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Holiday hit inspired by Brisbane boy heads overseas

A new production at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts based on the life of a Brisbane boy and his experiences living with Asperger Syndrome garnered local, national and international attention earlier this month.

Kaleidoscope presented by Judith Wright Centre and Brisbane Based Circus troupe Company 2 (supported by Flipside Circus) played to enthusiastic audiences over the school holidays (6-9 April) tells the story of eleven-year-old Ethan Wharton-Langridge and the ups and downs of his everyday life with Asperger Syndrome.

Ethan was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at four years of age and he perceives things in a different way, preferring to interpret the world through touch using the pads of his fingers or the tips of his toes. Ethan, who is a co-creator of Kaleidoscope, uses the physical art form of circus to express himself.

The success of Kaleidoscope, based on a book written by Ethan’s mother, Johanna Wharton, has opened the door to a season in Sydney with the Sydney Opera House for the SPOT ON Children’s Festival – held at Riverside Parramatta, and a national tour of the USA with dates to be confirmed.

Potential tours to Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania are also in the works.

Company 2 artist Chelsea McGuffin, who directed and created Kaleidoscope, in collaboration with Ethan Wharton-Langridge, David Carberry and the Company 2 core ensemble, is excited to take the show to Australian and international audiences.

“It is always a pleasure to work at the Judith Wright Centre and with the fantastic team who run it,” Chelsea said.

Kaleidoscope has been built on a great idea and the Judy was able to see this and has supported it to grow. Company 2 would not have had the success it has had over the last five years without the support of the Judy and the Fresh Ground Program for new work. Fresh Ground supports independent companies like Company 2 to find a place in the industry to showcase our work with full production values,” she said.

“Opportunities like this are very hard to come by and without this we won't get the opportunity to present our new work to large audiences and attract national and international presenters.”

Judith Wright Centre partnered with Company 2 and AUTISM QLD in celebration of Kaleidoscope and Autism Awareness Month in April.


Photos: Dylan Evans, courtesy Judith Wright Centre.