Baba Yaga

A new take on an old Russian folktale guaranteed to give you lots to chew on.

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About

Vaselina lives the quiet life, working as a receptionist in a very tall apartment block. But all that changes when she is forced to confront a terrifying resident who plays her music far too loudly and eats jelly babies with her mouth open.

Who is this mysterious neighbour? Will she ever turn the music down? And what exactly is she planning for dinner?

An uproarious musical journey to the top floor and beyond, Baba Yaga is a brand new take on an old Russian folktale co-created by director Rosemary Myers and two unique and celebrated artists from opposite ends of the globe; Shona Reppe (Scotland; The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean) and Christine Johnston (Australia; The Kransky Sisters).

  • For ages 7 - 12
  • Theatre
  • 50 minutes

Meet the Cast and Creative Team

  • Christine Johnston

    Co-Creator, Performer

    Christine Johnston is an Australian performing artist/writer/singer who became known on the Brisbane arts and live-music scenes from the late 1980s for her dramatic visual performances combining music, voice and her signature style of humour.

    She continues to create a diversity of performance and musical works for events, festivals, art galleries, theatre, comedy, short film, and cabaret, touring Australia, UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, USA and Canada. From 1994, Brisbane’s Women in Voice cabaret series became a spring-board for some of Christine’s iconic vocal performance concepts and characters including her touring co-creation Fluff: A Story of Lost Toys – and her surreal bird-calling character Madame Lark. In 2000, Christine and friend Annie Lee birthed the multi-award winning and internationally beloved comedic trio The Kransky Sisters, all continuing to tour. Christine is thoroughly enjoying Baba Yaga.

  • Rosemary Myers

    Co-Creator, Director

    Under Rose’s leadership as Artistic Director, Windmill creates and presents work inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and inventiveness of young people and the exhilarating challenges they pose to creating theatre of relevance in this modern time.

    Rose is a multi-Helpmann Award nominated director, her productions regularly visit leading stages and festivals around Australia and the world, including the Sydney Opera House, Hong Kong’s Arts and Leisure Centre and New York’s New Victory Theatre. Her directing credits for Windmill include Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, Fugitive, School Dance, Big Bad Wolf and Girl Asleep. Prior to Windmill, Rosemary was the Artistic Director of Arena Theatre Company and Artistic Director of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival in 2010. In 2015, she directed her first feature film Girl Asleep with Windmill Theatre Co, and in 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Australia Council Theatre Award.

  • Shona Reppe

    Co-Creator, Performer

    Shona Reppe is an award winning artist with an excellent track record of producing high quality, challenging theatre with high production values. Her credits include Cinderella, Potato Needs a Bath, The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean and theatre installation HUFF.

    A multi-award winning artist, her work regularly appears in leading venues and festivals around the world, including Barbican and Southbank in London, Sydney Opera House, the New Victory in New York’s Broadway and the Perth and Adelaide International Arts Festivals. Her recent work includes Black Beauty, which Shona developed with Andy Manley and Andy Cannon. The piece was performed to sell out audiences as part of Edinburgh’s Traverse Christmas programme.

  • Peter Nelson

    Sound Designer, Composer

    Peter Nelson is an electronic music producer/composer/sound designer/musician and a performing artist. He created the musical score for Christine Johnston, performing in Decent Spinster (QPAC).

    They collaborated on Christine’s first children’s production FLUFF which has continued to tour nationally and internationally to high acclaim, and RRamp – the Collector, the Archivist & the Electrocrat.

    Peter was the composer and sound designer for Kite Arts Education, co developed Digital Play and composed the score for Holi Throw, featuring at the Out Of The Box Festival at QPAC and was the sound designer for the Bubble Effect and We All Dance (QPAC). He runs an assisted music program for the Queensland Cerebral Palsy League.

  • Chris Edser

    Animator

    Chris currently lives and draws in Melbourne, Australia. He has created illustration and animated pieces for diverse clients ranging from Nike Jordan and The Chicago Bulls in the sports world to fashion projects for Valentino and L’Officiel Hommes magazine. He has designed t-shirts for Screamdance, animates characters, carves creatures out of wood and was also once a member of the video department at Fabrica Creative Research Centre in Italy. Chris has completed a Bachelor of Visual Communications (Illustration) at UniSA where he has taught an animation course and occasional illustration classes.

  • Julianne O'Brien

    Dramaturg

    Julianne is a playwright with numerous stage and screen credits including Blue Heelers (Southern Star) and Backberner (ABC-TV Sydney). She consults as a dramaturg for theatre companies throughout Australia and lectures in story design at Victoria University. Julianne also teaches comedy writing for Swinburne University and writes features for The Age. Julianne was dramaturg on the Arena Theatre multimedia trilogy Autopsy, Mass and Panacea, which won the 1999 ASSITEJ President’s Award for Best in the World, presented in Norway. Both Autopsy and her highly acclaimed first play, The Women There, have toured Canada as invitees of major theatre festivals. Julianne wrote Arena Theatre’s Eat Your Young that toured to Taiwan and Australian capital cities. For Windmill Theatre Co, she has written Pinocchio and Rumpelstiltskin.

  • Chris Petridis

    Technical Manager

    Chris completed his Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts. Since graduating, he has been working extensively and continuing to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events both in Australia and overseas.

    Chris has worked on State Theatre Company South Australia’s The Kreutzer Sonata, Maggie Stone and Little Bird, Slingsby Theatre Company’s The Mouse, The Bird and the Sausage, Torque Show’s MALMO, The Border Project’s Half Real, Ludwig’s Fleck and Flecker and five.point.one’s Muff. Chris also worked on If There was a Colour Darker than Black, I’d Wear It, a multimedia performance project for Country Arts SA. He has worked in association with Geoff Cobham on a number of projects including creating the visual aesthetic for Force Majeure’s Never Did Me Any Harm using lights and video. Chris has been the lighting designer for Windmill Theatre Co’s Big Bad Wolf and The Story Thieves.

  • Tamlin Wiltshire

    Stage Manager, Lighting Designer

    Tamlin Wiltshire is a freelance technician and stage manager based in Fife, Scotland. He has toured extensively all over the UK and internationally, working with artists such as Andy Cannon (Tales of a Grandson) Frozen Charlotte (Paper Belle) and Red Bridge Arts, but more often than not he is operator and stage manager for Shona Reppe (his wife) and her small-scale touring shows – many of which he has helped to create. He has mastered the art of family touring as they often tour with their two children. In addition, he is a drummer and percussionist and has toured with Orchestra Del Sol and The Bristol Branch.

  • Carol Wellman Kelly

    Movement Consultant

    Carol was made in Australia and studied dance at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has extensive experience in performing, teaching and choreographing both nationally and internationally. From 1992 – 1999, she worked as a freelancer in London. She was the assistant director for Garry Stewart and ADT (2000-2008), rehearsal director for Tasdance, Artistic advisor and Project manager Restless dance Theatre, Movement lecturer Flinders University Drama department, member Board of Directors, Australia Council, Ausdance and SA and Audio Describer for theatre and dance. Carol’s work with Windmill Theatre Co includes The Wizard of Oz, Girl Who Cried Wolf, Pinocchio, Big Bad Wolf  and Rumpelstiltskin.

  • Ailsa Paterson

    Design Realiser

    Ailsa completed the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Design (NIDA) in 2003. Set and costume design credits for State Theatre Company include Switzerland, The 39 Steps, Romeo and Juliet (with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra), Mendelssohn’s Dream (with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra), Betrayal (Associate Set Design and Costume Design), Beckett Triptych (Footfalls, Eh Joe, Krapp’s Last Tape), The Importance of Being Earnest, Hedda Gabler (Associate Set Design and Costume Design), War Mother, and The Ham Funeral. Costume design credits include A Doll’s House, Things I Know To Be True, Little Bird, The Seagull and Three Sisters.

    Other theatre design credits include Yo Diddle Diddle (Patch), Emil and the Detectives (Costume Design, Slingsby), Vigil (Adelaide Cabaret Festival), Debut 5 (Restless), Cloudstreet! (Costume Design, State Opera of SA), Naturally (Restless), The Streets (OzAsia Festival), Cranky Bear (Patch), Mouse, Bird and Sausage (Costume Design, Slingsby), Other Desert Cities, and Seminar and Skylight (Ensemble). Ailsa worked on The Straits (ABC), LAID (ABC), Underbelly — A Tale of Two Cities, Underbelly — The Golden Mile, Blue Water High, The Boy from Oz Arena Spectacular, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical and High School Musical. 

  • Selene Cochrane

    Costume Designer/Maker

    Selene Cochrane has been a costumier for over 25 years. Starting out working in the fashion industry, she eventually moved into theatre and performance art. Her designs have featured in her work for numerous productions for performer Christine Johnston, with whom she continues to work. Their most recent collaboration being for her role as “The Old Lady” in Opera Queensland’s production of Candide 2015.

    As Wardrobe Supervisor and Resident Designer for Queensland Ballet from 1998 to 2003, Selene designed and made costumes for many productions including The Little Mermaid, Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty, some of which toured throughout Australia and Internationally. Whilst working with the dancers, Selene developed an extensive knowledge and love of making costumes that can “move” with the body. She has also created costumes for many dancers, acrobats and companies including Expressions Dance Company and Circa Contemporary Circus.

    Including her freelance work as costume designer and maker, Selene is also currently working as Wardrobe Coordinator at Circa.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SHOW

Creating Baba Yaga

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

"★★★★★ A brilliant new version of the alluring old Russian fairytale"

The Scotsman

"★★★★ Deliciously [and] spookily imaginative..."

The Guardian

"Fabulously performed, technically outstanding and excellently directed..."

Herald Scotland

"★★★★ So outrageous, bold and silly that it proves irresistible!"

The Times UK

"★★★★ A hugely imaginative piece of theatre... an inventive mash-up of cabaret, animation and children's theatre"

The Stage UK

"★★★★ Bright, colourful and totally absurd... a triumph of creativity and collaboration by some of the best artists working in the industry today"

The Skinny

"A mouth-watering collaboration between Shona Reppe, Christine Johnston and Rosemary Myers"

The Times UK

"★★★★★ A fabulous and thoroughly entertaining metaphor for positivity and hope; for finding what lies within"

Edinburgh Guide

"A hilariously surreal, subversive retelling of Baba Yaga"

The Stage

"An all-singing and all-dancing, ever-hungry but never-boring, riot of colour..."

Review Sphere Blog

"The encounters between Reppe’s mousy Vaselina and the statuesque Johnston have an almost surreal quality, with the live action layered with snatches of animation, an array of songs, and hilarious virtuoso sequences..."

The Times UK

"A loud whirlwind of folklore and fantasy that will bring a bumperful of joy into your life. They have the entire audience grinning from ear to ear... Go, enjoy!"

Small City Big Personality Blog

"[Baba Yaga] begs the question as to why more creators of live drama for adults don’t allow themselves the same kind of imaginative licence as our best children’s theatremakers"

Herald Scotland

"Good children's theatre has to be even more engaging than adults and this was an outstanding symphony of surreal animation, costume, sound, storytelling and bewitching performance"

The Art Room Plant Blog

"Quirky, colourful, fun, and a little bit spooky"

Lothian Life

"A funny and eccentric barrage of invention..."

The Guardian

What You're Saying

Credits

  • Co-Creator, Performer Christine Johnston
  • Co-Creator, Director Rosemary Myers
  • Co-Creator, Performer Shona Reppe
  • Sound Designer, Composer Peter Nelson
  • Animator Chris Edser
  • Dramaturg Julianne O'Brien
  • Technical Manager Chris Petridis
  • Stage Manager, Lighting Designer Tamlin Wiltshire
  • Movement Consultant Carol Wellman Kelly
  • Design Realiser Ailsa Paterson
  • Costume Designer/Maker Selene Cochrane

Acknowledgements

Baba Yaga is a Windmill Theatre Company and Imaginate production. Thank you to project placements Danica Rosengren and Alice Mary Cooper during the 2018 creative development and rehearsal period.

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