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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 an award-winning director of theatre, music theatre and opera.

Andy is an award-winning director of theatre, music theatre and opera. He has also worked as creative producer of multidisciplinary arts programs, creative director of large-scale events and festival director. In 2007 Andy co-founded Adelaide based theatre company Slingsby. The company is now well-established as a leading international immersive theatre company, having toured to more than 170 venues, with over 1,000 performances across 13 countries and counting.

Andy is renowned for creating original live performance moments that are emotionally powerful and visually bold. His work across theatre for young audiences, opera, cabaret, music theatre and symphonic concerts has pushed him to develop a distinctive theatrical aesthetic that is at once personal and epic.

Andy has directed productions and events for Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Chamber Singers, Australian String Quartet, Windmill Theatre, Restless Dance, Tutti Ensemble, Rundle Mall Management Authority and the International Astronautical Federation. In 2019 Andy was Show Director for the World of Wearable Art Awards Show in Wellington, New Zealand.

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.

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 at the Performance Space, Queens Theatre, Belvoir, Red Shed, non-theatre venues (tents, warehouses and more) to large-scale theatre/dance productions, festivals, art exhibitions, events, museums and venue creation. His love of light and dance has led him to work with many of Australia’s top choreographers and allowed him to explore the endless combinations of colour, angle, intensity, and movement, of light. With his company Bluebottle he has designed many lighting installations and lit public artworks, buildings, landscapes and freeways. Geoff received a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 to study Outdoor Theatre in Europe. This led to the creation of Barrio, inspired by the “participatory theatre” movement currently sweeping Europe. Finding innovative ways to involve community and other industry in Events was at the heart of Barrio. Its success was in the unique way it gave its audience ownership of the event. Geoff has been working on Festivals since the late 80s when he began working for Sydney Festival. He subsequently went on to become an integral part of the senior management teams of the Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival and Womadelaide Festival. Recent Awards include: 2015 Helpmann Award for Best Scenic Design for Little Bird; Ruby Award for Sustained Contribution; Green Room Award Best lighting Design for Night Letters; Sydney Theatre Award Best Lighting Design for Never Did Me Any Harm. Geoff is Slingsby’s Artistic Associate (Design).

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 has worked extensively as a set and costume designer in theatre, opera, dance, film and TV.

Ailsa completed the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Design (NIDA) in 2003. Costume Design credits for Slinsgby include Slingsby’s Flying Squad; The Boy Who Talked To Dogs; Emil and the Detectives; Mouse, Bird and Sausage; You, Me and the Bloody Sea and Ode to Nonsense. Design credits for State Theatre Company of SA include Sense and Sensibility, Switzerland, The 39 Steps, Beckett Triptych (Footfalls, Eh Joe, Krapp’s Last Tape), The Importance of Being Earnest, In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play, War Mother, The Ham Funeral, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Price and The Cripple of Inishmaan.  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 The 39 Steps (Queensland Theatre), Yo Diddle Diddle and Cranky Bear (Patch), Vigil (Adelaide Cabaret Festival), Debut5 and Naturally (Restless) and Cloudstreet! (Costume Design, 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. 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 including:

  • 2021: Creation Creation by Windmill Theatre Company; Hiccup! by Windmill Theatre Company; The Boy Who Talked to Dogs by Slingsby
  • 2020: The Bleeding Tree by Theatre Republic; Of All Things by Alison Currie for ADT; Anatomy of a Suicide by Flinders University Drama Centre; Lighthouse by Patch Theatre Company; Incognito by Flinders University Drama Centre
  • 2019: World of Wearable Art 2019; Madama Butterfly by State Opera of South Australia; A View from the Bridge by State Theatre Company SA; Cher by Vitalstatistix; ZOOM by Patch Theatre Company; 13 Ways to Look at Birds feat. Paul Kelly by GWB; Femme by Erin Fowler Projects; Zizanie by Restless.
  • 2018: Lines by Theatre Republic; World of Wearable Art 2018 with Bluebottle; SOLO (Sea Wall & Bitch Boxer) by Flying Penguin Productions; Julius Caesar by Flinders University Drama Centre; Songs for those who come across the Sea by Slingsby; Brothers Wreck by Malthouse Theatre & State Theatre; Baba Yaga by Windmill Theatre Company; Terrestrial by State Theatre Company of South Australia; In The Club by State Theatre; The Walk of Fame Gala by the Adelaide Festival Centre
  • 2017: Angelique by Is This Yours? ; Beep by Windmill Theatre Company ; Emil and the Detectives by Slingsby; Vigil by the Adelaide Cabaret Festival ; Mr Burns by State Theatre Company of South Australia & Belvoir St Theatre; Long Tan by Brink Productions 2016: Ingition 2016 by ADT; Love & Information by Flinders University Drama Centre; Juliet Letters by Flying Penguin Productions; Gorgon by State Theatre Company; Beginning of Nature (WOMAD) by ADT

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."”

Australian Stage Online