The Secret Garden to be brought to life at the Playhouse

2 April 2019|Community News| Off Comments off on The Secret Garden to be brought to life at the Playhouse|

CHILDREN will be treated to a magical show this April, with an adaptation of classic children literature ‘The Secret Garden’ hitting the Playhouse Theatre.

The Secret Garden is a story about eight-year-old Mary who is orphaned in India and moves to England to live with her uncle in a mysterious, old house.

“There she discovers a secret, overgrown garden and that she has a disabled cousin living in the house,” play director Ben Armitage said.

“With the help of the staff, she nurses her cousin and the garden back to full health.

“The story is about second chances and about the change that comes across Mary when she finds out she has a disabled cousin.”

Mr Armitage said he wanted children to enjoy the experience of theatre.

“I remember when I was a kid reading the book of The Secret Garden in terms of the magic of the story itself, but I also remember going to see my first shows when I was seven and just being enthralled by the magic of theatre,” he said.

“In Hobart, there is very little serious theatre put on for kids, so for me it’s about storytelling and trying to bring that back.”

Mr Armitage said planning for the show began over a year ago, with rehearsals having started at the beginning of February.

“Rehearsals are three times a week, but then there are a whole bunch of things that happen on top of that in terms of costumes, sets, props, lighting and sound,” he said.

“A lot of effort has been put in, particularly by the two young girls who are 13 and 12 [Zoe O’Brien and Carys Howatson], who have been learning hundreds of lines as well as doing their school work.”

Zoe and Carys, who play Mary, said they enjoyed playing a role that developed throughout the show.

“She’s basically sour and mean, and not really a nice person, but the play shows her grow to become a better person,” Carys said.

“I feel in a lot of shows the character has attitude and you stick with it the whole time, but in this show you get to go through different moods.”

The young actresses said they were inspired to take up acting to play different roles.

“I like showing myself in different lights and playing different people is very interesting,” Carys said.

“When you’re on stage you just go into their world and you’re that person.”

I’ve always loved acting – this is my third year of doing classes and my first proper show,” Zoe said.

“I just love to be able to express myself through it, plus playing different characters and roles is very fun.”

The play is also set to be brought to life through the use of a garden set with real plants provided by Stoneman’s Garden Centre.

“We wanted to bring a real sense of the outdoors inside,” Mr Armitage said.

Stoneman’s marketing manager Jo Stoneman said they had been working with the production team to plan out how the scenes will look and what plants were required.

“For this project we have proposed six large pots planted to represent an overgrown, weedy garden and another six large pots of colourful flowers to represent a flower garden, which will be swapped over throughout the play as the scenes change,” she said.

“It takes a number of weeks for special projects to be grown to an advanced stage.

“We work together with the production company to create and implement a plan for keeping the green life alive and healthy for the duration of the play.

“The use of real plants instead of stage props truly helps bring the stage to life and creates a realistic setting and ambience where the actors and audience can immerse themselves and escape into the magic of The Secret Garden.”

Ms Stoneman said The Secret Garden was the theme for their annual Cancer Council Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser on 18 April, with Tasmanian actor and comedian John X set to be the special guest.

Mr Armitage encouraged everyone to come along to enjoy the magic of theatre and of The Secret Garden.

“It’s a beautiful story, a wonderful story, and I think it’s important that we keep these old stories alive,” he said.

The Secret Garden will run from 12 April for 16 performances and will end on 28 April.

Tickets are available from

Caption: Young actress, Carys Howatson, is looking forward to playing Mary in The Secret Garden at the Playhouse Theatre.

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