Grug goes global as Windmill returns to China

Acclaimed South Australian theatre company, Windmill Theatre Co, today commenced a three-week season of its international award-winning production Grug in Mainland China.

The tour, which opens today in Chengdu, includes 22 performances over 11 days and will reach approximately 4,400 children and families over a three-week period. Following Chengdu, Grug will travel to Changde and Zhengzhou in China’s Henan province. The program also includes a series of post-performance workshops based on Windmill’s interactive arts education program.

Since establishing a strategic partnership with Shanghai’s Vertical Productions in 2015, Windmill has performed to over 11,000 Chinese children and delivered 120 performances in six cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Kunshun.

Arts South Australia Executive Director Peter Louca said: ‘This is an exciting development for Windmill. As well as building cultural ties and strengthening engagement between South Australia and China, this tour also helps reinforce the company’s reputation as a producer of high quality, world class work.’

Windmill’s Executive Producer Kaye Weeks said: ‘Touring our work to China represents an export opportunity to expand our international footprint whilst also showcasing quality theatre made especially for children to an extensive and enthusiastic market. We’re thrilled to share this unique and iconic Australian storybook character with Chinese children and their families. He’s a little mega-star over there!’

Early childhood work, Grug and its sequel Grug and the Rainbow, have played to over 90,000 young people in 85 cities and towns worldwide since 2010, representing Windmill’s most successful international export. The plays are based on the much-loved picture book character created by Ted Prior and feature an Australian team led by director Sam Haren, designer Jonathon Oxlade and composer DJ TR!P.

Featuring simple storytelling, elegant design and exquisite puppetry, Grug has won two Business SA Export Awards, a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Presentation for Children, a prestigious International Performing Arts for Youth Victor Award for Best Show, and a Ruby Award nomination for Best Work.

This Chinese tour marks the end of a highly successful year for Windmill. Grug and the Rainbow spent six months on the road touring Canada, the US and Australia, including a successful season on New York’s 42nd Street. The show also enjoyed a successful SA regional tour, which included 350 complimentary tickets for children from disadvantaged schools, supported by Windmill’s ‘Free Seats’ program and generous philanthropic partners.

Grug will play at Marphy’s Play House in Chengdu from 23 to 26 November, You Art Centre in Changde from 1 to 3 December and Little Dreamer Theatre in Zhengzhou from 7 to 10 December 2017.

Following his tour of China, Grug will take a well-earned rest over Christmas before a return season of Grug and the Rainbow at Adelaide’s Space Theatre from 10 – 22 April next year.

By Jordan Archer

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