Gareth Farr’s children’s opera Kia Ora Khalid, a production from Capital E National Theatre for Children (Wellington, New Zealand), was featured at the Taranaki Arts Festival in New Plymouth, New Zealand on 4-5 August 2011. Recently, it made its Australian debut at the Victoria Arts Centre, Melourne, Australia 26-28 October 2011. Farr created the opera with award-winning writer, Dave Armstrong.
This children’s opera tells stories about refugees and their migration to New Zealand. It is set in a New Zealand playground over a lunch hour and brings together the stories of four students: Tom, a Paheka New Zealander; Serena, a Samoan; Trang, a first generation Cambodian New Zealander; and Khalid, a Tampa refugee from Afghanistan. Local school children at both the New Plymouth and Melbourne performances joined the four actors to sing in the chorus.
Kia Ora Khalid was well received at the Taranaki International Arts Festival with writer Jo Hills of the Taranaki Daily News describing it as ‘like a school lunch break, it’s only about an hour long, but it’s bursting with goodies and action.’