Little Dog barks loudly in Edinburgh

Last updated 13:06 22/07/2014
Little Dog Barking
PUPPET PLAY: The Duck, Death and the Tulip, performed Peter Wilson at Downstage in 2013.

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Fresh from winning a theatre award in China, New Zealand children's theatre company Little Dog Barking is to present its puppet play about death at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month.

Little Dog Barking Theatre, established in 2010, is the brainchild of local Pauatahanui artist Peter Wilson.

The stage adaptation of Duck, Death and the Tulip, a book by German illustrator Wolf Erlbruch, has captivated audiences, with its inventive and entertaining way of addressing one of life's more difficult topics.

"Death is an inevitable part of life," Wilson said.

"However, people tend to approach it with caution in everyday conversation, particularly with children."

Duck, Death and the Tulip is a story about a duck and a representation of death.

In bringing it to the stage for young audiences, Wilson has drawn on personal experience.

"When I was a young boy and my brother died, no-one was around to explain death to me. It would have been wonderful to have had a book like this.

"I'm excited at the opportunity to perform it alongside artists from around the world who attend the Edinburgh Festival. It's a time when producers and presenters gather to see what's new, what's innovative, what's unique and what they might buy."

It is directed by Nina Nawalowalo and the music is composed by New Zealander Gareth Farr.

The play is performed by Wilson and Shona McNeil, using puppets crafted to replicate the book illustrations.

The story follows a duck as he befriends an individual representing death. As their bond grows, death clarifies to duck about the wonders of life and the reality of death.

Wilson's life work creating theatre for children and families has taken him to many corners of the globe, most recently Nanchong, China, where he was chosen to work alongside Asian puppet companies in the First Asian Pacific Puppet Festival. Little Dog Barking won Best International Drama for another of his shows, Paper Shaper.

Before founding Little Dog Barking, Wilson was founding artistic director of Capital E National Theatre for Children in Wellington.

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