Calico Theatre Logo

Theatre for Young Audiences

Theatre for Young Audiences

Calico has been creating theatre for young audiences since 1991. 

Presented nationwide and overseas, in theatres, schools and festivals, Calico’s original, thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud productions have touched hearts, opened minds and sparked the imaginations of countless young New Zealanders.  

Currently, Calico has no professional theatre productions available for bookings.

Scroll down for highlights of past productions.

“The play was fantastic… 

The children throughout the school were spellbound.”

Berhampore School - feedback on In the Deep End

Past Calico Theatre Productions

Vanilla Bland and Professor Snowtex struggling with Sandra Shark

In the Deep End - by Michelanne Forster (for ages 5-12)

What's the harm in one teensy little white lie? Vanilla Bland finds out when her quiet life explodes into hilarious slapstick crisis after a seemingly harmless fib snowballs out of control. Up to her neck in Big Trouble, Vanilla must rescue Professor Snowtex from notorious jewel thief Sandra Shark and face up to the truth.

Tyro, apprentice MatheMagician, can't get his spells right. So, when Fire Chief Fleet arrives with a monster mathemagical problem, they ask the audience for help. Riotous comedy, a transforming set and audience participation ensue. After sell-out tours, this show went to Brisbane's Out of the Box festival and was later remounted by Vancouver-based Axis Theatre.

Shalakazap! - by Jenny Wake (for ages 5-12)

The Mathemagician gives Tyro an umbrella
Terk finds Clayton in distress

Speed of Light - by Angie Farrow (for ages 15+)

Clayton has top grades and star potential. Annie and Terk pooh-pooh his self-doubts. When Clayton goes missing, their relationship with him is thrown into question: they may be best mates, but are they good friends? Speed of Light blends comedy, despair and the urgent rhythms of the athletics arena to highlight issues of friendship, communication and emotional isolation.

Wipe Out - by Jenny Wake (for ages 8-14)

In a future world, Nem and Jax embark on a dangerous journey into virtual reality. Their mission: to destroy the electronic network of a powerful enemy. But Nem has a secret agenda and Jax jumps to some chilling conclusions about his loyalties. When the team is trace-tagged by the enemy, escape depends on the strength of their friendship.

Nem and Jax geared up for a ride into virtual reality
A scene from Fuatia's Future

Fuatia’s Future - by Charlie Oates (for ages 10-14)

Fuatia is in a hurry to be born. But what kind of world will she come into? This play explores young people's visions of the future; their dreams, fears and expectations. What kind of future are we creating? How can we help shape the future we want? Whimsical, provocative insights from Wellington 10 to 14-year-olds have been developed into dynamic physical theatre.

A Moon Between Two Houses - by Suzanne Lebeau

Taciturne and Plum are new neighbours. They want to be friends, but Plum is lively and inquisitive and Taciturne is shy. As they discover each other's likes and fears, they start to have fun together, despite their differences. Scary things, like shadows and mice and new neighbours, turn out to be nothing to be afraid of at all. (For ages 3-7)

Plum shows Taciturne the moon
Sam puts his washing on the line

The Man whose Mother was a Pirate - based on the book by Margaret Mahy, adapted by Tim Bray (for ages 4-10)

Sam works in a tidy office in a big city far away from the sea, but his old pirate mum yearns to see the great ocean waves rolling and dancing. Sam loads her into a wheelbarrow and heads for the coast – an adventure that will change their lives forever. With music and lyrics by Christine White.

Tomorrow’s Friend - by Jenny Wake (for ages 7-12)

A strange blue creature emerges from a pod and tries to fit in with the crowd. Met with fear, prejudice and misunderstanding, the lonely alien fails to make friends until she meets someone who is very much on the outer like her. With a mix of live actors and puppets created by Annie Forbes and Tim Denton, Tomorrow's Friend explores the experience of being on the outside.

Bluey and Critter puppets

Past Productions with Young Performers

Three Glitch Bugs

Captain Hacker and the Glitch Bugs - by Karen Miller

Feuding misfits Bozo, Fenella Umbrella, Spock, Snotty and Motormouth are accidentally sucked into Cyberspace. There they find Captain Hacker and his wicked Glitch Bugs plotting to squandoggle our world with computer chaos. To foil Captain Hacker’s dastardly plan they must set aside their differences and draw on each others’ hitherto unrecognised strengths.

Maurice Gee’s The Halfmen of O - adapted by Jenny Wake

Summoned to the land of O, 11-year-old Susan must restore the balance of Good and Evil to save the world from the creeping darkness spread by cruel Otis Claw and the Halfies, who have lost every trace of human goodness. This play for ages 8 and over was first performed by 70 young performers and Dame Kate Harcourt in a co-production with Napier Operatic Society.

Otis Claw, Marna and the Woodlanders
The reindeer brings Gerda to the Arctic Woman

The Snow Queen - adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale

When Kaj is stolen away by the Snow Queen, his best friend Gerda sets out on a perilous journey to find him and bring him home. Along the way, she discovers the power of true friendship. This production teamed young performers and professional actors when it premiered at Downstage Theatre.

Deep End actors tangled in the tentacles of an octopus
Physical theatre in Fuatia's Future
Three characters trying to make up their minds
Nem in virtual reality gear