21/08/2020 - 25/08/2020

Nelson Fringe Festival 2020

Production Details

As autumn closes in, the Kuaka/Bar-tailed Godwits take flight beginning their long migration from New Zealand to Alaska, striving to live out their life cycle to its fullest. The success of this mission relies on gritty determination and their trust in some kind of ‘inner map’ that guides them to their ‘treasure’ – the northern breeding grounds that assure them of continued life. This process is nothing short of a miracle and watching them take to the sky in awe is Jack-the-Everyman! As he sets out on a journey of his own to seek his ‘treasure’, he looks up to the sky and makes a quiet wish that he will be able to find his own wings.

Two parallel stories are told; a present-day lecture on the miracle of Godwit migration, and a fable that follows Jack’s adventure to save his ancestral orchard.

Fresh from the John Bolton theatre school, Birdlife Productions presents this ‘work in progress’ showing in its developmental stage. Experimenting with puppetry, original songs and projection, they combine traditional storytelling with contemporary theatre forms. This story asks the question – how do we live our fullest, most connected lives amongst the chaos and uncertainty of the world we have created for ourselves? How do we find our own wings?

(G) Suitable for ages 5 to 95! Thanks to Creative NZ for funding to create this show.

Nelson Fringe Festival 2020 
Available online from the 21st to the 25th of August

Note: This show has been filmed and will be presented online.
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Theatre , Puppetry ,

50 mins

Engaging blend of people, puppets, facts, fable and music

Review by Nikkie Karki 22nd Aug 2020

I draw the curtains, switch the lights off and sit on my bed with my 4-year-ols, popcorn and mini magnums.  Not what I initially expected from the Fringe, live theatre is always what I love the most, but we are ready to see the show – And what a delight it is! 

The Boy With Wings opens with an eccentric scientist of birds, Birdie Bartholomew, whose infectious enthusiasm about the migrating Bartailed Godwit has me gripped.  She describes its journey from NZ to Alaska using large gestures and interesting knowledge about the bird.

I am in awe of the set – beautifully handmade terrains which change from an orchard, to ocean, to desert, to city – and the way it blends with the music and 3D puppets. I am engaged completely, eager to know what will be next! 

Roger and Bridget Sanders are taking us on an EPIC journey with Jack to find his treasure. Jack moves from human to puppet seamlessly, taking us into a world of highly detailed, intricate puppets – of Jack, shadow puppets of a flock of birds and the boy with wings – to large-as-life puppets.    

I can’t quite hear the audio recorded during the dream and I disengage for moment as I wonder what the dream is about, but it doesn’t matter as Roger begins telling the story and what the dream is, and I am back in.

I gradually become unaware it is not live, as I am drawn further into the story.  Some of the effects are so life-like on the screen that I have to blink a few times to make sure it is not real, like the sand storm and the water coming out of the well.  The view of Roger next to the moon with his silver hair makes me think of him as Mr Moon. 

The original music is written by Roger; he sings to a guitar.  It is such a great idea to use music whilst the scenes are changing behind; it supports the story so eloquently.  My 4-year-old dances away to the songs and I find myself singing along to the chorus as the songs are so catchy.

We laugh when Jack is in the dungeons with Ratty as Bridget swiftly moves from the rich man puppet to the policeman talking on the bridge. Each character’s voice and facial expressions are so different to the other.

I love the combination information about the Godwit and the old fable intertwined into a creative, engaging piece of theatre.  I agree with the promo: The Boy with Wings would suit anyone from 5 to 95!  As always, we are not disappointed with Birdlife Productions – just left wanting more please!!


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