Two thumbs up

2015-05-05 06:00

Two locals will share the role of Thumbelina when the children’s ballet is staged at Artscape Theatre this weekend.

Based on the enchanting fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Thumbelina tells the story of the little princess and her journey from being born in an acorn to marrying her handsome fairy prince, Cornelius.

Meghan Henegan from Claremont and Cleo Ames from Rondebosch will each get a chance to shine in the leading role.

“The Thumbelina story is one that I grew up with, I can remember my mom reading it to me when I was little,” Meghan says.

Happy endingMeghan says the story is one that people of all ages can get lost in. “I love the journey she takes in the story, from her mother’s house to being kidnapped by the toads, to the jitterbug ball and meeting Mrs Field Mouse and Mr Mole. And then of course there’s the happy ending.”

Meghan joined Cape Town City Ballet in 2012 and says she’s had plenty of rehearsals in preparation for her role as Thumbelina, which has helped her find her own interpretation of the character.

“When we first started with the ballet I watched the movie and read the book again to find little moments that I could try and put into my version of the character.”

Cleo loves that Thumbelina gives her a chance to play a “happy, carefree, naive and cheeky character”. “There is no heartache or tragedy.”

That being said, she did find the role challenging and says it allowed her to push herself physically and mentally.

Cleo was just 17 when she joined Cape Town City Ballet, but she was part of Cape Junior Ballet for six years before that, which gave her plenty of stage experience both locally and internationally.

She and Meghan were quite young when they started dancing and both agree that parents should introduce children to ballet as soon as possible to spark an interest in the art form. Meghan suggests not only taking little ones to shows and classes, but also discussing the story lines and music with them.

Love for theatre“Hopefully a love will grow for it and they will continue to support.” She also believes that schools should be more involved with promoting ballet and recognise it as an artistic sport and “not something that children do on the sideline when they aren’t playing hockey or tennis”.

Cleo says the many comedic characters of Thumbelina will keep little ones thoroughly entertained. “Little girls will love Thumbelina, as she portrays a character very similar to that of a young girl, except she falls in love and lives happily ever after.”

Meghan points out that the production’s bright and colourful costumes will appeal to children, while the animated music will help them follow the story.

“The sets and costumes of this ballet are so bright and colourful that it is very appealing for young kids to keep them engaged.” V

Cleo and Meghan will be on stage in Thumbelina on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April. Tickets cost between R80 and R110 and are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695.WIN! WIN! WIN!


Five readers can each win double tickets to see the 15:00 show on Sunday 5 April. Visit to enter

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