Kids Week is a wondrous and exhilarating time

by Kristen Iliopoulos

In an Australian theatre industry first, this week marks Kids Week at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, providing the audience an interactive and innovative view at the world of the theatre, showing both kids and adults alike that there is more to the art form than just the actors on stage.

The magical world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is made possible by its multitalented cast and crew, who work together to build a fantastical and awe-inspiring universe of candy, laughs, and lessons. One of the main lessons being taught at Kids Week extends beyond the plot, and into the making of the show; the perfect opportunity for every curious and creative child wanting to understand more about how characters can disappear into thin air and how props can fly.

At the heart of the show’s operations is the stage manager, who is responsible for giving cues, and ensuring everything runs as intended. While these cues may sound close to a foreign language for many, these special terms are just a few of the many words to add to your theatre glossary over the week.

Of course, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a visual feast, and as such, Her Majesty’s Theatre utilizes hundreds of different lights to keep the show running. In fact, for every 13 shows, the theatre draws enough electricity to light the average household. Demonstrating the way different lighting can create different moods, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also operates a range of video media and projections to tell its colourful story. Providing the sound of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is another important piece of the puzzle, and more complex than just flicking a switch. Instead, the brilliant sound operators have to memorize the entire show to allow the cues for instruments, dialogue, and sound effects to work to build Wonka’s zany world. In the orchestra pit, a 12 piece orchestra, and its conductor also work in conjunction with the sound department and the cast to ensure the audience can hear both the exciting new numbers for the production as well as the classic songs from the original film that we all know and love.

Given the colourful and enhanced world of Willy Wonka, wardrobe is an incredibly important part of the show, which contains 120 costumes and 210 costume changes, including some very quick changes that thrillingly flash right before your eyes. In fact, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory invokes many moments of rubbing your eyes in disbelief, and these techniques of stagecraft and the seemingly invisible systems of automation throughout the theatre can truly make you believe in magic.

Kids Week is a wondrous and exhilarating time at Her Majesty’s Theatre, both for those who will mark the occasion as their first time seeing professional theatre, and for those who are theatre veterans. And who knows – perhaps the next big talent of lighting design, sound, or wardrobe has a golden ticket to Kids Week at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


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