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About

by Erich Kästner, adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom

Never underestimate the determination of a child! Young Emil catches a train to visit family in the big city. Something valuable is stolen. But the thief soon discovers Emil was not such an easy target. A group of quick-thinking and resourceful children rallies around. Can a bunch of kids work together to uncover and outsmart the true criminal?

Kästner’s 1929 novella is more than a ‘good romp’, it broke ground for the independent-children-versus-devious-adults story genre. Streetwise city kids, a hard-working single mother and Emil’s past brush with the law add grit and nuance to this satisfying tale.

How do we find our friends in the world? How do we work together to defeat tricksters?

In Slingsby’s signature intimate theatrical style, Emil and The Detectives is told by two skilled actors immersed in smoke and mirrors, miniature worlds and a cinematic score. Dark and light, intrigue and delight for audiences aged eight and upwards.

Slingsby by Request – Emil and the Detectives

Details can be found here

Highlights reel

Meet the creative team

Andy Packer

CEO & Artistic Director

Andy is a director of theatre, music theatre and opera. He has also worked as creative producer of multidisciplinary arts programs, producer of large-scale outdoor events and festival director.

Since completing a BA in Theatre Studies at Adelaide University in 1992, Andy’s arts career has encompassed many roles including Creative Producer, ensemble Actor/ Creator and Festival Director. In 2007 Andy co-founded Slingsby Theatre Company as Artistic Director. In thirteen years Slingsby has toured its original productions to more than 100 venues in 80 cities and towns across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Spain, Ireland and Norway, India and China winning 16 industry awards along the way.

Alongside Slingsby, Andy has built a freelance career as a Director of opera, musical theatre, cabaret and concerts. Andy has Directed for State Theatre Company of South Australia, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia, Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival of Arts and Adelaide Chamber Singers and Australian String Quartet. In 2019 Andy was show director of the World of WearableArt Awards Show in Wellington, New Zealand’s largest theatrical event attracting an audience in excess of 60,000.

Andy and his wife Jane love living in Adelaide, South Australia with their three sons, nine chickens and retired greyhound.

Nicki Bloom

Playwright

Nicki Bloom is a multiple award-winning writer working across the fields of stage, screen and prose.

Her plays include TENDER, LAND & SEA, BLOODWOOD, THE SUN AND THE OTHER STARS, A CATHEDRAL, LITTLE BIRD and VALE. Her adaptations for the stage include Henrik Ibsen’s GHOSTS, Oscar Wilde’s THE YOUNG KING and Erich Kästner’s EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES.

Her work has been produced by companies all over Australia and the world including Belvoir, Griffin, Hothouse, Summer Play Festival/Public Theatre NYC (TENDER); State Theatre Company of South Australia (GHOSTS, LITTLE BIRD, VALE); NIDA (VALE); Adelaide Cabaret Festival (LITTLE BIRD); Brink Productions (LAND & SEA) and Slingsby (THE YOUNG KING, EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES).

Her work has toured to theatres and festivals all over Australia, NZ, the UK, Ireland, the USA, Canada, China and India.

She has been a writer in residence at the Donmar Warehouse in London, at Griffin Theatre in Sydney and is a double recipient of Goethe-Institut Scholarships, including as an invited member of the Theatertreffen International Forum in Berlin.

She has won a Helpmann Award for EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES and an AWGIE Award for LITTLE BIRD. Her many other awards include the Adrian Consett Stephen Memorial Prize (TENDER); the Inscription Chairman’s Award for Best Play (TENDER); the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award (BLOODWOOD); the Inscription Playwriting Award (BLOODWOOD); the Jill Blewett Playwrights’ Award (A CATHEDRAL); the Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship (THE SUN AND THE OTHER STARS); a Ruby Award for THE YOUNG KING; and the Henry Lawson Prize for Prose.

She is currently working on a television project with Matchbox Pictures as well as her debut novel, ANCHOR & ALP.

Geoff Cobham

Artstic Associate - Lighting

Geoff has worked as an Event Producer, Production Manager, Lighting Designer, Set Designer, Public Artist and Venue Designer. His work has ranged from many smaller innovative productions to large scale theatre/dance productions, festivals, art exhibitions, events, museums and venue creation.

Awards include: Ruby Award for Sustained Contribution, Green Room Award Best lighting Design for Night Letters (State Theatre Company of South Australia), Sydney Theatre Award Best Lighting Design for Never Did Me Any Harm (Force Majeure), Helpman Award for Best Scenic Design for Little Bird (State Theatre Company of South Australia). Geoff is Artistic Associate (Design) for Slingsby.

Wendy Todd

Designer

Wendy is an Adelaide based designer of theatre, events and spaces. Wendy has worked extensively with Slingsby since 2007.

Wendy is an Adelaide based designer of theatre, events and spaces.

Recent production designs (Set & Costume Design for all productions) include: Nursery 2014, (Sally Chance Dance), Babyteeth 2013, Blasted 2012, Pornography 2012 (State Theatre Company of South Australia), Land & Sea 2012, Skip Miller’s Hit Songs 2011, Harbinger 2010 (Brink Productions), Man Covets Bird 2010, The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy 2007 (Slingsby), Worldhood 2011 (Australian Dance Theatre), A Lion In The Night 2012, The Little Green Tractor 2011 (Patch Theatre Company), Cutaway III, 2013 & II, 2012 (Vitalstatistix), Ruby Bruise 2010 (The Misery Children & Vitalstatistix).

Recent event designs: Designer Blink Bar 2015 Adelaide Festival of Arts Precinct, Design Assistant/Coordinator Lola’s Pergola 2014, Design Coordinator of Barrio 2013 & 2012, Assistant Designer Persian Garden 2008 & 2006 (Late Night Clubs of the Adelaide Festival of Arts), Event and Gala Designer Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2015, Design Coordinator Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2014 (Adelaide Festival Centre), Bowerbird Design Markets 2014, 2013, 2012.

Ailsa Paterson

Designer

Ailsa completed the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Design (NIDA) in 2003.

Ailsa completed the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Design (NIDA) in 2003.

Design credits for State Theatre Comoany of SA include A Doll’s House, The 39 Steps, Things I Know to Be True, Betrayal, Beckett Triptych, The Importance of Being Earnest, Hedda Gabler, In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play, War Mother, The Ham Funeral, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Price, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Little Bird, The Seagull and Three Sisters. Design credits for Slingsby include Ode to Nonsense and Mouse, Bird and Sausage. Designs for Patch include Cranky Bear and Yo Diddle Diddle.   Ailsa was Costume Designer for Cloudstreet (State Opera of SA.)

Ailsa received the 2011 Mike Walsh Fellowship.

Stacey Baldwin

General Manager/Producer

Stacey brings more than a decade of diverse arts management experience, vibrant enthusiasm and a passion for establishing efficient organisational systems to her role as General Manager & Producer at Slingsby.

Stacey brings more than a decade of diverse arts management experience, vibrant enthusiasm and a passion for establishing efficient organisational systems to her role as General Manager & Producer at Slingsby.

Stacey relocated from Melbourne in February 2017 to take on the role of General Manager/Producer for Slingsby. She has worked with leading Victorian arts organisations such as Back to Back Theatre, Melbourne Festival, Insite Arts, Big West and Jodee Mundy Collaborations.

As well as producing projects, Stacey is a self confessed systems nerd, working with organisations to support them through periods of change and implement structures to find better ways of working. In 2018 Stacey was recognised as a Future Makers Fellow with the Centre of Sustainability Leadership.

In June 2019, Stacey was appointed as Deputy Chair of Access2Arts.

Chris Petridis

Lighting Designer

Chris is a lighting and video designer from Adelaide. Following his completion of the Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts, Chris has continued to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events in Australia and internationally

Chris is a lighting and video designer from Adelaide. Following his completion of the Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts, Chris has continued to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events in Australia and internationally.

Chris has worked with State Theatre Company of South Australia on Mr Burns, Red Cross Letters, Eh Joe for the Beckett Tryptych, Gorgon, Masquerade, The Kreutzer Sonata, Maggie Stone and Little Bird. Chris has completed designs for Brink Productions’ Long Tan, Tiny Bricks’ Deluge. Australian Dance Theatre’s The Beginning of Nature Part 1 and Ignition 2016. Restless Dance Theatre’s Touched. Slingsby Theatre Company’s The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage. Windmill Theatre Company’s Grug and the Rainbow, Big Bad Wolf and Story Thieves. Vitalstatistix’ Quiet Faith, Someone like U’s Bitch Boxer. Torque Show’s MALMÖ, The Border Project’s Half Real, Ludwig’s Fleck and Flecker, five.point.one’s Muff and a multimedia performance project for Country Arts SA called If There Was A Colour Darker Than Black I’d Wear It. Chris has also 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 light and video.

Chris will continue to explore the synthesis of light and video wherever possible.

Production Credits

  • Director Andy Packer
  • Playwright Nicki Bloom
  • Performer Elizabeth Hay
  • Performer Tim Overton
  • Lighting Design Geoff Cobham
  • Composer and Sound Design Quincy Grant
  • Designer Wendy Todd
  • Costume Designer Ailsa Paterson
  • Graphic Design Andy Ellis
  • Technical Design Chris Petridis
  • Animation Director Luku Kukuku
  • Production Manager Roland Partis
  • Venue Manager Van Locker
  • Technician Mark Oakley
  • Stage Manager Sophie Edwards
  • Assistant Stage Manager Brad Thomson
  • Front of House Bespoke, Peta-Anne Louth
  • Education Consultant Hannah McCarthy-Oliver
  • General Manager/Producer Stacey Baldwin

Production Credits

What people are saying

“The company’s theatre productions always have a sense of wonder and magic, and Emil and the Detectives delights, intrigues and astonishes its audience...Emil and the Detectives is an outstanding piece of children’s theatre which makes it an outstanding piece of theatre and an experience to be savoured by all.” InDaily – Greg Elliott (July 24, 2017)

“For 10 years, Slingsby, under the meticulous direction of its founder Andy Packer, has been making captivating theatre for young audiences. Packer specialises in coming-of-age or getting-of-wisdom” stories and Emil and the Detectives is no exception...The performances are pitch perfect: Elizabeth Hay is understated and unfazed as Emil, and Tim Overton is a blaze of versatility as the Narrator, Grundeis and everybody else. Watching these detectives is a theatrical delight.” The Australian – Murray Bramwell (July 25, 2017)

“...Emil and the Detectives adds to Slingsby’s already substantial record of presenting entertainment for families that actually deal with important issues.” The Advertiser – Peter Burdon (24 July, 2017)

“...if you know what’s good for you, get along... It made my soul happy.” Sophie, Audience Member - Twitter

“"It is theatre like the work Slingsby produces which makes us all imagine a better and happier world. If more theatre were like this, the world would be a magical place indeed."”

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