We at The PaperBoats make our works for children from scratch over a 2-3 year period.  We began the Seven Little Wonders project with an urge to pay homage to the wonder and power of art and creation.

The title of the work 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 (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) which beautifully coincided with his observation that there are seven notes in the musical scale.

Newton suggested that light, colour, music and sound might be all parts of a whole; that they were fundamentally intertwined.

We now know that that is not the case but we loved the idea that music, sound, colour and light  belong to another and that when they play together in human company they cause us to dance, connect, synchronize and find expression and joy through art and creation.

Seven Little Wonders was created in Mt Gambier by The PaperBoats in partnership with Country Arts SA,  employing experienced local professional performer/theatre-makers, Sarah Broekensha and Gavin Clarke.

We are thrilled to have won the ArtsSA Ruby Award for the Outstanding Work for Young People 2022 for our premiere season of Seven Little Wonders..

Imogen is a story-maker and her 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 and become its hero along with her six associates if StarMan Sam is to complete his mission – which he must do in order to earn a passage home to his loved ones.

A missing piece needs to be retrieved in the quest to complete the mission.

Every audience member through their engagement with the seven colours of the rainbow and the seven notes of the musical scale become part of the solution to the problem of the “missing piece”.

With the quest fulfilled, we are left to celebrate the wonder and power of art and creation in all of our lives.

The PaperBoats continues to provide quality and relevant productions for young people and their latest production combines projection, light, sound, music (and children!) to create a delightfully vibrant and fun production.

Inspired by the natural wonder of splitting light through a prism, ‘Seven Little Wonders’ has been thoughtfully created with a genuine understanding of its target audience. 

As we exited the theatre, one could not help overhearing the children chat excitedly about their favourite parts of the production. As the saying goes… children are the best critics!

In this story, StarMan Sam needs to find the missing piece of a puzzle so that he can return home to his family. The audience are recruited to help solve the puzzle, providing a personal connection with the story on stage.

Gavin Clarke and Sarah Brokensha are wonderfully warm as they tell their story through a beautiful array of lighting, sound and choreography. It’s presented in simple and exciting ways, all of which take us a step closer to solving the puzzle for StarMan Sam.

Review - Andy Ahrens

Well wow!!!!

 Congratulations to an amazing creative group of humans.

That performance was just amazing! You had both the children and adults captivated and so engaged!

 The magic of light and sound were just wonderful.  We were gobsmacked!! We just loved, loved, loved  it!! Thanks for sharing your amazing talents with us.

Sally Gower – Kindergarten Educator, Rendelsham

My children, who are aged 9 and 11, really enjoyed the performance of Seven Little Wonders.

It was masterfully constructed and we all loved the way the children were able to participate in the show without the use of words.  It was enchanting to watch.

The children in the audience loved being able to shake their bells on cue to be part of the experience too.

The use of instruments to convey emotion and storytelling was magical and when I heard the gasps of my children, I knew they were fully engaged and following the story.

Thank you to all involved for an enchanting and deeply inspiring experience.

We loved:

  • the connections made between musical notes, tones, colour and light
  • the interactivity and intimacy
  • the performances of Imogen and Starman Sam
  • the mix of live and projected images
  • the mix of live music and the pre-recorded underscore

And most of all we loved how the “star-children” were trusted to be a part of the show. My kids loved it and that was very special.

We are always on the lookout for quality theatre performances to enrich the knowledge and experiences of our children.  We do this because the world is a big place, filled with so many different concepts, ideas and opportunities and we find theatre crosses boundaries in a way that is not inhibited by subject boundaries, prior understanding or cultural lines.

We have attended The PaperBoats performances every time they have performed in Mount Gambier over the past few years and each time it has led to exactly the experience I have described above.  The performances speak directly to the intelligence and intuition of children in a way that is never condescending or simplistic.  Our daughter’s ability to understand the shows never fails to surprise and delight us and I find as an adult I am also left thinking about the show and its themes long after it has finished.

To attend shows of this quality in a regional area is greatly appreciated by our family.  And to think that the creation of this show all happened in Mt Gambier first and now it is heading to the city and other regional communities is a big plus for regional arts.

We were thrilled to learn the production won the Ruby Award for Best Work for Children in 2022 and are delighted to hear of these plans to present the work state-wide.

Nicole Tumminello

Co-ordinator - Limestone Coast Home School Group

Seven Little Wonders ~ Sources of Inspiration


In addition to Sir Issac Newton, there are numerous other sources of inspiration for our story of the Seven Little Wonders.

The Man from the Land of Fandango is a joyful illlustrated children’s book by iconic New Zealand author, Margaret Mahy.

The man fron the land of Fandango
Is given to dancing and dreams
He comes in the door
Like a somersault star
And he juggles … with caramel creams
And he jingles and jongles and jangles
And he dances on ceilngs and walls
And he only appears every five hundred years
So you’d better be home when he calls.

Fandango man comes from the stars bringing all the joys of music, colour and play to the children lucky enough to meet him.

David Bowie in his song StarMan sings ….

There’s a star man wating in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’ll blow our minds …

He told me …
Let the children boogie!

Again a man from the star brings the promise of music and dance – to the children!!

Bowie’s song references another very famous song from the The Wizard of Oz movie – a song called Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Bowie’s song and the Wizard of Oz song both use an octave shift in the melody.

Star > Man and  Some > Where are a direct melodic match. 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Both songs dare us to dream and enter other realms of possibility … just as we do in our performance of Seven Little Wonders.

We have a song in our performance that blends the two songs together with a third very famous children’s song “Twinkle Little Star”.

Our song helps set the scene at the beginning of the show. You can see a video clip and text of this scene below.

Imogen is a storyteller and this is her story and because her story is happening right here and now, she begins with the words …. “once upon the time of now, there was a Star Queen in the night sky, whose name is Ultra Vilolet. She’s everywhere at the same time because she can travel faster than the speed of light and she’s mainly invisible although sometimes, children especially, can see her traces and trails in the night sky…

Little Star, Little Star
How I wonder what you are
Little Star, Little Star
How I wonder what you are

Somewhere over the rainbow
There’s a StarMan
Waiting in the sky 

Little Star, Little Star
How I wonder what you are

Imogen loves numbers, all sorts of numbers but especially the number seven!

She loves it so much that she calls her story, this story, the Seven Little Wonders.


Ultra Violet, Star Queen of the Night Sky, is an invention of the children and staff at the Robe and Rendelsham Kindergartens. For those children, UltraViolet was an invisible fairy sprite that left tinsel dust around their kindy and was responsible for all sorts of unseen mischief and possibility. 

In our show, Ultra Violet never speaks but she’s guides us throughout the performance, especially when we’re lost and don’t know what to do.

You might call her – our “muse”.

CREDITS ~ Seven Little Wonders

Dave Brown

Director, Conceptualist, Lighting, Sound and Motion Graphics Designer.

Gavin Clarke

Theatre-Maker, Performer, Composer, Music Producer.

Sarah Brokensha

Theatre-Maker, Performer.

Bob Weatherly

Technical Director, Lighting Designer, Provocateur.

Fay Cakebread

Technical Supervisor.

Robyn Brown

Business Development Manager.

Amanda Jones and Belinda MacQueen

Arts Planning and Business Consultants

Project Management ~ Auspicious Arts Projects

Producing Partners ~ Country Arts SA and the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre

Special thanks to Frank Morello and Jo Smith at the Helpmann Theatre alongside Lousia Norman and Pippa Stroud at Country ArtsSA, Adelaide for their unerring support.


Learning Prompts for Educators and Parents:  Below we offer educators and parents ~  Sneak Peeks into the themes, ideas and processes of creation as they relate to our production of Seven Little Wonders.

We know how busy you are, so each one will longer than 3 minutes to read and absorb. These little Sneak Peeks are designed to help you weave some related activity into your children’s learning.


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

Gavin Clarke’s  music composition for Seven Little Wonders was supported by Regional Arts Australia Fund.

Seven Little Wonders will tour to regional venues statewide in Febraury-March 2024 in a project made possible by the Government of South Australia through Country Arts SA’s Elevate Grants program which supports artists and arts organisations in regional and remote South Australia.

The PaperBoats is very appreciative of the many artists, advisors, educators,  carers and partnership organisations who have offered their support and insights during the development and trialing of this work.