July 22, 2021
Arts & Culture

Blast-off: Windmill keeps kids entertained

Windmill Theatre is once again helping keep South Australian families entertained through lockdown with its at-home online platform that includes an eight-part animated web series and an interactive science-fiction adventure.

Sun Runners is an interactive audio adventure.

The Adelaide-based children’s theatre company originally launched the web series Honey I’m Home in the midst of the pandemic shutdown in the middle of last year.

Local artists and designers Chris EdserJonathon Oxlade and Renate Henschke collaborated with Windmill to secure an Arts SA COVID-19 grant to create the short webisodes that transport viewers to beautiful and poignant mini-worlds brought to life through illustration, sculpture and stop-motion animation.

The webisodes – which can be viewed for free on the Windmill at Home platform – are all linked by the theme of isolation, with some incorporating music and dance.

“As people all over Australia find themselves at home once again, Honey, I’m Home is a reminder that something beautiful can come from trying circumstances, or, perhaps, that there is very little in life that can’t be improved with some googly eyes,” the company says.

For families looking for interactive entertainment, the six-part audio series Sun Runners blends elements of gaming, theatrical storytelling and play to create what’s described as “a daring, dangerous, heart-stopping intergalactic race in the solar system”.

Created earlier this year with Perth-based Audioplay, it is aimed at children aged eight to 12 and is played using an app, a smartphone, a pair of headphones and household items such as pillows, tongs, chairs, blankets and socks.

Windmill producer Ross McHenry told InDaily at the time of Sun Runners’ launch that the adventure features pop culture references which resonate with both children and adults.

Listeners play the roles of two young Sun Runners, Olli and Gamma, who are sent on a race around the galaxy. During the adventure, participants wear headphones so they can hear the actors while playing out the action themselves in real time, with the household items used to create things such as a spaceship and fort.

“It really is focused on activating children’s imaginations, helping them construct this world inside their heads and inside their lounge-rooms,” says McHenry. “That’s augmented by the type of music and sound effects and production that you’d associate with the cinema or something like that.”

Windmill is releasing the full series free to families in South Australia for the next seven days with the code “ADELAIDE(click here to “blast off”).

Other activities available on Windmill at Home include Grug Storytime, with actors reading from the popular picture books; an outdoor workout with Baba Yaga, and interactive activities connected to the company’s shows Amphibian and Girl Asleep.

The current lockdown in South Australia has affected Windmill’s planned regional tour of the live show Beep, with the company working to reschedule performances planned for Murray Bridge and Elizabeth next week.


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