Bluey’s Back! ‘For Real Life’

But how did Bluey’s Big Play The Stage Show first make its way to QPAC?

4 min read

“Cheese and crackers!” Queensland families are set for the best playdate ever with Bluey and Bingo this May at QPAC.

The ever-popular Queensland Heeler family is coming back to Brisbane “for real life” with the return season of Bluey’s Big Play The Stage Show in our Playhouse from 4 to 16 May 2021.

A theatrical adaption of the Emmy® award-winning children’s television series Bluey, this heart-warming hit show features an original story by Bluey creator Joe Brumm and new music by Brisbane based Bluey composer, Joff Bush.

Following the rip-roaring success of the first two seasons of Bluey’s Big Play at QPAC, Brett Howe, our Out of the Box Festival Director, said the return season would allow even more families to experience a story unique to Brisbane and Australia.

Bluey and Bingo play with Dad (Bandit)

But even if you’ve already seen Bluey’s Big Play, we reckon it’s worth booking another play date with Bluey for your little ones.

We read books to children multiple times because they often have more impact the second or third time around. The arts is exactly the same; there is no reason why seeing a performance once should be your only experience of that show,” said Brett.

“This will be the first time the show will play during the school term, offering an opportunity for schools and groups to come and have a conversation about a quintessentially Brisbane story, about families and how they might relate it to experiences within their own families,” he said.

Portraying typical family dynamics and the idea that you are never too old to play, Bluey’s Big Play The Stage Show captured the hearts and minds of audiences and critics in its last two seasons at QPAC and is expected to be just as popular this time around.

The Heelers

So just how did this phenomenally popular TV show get turned into a live stage show and what is QPAC’s role in its creation?

The TV show Bluey is produced by the Emmy® award-winning Brisbane-based Ludo Studio for ABC Kids and is co-commissioned by ABC Children’s and BBC Studios.

Brett explains that BBC also has a live performance arm so the idea to turn Bluey into a live show came from there.

“BBC also has a relationship with well-known children’s theatre producer Andrew Kay and Associates (AKA) who we’ve worked with for many years, so it was a perfect triangle of presenters and all we needed was to engage a creative partner. Rosemary Myers, Director of Windmill Theatre, a renowned children’s performance company, was the obvious choice and in collaboration with the extraordinary talented Ludo team, the creators of Bluey, the world-wide hit TV show was brought to life on stage in a brand-new theatre production.”

With more than 30 years’ experience in presenting, producing and co-producing year-round quality arts programming for children, we’re well-equipped to engage our youngest audiences.

QPAC’s involvement in Bluey’s Big Play is three-fold from assisting in the show’s creation phase through to our role as a presenter of the work and as a financial investor and we’re proud to be a part of making it happen.

Undoubtedly Bluey fans are wondering how Bandit, Chilli, Bluey and Bingo are portrayed on stage and how they translate as puppets.

“Bluey is very strong visually and we wanted a stage show to be true to that,” explains Brett.

“We engaged Puppetry Director Jacob Williams and were able to achieve the expressiveness we were after with amazing puppets and exceptionally talented puppeteers.

“Rather than having to introduce the audience to a person who is playing one of the characters, the puppets let us jump straight into the story. The puppets as characters are expressive and they develop as you watch.

“We can also do things with puppets that humans can’t do, such as in the introduction of the show when Bluey is spinning in the air. You can do that with a puppet; you can be a bit surreal with it. You couldn’t do that with humans,” he says.

Bluey and Bingo 'The Grannies'

Bluey is such a success because it talks to the everyday experience and doesn’t add any pretence around a topic or wrap it in any kind of veneer,” says Brett.

“You see the parents getting frustrated with the kids and the kids getting frustrated with the parents. You see true and open and honest conversations.

Bluey helps all of us, children and adults, to step into a moment of play because that’s what that Heeler family do so well. When you look at, for example, the Rug Island episode where they play with pens, and everything is created out of pens, it shows anything is possible. A packet of pens can become a fire and a snake, a raft or whatever you want it to be. And the moment at the end of that episode, where Bluey gifts her pen to Bandit and he says, “well what is it” and Bluey says, “It’s anything!” … That’s the gift of Bluey right there…”

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