The Australian Ballet School is thrilled to present the premiere of Possum Magic the Ballet, a captivating adaptation of the all-time best-selling Australian children’s book by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas, in the Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, this December.
Choreographed by award-winning choreographer Loughlan Prior, the story will be brought to life by 48 full-time pre-professional students from The Australian Ballet School and coincides with the momentous 40th Anniversary of Mem Fox’s iconic children’s classic.
“I am so excited to adapt this beloved Australian children’s story into a beautiful a beautiful narrative ballet, unifying our new score with dazzling designs and choreographic story-telling. It is an honour to work with the talented pre-professional students of The Australian Ballet School,” said choreographer Loughlan Prior.
Loughlan is the Choreographer in Residence at the Royal New Zealand Ballet and has choreographed several productions for both stage and screen. For Possum Magic, Loughlan will weave together themes of adventure and magic, skilfully employing a fusion of classic and contemporary techniques that will enthral audiences of all ages.
The costumes and set design will be created by Emma Kingsbury, who has designed for film, television, theatre and ballets across the world. For Possum Magic, Emma has incorporated the watercolour palette of Julie Vivas across the costumes using soft texture and colour to help bring the illustrations to life on the stage.
The score for the production has been composed by New Zealand composer Claire Cowan, awarded Best Classical Artist at the Aotearoa Music Awards. Claire’s vision for the score is to fuse classical chamber instruments with bush band and soundscape to create a unique audible world.
Possum Magic is a classic story, revolving around the spirited protagonist, a young and courageous possum, named Hush. Her grandmother bestows upon her the power of invisibility, shielding her from the dangers that lie within the Australian bush.
Hush’s journey becomes a tapestry woven with happiness and endless wonder. As the vibrant chapters of her adventures unfold, an undeniable yearning begins to stir within her, a desire to reclaim her visibility and embrace the world in all its splendour.
“The Australian Ballet School’s choice of Possum Magic to develop as a ballet this year, of all years – its 40th anniversary – has raised the book to an unexpected pinnacle and made me the proudest writer in Australia,” said Mem Fox, Author of Possum Magic.
“The pages of Possum Magic have provided a magical experience for parents and children for forty years. I am very excited to see the magic leap from the page to the stage through the artistry of The Australian Ballet School,” said Fox.
“I am always excited when fresh ideas come in a new medium for Possum Magic. It is such an honour that The Australian Ballet School has chosen this book in its 40th anniversary year. I can’t wait to see how the dancers bring our beloved characters to life!” said Julie Vivas, Illustrator of Possum Magic.
“It’s such an honour for The Australian Ballet School to be trusted with this production. Possum Magic is a cherished book, and I know it will be held in the hearts of our dancers and audiences even more so after this experience,” said Lisa Pavane, Director of The Australian Ballet School.
“What a wonderful piece to be explored by our young artists in training under the guidance of choreographer Loughlan Prior, and supported by such an inspired creative team. I can’t wait to share this incredible new production.”
The Possum Magic ballet will be performed by senior full-time students of The Australian Ballet School, aged 17-20 years. Possum Magic will be followed by a 20-minute interval and a program of short works showcasing the skills of the School’s talented younger students, aged 14-16 years.
Possum Magic The Ballet
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performances: 8 – 10 December 2023
For more information, visit: www.australianballetschool.com.au for details.
Image: Possum Magic – written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas (supplied)