Aya and the Butterfly

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

13/04/2024 - 27/04/2024

Production Details

Based on the children’s book by Dr Maysoon Salama
Director, Producer, Performer: Bridget Sanders
Musical Director, composer and performer: Roger Sanders
Devisor and performer: Jen McArthur

Birdlife Productions

With the help of Creative New Zealand funding, award-winning children’s theatre company Birdlife Productions have created a new puppet and music show using exquisite puppetry, live music, lots of joining in and giant caterpillar fun, promising a poignant experience for children and their whanau.

‘Aya and the Butterfly’ is based on a children’s book by Ōtautahi/Christchurch based author Dr Maysoon Salama, who wrote the story for her young granddaughter Aya, after Aya lost her father in the Christchurch Mosque attacks in 2019. Dr Salama has been working closely with Birdlife Productions as a cultural advisor and mentor, to help bring her story to the stage.

Although it touches on feelings of sadness and grief, this show also encourages ‘letting go’ and laughter, resilience building and dealing with change, all metaphorically reflected by the life-cycle and metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly.

Designed for families and ideal for children aged 3 to 9 years, Aya’s story encourages compassion and empathy for different cultures, and helps us all become part of an important movement of change towards living together in peace.

Premiering at Circa Theatre in Wellington in the April school holidays, Saturday 13 April to Saturday 27th April. 10am and 11.30am
For ages 3 to 9 years and all the family
Tickets: circa.co.nz

Kate Anderson – Lighting Design

Puppetry , Theatre ,

50 mins

Heartfelt storytelling, breathtaking puppetry, universal themes

Review by Deborah Rea with Luna Rama and Dev Rama 14th Apr 2024

Nestled within the cozy confines of Circa Theatre, Aya and the Butterfly by Birdlife Productions unfolds a whimsical journey of self-discovery that resonates with audiences of all ages.

The performance seamlessly blends captivating storytelling with intricate puppetry and music.

At its core is Aya, who navigates a transformative odyssey over a year; exploring themes of courage, grief and embracing one’s true self.

The production’s strength lies in its diverse storytelling mediums. Each scene unfolds (often literally) with wonder, captivating the audience throughout. The puppeteers’ skilful manipulation breathes life into the characters, making them endearing and relatable.

The performances are commendable. Each cast member – Bridget Sanders (also Director/Producer), Roger Sanders (also Musical Director/Composer) and Jen McArthur – brings warmth and sincerity to their characters. The enchanting musical score adds depth to Aya’s experiences, evoking a sense of whimsy that lingers beyond the final bow.

Aya and the Butterfly offers a charming theatrical experience that entertains and inspires. With heartfelt storytelling, breathtaking puppetry and universal themes, it speaks to the child in all of us, reminding us of the magic within and the beauty of each moment. 

Dev Rama (aged five):

Aya and the Butterfly is a puppet show. Aya meets a butterfly friend. Aya lives with her grandpa and her mum. They change the set and sing songs to make the seasons change. Aya grows plants for caterpillars to eat. Aya gets a new butterfly friend.

I liked the part where she found a butterfly friend. I also liked the part where that tree moved. I liked the caterpillars when they danced a little bit. My favourite part was when she floated away. 

Luna Rama (aged seven):

Aya loves butterflies, her unicorn, Sparkles and her family.

I liked the part where she floated away on her kite. I liked when the caterpillars danced and when Aya and her grandad danced, and when her grandad fell asleep. It was magical when the little seedlings popped out. The changing seasons were so pretty. They removed leaves from plants and the flowers came out. They asked the audience to clap and stomp and make sounds to make a thunderstorm and it sounded like a real one and the lights flashed and it was so cool. It was cool when there was a swarm of butterflies too.

Aya and the Butterfly taught me that sometimes sadness and change need time and love.


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