Hi Everyone! My name is Natasha, Sid and Neey are super special to me. Why? Because I invented them! You see, I’ve been involved in the theatre world for most of my life. I love the theatre, and I also love telling people about it.
I was 12 years old when I performed for the very first time at the Sydney Opera House. I was a part of a very large-scale performance event across several venues. This was like jumping off a spring board for me, and I leaped into a world of working within the sacred walls of the Opera House while studying at NIDA, and then with different companies within my professional career.
The Opera House is really something special. There’s something about it that has millions of people visiting every single year – including me! The Opera House is more than just another building: it’s an icon!
When people look at the Opera House, they see the beauty of the building. Australians are filled with pride when they gaze at the House, and even when we’ve been overseas the Opera House is a sign that we are home again. It’s a symbol of Australia, history, entertainment and much more.
One day when I was visiting the Opera House, I watched people interacting with the landmark. The enthralment on the faces of people seeing it for the first time. The worker who still smiles like it’s their first sighting, even though they have worked there for years. The Sydney-siders who still look up at the sails as they jog round it. The tourists ticking an item off their bucket list. Kids that simply stare at it in wonder, run their little hands across the tiles or sprint up the monumental steps.
I wanted to capture all of this, but the problem was that all this warmth and wonder was in response to what is, essentially, a hard, concrete and tiled building. I wanted to give people the chance to love the House – to hug it, squeeze it, take it home with them. But can you imaging cuddling a building? It’s not really appropriate! Thus began the creation of Sid, Neey & Friends. I wanted to create a way for people of all ages to be able to embrace the building – a manifestation of all the emotions people feel when they see the Opera House.
I took the key elements of the look of the Opera House and molded them into a soft, cuddly toy. The shoes reflect all the colours you see on the Harbour that surrounds the house. The legs resemble the big stairs that lead up to a full belly of entertainment, with the welcoming, open arms that always greet you when you visit the House. And of course, this is all topped off with those majestic sails.
This design became Sid & Neey: twins who live and play at the Sydney Opera House!
Once Sid & Neey were locked in, I wanted to add to the family. We have so many iconic elements to Australia, and I didn’t want to leave any out! With that idea, their friends were born. Each friend has their own colour, represent a different Australian state, and they all have their own special talent.
Armed with a big family of characters, I was able to take the idea beyond the look of the Opera House, and give people the chance to see to what’s inside: Theatre!
Sid, Neey and their friends introduce the different venues of the Opera House, and the typical type of performance you are likely to see in that venue.
They introduce people to theatre with a sneak peak backstage, teaching kids about theatre, teamwork and friendship in a vibrantly and engaging way.
What’s really exciting is that these characters do all of this in one book: Showtime! I really wish I had this book as a child, growing up pre-Internet. There wasn’t a huge range of books about theatre for kids let alone a range set in the biggest venue in Sydney!
I hope future generations of Australia develop a passion for the theatre through this book. You can get your very own copy at The Sydney Opera House Stores or on the Sid & Neey website www.sidneey.com.au