Capital E, Wellington

11/04/2009 - 24/04/2009

Downstage Theatre, Wellington

27/04/2013 - 04/05/2013

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

05/10/2013 - 12/10/2013

Production Details

Age 2-7 
The National Theatre for Children is delighted to present this captivating theatre show that transports you through song, dance and puppetry into the heart of our ever-changing seasonal calendar.  Experience a magical journey into nature’s world of living things, colours and sounds. Through this charming theatrical encounter you’ll discover why we have seasons and what’s so special about each one. 

When: Sat 11 April – Fri 24 April (no Sunday show)
Mon-Fri 10am & 11.30am, Sat 11am & 2pm (except Sat 11 April 2pm only)
Duration: 45 minutes
Venue: Capital E McKenzie Theatre
Price: $10.50 per person.  $38 for a group of four. $8.50 per person for groups of 10 or more.  Under two free. 

2013 season of SEASONS

Discover the magic of the changing world around you…

At Downstages we’ve worked with Capital E National Theatre for Children many times. Nobody understands making theatre for kids quite like them. Their work is clever, charming and shows a faith in young imaginations that is inspiring. We’re delighted to have the Capital E team – and the amazing energy of their audience! – back in the building.

Seasons is a work designed for the youngest theatre fans. Gentle, charming and visually delightful it’s a beautiful experience to share with someone very small, whose imagination is boundless and whose sense of wonder warms your heart.

This highly energetic, captivating show transports children through song, dance and puppetry into the heart of our ever-changing seasonal calendar.

Experience a magical journey into nature’s world of living things, colours and sounds, discovering why we have seasons and what’s so special about each one…

2013 season of SEASONS
at Downstage Theatre, Wellington
Sat 27 April – Sat 4 May (no show Sundays)
10am and 11.30am (approx. 45mins)

Ideal for 2 – 7 year olds  
Duration 45 mins – Tickets: $12 and under
Book at Downstage box office on: (04) 801 6946

October 2013

Dates: Saturday 5 – 12 October 2013 (no show Sundays) 
Performances: 10am and 11.30am (45 minutes) 
Venue: Hannah Playhouse (previously Downstage), Wellington 
Contact: 04 913 3740 

Cost: $12 per person; $44 for a group of 4; $10 for groups of 10 or more; under twos go free 
Online booking here or call 04 913 3740

The Cast:
Carl Hayes
Francesca Emms
Trymel Griffiths  

Creative / Production Team:  
Lighting Designer:  Marcus McShane
Puppet Design:  Debz Ruffell
Tree cloths design:  Nic Marshall
Puppet Maintenance:  Kyleigh Adrian-Burne
Costume Construction:  Susan Casey
Production Manager:  Charlotte Gordon
Stage & Tour Manager:  Helena Coulton
Tour Technician:  Nathan McKendry

2013 season of SEASONS 

Actor:  Helen Grant
Actor:  Anna Neyland
Actor:  Martin Quicke

Creative Producer:  Stephen Blackburn
Production Manager:  Sonia Hardie
Lighting Designer:  Marcus McShane
Puppet maintenance:  Kyleigh Adrian-Burne
Stage Manager:  Karena Letham
Tour Technician:  Morgan Whitfield
Company Manager:  Charlotte Jackson
Production Assistant:  Antoinette Cowern  


A wonderland of learning and entertainment

Review by Jo Hodgson 07th Oct 2013

“Coming ready or not!” 

And this audience is ready. Ready with enthusiastic shouts and laughter as the characters, 3 cousins – Helen Grant, Anna Neyland and Martin Quicke – race playfully onto the stage.

Hilarity ensues as we yell, “Behind you!! Over there, behind that one, no the other one!” – the classic theatre gag that never seems to lose its appeal. And the delighted giggles and snorts from the full-ish house at the opening performance are so loud at times, the interactions sometimes swamp the actors dialogue.  

When the cousins realise they won’t see each other for a year, they wonder how long that really is and begin the journey through the seasons.

These seasonal worlds are expertly brought to life with narrative by writer Peter Wilson, and songs by composer and lyricist Laughton and Jenny Pattrick, beautifully interwoven with dance, Debz Ruffell’s exquisite puppets, NZ sign and te reo.

Each season is depicted through great use of light, vibrant or muted as required, humour, both scripted and spontaneous audience contributions and delicious swirling textures of fabric props which often become backdrops to set each seasonal mood and image with an informative ‘phases of the moon’ song being the recurring segue for each change.  

Seasons is a wonderland of learning and entertainment with many highlights; particularly the aforementioned puppets animated so splendidly both vocally and physically by the actors; the chuckles from young and old during the bird courtship and egg laying ‘labour’; the life-cycle of the butterfly and such memorable songs, like the Spider using fun onomatopoeic ‘boing’s’ while it bounces on a clever web ‘spun’ between two of the several moveable panels used extensively throughout the production as skylines, trees, wharfs, garden beds, and walls.

For me the only incongruous character, although very cute, is the ballet dancing lamb. The other characters, although their personification is amplified, stay true to their identity.

The suggested age range of 2 – 7 yrs is bang on and my daughter at 2.5yrs relates our recent observations about spring in our garden by calling out “new leaves” and “food” to the birds as they return in spring after finding no food in the winter segment.

Seasons is in its 13th year of performance and I’m sure has had many of its own life cycle changes over this time. This production is tight, excellently performed and the flow is faultless.  

It seems fitting that it plays at the Hannah Playhouse – better known as Downstage Theatre – at this time of ‘seasonal changes’. Let’s hope that the theatre is now just like the little mouse in hibernation, ready to burst forth with new life and vitality when spring comes around again.


Make a comment

Fresh and inspiring delights

Review by John Smythe 27th Apr 2013

The great thing about Capital E National Theatre for Children’s age-specific repertoire is they can bring shows back every few years for a whole new cohort. Seasons, for 2 to 7 year-olds, was last staged in Wellington in 2009 and today Downstage is packed with little ones not only avid for live entertainment but for all the fascinating information so creatively embedded in this show.

It starts with cousins playing hide-and-seek. We adults can be fascinated by such things as how strongly embedded the ethic is of not telling where someone is hiding (unless of course they’re a baddy – but there are no baddies in this play; just forces of nature playing their inevitable roles).

It’s the concept of a year – because they only get together once a year, for the summer holidays – that generates their evocation of the four seasons, through a combination of song, dance, puppetry and play.

Peter Wilson’s script is ingeniously pitched to every level of awareness and learning, inspiring children to ask questions of their adult companions who whisper answers in their ears.   

Helen Grant, Anna Neyland and Martin Quicke – using their own first names – play the ageless cousins with a relaxed ease that belies the exacting ensemble work they undertake on stage and from behind various panels as they bring  Debz Ruffell’s exquisite puppets delightfully to life with piquant touched of comedy. There are moments of pure theatrical magic that this audience will long remember.

Apart from their beautifully harmonised singing (composer, Laughton Pattrick; lyricist, Jenny Pattrick), the trio bring wondrous vocalisations to the creatures that pop up and flit about throughout the seasons. Te reo is liberally and naturally sprinkled throughout: ideal for such receptive ears and minds.  

Directed by Capital E stalwart Kerryn Palmer, this iteration of Seasons is as fresh as the proverbial daisy and a delight to behold. As summer reluctantly gives way to autumn, we can be sure that children all over Wellington, and those visiting from further afield, will be inspired to play in all sorts of ways – and that’s what children’s plays are all about.


Make a comment

Inspirational rituals and rhythms of life

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 17th Apr 2009

Aimed at 2-7 year-olds, Seasons has no plot but a trip through the four seasons held together by imaginative use of puppetry, songs, pleasing performers and high quality presentation.  

Seasons begins with its three excellent performers, Carl Hayes, Francesca Emms and Trymel Griffiths, playing a game of hide and seek which sets the playful atmosphere that pervades the rest of the show.

But whether we are laughing at the ballet ambitions of a demure dancing lamb or sympathizing with a bird’s labour pains as it lays three large eggs or marveling at the insatiable hunger of a caterpillar we are also being taught without realizing it a lesson in the rituals and rhythms of life.

Debz Ruffell’s puppets are wonderful and should inspire children to attend Capital E’s Puppet Expo which is also running until 24 April.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.



Make a comment

An intelligent, well designed, and mightily fun learning experience

Review by Mel Camp 13th Apr 2009

Seasons is one of the oldest shows in Capital E’s repertoire (first performed in 2000), but it sure is a goodie. This is one exceptionally energetic, educational and enthralling show.

It’s a simple plot – Three actors, calling each other by their real names, take us on a lickety-split tour of the four seasons. Dressed in their finest super-bright apparel, Carl Hayes, Francesca Emms and Trymel Griffiths sing, dance and puppeteer their way through 50 minutes of high energy fun and learning.

This is the stuff Hi-5 is made of. Aimed at 2-7 year olds, it is colourful, fast-paced and intelligent enough to enrapture the entire age range plus the parents.

The show begins with a snappy game of hide and seek to get everyone in the mood, before getting down to the business of the seasons.

Winter comes first ("the earth is sleeping"), and as soon as the snowflakes begin to fall, I know we’re in for a magical ride. But this show is not just pretty effects and amusing gags. There’s real science in here. We learn what happens to the earth, the weather and the animals during each season.

In Spring we plant seeds and watch them grow and we follow two birds through courtship, procreation (of a sort) and egg laying. Kids and adults alike were in stitches as the female bird took on some very human reactions to her "labour" pains.

In Summer we go fishing by the seaside with Carl and see how a caterpillar changes in to a butterfly.

In Autumn the leaves fall from the trees (they really do!) and the earth goes back to sleep again.

Each season is followed by a starry sky and a song about the phases of the moon, something that was a little complex to follow but it sure looked pretty.

These three actors are hard to fault. They sing beautifully and exhibit an honestly and playfulness that the children clearly appreciate. Not a single patronising sneer to be seen.

The "look behind you" gag is used over and over and over again. But it’s a classic for a reason, and the kids shouted ecstatically and were beside themselves with glee each and every time it came around.

Debz Ruffell’s cast of puppets are an absolute hit, and the puppeteering is so expressive it is easy to blank out the actor standing behind them. My favourite was the pink worm with the curly moustache.

I could go on about the puppets, the props, the set, the lighting, the music, the directing, the stage management, but I’d be repeating myself and the best thing about them all is that they work together seamlessly to create an intelligent, well designed, and mightily fun learning experience.

I knew they were on to a winner when I looked down my row in the semi-darkness to see the ten year old boys, the two year old girl and her dad all with the same faraway look of enchantment in their eyes.

If you’re in Wellington, get your tickets quick smart. If you’re anywhere else between Keri Keri and Invercargill, keep an eye out for Seasons coming to a theatre near you. This is children’s theatre at its magical best.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.



Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council