Māui is making his way into Primary Schools across Canterbury in The Court Theatre’s latest touring show, O Le Malaga Fa’a’Atua (The Journey of the Gods).
Created in collaboration with Pasifika theatre collective Y|NOT, this multi-lingual production will be travelling around the region, bringing the magic of theatre to thousands of Canterbury children throughout August and September.
Focused on the journey of Māui as he attempts to become a fully-fledged god, this inspiring show celebrates being the best person you can – god or not.
“It’s beautiful, imaginative storytelling that will be really engaging and accessible for children,” says Programmes Manager Rachel Sears, who coordinates the tour.
Y|NOT members Talia-Rae Mavaega, Jake Arona and Mana Tatafu will be bringing this magical, multi-lingual – and musical! – production to life, directed by Gregory Cooper, who has been involved in numerous Court Theatre children’s shows.
“We were inspired by stories we heard as kids,” explains Mavaega. “Pasifika myths and legends passed down through families.”
Taking three common Polynesian stories, together the team have created a fresh, exciting production that explores Māui’s journey in a fun and educational way.
“Children will gain an insight into Pasifika Gods, myths and legends, will see local performers on-stage who are real role models - and will hopefully learn a little bit of Samoan and Tongan,” says Sears, talking about what schools can expect from the show. “When I watched it, I definitely learnt at least six words!”
For Cooper, the show’s Pasifika roots make for an incredibly unique and imaginative theatrical experience.
“We don’t get a lot of shows that tour to schools with Pasifika stories. It’s fantastic that these tales of Samoa and Tonga – and Aotearoa! – are being told.”
Sears, who helped commission the production, agrees. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate a culture and share that culture’s stories with the community of children in Canterbury.”
Beyond the reinvention of a classic Pasifika myth, schools can expect astounding music, the cast teaching their young audience beautiful Polynesian songs.
“Each folk tale comes with its own song, so we’re injecting that into the story; using music that has been passed down through generations,” explains Mavaega.
Touring until the 13th September, there are still four available performance, with tickets just $5 per child when there are over 100 students. For low decile schools, free performances are available thanks to the Pamela Webb Charitable Trust.
“This touring shows is important because it breaks down the barrier of coming to the theatre,” says Sears. “O Le Malaga Fa’a’Atua gives every child in Canterbury the opportunity to experience theatre.”
O Le Malaga Fa’a’Atua (The Journey of the Gods) will be performed at Primary Schools around Canterbury from 19 August – 13 September. You can find out more and book a visit for your school here.