The Little Mermaid
At The Court Theatre as part of KidsFest 2016
13-23 July 2016

By Hans Christian Andersen
Adapted by Allison Horsley
Supported by Mainland Foundation

The Court Theatre in Christchurch is mixing something old with something new in a fun reinterpretation of the classic children’s fable The Little Mermaid.

Playwright Allison Horsley has blended Hans Christian Andersen’s story with Māori myth Pania of the Reef, and injected a modern sensibility into the plot to ensure a positive message for young girls and boys alike.

In Horsley’s interpretation, mermaid Pania Junior – PJ for short – has always dreamed of visiting the world above the ocean’s surface despite the warnings from her beloved Granny Pania. When PJ finally embarks on her big AE (above-seas experience), she saves the life of a swimmer and grows to love him along with his hometown of Christchurch. Unfortunately, there are a few things standing in the way: 1) she’s a mermaid; 2) he’s a human; and 3) the Sea Witch is after them!

With a cast of three (Rebekah Head, Isaac Pawson and Jane Leonard) playing a variety of roles including merpeople, angler fish, hammerhead sharks and humans, the show will be full of “lots of fun, action and laughs”, says director Jared Corbin. Costume Designer Sarah Douglas and Set Designer Richard van den Berg have created a world of sparkling colour beneath the sea that quickly transforms when PJ ventures to the surface.

Horsley has taken care to ensure that PJ is a mermaid who “doesn’t just fall in love at first sight” and that she is a “clever modern mermaid who knows what she wants”. Director Corbin is also happy the show combines “a good story, fun for kids of all ages and plenty of theatrical magic.”

Kidsfest audiences are welcomed to The Court Theatre these school holidays to enjoy a tale that’s not too soppy, with some dry humour and certain to make a splash with kids of all ages.



Starting Times: Mon. – Fri. 11am and 1pm. Sat. 11am only.

Tickets: Child $10. Adult: $15. Caregivers Required.

Booking Details: 963 0870 or visit

Little Mermaid with border