Welcome to the 11th World’s Worst Child Story Competition!
Reviewer: Susanne Gervay
A world ravaged by dust storms and water shortage is a powerful backdrop to the story of three young people abandoned by their parents and facing survival. Based on the acclaimed novel by author Tony Davis adapted by Mark Kilmurry, ‘The Big Dry’ is gripping theatre that opens discussion about climate change, family, scarcity of food and water, stranger-danger, young people vulnerable to adult power, loyalty, courage and survival.
The big brother George is afraid but stoically protective of his younger brother Beeper as they face intruders, famine and drought. Their bond is poignant. When the feisty Emily forces her way into their lives, there are challenges as they create a new ‘family’ to battle their hostile world.
The Ensemble Theatre in an innovative collaboration with the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) produced exciting theatre which has audiences waiting on the edge of their seats as George, Beeper and Emily meet the challenges of choking dust explosions in a hostile climate of man and nature.
Mark Kilmurry’s sensitive adaptation of ‘The Big Dry’ translated Tony Davis’ novel, into powerful theatre. Fraser Corfield, Director of ATYP brought out strong and sensitive performances from his young actors. Sophia Nolan playing Emily was emotional complex as she alternated between warrior and defender, to vulnerable girl wanting family. Rory Potter playing George was so believable as the terrified protector of Beeper played by Jack Andrew, who gave an outstanding performance as the innocent brother.
‘The Big Dry’ the book is a must-read. ‘The Big Dry’ the play is a must-see.
An interview with the author Tony Davis gives insights into his process of creating ‘The Big Dry.’
It was just a coincidence between me reading various books on the American Dustbowl, a subject which has always fascinated me, and an already developing wish to write a story about the dynamic between two brothers. Suddenly the two streams re merged. The characters of George and Beeper were created by imaging how my oldest and youngest son (then about the ages of the characters) would behave if they had to fend for themselves in the worst circumstances. The character of Emily, the girl who comes to stay, materialised in the writing process.
Because it was a made-up world – a modern city in the throes of something akin to the dustbowl – I didn’t need to do a lot more than create the spirit of that environmental disaster and transpose it to today. I also needed to come up with lots and lots of different words for dust!
The only explanation about what has happened to the world in the book (and play) is a rather ham-fisted one by the older brother, George. It has been going on long enough that they just accept it as the reality and rarely question the cause. The last thing I wanted was a preachy book. Readers, and viewers, can make their own mind up about the background; the real focus is on young people’s response to a world that is falling apart.
The missing parents situation is a mainstay of children’s literature, for obvious reasons. My main aim was to try to do it a little differently. George’s struggle to keep his younger brother safe, despite lacking the experience and confidence, is at the heart of the book, and now at the heart of the play.
The exploitation of children and the fencing off of the good places in the world (the so-called “wet countries”) is hinted at more in the book i think, particularly in the dialogue from the more world-wise Emily. I’m so close to it now I struggle to work out just how much is implied in the play version which, like all good theatre works, has gone through a string of changes since the early table reads. The ending on opening night, for example, was the fourth they had tried. One intent in the book was to tell the story of people fleeing a tough situation, or trying to, not by making the young Western reader imagine he or she were a Hazara Afghan (for example) but by reversing the wealth of nations. If water is the most valuable thing in the world, then just because you live in a prosperous and advanced country suddenly isn’t the advantage is used to be. Getting to another place, no matter what the dangers, starts becoming a raison d’etre.
I was mainly a spectator. The director, Fraser Corfield, kindly invited me to see as much of the lead-up as I had time for and I went to a couple of table reads, two rehearsals and a preview. He and the actors asked for my opinion of various things. I was quite reticent to give it because they were bringing to life Mark Kilmurry’s script, not my book. Maybe I added a thing or two that was useful, but just tiny things around the edges.
Yes. I think it is extraordinary. Mark and Fraser were a bit apologetic about drifting at times from the book. I however thought it was absolutely essential to make as many changes as needed to make the story work in the new medium. Anyway, the characters and situation are always faithful to the spirit of the book, despite some plot differences.
The Big Dry: Shortlisted in NSW Premier’s Awards and Aurealis Awards for Speculative Fiction
The World’s Worst Children,a wickedly funny and wonderfully surreal collection of ten stories about ten delightfully dreadful children, David Walliams’ unique take on the classic cautionary tale. This momentous new addition to the David Walliams canon is illustrated in spectacular technicolour by the inimitable Tony Ross and published in a glorious hardback gift edition.
Are you ready to meet the World’s Worst Children?
From Dribbling Drew – a boy whose drool gets him into terrible trouble – to Sofia Sofa – a TV super-fan so stuck to the sofa that she’s turning into one! – the uproariously funny cast of characters will delight David Walliams’ readers. As an extra special treat, fan favourite Raj even makes a hilarious appearance!
Well, now it’s your turn!
Welcome to the 11th World’s Worst Child Story Competition!
This competition is being launched to celebrate the release of David’s new book ‘The World’s Worst Children’.
This competition is open to all Stage 2-3 children • We would like children to write a story about the 11th World’s Worst Child, using the book ‘The World’s Worst Children’ for inspiration. •
Children in Year 3 or 4 should write a maximum of 250 words; children in Year 5 or 6 should write a maximum of 500 words.
HarperCollinsChildren’s Books have provided a pack of fun classroom resources based on the stories in The World’s Worst Children to help children explore the characters and themes. We have also provided a lesson plan with suggestions of how you can support your students to plan and develop their own World’s Worst Child character in preparation for writing their story.
Rebecca Toltz from Kingsgrove Public ,Elaine Smith from Rozelle Public and Julie Farquhar from Smith’s Hill High School
Congratulations each of you has won a double pass to the
WORLD PREMIERE of the THE BIG DRY
this coming Wednesday 8 June at 6pm
playing at the
Ensemble Theatre 78 McDougall Street Kirribilli NSW Australia 2061 <http://ensemble.com.au/whats-on>
plus a signed copy of The Big Dry by Tony Davis <http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9780732297633/the-big-dry/>
HarperCollins Children’sBooks , Ensemble Theatre
and Australian Theatre for Young People
Are giving away 3 Double Passes to the WORLD PREMIERE of the THE BIG DRY
Wednesday 8 June 6pm
playing at the
plus a signed copy of The Big Dry by Tony Davis
If you would like to win one of these 3 double passes send an email with your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm Friday 3 June
where you will go into a draw.
Winners will be notified Monday 6 June by phone and email
THE BIG DRY BY MARK KILMURRY adapted from the novel by TONY DAVIS
DIRECTOR: FRASER CORFIELD ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: JUSTIN STAMBOULIAH DESIGNER: RITA CARMODY
LIGHTING DESIGNER: BENJAMIN BROCKMAN SOUND DESIGNER: JEREMY SILVER
CAST: JACK ANDREW, SOFIA NOLAN, RORY POTTER, NOAH STURZAKER and RICHARD SYDENHAM
Imagine a world of dust. A future where water drips brown from the taps. Where dust storms reduce houses to rubble. Where a young boy, George (Rory Potter) and his younger brother, Beeper (played alternatively by Jack Andrew & Noah Sturzaker), fight to survive while waiting for their father to return home. And where a young rebellious girl, Emily (Sofia Nolan), won’t take no for an answer. Imagine the future. Imagine The Big Dry.
A first time co-production with the extraordinary Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and based on the best-selling novel by Tony Davis, the world premiere of The Big Dry promises to be an event not to be missed.
The Big Dry explores themes of food security, climate change, foreign aid, isolation, survival, values, separation from family, hope and grief. On his inspiration for writing the novel, author Tony Davis says “A few years ago I went through a stage of reading everything I could find on the American Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. It was an era of extraordinary drought, dust storms and hardship which caused hundreds of thousands to leave their homes. A simple question stuck with me for a long time: what would happen if the same conditions returned to a modern Western city? Parallel to that I had planned to write a story about one sibling trying to protect a younger brother or sister against all the odds. Maybe it would be in a civil war, maybe in a time of great poverty…as I started to develop these characters I realised a modern dust bowl could be the perfect backdrop. My characters would not be among those who fled but those left behind. As the novel developed I would see how they changed and found their strengths in these appalling conditions”.
ATYP Artistic Director Fraser Corfield is excited about directing this world premiere production and collaborating with the Ensemble Theatre. “This is a play for the imagination, reminiscent of the ground breaking Medea by Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks. It’s a tense thriller that is driven by the vulnerability of seeing very young actors in what is ostensibly a piece of adult theatre. It beautifully unpacks the resilience of children and the contradictions of human behaviour in a theatrical genre that is still very new for Australian audiences. As a result it will be a play you want to sit down and discuss hours after you have seen it.”
“A clever, engaging work…tightly directed by Fraser Corfield.” Daily Telegraph (for ATYP’s A TOWN NAMED WARBOY)
“Corfield mentions in his notes that young people’s theatre is for everyone, not just the young ‘uns. He’s absolutely correct. This is up there with the best indie theatre you’ll see all year.” Concrete Playground (for ATYP’s SPUR OF THE MOMENT)
“Kilmurry has more than enough talent, insight and experience as writer, actor and director that Casanova really couldn’t fail.” Curtain Call (for CASANOVA)
“Mark Kilmurry has adapted a charming, perceptive comedy…funny, truthful…sweetly, poignantly moving…surprisingly resonant…” Stagenoise (for YOU TALKIN’ TO ME? DIARY OF AN OLYMPIC CABBIE)
SEASON DETAILS: THE BIG DRY
VENUE: Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli, NSW, 2061
DATES: Previews from Sat 4 June, 2016, opening night Thurs 9 June 2016, playing to Sat 2nd July, 2016
PERFORMANCE TIMES: vary, check website for details http://ensemble.com.au/whats-on/plays/the-big-dry
PRICES: $66-$73 (booking charges may apply)
BOOKINGS: 02 9929 0644 or www.ensemble.com.au
RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes no interval
Recommended for ages 12+
FURTHER INFORMATION / INTERVIEWS / IMAGES please contact:
Susanne Briggs, email@example.com or 0412 268 320
Thanks to all of those wonderful librarians and teachers who visited the HarperCollins Trade stand at the recent CBCA conference. It was exciting meeting and sharing information about our recent list of titles as well as old time favourites .
Thanks to all who took the time to enter our competition.The winner of the framed Withering-By-Sea print signed by Judith Rossell is Sharon McGuinness from Thirroul Public School in NSW.
HarperCollins Children’s Books is delighted to be celebrating 25 years of publishing with Jackie French. To commemorate this amazing achievement, we will release a new edition of Jackie’s first ever children’s book, Rain Stones , in December this year.
CBCA delegates have an opportunity to win one of 25 signed copies. To be part of the draw please follow our teachershub.com.au blog and email firstname.lastname@example.org telling us why you would like a copy for your shelf. Entries close Tuesday 31 May.
Winners will be notified by email .
The shortlist for the Bookseller’s YA Book Prize of 2016 has been announced, and our very own Holly Bourne off of the Usborne YA list is one of the shortlisted titles. The winner will be announced on 2nd of June but you can always get more information from their webpage: http://www.thebookseller.com/ya-book-prize/2016
Holly’s book Am I Normal Yet? is a brilliant story about OCD – a complex issue within itself, and the way Holly writes about it is heralded by many – it has a rating of 4.38/5 on Goodreads, and is full of praise about her ability to write with such depth about a mental disease that so many people have to deal with. Just check out these other great reviews:
How Hard Can Love Be? is Holly’s next novel and will be published in ANZ in May 2016 and whilst it isn’t technically a sequel, it will focus on another character from Am I Normal Yet?
AM I NORMAL YET by Holly Bourne
ISBN RRP $16.99
All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts, there’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships can mess with anyone’s head – something Evie’s new friends Amber and Lottie know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won’t tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?
Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Evie’s no-holds-barred story of struggling to live a “normal” teen life in the grip of OCD, from the acclaimed author of THE MANIFESTO ON HOW TO BE INTERESTING.
“THE sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day…”. What comes next in The Cat in the Hat? Watch Aussie stars read the Dr Seuss classic.
Start your Dr Seuss Collection with a FREE copy of The Cat in the Hat and Dr Seuss Collector Case when you buy the newspapers listed above.
Melina Marchetta in conversation with Sarah Ayoub, launching Sarah’s new novel, The Yearbook Committee!
From the much-loved author of Hate is Such a Strong Word comes a ‘smart, funny and relevant’ novel about five unlikely teammates who find themselves thrust together against their will…
The school captain. The newcomer. The loner. The popular girl. The politician’s daughter.
Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?
Thursday February 25 6.00pm arrival for a 6.30pm start.
RSVP in store, by phone: 02 9262 7996, email: email@example.com