Writer's daughter co-creates play

'...a creative kid with a great imagination'

Last updated 12:00 24/06/2014
Charlotte Coates
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

DRAMA PIRATE: Charlotte Crofts, 9, has a keen interest in drama.

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Charlotte Crofts knows what will make a 9-year-old laugh, because she is one. Carly Thomas speaks to Charlotte about how she's helped write a kids' play with lots of laughs, soon to be brought to life in Palmerston North. 

Charlotte Crofts likes fairies. In fact, she would quite like to be one. The 9-year-old girl also likes to write stories and has been a co-creator on a kids' play set to be performed at Centrepoint in Palmerston North in the July school holidays.

Charlotte's mum, Karla Crofts, has written Prince Seth and the Princess-Pirate Adventure and says Charlotte has been a crucial part of the play's creation from day one. "She has a really good eye for what is funny and she has helped me create the character of Ricky in particular," Crofts says.

Charlotte never misses a rehearsal and takes notes to give to the actors and to her mum, who is also the director.

"I watch the rehearsal and have some ideas," Charlotte says. "I write them down and then I tell mum she should put that idea in, she reads it out to me and I tell her what is good or not so good."

Crofts soon realised that Charlotte could contribute to making the characters more believable and she says the character of Ricky was inspired by Charlotte, so she knows her really well.

"Ricky is always up to mischief," Charlotte says. "She is cheeky, Seth is more sensible. I think mischief is more fun."

Charlotte enjoys writing her own stories too, and says she likes haunted, spooky stories best.

"When I write my stories, I can see them being acted out in my head. I make them descriptive and I tell mum that she has to make the play descriptive too."

Charlotte has been brought up in a theatrical family, with her mum teaching drama at Feilding High School and her stepfather, Reihana Haronga, is an actor and teaches at Bulls Primary School. Together they run Te Puanga Whakaari Theatre Productions. But Crofts says they are not pushy parents and don't force Charlotte to help out.

"She is a creative kid with a great imagination and she just really loves being involved."

Charlotte learns jazz dancing and enjoys performing, dressing up in costumes, kapa haka and reading Peter Pan and Fancy Nancy books.

Charlotte's teacher at St Joseph's School in Feilding, Vanessa Wasley, says Charlotte's strengths definitely lie in drama.

"Her creative writing is really good and she uses lots of description.

"She is just a funny character to have in class, who sees humour in everything."

Charlotte is also on hand to make sure the actors are making their characters as funny as they can be, giving feedback on how to get a laugh out of a particular line that has made her giggle.

"I think the kids will find the show funny, I do. They should get up and join in, shout out."

Crofts says that because of her daughter's input, the play really speaks to kids and she is a good gauge of what is funny to a 9-year-old.

Charlotte's mum had better watch out, in fact, because the budding young playwright has her sights set on writing the next pirate adventure play on her own.

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"I think they should go to space and be astronauts. Space pirates. That would be good."

- Manawatu Standard

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