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

09/07/2022 - 30/07/2022

Te Papa: Soundings, Wellington

02/05/2023 - 05/05/2023

Production Details

Devised by Kerryn Palmer, Timothy Fraser and Emma Rattenbury
Directed by Kerryn Palmer
Created / Devised by Kerryn Palmer, Timothy Fraser, Emma Rattenbury, Ana Lorite Sicilia & Craig Sengelow

Wonderlight Theatre Aotearoa

Endless possibilities for wonder and joy lie in true friendship.


Join fledgling friends, Tim and Em, as they set off on a journey around the world and beyond. Everyday objects transform and come to life as they explore the depths of the ocean and the plains of the Savanna before turning their eyes towards the stars…

The event will run from Tuesday 2nd May to Friday 5th May. Show times are 10:00am and 1:00pm.

This event is run as education only and will not be open to public.

Link to the event webpage: https://bitesizetreats.capitale.org.nz/education-shows-wonderkind/
Social script is available on link.


These July school holidays, you can join fledgling friends, Tim and Em, as they set off on a journey around the world and beyond. Everyday objects transform and come to life as they explore the depths of the ocean and the plains of the Savanna before turning their eyes towards the stars… Wonderkind is a brand-new, magical theatre experience for children aged three to seven that explores the endless possibilities for wonder and joy that lie in true friendship.

Combining puppetry, live performance, stunning visual design, a delightful original music score and the epic power of imagination, Wonderkind will take you and your whānau on the journey of a lifetime.

Wonderkind contains no spoken words. Instead, the story is conveyed through physical performance, live puppetry and a bold visual design.

Wonderkind features original music by Craig Sengelow, production design by Sean Coyle and Megan Gladding, costume design by Ebony Cook-Green and puppetry by international puppeteer Ana Lorite of Naranjarte.

Wonderkind is part of The Paper Boats Project, an international partnership platform for performance-makers – www.thepaperboats.com

Circa Two
9 – 30 July 2022
Sat 9 – Sun 24 Jul
Tues – Sun 11am, Fri & Sat 1pm
Sat 30 Jul: 11am & 1pm
ECC/Schools shows:
Tues 26 – Fri 29 Jul: 11am & 1pm
ECC/Schools Pricing $12.
Email: circa@circa.co.nz to book Schools shows
General Admission $15
Under 2’s free
Family pass $50 (4 tickets)
Book Now!

‘Pay it Forward’ tickets
Now you can ‘play’ it forward! Purchase one ticket to Wonderkind for someone who usually cannot afford to go to the theatre and Circa will find it a good home. Book here

If you are interested in claiming a Pay it Forward ticket or nominating a friend, please contact the Circa Theatre Box Office Team on circa@circa.co.nz. This initiative is year-round, currently running in active collaboration with Wonderkind.

Timothy Fraser, Performer
Emma Rattenbury, Performer
Ana Lorite Sicilia, Performer / Puppertier
Sergio Aguilar, Performer / Stage Manager
Bekky Boyce, Operator
Sharon Li, Assistant Stage Manager
Kerryn Palmer, Director
Tyler Clarke, Producer / Production Manager
TBC, Set Designer
Sean Coyle, Lighting Designer
Craig Sengelow, Music Composer

Timothy Fraser, Performer
Emma Rattenbury, Performer
Ana Lorite Sicilia, Performer / Puppeteer
Sergio Aguilar, Puppeteer / Assistant Stage Manager
Bekky Boyce, Lighting Designer & Operator
Sharon Li, Stage Manager
Kerryn Palmer, Director
Tyler Clarke, Producer / Production Manager
Dannii Kellett & Megan Gladding, Set Designer
Sean Coyle, AV Designer
Craig Sengelow, Music Composer & Sound Designer
Ebony Filikitonga, Costume Designer

Children’s , Physical , Theatre ,

35 mins

Epic creative explorations – so much experienced in so little time!

Review by John Smythe 05th May 2023

Wonderlight Theatre Aotearoa has revived last year’s delightful Wonderkind for this year’s Capital E Bite-Size Treat schools-only festival. While it exemplifies the wonders of the sort of imaginative play a child could do at home, inspired by reading books, it also offers special theatrical elements that only a well appointed live theatre venue can provide. The value of enthusing a packed theatre of primary school children with this sort of fare cannot be underestimated.

The ingenious set, designed by Dannii Kellett and Megan Gladding, suggests either the kids’ corner in your local library or a room in a well-resourced family home. A window in the back wall, which initially reveals very convincing heavy rain outside, becomes a portal to a range of imaginary adventures (Sean Coyle, AV Designer) accopanied by evocative sounds (Craig Sengelow, Music Composer & Sound Designer) – all operated by Bekky Boyce (also Lighting Designer).  

Book shelves, stage right and stage left, turn out to be just one facet of modules that take us underwater, into the desert and to outer space. The performance, Created / Devised by Kerryn Palmer (Director), Timothy Fraser and Emma Rattenbury (Performers), Ana Lorite Sicilia (Puppeter) and Craig Sengelow, Wonderkind is a talk-free zone, apart from a couple of bouts of gibberish.

The principal performers are dressed in overalls – blue for Emma and an orangy-pink for Timothy (Ebony Filikitonga, Costume Designer) – and because we never hear their characters named, I will call them Em and Tim and use she/her and he/him pronouns.

Em is the first to come in from the rain storm. She kicks off her gumboots, casts aside her parka and umbrella, explores the bookshelves, picks one and settles down for a good read. When Tim arrives, her messiness irritates him. He also gets nosey about what she is reading and tends to invade her personal space, which she dislikes.

Tim also wants to share in the creative play that Em initiates. Initially they are competitive in their game-playing. Soon, however, they discover that being co-operative is more creative and greater fun.

Such props as a sheet, umbrellas and torches are inventively deployed in multiple ways. The AV screen also becomes the site for sophiticated shadow play involving the puppeteers – Ana Lorite Sicilia and Sergio Aguilar – who also appear on stage. My only disppointment is that the monkey puppet fails to come alive for me. The elephant works better, the bubbles are good and Sergio’s effortless maniplation of balls on his fingers is magical to behold.  

The audience is clearly entranced throughout – and the biggest laugh comes when, as they flip and flap at a sudden plague of buzzy inects, Em inadvertently wacks Tim on the bum, shocking them both. When their play comes to a natural conclusion, Em and Tim are the best of friends. It is surprising to realise their epic explorations have only taken 35 minutes. So much experienced in so little time! Huge credit is due to Wonderkind Director Kerryn Palmer and her wondrously creative team.


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Humour, surprises, artistic creativity and the joy of playful friendship

Review by Jo Hodgson 26th Jul 2022

When we think about this show’s title, with the words Wonder… (‘to be filled with amazement, admiration, or awe’ or ‘to be curious about’), and …kind (‘a group of people or things that belong together or have some shared quality’ or ‘ liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others’), it is quite apparent that this children’s play – created by a team of talented creatives led by director Kerryn Palmer, performed by Timothy Fraser, Emma Rattenbury and Ana Lorite (puppet designer and puppeteer) – is going to be pretty special.

I am undecided at first if the stage setting is a suburban lounge or a library, given there a book trolley parked alongside the bookshelves, but Em arrives and promptly makes herself at home by dropping her coat and umbrella, kicking off her gumboots while dumping her school bag, before settling down to read a book, so one would think (hope) she wouldn’t be quite so familiar in a library! Conversely, Tim arrives, pops his belongings away neatly and frustratedly tidies away Em’s mess before playfully extracting Em’s book off her. Thus begins the exquisite journey that is Wonderkind.

This is the best kind of children’s theatre: nothing is laid out as prescribed and exact. These creatives give credit to the young audience to allow their imaginations to see and feel the story through their own unique eyes, and be carried along with the joy of the interactive play of these recognisable characters, and the play scenarios, as they take the ordinary to create the extraordinary.

The space and pacing of the unfolding drama gives plenty of time for the ‘wonder’ reaction (awe, recognitions and curiosity is audibly heard throughout the theatre – children and adults alike!). With no traditional dialogue to ‘tell us the story’, the entire show is underscored by a meditative and meandering musical score by Craig Sengelow which illuminates and supports the physical theatre as it takes us out of the lounge, into the Deep Blue Sea, across the Savanna and to the Stars.

The story segues from the lounge play room using set piece changes, projection and an evocative lighting design to create more vibrant fantasy worlds. From the humble hand shadow puppet under a sheet with a torch, to an expertly manoeuvred marionette shadow puppet through the porthole window, thus shifting the DIY ‘what could this sheet or hoop be’ world into an enriched world with the addition of beautifully crafted and operated puppetry by Ana Lorite.

I have to admit I find myself thinking that the use of these stunning puppets is somewhat incongruous to the childlike creations of the earlier part of the show, because I want the children viewing to feel like they could create these worlds out of everyday things, but the more I think about it, a child’s imagination doesn’t have to have boundaries but needs the opportunity to truly spread its wings. So if they go to their imagined worlds and there are creations that are aesthetically and beautifully conceived, who am I to judge what childlike perception looks like and who determines the vividness and possibility of the imagination and future dreams.

The rapport and interaction between the actors, the puppetry and the tech team is beautifully fluid. The physical theatre, especially a moment where the characters are so believably coming back up for air after their deep sea explore, is palpable. Timings and landing of moments show the excellent acting craft of Em and Tim.

I have two 9 year olds and two 11 year olds with me and while the publicity suggests a younger age group for this show, these four enjoy the humour and the surprise factor of what has been created in front of their eyes, and appreciate the artistic creativity and the joy of playful friendship.

Having grown up in a time of less screens, more free time/free play and a Wombles Clubhouse in my wardrobe, encouraging this continued imaginative playground for our children, whatever their age, is becoming more and more important in this fast-paced, device-driven world of ours.

Wonderkind is part of The Paper Boats Project, an international partnership platform for performance-makers – www.thepaperboats.com – and Wonderlight Theatre have found a key which, when turned, can go anywhere the wonders of the imagination can dream up. Perfect.

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Wordless, exquisite, special

Review by Deborah Rea with Luna Rama and Dev Rama 18th Jul 2022

Wonderkind is the first endeavour of brand new theatre company, Wonderlight Theatre Aotearoa. It is devised by members: Kerryn Palmer (co-creator, director), Timothy Fraser (co-creator, performer), Emma Rattenbury (co-creator, performer) and Ana Lorite (co-creator, puppet designer and puppeteer).

We follow Tim and Em as they use play to shift, change and bring magic to their immediate world. The show is dialogue free, with the exception of a few exchanges of gibberish, and largely focuses on manipulation of simple objects: sheet, hula hoop, book.

Ana Lorite’s puppets are exquisite and full of life. Her artistry radiates through them through their construction and their animation. I look forward to a Wonderlight show where her puppets take their lead.

There are unfortunately moments on the stage floor lost to our small audience members. I’m surprised this wasn’t caught by the company in rehearsals. Circa Theatre would do well to invest in some booster seats given the fantastic amount of children’s theatre that they’ve been putting on lately. Next time, we may bring our own.

Wonderlight Theatre Aotearoa, and Wonderkind, would be a great applicant for some development funding. Wonderkind would be a fun tour and I’d be excited to see the work grow.

Dev Rama (aged 3.5)

I liked the disco ball and the tv [Shadow puppet screen….] I liked the elephant and the monkey because they were so friendly. You should go and see this show because it has special things.

Luna Rama (aged 6)

I liked everything. They travelled from their house to places like the jungle and space by using their imaginations. They did lots of silly stuff and played games. It was a little bit hard to see sometimes, even when I sat on Mumma’s knee. The disco party at the end was my favourite part.

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