School holidays in Adelaide are in full swing, so if you've ticked off a bunch of activities and are still looking for some interactive events that can be fun for the whole family, you may want to check out Dr. AudiYO's Giant Adventure, which is a brilliant show that is taking place at the Adelaide Festival Centre this weekend, as part of Something on Saturday.
Dr. AudiYO is a beatboxing clown-come-superhero, who is about to go on a surreal adventure to slay "The Giant". She is hoping to have some assistance from her brave audience to save the city and bring back a sense of peace and order.
In anticipation of her upcoming show, I was fortunate enough to conduct an e-interview with writer and performer Holly Austin about the show - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Holly? How did you get involved with Dr AudiYO's Giant Adventure? Holly: I trained as an actor at NIDA and won scholarships to study clowning in Switzerland and improvisational comedy at The Second City in Chicago. I'm also a professional beat-boxer and musician. I was inspired to create Dr AudiYO's Giant Adventure after the amazing success of my previous work for young people Ruby's Wish, which toured nationally in 2018 and featured the character of Dr AudiYO. Ruby's Wish was a much bigger show with three actors and a large set. I was keen to create a new work that inspired the audience to collaborate with me in a playful and imaginative way but didn't rely on a set, props, or even words to communicate a cracking good story... and so, Dr AudiYO's Giant Adventure was born.
Tema: Who are the key individuals involved with the show? Holly: An extraordinary team of artists helped me realise this show. I worked closely with my director, acclaimed theatre-maker Dr Miles O'Neil (one-third of the award-winning junkyard theatre troubadours The Suitcase Royale). My dramaturg was Naomi Edwards (former artistic director of Patch Theatre and current assistant director on Harry Potter and The Cursed Child). My creative brains' trust on the show was a group of talented 8 to 12 year-olds from The House of Muchness, a young people's theatre company based in Melbourne. We would meet every week and I would test out ideas and material and they would basically tell me whether it was funny enough and if it should make the cut!
Tema: For those who may be new to it, can you briefly explain to us what Dr AudiYO's Giant Adventure is about? Holly: The show is a sound-led, joy-filled, choose-your-own-adventure that follows Dr AudiYO, a beatboxing superhero who's on a quest stop the Giant from silencing the city. Dr AudiYO enlists the help of the audience who help decide which path she should take and complete her mission in slaying the Giant.
Tema: Who is the target audience for your show? Holly: Dr AudiYO's Giant Adventure is created for family audiences – children 7 and their adults – who must work together with Dr AudiYO to save the city from the Giant.
Tema: What do you hope for your audience to experience by attending Dr AudiYo's Giant Adventure? Holly: I hope they have a really good time! At the heart of Dr AudiYO's Giant Adventure is the importance of connection and imaginative play. It's something we do so brilliantly as kids and It's my hope that this show unleashes the wild creative beast within, no matter how old you are.
Tema: Where have you taken Dr AudiYO's Great Adventure around Australia / the world and what has the reception been like? Holly: The response from both audiences and critics has been really amazing. The show premiered in 2019 at TheatreWorks as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and was then programmed as part of the Brisbane Festival. I'm thrilled that this year, we'll be off touring to a number of festivals and theatres around the country... especially at the Festival Centre here in Adelaide. A dream come true!
Tema: Is there a level of audience participation involved in the show? Holly: Yes, there is, but I hope not in a scary stage fright kind of way! It's the audience that become the true heroes of the show, and it's my job as Dr AudiYO to make them feel like a hero... not a fool!
Tema: What do you think has helped added to the high level of appeal that is possessed by Dr AudiYO's Great Adventure - what do you think helps the show stands out as a must-watch? Holly: It's a show that is truly unique. It fuses old school clowning and mime techniques with new school beatbox and cutting-edge wireless looping technology in the form of Dr AudiYO's Magic Bumbag. The bumbag was especially created for the show by interactive designer Annie McKinnon. It allows me to live loop and add effects to my voice as Dr AudiYO. I can create live soundscapes like a swamp or busy city scape, a jazz band ditty and make it rain imaginary cats right before your very eyes using nothing but my mouth!
Tema: How did you get involved with the Something on Saturday program via the Adelaide Festival Centre? Holly: Kellie Nicol, the producer for the Something on Saturday program, flew over to Melbourne to see the show at the Comedy Festival and absolutely loved the show. She has been a real champion of the work from the very beginning and was really keen to bring the show over here to Adelaide. I'm so thrilled she did!
Tema: How do you feel about scoring a grand venue like the Adelaide Festival Centre for your show? Holly: It's a real privilege to be performing in one of the leading performing arts centres in the country and in a state, where some of the best theatre for young people is created with companies like Patch, Windmill and Slingsby all based here. So lucky!
Tema: What do you do in your spare time when you're not going on the Great Adventure? What does a regular day in the life of Holly look like? Holly: Every day for me is a new adventure! I'm currently writing Butch, a television comedy series, and I'm about to launch a new online series for under 5's called Holly & Milly's Rhymes for Little People created with Adelaide's own Emily Taheny and Tamsin Sharp. I recently moved to the central coast, so when I'm not making something, I can often be found walking my dog Wombat along the beach.