News from Patch HQ

Media Release - 31st July 2018

Adelaide's Patch Theatre set to cast it's shadow over China

Patch Theatre has touched down in China with its multi award-winning production Me and My Shadow, set to commence a nine-day tour at the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing as well as the renowned Changsha Concert Hall.

Me and My Shadow is a rich and vibrant story about the fanciful escapades of a girl making friends with her shadow as she navigates the difficulty and the delight a new friendship can bring. Premiered in Adelaide in 2010, Me and My Shadow was instantly recognised as a truly breakthrough production in Australian children’s theatre. It has won a Helpmann Award for Best Presentation for Children in 2011, a Victor Award for Best Showcase Production IPAY in 2013 and was a Sydney Theatre Award nominee in 2011 for Best Production for Children.

Me and My Shadow was the result of two years of creative collaboration between Australia’s image-theatre exponents Roz Hervey, Dave Brown and Geoff Cobham, along with composer Zoe Barry and performer/theatre makers Nathan O’Keefe and Astrid Pill. Together they brought their Patch Theatre trademark style to the production which synchronises the use of paper, light, shadow, colour, water, melodic music and dialogue to create a world of play where the imagined becomes real.

The tour marks the first time the 46-year old theatre company, dedicated to making high quality in-theatre experiences for 4 to 8 year olds, has toured to China. The remounted stars Helpmann Award winner Nathan O'Keefe reprising his role of ‘Shadow’, and stage and screen actress Sarah Brokensha taking up the role of ‘Girl’.

Incoming Artistic Director Geoff Cobham is excited for Chinese audiences, both the young and young at heart, to experience Patch Theatre: “This show was an instant classic, and has become a benchmark for a new styles of creative collaboration. We are very proud of the way design, sound and performance are seamlessly integrated.”

Geoff Cobham continued: “I collaborated on Me and My Shadow in 2010 as the lighting and set designer, so to take the show to a different country, particularly one as big as China in my new role as incoming Artistic Director is absolutely thrilling! It’s a remarkable, moving and wholly original work, which fully deserves the 5-star rave reviews and sell-out seasons it has gathered across Australia and the US. It is a truly beautiful piece of theatre and we so look forward to Chinese audiences having the opportunity to experience it.”

Me and My Shadow has toured throughout metropolitan and regional Australia in 2010, 2011 and 2012 including a season at the Sydney Opera House in 2011. The production has twice toured America in 2013 and 2015 with seasons in New York and Washington DC.

New Artistic Director and Producer are announced!

The board of Patch Theatre has announced respected arts leaders Geoff Cobham and Teena Munn will join Patch Theatre as Artistic Director and Producer for the next three years.

Chair of Patch Theatre, Janet Worth said, “Patch Theatre is absolutely delighted to have secured the unique and dynamic team of Geoff and Teena, two of the most highly regarded arts leaders in South Australia. We are confident in their ability to curate a program of children’s theatre which is rich and unique. Their talent, experience and commitment to Patch will take us into an exciting phase for children’s theatre in Australia.”

Geoff Cobham is one of the country’s leading culture professionals with over 35 years’ experience collaborating in all forms of theatre. His artistic reputation both nationally and internationally comes from an outstanding multi-award winning career working with several of Australia’s foremost arts organisations and events. He spent ten years as Associate Director of dance theatre Force Majeure and has worked in senior management roles at Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival and WOMAD. Geoff founded Bluebottle in 1998, an award-winning lighting design company which integrates outstanding lighting design into theatre, galleries, installations, architecture, exhibitions and music.

He has a long and notable history with Patch Theatre, having worked on a variety of productions including The Fastest Boy, Emily Loves to Bounce and Me and My Shadow.

Teena Munn is a highly regarded theatrical producer and arts leader, most recently as Acting Program Director of the Adelaide Festival. She has held senior roles as General Manager and Executive Producer with Windmill Theatre and Program Manager of the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival.

Incoming Artistic Director of Patch Theatre Geoff Cobham said, “It is an extraordinary privilege to be part of the future of Patch Theatre, a theatre company whose uncompromising standards and commitment to thoughtful arts experiences for young people has changed the way we make children’s theatre. My favourite audience is children of all ages; people who still wonder at the universe. Light still fascinates me every day and I love sharing its nebulous beauty and the magical worlds it can create. I look forward to creating design focused, immersive experiences for four to eight year olds and beyond by giving new audiences the opportunity to discover the magic of Patch Theatre locally, nationally and internationally. Together with Teena, we look forward to making our contribution to Patch’s remarkable history.”

Incoming Producer Teena Munn said, “Having collaborated in the creation of work for young people in the past and witnessing first-hand the incalculable affect it has on the curiosity, creativity and imagination, it is a thrill and a privilege to be able to do this again. Working with amazing artists and the Patch team to bring Geoff’s artistic vision and new works to reality, will be an exciting journey in building on the wonderful work already achieved by Patch Theatre.”

Naomi Edwards returns to Melbourne in August after a successful three-year contract as Artistic Director, with Bec Pannell as Acting General Manager since February.

“We are extremely grateful for the contribution our current Artistic Director, Naomi Edwards, has made. Her dedication to children’s theatre and the importance of using art to give young people the skills and creativity necessary to face the world and understand it, has been remarkable.

I would also like to acknowledge Bec Pannell for her significant contribution as Acting General Manager. Bec stepped in to take up the reins in an interim capacity four months ago and has managed a period of enormous change and growth. Her contribution has been outstanding and we owe her a huge debt of thanks,” said Janet Worth.

Teena Munn will formally start with Patch Theatre in early August with Geoff Cobham arriving in October.

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