|Co-Production||HANDSPAN THEATRE & the VICTORIAN ARTS CENTRE EDUCATION PROGRAM|
|Premiere||7 April, 1983|
|Venue||Melbourne Concert Hall, Victorian Arts Centre|
THE CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS was produced and presented by the Education Department of the Victorian Arts Centre for school performances that would trial the soon to be opened Concert Hall (now Hamer Hall).
Susie Leigh, Education Officer at the Centre commissioned Handspan to create and animate visual, puppetry-based images to appear with Saint-Saens score played by the Victorian College of the Arts orchestra and Fred Parslow, narrator of Ogden Nash's verse.
The work was performed for a short schools' audience season in Melbourne and was toured to South Australia by the Education Officer at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Cate Fowler, for the Come Out Youth Arts Festival where it was re-staged for performance in the rotunda of the Adelaide Zoo, narrated by Kerry Walker and played by the Adelaide Department of Further Education Orchestra.
Handspan's contribution to the production was ambitious. The concert included brief promenade scenes performed by the Kangaroo, Emu and Bunyip (from The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek) who protested the lack of Australia animals included in the Carnival, and made up verses of their own for inclusion in Ogden Nash's poem:
These scenes punctuated the performance of the twelve music segments of the Carnival each of which was accompanied by animated and choreographed images that were the 'animals' of each piece.
There were a lot of puppets required, which had to be spectacular and large enough to have an impact in the vast concert hall, and flexible enough to be manipulated by only four performers high up on narrow rostra and above the manipulators' heads in order to be seen above the orchestra from the stalls. The new venue supplied a purpose built scrim and black drapes that filled the vaulting proscenium space for the production.
In 1984 Susie Leigh commissioned Handspan for a similar production at the Concert Hall, The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
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|7 - 8 April, 1983||Concert Hall, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne|
|9 May, 1983||Rotunda Adelaide Zoo, South Australia|
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