The PaperBoats first international co-creation, is a non-verbal, visual theatre performance for 3-8 year olds that recreates all the joys, excitement and concerns of a pair of twins and a sixth birthday one of them doesn’t want to have. It’s is a performance exploring sameness and difference.

Part performance, part game, part celebration, the  production premiered at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, before presenting international seasons in Atlanta, Georgia USA and Singapore in 2019. Many performances have followed with seasons at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Marion Cultural Centre, The Rehearsal Shed Theatre, Sir Robert Helpman Theatre, Mt Gambier, Hopgood Theatre, Noarlunga Arts Centre, Prospect Town Hall and more than 40 community halls and schools across regional SA.

The performance is intimate, immersive and interactive with children from the audience playing complicit roles in the narrative. As part of The PaperBoats’ International Co-creation Project, the music score for Especially on Birthdays has been composed, arranged and performed by Los Angeles composer, Matthew Wilder who wrote the score for Disney’s Mulan amongst an array of other credits. 

“I was so captivated by the beauty and energy of Especially on Birthdays.  So many of the images left me breathless. The moment I will never forget is when a small child from the audience is blindfolded along with a performer and asked to walk across the space to deliver a parcel. The bravery, trust, and beautiful collaboration at play in this moment between adult and child is one of the most thrilling moments I’ve had in the theatre in a long time.  Bravo!”

Jonathan Shmidt Chapman

Executive Director, Theatre for Young Audiences/USA

“Children are arguably a much tougher audience than adults, but the joy in The Space Theatre at The Festival Centre was palpable for every minute of the 45 minute performance of Especially on Birthdays. Other than chortling and belly laughs from the multi-aged audience, you could hear a pin drop. No wriggling, no chattering, no interruptions. Only the sound of the excited intake of breath as the audience waited for the next piece of enchantment.

Jude Hines

Review, Stage Whispers

Through the magic of everyday objects such as paper and boxes, we are transported, with every sense tingling, to the world of twins where a special event provokes differing childlike reactions according to the personalities. The performances were compelling. Their emotions and movements had such appeal and honesty. This show takes us to the heart of childhood.”

Janene Brian

Children’s Book Author


“Our R-Year 7 were entranced as they engaged deeply with the story’s themes. The actors cleverly weave notions of respect, friendship, trust, and forgiveness into a whimsical yet spellbinding performance. The incredible soundtrack underpinned and bound the show together with elements of intense emotional drama and comedy – a thought-provoking show for all ages.”


Tim Packer

Yr 7 Teacher, St Joseph's School, Clare


Conceived and Directed by: Dave Brown
Associate Director: (Premiere Season ):  Roz Hervey
Associate Director: (Seasons 2021-2022) Temeka Lawlor

Performer/Theatre-Makers: Katrina Lazaroff, Stephen Noonan, Temeka Lawlor, Angus Leighton
Performer (2020-21): Tim Mackie

Lighting Designer/Provocateur: Geoff Cobham
Technical Manager/Lighting Consultation: Bob Weatherly
Music Score (USA): composed, arranged and performed by Matthew Wilder
Music Score (Australia):
composed, arranged and performed by zephyrROM Zephyr Quartet: Belinda Gehlert, Emily Tulloch, Jason Thomas, Hilary Kleinig voiceROM: Dylan Marshall and Jarrad Payne.

Music Score (Singapore): composed, arranged and performed by Stan&Soap

Performance Devised by: Dave Brown, Roz Hervey, Katrina Lazaroff, Stephen Noonan, Temeka Lawlor, Angus Leighton, Geoff Cobham, zephyrROM, Matthew Wilder and an Adelaide College of the Arts ensemble , as part of The PaperBoats international co-creation project.

Arts Planning and Business Consultants: Amanda Jones and Belinda MacQueen
Project Management (Aus): Auspicious Arts Projects
Project Managment (USA): Jim Weiner, Boat Rocker Entertainment
Project Management (Singapore): Luanne Poh, The Artground

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.


PHONE: Robyn Brown on 0411 779 402

Especially on Birthdays is available for in-theatre seasons and for performances in-schools or community halls.

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

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.  


This is a video for presenters and technical staff to get an insight into the variety of performance venues that can accommodate The PaperBoats production of Especially on Birthdays