, Lolka the 2.5-metre high wind-up doll, Madame Lark with her musical-saw, and building activities with cubes, bricks, cogs and curves.
Jenny Simpson is convinced that involvement in the arts can change young lives. “Children deserve the best,” she says.
Awesome International Arts Festival for Bright Young Things will run from September 30 to October 13.
For more info about the Festival go to www.awesomearts.com