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Aya And The Butterfly

A child’s journey back to happiness with puppetry, music and more!

‘Aya and the Butterfly’ is premiering at Circa Theatre in Wellington in the April school holidays, Saturday 13 April to Saturday 27th April. 10am and 11.30am
For ages 3 to 9 years and all the family Tickets:

With the help of Creative New Zealand funding, award-winning children’s theatre company Birdlife Productions have created a new puppet and music show using exquisite puppetry, live music, lots of joining in and giant caterpillar fun, promising a poignant experience for children and their whanau.

‘Aya and the Butterfly’ is based on a children’s book by Ōtautahi/Christchurch based author Dr Maysoon Salama, who wrote the story for her young granddaughter Aya, after Aya lost her father in the Christchurch Mosque attacks in 2019. Dr Salama has been working closely with Birdlife Productions as a cultural advisor and mentor, to help bring her story to the stage.

Although it touches on feelings of sadness and grief, this show also encourages ‘letting go’ and laughter, resilience building and dealing with change, all metaphorically reflected by the life-cycle and metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly.

Designed for families and ideal for children aged 3 to 9 years, Aya’s story encourages compassion and empathy for different cultures, and helps us all become part of an important movement of change towards living together in peace.

Birdlife Productions Theatre Company for Children

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Bridget and Roger Sanders of Birdlife Productions are an award-winning professional theatre partnership with a passion for communicating a greater dimension of the world through Puppetry, Masks, Music and Storytelling. They produce original high-quality theatre using a hand-made low-tech aesthetic and intimate, sophisticated storytelling techniques, and are committed to creating shows for Schools, Kindergartens, Theatres and Festivals.

Birdlife Productions won ‘Best Direction’ for ‘Birdlife’, Whakatū/Nelson Fringe (2015). ‘Kōkako’s Song’, was shortlisted for Playmarket ‘Plays for the young’ and nominated for ‘Best Visiting show’ Ōtepoti/Dunedin Theatre awards (2017). ‘Kōtuku and the Moon Child’ (2019) toured successfully in Aotearoa/New Zealand, UK and Europe, picking up many awards, including ‘People’s Choice’ Award at Festival Valise in Poland. They have recently toured their most recent Puppet and Music show, ‘The Boy with Wings’ around Aotearoa/New Zealand with Arts on Tour Trust, as well as Ōtepoti/Dunedin Arts Festival and Wanaka Festival of Colour. Recent professional development includes 3-month training at The John Bolton Theatre School in Melbourne (2019), and puppetry training with Sandglass Puppet Theatre, USA (2020), and Judith Hope Puppet Maker, UK (2021).


This stuff article was written when Birdlife Productions did a developmental tour of Aya in Nelson and Christchurch last year. They took the show to Cultural Conversations in Nelson and also to the Christchurch Islamic community in Wigram to help lift their spirits when the Coronary hearing for the Mosque attacks re-opened in September. Here’s a photo of Grandad meeting grandad!

A link to a radio talk Birdlife Productions had in Nelson

A more generic article about the importance of children’s theatre
Capturing emotions and imagination through live theatre – Education Gazette

Review quote: From the ‘developmental season’ in kindergartens
“Everything about this show is perfect.”

Birchwood Kindergarten Leader, Aug 2023

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