The PaperBoats is an international partnership platform for theatre-makers invested in co-creating meticulously crafted performance events for children, which inspire their arts engagement. The platform was conceived and founded by  Dave Brown in 2016 after 20 years as Artistic Director of Patch Theatre Company.
THE FIRST FOUR YEAR PHASE of The PaperBoats theatre-making activity (2016-2020), was prompted by a simple animating idea ~ explore TWO in any which way.
Especially on Birthdays ~  A poetic visual theatre work for 3-8 year olds about a pair of twins and a 6th birthday one of them doesn’t want to have. This visual narrative about sameness and difference was directed by Dave Brown and co-created by many artists in Adelaide, South Australia and abroad.
“I was so captivated by the beauty and energy of Especially on Birthdays.   

So many of the images left me breathless.

Jonathan Shmidt Chapman

Executive Director, Theatre for Young Audiences/USA

 The Strangest Dream ~ A 70 minute online performance from the US composer of Especially on Birthdays, Matthew Wilder.

Directed by The PaperBoats AD, Dave Brown, Matthew shares his roller coaster ride across four decades to finding his path as a pop-star, record producer, movie composer, song-writer, TikTok celebrity, writer of musicals and parent to two talented sons. Watch it at your leisure, via video rental. (link below)

The Strangest Dream is a partnership project between The PaperBoats, Hallelujah Productions and Boat Rocker Entertainment.

Gimme Please!  ~ Two friends persist in getting what they need from one another in the process of finding their path. This poetic, visual theatre work for 2-5 year olds about control and letting go was directed by Megan Alrutz and Sam Provenzano in  Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia in a co-creation process between Australia and the US. Learn more … 

“Oh the audience loved Gimme Please!

Everyone was laughing and feeling everything that the performers were feeling on stage.

It was really remarkable.”

Natasha Small

Artist and Choreographer, Austin, Texas

Sam Provenzano and Megan Alrutz (theatre-maker/directors ~ USA) are guiding an Egyptian team in a remount of  Gimme Please! for performance by an Egyptian cast for the Hakawy International Festival in partnership with The PaperBoats, UT Austin and the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta. 

When the Mirror Bird Sings – an immersive visual theatre experience unfolding a mythical tale of kindness overcoming greed. The performance is orchestrated by Max Richter’s astounding recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, with children’s participation amplifying the themes of hope and renewal. This visual narrative about “lines that connect and lines that divide” was directed by Dave Brown and co-created with Juliette and Scott Griffin in Adelaide, South Australia. 

From the very beginning of When the Mirror Bird Sings,  I was completely captivated, mesmerised!

It was a deeply moving performance which was archetypically layered and elegant. 

The Vivaldi was sublime!”

Nicole Lamprel

Parent and Educator

THE SECOND FOUR YEAR PHASE of The PaperBoats theatre-making activity (2020-2024) has been prompted by another simple animating idea ~ explore wonderment.
seventological.wonderment is a cluster of projects which will explore the wonders of light, colour, music and the number seven
This framework was inspired by Sir Issac Newton’s discovery in the 17th Century that white light could be split into the colours of the rainbow using a prism.

Because seven was a magical and mystical number in those times, Newton imagined that he saw seven colours in the rainbow (ROY G BIV ~ red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) which beautifully coincided with the observation that there are seven notes in the musical scale.

Thus he conjectured that light, colour, music and sound were intrinsically intertwined as a wonder of the universe.

Our seventological.wonderment framework is finding expression in the following projects: 

Sevenwell is an open-ended, unabashed, come what may, playground of whimsical content-making by The PaperBoats being joyfully and  randomly brewed by Jon Bode and Dave Brown.

It is inspired a host of improbable characters who seem to be unwittingly connected to a mysterious force that is playing in their lives and linking them to something wondrous.

The game is being played out on in the form of songs, music, graphic art, video, community engagement and storylines.

The material is slowly being stitched together in the form of the PODCAST – which describes itself as an “odd-ball odyssey of encounters of the seventh kind”

Wonder  ~ is a dance-theatre project by director/theatre-maker, Sally Chance and her team in association with The PaperBoats and Insite Arts.

Using her Family Dance Labs process of working with babies to three year olds and their adults, Sally has created a work with communities ~ exploring the universe of us.

Together, mums, dads, grandparents with their babies, toddlers and two year olds have artistically explored light, star gazing and the interconnectedness of us all in a wide and wondrous universe to make Wonder!

Seven Little Wonders ~ Director and conceptualist Dave Brown worked with Gavin Clarke, Sarah Brokensha, Bob Weatherly, Fay Cakebread and Anya McKee  to create a theatre-performance event for 3-8 year olds incorporating light, colour, music, sound, video projection and deep participation.

The show premiered to over 1300 children at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre in Mt Gambier across a two week season in March 2022.

The shows main character, Imogen, is a story-maker whose imagination manifests itself live on the stage when StarMan Sam arrives and begins to share the power of colour and music with six children selected by Imogen to be in her story.

It soon becomes apparent that Imogen herself will need to enter the story if StarMan Sam is to complete his mission – which he must do in order to earn a passage home to his loved ones. Imogen’s quest leads us to discover the power of music, colour and light through art and creation.

Seven Little Wonders was a Mt Gambier based project of The PaperBoats, employing Mt Gambier based professional artists through ArtsSA and Country ArtsSA.


Beyond seventological.wonderment are a number of more open-ended WONDERMENT  projects, being supported and scafolded by The PaperBoats.

The Chrysalis Box

Children in a K-3 class are sent a mystery box by an artist from The PaperBoats and the children and educators respond to the mysteries of the box through art and play.

When the children’s responses are shared back with the artist an artistic relationship emerges between the children, the educators, the artists and the box spawning wonder, learning and joy.

In one iteration of The Chrysalis Box project, artists Temeka Lawlor and Angus Leighton share their Chrysalis Box with students at Clare Primary School.

Temeka and Angus have been mentored and supported by The PaperBoats as emerging artist/theatre-maker/producers across the last 4 years in a project generously funded by Thyne Reid Foundation and auspiced by Patch Theatre Company.
The Chrysalis Box was a partnership between The PaperBoats and Patch Theatre Company.

Lift Off  is a research and development project by Stephen Noonan in partnership with The PaperBoats. 

In 2021 Stephen created performance modules and shared them students and staff at Kilkenny Preschool. His aim was to test these performance segments with students to explore how they responded. 

In 2022, Stephen began the process of building the ideas and content of his 2021 investigation into a performance for 3-5 year olds with the support of director, Dave Brown, designer, Greg Cousins and composer, James Brown.

His non-verbal, interactive performance entitled the Boy and the Ball will be premiered at the Goodwood Theatre and Studios in August 2022 as part if the COMEBACK Festival.


Temeka Lawlor is the new Associate Artistic Director with The PaperBoats SA, where she will have artistic management of Especially on Birthdays and When the Mirror Bird Sings whilst developing  a new work of her own called Precious Things.

Temeka is has worked consistently with Patch Theatre and The PaperBoats since her graduation from the Adelaide College of the Arts in 2017.  She’s been a key theatre-maker/performer in Patch Theatre’s production ZOOOM and The PaperBoats Especially on Birthdays and brings her astute talents and insight to her new role with The PaperBoats.

Temeka and The PaperBoats will present Especially on Birthdays with Tim Mackie, Bob Weatherly, Robyn and Dave Brown in small communities tours to the Limestone Coast, Murray Mallee and Eyre Peninsular in 4 weeks of regional touring in partnership with Country ArtsSA throughout 2022 and perform a 2 week holiday season in September 2022 to the Out of the Square circuit of venues. 


The PaperBoats Partnership Directors: Dave Brown – Adelaide, SA, Dr Brant Pope, Dr Megan Alrutz – University of Texas, Austin, Jim Weiner, Boat Rocker Entertainment, New York, Luanne Poh – The Artground, Singapore, Stephen Blackburn, Kerryn Palmer, Wellington, New Zealand, Robyn Brown, Business Development Manager – Adelaide SA.

The PaperBoats Partnership Platform has been assisted by the South Australian Government through ArtsSA and Country ArtsSA and  the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory group.

 The PaperBoats thanks the many artists, advisors, educators, carers, kindergartens and schools who have offered their support and insights during the development and trialing of its works. We are also deeply grateful for the support of the following partner organisations without whose support our venture would not be possible.

Adelaide Festival Centre
Auspicious Arts Projects
Australia Council for the Arts
Adelaide College of the Arts
Alliance Theatre, Atlanta
Boat Rocker Entertainment
Commonwealth Games Festival 2018
Country Arts SA
Goodwood Theatre and  Studios
Hopgood Theatre
Hayawy International Festival, Egypt
International Performing Arts for Youth
Insite Arts
James and Dianna Ramsey Foundation
JonesMacQueen Business Consultants
Kueh Tutus, Singapore

National Arts Council of Singapore
Naracoorte Lucindale Council
Marion Cultural Centre
Out of the Square Touring Circuit
Patch Theatre Company
Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre
Sally Chance Dance
The Artground, Singapore
Thyne Reid Foundation
University of Texas – Department of Theatre and Dance
Victoria University, Wellington, NZ
Wilder Kingdom Music ~ Hallelujah Productions, Inc