Seven Little Australians

THE only Australian novel continuously in print for 140 years is being brought to life as a musical.

Based on the book by Ethel Turner and directed by Kimberley Shaw at Stirling Theatre, Seven Little Australians is the story of a family with seven unruly children growing up in 1880s Sydney.

Widower Captain Woolcot re-marries a young and beautiful girl, not much older than his eldest daughter, and together the family share the trials and triumphs of life in colonial times.

“It’s a musical with lots of heart that appeals to audiences of all ages, whether you take your children or grandmother,” Kimberley said.

“Lovers of the original book will be pleased the most memorable aspects of the novel are all there but the musical has added some great production numbers, such as Walking the Block, a bush dance in Yarrahappini and the children’s French class.”

The main challenge, according to Kimberley, is working with very small children in the cast.

“Our children are wonderful but even the brightest four-year-old has a limited attention span and sometimes just wants to do their own thing,” she said.

“Having said that, the children also make our rehearsals very fun.”

Involved in theatre for more than 30 years, Kimberley has worked with Blak Yak, KADS, Playlovers, Roleystone, Stirling and Kwinana Theatres and the Koorliny Arts Centre and is currently president of the Independent Theatre Association.

She has several awards to her credit, twice-winning best production and best youth production at Dramafest, the annual state drama festival, and also scoring the best musical gong at the Finley Awards four times – most recently for Curtains.

“Seven Little Australians appealed because I thought it would be lovely to do a family show for a change, as my last few shows have had more adult content,” Kimberley said.

“I loved the book as a child and I enjoy doing shows that are a little offbeat.

“This musical had a so-called national tour when it premiered in 1988 but never reached Perth so, to the best of our knowledge, it has never been performed in Western Australia.”

Seven Little Australians plays at 7.30pm July 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 with 2pm matinees July 9 and 16. Tickets are $25, $23 concession and $20 members – book at trybooking.com/CDWVR

Stirling Theatre is at 25 Morris Place, Innaloo.

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