Aim to imbue love of theatre

Two Invercargill thespians are taking a new approach to solving a decline in theatre audience numbers — start ’em young.

Performing artists Sarah McCarthy and Jade Gillies arranged for about 2000 Southland school pupils to attend a show in Invercargill yesterday hoping to "get kids hooked on theatre".

The pupils were treated to the Messy Magic Adventure show at Stadium Southland."What we’ve seen in the theatre scene here, and actually not just here, across the country, is audience numbers in the theatre are starting to drop,"  Gillies said.

The idea was to get children excited about the theatre, he said.

Event organisers Sarah McCarthy and Jade Gillies before they usher more than 2000 school pupils...
Event organisers Sarah McCarthy and Jade Gillies before they usher more than 2000 school pupils into Stadium Southland to watch a show. Photo: Sharon Reece
"One day these kids, who are all 5, 6 and 7, will be our audiences in the future and hopefully bring their kids along and it’ll all grow from there."

By fundraising for the use of about 36 buses the pair helped to break the "barriers" some children faced in attending such events.

"Sometimes it’s not that cheap to go to shows ... Sometimes they don’t know that it’s on.

"What we’ve done today is we’ve broken down those barriers, financial and logistical, and made it easy and cheap for them to come along."

- Sharon Reece

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