Things to Do with your Kids

Child's Plays: New shows for kids

By Jo TanEvents - 15 January 2013 9:00 AM

Child's Plays: New shows for kids

Think children's entertainment is cheap and cheesy? Internationally acclaimed performances/performers are heading to Singapore to charm your children, while making you sit up and swallow your words.

These sky-high quality shows boasting stellar casts and internationally-acclaimed creative teams are set to prove children's theatre is just as incredible and important as its adult counterparts – or even more so.


Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans
Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans

Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans

Singapore's second instalment of this yearly children's theatre festival features no fewer than five theatrical adaptations of children's books, all fresh from the United Kingdom.

Says Executive Producer Matthew Gregory, “The underlying principle is quality – these shows are exactly what you would see in the UK, complete with the same actors.”

“‘Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain’ ended its rave-reviewed run on the West End last week, and is the stage adaptation of one ‘Horrible Histories’ series of books. These are some of the best-selling books for young people anywhere in the world, and an amazing way of getting children interested in topics they might pass off as dull,” enthused Gregory.

In other words, the books and their stage adaptations share history in all its gory glory, delighting tots. ‘Barmy Britain’ highlights over a thousand years of Britain's history, featuring baby farmers, Georgian Crime School and more.

31 Jan-9 Feb | DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road. | Tickets $38-$58 available from Sistic | For ages 6 and up.


‘Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans’ is another instalment of the Horrible Histories stage adaptations – this one highlights Rome's evil emperors and gory gladiators, and lots more!

3-10 Feb | DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road. | Tickets $38-$58 available from Sistic | For ages 6 and up.


The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo

‘The Gruffalo’ is a modern classic about a monster that Mouse makes up to scare bullies away, until the day Mouse meets the creature himself. Gregory recommends, “It's a great first time theatre event.”

16-27 Jan | DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road. | Tickets $38-$58 available from Sistic | For ages 3 and up.


Mr Benn: The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Man
Mr Benn: The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Man

Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans

‘Mr Benn: The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Man’ is the tantalising tale of an astoundingly average Englishman, who enters a fitting room one day and finds himself in a fantasy world of dragons and royalty.

22-27 Jan | DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Rd. | Tickets $38-$58 available from Sistic | For ages 4 and up.


‘Room On The Broom’ is a wonderful witchy musical, about how a friendly enchantress and the adorable animal passengers on her broom deal with a hungry dragon. With generous puppetry and great songs.

30 Jan-10 Feb | DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road | Tickets $38-$58 available from Sistic | For ages 4 and up.


The Magic Tree Top

Ian Loy is an actor known for his work in postmodern, even bizarre productions such as Cake Theatre's dysfunctional and disturbing ‘Si Ti Kay’, but has equal passion for being a children's educator. He is the long-time writer and director of the Esplanade's Playtime series – toddler-targeted plays which cater to 2-4 year-olds. “Some practitioners think theatre for mature audiences is the harder journey. For me, if you can't convince a child of what you do – then, what more an adult!” he muses. Upcoming in the series is ‘The Magic Tree Top’, with versions in Mandarin and English.

“I imagine what my children want – what they want to see, touch, feel, hear or smell in a show. Then I make a better show,” the young father smiled. For ‘The Magic Tree Top’, he's cast fabulously physical actors, including musician and stage stalwart Rizman Putra, as birds and other creatures in the treetops on an interactive quest for the missing robin's egg.

Mandarin version 22-24 Feb; English Version 20-24 Mar | Esplanade Recital Studio | Tickets $15 available from Sistic | For ages 2-4.


The Little Red Hen
The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen

Talk about a youngsters' blockbuster – this stage adaptation of the fable about reaping what you sow (starring an industrious chicken character trying to bake bread) has sold out twice before. Its third incarnation now goes to the sizeable Drama Centre Theatre, with everything on a supersized scale.

Its cast is also spectacular – other than multiple adorable puppets, it includes 25-year-old actor/director Erwin Shah (recently named by the Straits Times as one of five young actors who have made their mark, for rave-reviewed performances in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘National Broadway Company’), and 30 year-old Windson Liong, returning to Singapore for this show after over a year of performing in London with various international companies.

Liong said, “I personally love watching theatre for children. To entertain children, it's important to have a good, clear story, great songs, and dynamic performers – all ingredients for a good day at the theatre!”

Shah added, “If there's any difference between performing in children's theatre as opposed to adult theatre, it's that kids are instantly and audibly responsive as to whether they like something or not – you can't tell what adults are thinking. I love when kids are raucous – the theatre is a place where kids must be allowed to be wild!”

“Children's theatre plays such an important role in teaching young minds to appreciate theatre. Otherwise, there may be no audiences for 'adult theatre' in future... or young people inspired to perform,” chimed in Liong.

28 Feb-16 Mar | Drama Centre Theatre, #05-01 National Library, 100 Victoria Street. | Tickets $30-$32 available from Sistic | For ages 3 -14.


Goldilocks & The Three Bears

This locally produced show unites an international team, including the West End's musical theatre song-writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and stars experienced singer-actress Mina Kaye. “I love entertaining children,” the young brunette enthused. “Long before doing musicals here, I started with children's theatre, got a BSc in Early Childhood Education, and even worked as a preschool teacher for a while. "I've done too many to even count, for almost a decade all over the world, including for ‘Barney and Friends’, ‘Hello Kitty’, ‘Barbie’, ‘Mr Men & Little Miss’...” Kaye says, recounting her experience hosting or performing as famous cartoon characters at commercial kids’ events. The sprightly sweetheart has an extensive CV of these at malls and such from Singapore to Dubai, and beyond.

‘Goldilocks’is a production by the Singapore Repertory Theatre Little Company, so expect high production values, plus a timely moral for today's children about respecting other people's property.

8 Mar-21 Apr | DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road.  | Tickets $18-$29 available from Sistic |For ages 3-6.


A Clean Sweep
A Clean Sweep

A Clean Sweep & Circus Minimus

Finally, Act 3 International presents two productions, sourced all the way from Scotland and the United Kingdom by artistic director Ruby Lim-Yang. “The effects of theatre on children are immeasurable,” Lim-Yang confided. “It kindles a sense of wonderment and curiosity that will inspire them to imagination and creation through their journey in life.”

‘A Clean Sweep’features two Keepers of the Dust in a weird, wonderful world of brooms and brushes, which is used creatively to share their dreams and passions. Presented by Scotland's Plutôt La Vie with its sensational actors trained in clowning.

2-10 Mar | Act 3 Theatre, 126 Cairnhill Road | Tickets $25-$28 available from Sistic | For ages 5-12.


‘Circus Minimus’ is a highly interactive romp by Lyngo Theatre (UK), specifically designed for easily distracted toddlers, with two actors showing how with task-juggling, and activity-hopping, our lives aren't that different from a circus.

20-28 Apr | Act 3 Theatre, 126 Cairnhill Road. | Tickets $25-$28 available from Sistic | For ages 2-4