Forty-one children with and without disabilities share the limelight at the Rose Centre in Belmont this month in New Zealand’s first ever fully-inclusive performance of the children’s musical, 'Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Junior'.
Based on the DreamWorks animated motion picture, and featuring the movie’s original music and lyrics, this fully inclusive production is being presented by New Zealand’s leading professional, inclusive performance company, Touch Compass.
The cast includes children aged six to 18, almost half of whom have some kind of disability or learning difference – including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and spina bifida. Performers who require full-time support are accompanied by support actors on stage – in costume.
'Madagascar' tells the story of Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo and the hilarious, plotting penguins as they escape from their home in New York's Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien's Madagascar.
Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He and his best friends have spent their whole lives in blissful captivity before an admiring public and with regular meals provided for them. Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape to explore the world.
Filled with outlandish characters, adventure galore and an upbeat score, 'Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Junior' and its cast will leave audiences with no choice but to "Move It, Move It”.
The show is directed by Touch Compass’ general manager, Charlotte Nightingale. She says audiences should be prepared for the children to steal the show…and their hearts. “All the children work together so beautifully; it’s been incredibly moving to see, and an honour to direct. They show they’ve created is profoundly funny and their talent is immense,” she says.
The show is fully accessible, including deaf signing by a young interpreter who is deaf herself; rather than interpreting what’s on stage, she has been learning the entire script word for word. While this happens from time to time overseas, it is a first for New Zealand.
There is also a special relaxed show for young theatre-goers with autism and sensory sensitivities and one show is audio described for those who are blind or have low vision. Both these shows include a touch tour beforehand.
Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Junior, The Rose Centre, Belmont
Thursday 1 & Friday May, 7pm; Saturday 18 May 11am and 6pm; Sunday 19 May, 11am & 2pm
Tickets at the door.