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Playing Nicely: New work tackles rise in Child Anxiety

Gina Andrews. Photo credit Matt Paterson

New work tackles rise in Child Anxiety

Rates of diagnosed mental illness in children have doubled in the past five years, and now two local dancers are bringing the issue out of the closet and onto the stage. In an effort to raise awareness and do their bit to make families affected by childhood anxiety feel less alone, Brigid Costello and Gina Andrews have created Playing Nicely, a new work that incorporates dance, theatre and multimedia to talk about childhood anxiety in a quirky yet highly thought provoking way.

Director Costello and principal dancer Andrews (producing the show as Pinwheel Dance Theatre) have drawn on personal experiences with the issue to highlight a subject that according to Andrews is something of a conversational taboo. “We don’t talk about what’s really bothering us in this country – it’s that whole ‘she’ll be right’ attitude again. So with heavy things like this, people end up struggling on their own, and that’s just not how it should be.” Playing Nicely director Brigid Costello agrees. “People need to understand that they aren’t alone in this. Whenever I hear about teen’s struggling with intense psychological issues and families who won’t talk about it or don’t know how to deal with it, it really hits me hard.”

By taking the discussion to the stage the duo hope to get Wellingtonians opening up about an issue that as a society, inevitably affects us all. “Both Brigid and I feel there is a real need to get people talking about this more – and what better way than through dance,” says Andrews and her director agrees. “It needs to be done in a way that is enjoyable, entertaining and ultimately uplifting,” says Costello. “We want people to get lost in the world of the show, but then have some hearty discussions with their friends afterwards.”

Playing Nicely is on at BATS Theatre, 6:30pm
15-19 February 2014, as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival. Tickets can be purchased through BATS (Full $18, Concession $14, Group $14, Fringe Addict $12, Artist Card $12), either on their website ( or calling (04) 802 4175.
For more information on Playing Nicely visit


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