Red Wiggle to light up young hearts

The Red Wiggle, Simon Pryce, in the recording studio creating the soundtrack for Roger Robot, an animated children’s story for The Lights of Christmas. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

This year, Sydney’s iconic Christmas sound and light show at St Mary’s Cathedral will feature an animated children’s story by an expert in all that delights the young, and the young-at-heart.

Roger Robot has been written and narrated by none other than the Red Wiggle himself, Simon Pryce, especially for The Lights of Christmas.

“Roger Robot was just a little character that I thought children would respond to,” Mr Pryce told The Catholic Weekly.

“Through my years working with The Wiggles, you get a sense of the type of things that appeal to children … But it’s also just that idea of a loved toy who has a life and mind of his own, a young boy’s best friend.

Thousands turned out to see The Lights of Christmas in December 2017. PHOTO: AGB Events

“It’s also tying together the values of St Vincent’s Hospital and the values of Christmas, those kinds of things we hold so dear, and putting that into place around a children’s story.”

Pryce’s short story draws on this year’s theme for the light show, which is ‘Giving.’
This is also the first year that The Lights of Christmas will raise funds for the Heart and Lung Transplantation program at St Vincent’s Hospital.

“The end of the story says it’s better to give than receive. And that sums it all up—that we live each day as a day of giving,” says Pryce.

Pryce, who has worked in theatre and played the Red Wiggle with the famous troupe since 2013, says he thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating an animated story.

“Putting all the components together, with the music, animation and the artwork, it’s been a real thrill for me, something I didn’t expect to do. That’s the beauty of life sometimes, a whole new experience you never thought you would have.

“When I saw the first piece of artwork I couldn’t believe it. I’m really excited to see the finished product. I think it will be quite emotional too, seeing it come to life.”

A normal Christmas day for Pryce includes visiting the Children’s Hospital in Randwick, along with the other Wiggles, and going from ward to ward singing for the kids and their families.

“That’s what Christmas means to me. It’s about giving but not about gifts. It’s about love, compassion and kindness. It’s those kinds of values we should live every day of the year, not just at Christmas.”

The young, and young-at-heart turn out to see The Lights of Christmas at St Mary’s Cathedral every December.

He said the beauty of performing for children is that they have “no inhibitions”.

“They’re very honest and that’s the way I try to perform to children, and try to write for children. When you’re on stage looking out into an audience, you see all the different personalities children have. One’s shy, one’s running around… if you’re not engaging with a child you’ll know pretty quickly because they’ll just turn away. So I love that honesty of children.”

Pryce said he has attended The Lights of Christmas many times over the years and he’s excited to see Roger Robot come to life as part of this year’s show.

“Christmas is one of my favourite times of year as I love the chance to see the delight that giving and receiving creates, especially to little ones. So I am thrilled and feel privileged to be able to create a new Christmas story to give to audiences as part of this magnificent tradition of Lights of Christmas.

“We are so fortunate to all be able to share events like these on our balmy summer evenings in Sydney, when gathering together to sing, smile, celebrate and share the spirit of Christmas giving is so easy and universal in our lucky country.”

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