Home ­– which is aimed at audiences aged four to 10 ­– was originally set to premiere last weekend but a surge of COVID cases within the cast and crew saw the opening delayed, with the first family sessions now being presented at the Space Theatre on August 13.

It incorporates original music, animation, projections, dance, puppetry and sculpture, with performers Zoë Dunwoodie and Charlie Wilkins (and Bhodi Hudson as understudy) playing two friends who journey to dream worlds.

Patch artistic director and Home co-director Geoff Cobham says part of the inspiration for the show came from speaking to children about the concept of home and discovering they were more interested in other people’s homes ­– especially places such as igloos and castles ­­– than their own.

For Restless Dance Theatre artistic director Michelle Ryan, Home represents an opportunity to put diversity centre-stage for a young audience. And, as she says in this Q&A interview, we should embrace all the craziness in difference.

This is the first time Restless and Patch have collaborated on a show – what has that process been like and have you enjoyed creating work for a younger audience?

Restless and Patch had been talking for quite a while about creating a show for young people that celebrates diversity on stage. The work is not about disability but sees two fabulous artists that aren’t defined by labels share an adventure of discovery and play.

To be involved in a design-led production with the fabulous Geoff Cobham and [Patch maker-in-residence] Michelle Delaney, and having the beautiful directorial eye of Daisy Brown, has been a dream. Creating work for young audiences has reminded me that there is a child in all of us and how important it is to have arts in everyone’s lives, including little people.

Performers Zoë Dunwoodie and Charlie Wilkins journey to weird and wonderful worlds in Home. Photo: Matt Byrne

As the title suggests, the show is all about home, and it’s said to be inspired by stories such as Alice in Wonderland and The Magic Faraway Tree. How does the adventure unfold on stage?

Home is a captivating adventure from the very start. Through a magical door that acts as a portal into other worlds, audiences are given permission to let their imaginations run wild. There are a multitude of surprises that enter through the door and take over the space.

Children relish the chance to interact with the show. Photo: Matt Byrne

What kind of homes are explored in the show?

Oh, I certainly don’t want to give away the weird and wonderful essence of the production, but there are underlying themes around what we see and think and how we connect with each other through a series of different worlds. There are a few hints in there!

Why do you think the concept of “home” is such an interesting one to explore with young children?

A person’s home can mean the physical building that they live in but for others it can mean much more. To ask what home means to children, beyond a physical space, is an interesting concept and discovering these answers together is powerful.

While adults may cringe at the thought of “audience interaction”, kids usually love it. I believe there’s plenty of opportunity for them to interact with this experience

The amazing thing about this show is that the children are front and centre and part of the action. We have had test audiences and every child wants to be on stage during the show. It has been an absolute delight seeing how excited they get and their generous interactions with the performers help shape the show.

What do you hope young audiences will take away from Home?

I hope it ignites creativity in young minds. Let’s embrace all the craziness in difference.

Patch Theatre and Restless Dance Theatre are presenting family performances of Home at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre on August 13 and 20 (details here). It will then embark on a regional tour with a public performance at Hopgood Theatre in Noarlunga on August 27.

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