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Possum Magic

An adaptation of the classic book by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas


World Premiere        2023 / Playhouse

                                      Arts Centre Melbourne                    


Commissioned by    The Australian Ballet School 


Choreographer                      Loughlan Prior

Composer                                Claire Cowan 

Costume and Set Design     Emma Kingsbury

Lighting Design                      Jon Buswell

Animation/visuals                 Glynn Urquhart


Photography: Sergey Konstantinov

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Star Blanket

Program Notes: 

Mem Fox and Julie Vivas have created a true Australian classic with such synergy between story, characters and rich visual language.  From the beautiful intergenerational relationship shared between Hush and Grandma Poss, the amazing fizzy bush magic, delicious Aussie foods and the epic road trip around Australia, it’s no surprise the book still continues to inspire young people today, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.


Kookaburra wings, dingo ears, kangaroo tails, round wombat bellies and dexterous snake scales have all inspired the unique and quirky movement qualities in Possum Magic.


Developing the ballet with composer Claire Cowan and designer Emma Kingsbury has meant an explosion of visual ideas and interconnected musical themes. We have worked hard to imagine a ‘possum sized’ world that our audience are invited into, filled with wonder, magic and humour. 

"This is certainly a feel-good piece for young dancers and young audiences, and the mature viewers on this night seemed very taken with its charm, too. It is really a genius move to leverage the appeal and Aussie flavour of such a well-loved story and at the same time hand the young dancers some wonderful opportunities to interpret these favourite characters."

- Susan Bendall, Dance Australia

"Possum Magic. The Ballet showed Loughlan Prior at his theatrical best. His insertion of film was exceptional as was his varied choreography. The ballet is a delight to watch and encapsulates beautifully the Mem Fox book on which it is based. It deserves further showings."

- Michelle Potter


"Both the book and this ballet performance are a celebratory depiction of Australian culture in the trifecta of food, fauna and geography. Magical indeed. Possum Magic deserves a national tour, across all the cities visited by Hush and Grandma Poss."

- Thuy On, Arts Hub


"The dance throughout is lively, with folk-inflected rhythms and rapid steps, as well as much playfulness and comic business, such as the encounter with a rambunctious troupe of lifesavers in their famous red-and-yellow swimmers. A dozen dancers in pavlova tutus enchant the audience with their delicious turns and sugary graces."

- Andrew Fuhrmann, The Age


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