Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Two graduates of WAAPA’s Music Theatre course have produced an exciting new podcast that turns children’s original stories into short audio plays voiced by some of Australia’s best actors.
Dual Helpmann Award-winner Verity Hunt-Ballard (Mary Poppins, Sweet Charity) and actor/educator Amelia Christo created StoryKids to fill a gap in the primary school audio market.
“We wanted to place children and their stories front and centre in the creative process,” explains Amelia. “As well as producing their original stories as audio plays, we also interview each child author to hopefully inspire other children to write, draw and create in response.”
Launched on June 8, the first episode of StoryKids stars fellow WAAPA graduate Lucy Durack (Wicked, Australia’s Got Talent) and Don Hany (East West 101, Offspring).
Subsequent episodes, released every week for five weeks, feature the vocal talents of WAAPA alumni Mark Coles Smith (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Last Cab to Darwin), Virginia Gay (Winners and Losers, All Saints) and Fiona Choi (The Family Law), along with Michala Banas (McLeod’s Daughters, Upper Middle Bogan), Toby Truslove (Utopia) and Rob Mills (Neighbours). Tony Award nominee Russell Goldsmith layers each story with sound effects.
Each episode runs for 10 minutes, which Amelia describes as “perfect snackable digital content for the primary school audio market.”
Amelia first met Verity when she was a first year student at WAAPA and Verity was in her final year of training.
“As first years, we were so in awe of our crop of third years. Looking back on it, we had every right to be! Verity plus Patrice Tipoki, James Millar, Alex Rathgeber, Lisa Sontag, Sophie Carter, Vivian Carter and others have all gone on to be award-winning giants in the industry.”
Both now based in Melbourne, Amelia and Verity reconnected in 2015 to produce a charity video featuring high-profile mothers as part of the Bring Them Here/Let Them Stay refugee campaign.
“There’s something about having that shared experience of our time at WAAPA that provides a shortcut to friendship,” says Amelia.
StoryKids is supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants.
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