…Dinah Priestley and her grandson Cassidy Abbott perform at the Thorndon Fair last Sunday. Dancing and singing along with Pavarotti, Cassidy is the very soul of the endearing and talented dog Oscar, who stars in Dinah’s book, Oscar Star of the Opera.
Papawai Park in Mt Cook. Sunday morning early. And thirty eager children and their parents experienced a drama that involved scientists, artists, actors, gecko- and- weta- wranglers, a talking fish and a shy elusive
Moa which the children chased with enthusiasm.
All part of Nature Through the Arts efforts to help children see the connection between science and the arts and imagine the city they would like Wellington (and Mt Cook/ Brooklyn area in particular) to be.
The initiative is backed by the NZ National Commission for UNESCO.
Nikki Wright the collective’s spokesperson said that the project draws on international research around children’s growing alienation from nature, now coined as “Nature Deficit disorder”.
What I should have mentioned is that between us Tony Burton and I have five talented and loveable adult children; Nikki Wright, a journalist, Justine Wright , a film editor in London, Tandi Wright an actor, Stephanie Burton a computer architect, Victoria Burton.a teacher, and ten grandchildren.
And I wanted also to mention that Tony and I both love warbling away. Every week we get together, to sing, with my sister, Jenny Pattrick and her husband Laughton, who is our choir master. (We just happen to be a bass, a soprano, an alto and a tenor.) Its just for our own entertainment. And its one of the great joys of of my life.
Instead of having a birthday party this year I decided we’d organise a grandchildren’s Dans Palais and Vaudeville afternoon tea party. So with 11 year old Cassidy as MC we careered through a Punch and Judy show, a Balloon Dance to the tune of Zorba the Greek, two ukelele songs by Cassidy, a piano recital by Olive, a Bull dance with Lauchie as the bull and myself as the bullfighter and Hazel’s film of How to Make Friends starring the Chaplinesque Tony Burton. Lots of flowers and champagne, asparagus rolls and chocolates. And a couple of dancing chickens.
Tandi always surprises me as an actor. In the Events her character goes through a huge range of emotions .But she also emerges as the choir conductor who holds her community together in tragic times. Watching her conducting her choir with such skill and grace I found myself in tears. And so were the choir and Tandi as they sang, “We’re all here. And we’re all here” All glad to be alive.
Don’t miss The Events. An electrifying play about a mass murder and its effects. Starring Tandi Wright and Beulah Koale and a new guest choir every night.
I wrote and broadcast this script a year ago. Its a commentary on Burton’s and my argumentative method of travelling through England and Spain. We travel in a more harem scarum way than most folks. We both love England and eventually Burton succumbed to the charms of Spain. This is more how not to travel than how to travel. Lovely music too.