Teaching children about the world through art, theatre and dance is an admirable goal and one the Kim Roe School of Dance is taking in its stride.
The 27th Launceston Christmas Pantomime is billed as a show with a message “to fuel the minds of school and adult audiences alike”. A Princess Lost is based on the story of Anastasia and the myth that she was the lone survivor of the Russian royal family, the Romanovs, who were deposed and executed after the Russian Revolution.
“This year our theme looks at the challenges faced by displaced persons, including when they find themselves in a new country. We explore the experience of refugees, especially those who find themselves alone in a new environment,” Ms Roe said
“It’s also a history lesson, considering the momentous events surrounding the First World War and other occurrences of that time.” Ms Roe said the school was proud to present a show which would resonate with many in Launceston.
“Over the last 60 years Launceston has become a new home to many from all over the world who found themselves without one,” she said.
What is also impressive is the family-friendly way such hard-hitting issues can be taught to our children.
As adults it is impossible to escape the truth of the refugee crisis across the globe – who can forget the shocking images of a Syrian toddler on a Turkish beach?
Or the video of a dazed five-year-old in the back of an ambulance who had just been pulled from the rubble of his home in Aleppo?
This is the reality, but its gruesome, and not something young eyes are ready for.
But we can still share the stories, in ways that help teach empathy, care and compassion. That is the power of art and a key goal each year the Christmas pantomime is performed.
“We spend the full twelve months between productions thinking not only about what will best entertain the audiences but about the messages we can deliver through the performances,” Ms Roe said.
“We work on how best we can display the hard work and talent of the members of our dance company but it’s the message that we think even more about.”
Displaced people are still in the headlines 100 years on, perhaps with more open communication with the next generation we can do even more to help those in need.