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 is a Mt Gambier based project of The PaperBoats employing Mt Gambier based professional artists.
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.
Congrats and thanks to the creative team, the admin team, our parnters and funders.
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
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.
- 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.
CREDITS ~ Seven Little Wonders
Director, Conceptualist, Lighting, Sound and Motion Graphics Designer.
Theatre-Maker, Performer, Composer, Music Producer.
Technical Director, Lighting Designer, Provocateur.
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.