This is a story about making a friend, and how one friend can become many. In a quiet, heuristic world, simply constructed from cylinders of all shapes and sizes, we meet a shy boy and witness how, with the assistance of his ball, he makes a friend. This nonverbal performance is a wonder-filled tale of reassurance, joy and connection... with a little visual magic achieved through carefully devised theatrical illusion.


Developed over a two year period, in close consultation with an experienced team of artists and in collaboration with kindergarten children and their educators, the Boy & the Ball is carefully crafted to engage 3-4 year old children in storytelling wonder. The show invites children into a world that is a response to their capacity for wonder, abstraction, connection, and play. In specific moments of the Boy & the Ball, young audience members are invited to become participants and co-creators in the performance. The performer is required to create a responsive relationship with young audiences, harnessing their participation as a critical aspect of the work.


In 2023, the show was presented at the 29th Festival of Ecological Theatre for Children and Youth (Serbia), Con Fusione Festival (Italy), and ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children & Young People (Malta).

Production Credits

Stephen NOONAN, Performer & Producer
Dave BROWN, Direction & Dramaturgy
Greg COUSINS, Design, Maker & Dramaturgy
James BROWN, Music Composition
Dr Sally CHANCE, Artistic Advisor
Anne-Marie SHIN, Observing Scholar


About the Artists

Stephen Noonan (Performer & Producer) is a performance maker. His current work is in Theatre for Early Years (TEY), 6mth – 8 years of age, field. Through his work he is looking for ways of making performance that meet and communicate with his young audience, not only during the devising of new works but also as an important part of the performance itself.


With over 30 years of professional practice, he has devised and performed in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, U.S.A., Canada, France, India, Scotland, Serbia, Italy, Malta, Vanuatu, and Denmark. In 2003 Stephen was awarded an Asialink residency at the Hong Kong Performing Arts Centre. Since 2009 Stephen has been a performer and co-creator in all Sally Chance Dance TEY works. Since 2017 he has been working with The PaperBoats, an international partnership platform for theatre-makers invested in co-creating meticulously crafted performance events for children.


In 2014 Stephen was awarded a Certificate of Honour by Mark Butler, Federal Member of Parliament. His certificate was for ‘outstanding commitment and dedication to the arts in the Port Adelaide community’. In 2008, Stephen’s talents were recognised when he was awarded the South Australian Government’s Education and Arts Ministers’ Award for demonstrated excellence in arts teaching and leadership in department schools. Stephen was the inaugural winner of the Dame Ruby Litchfield Scholarship for young artists.


In 2000 Stephen received the Australian Government’s Centenary Medal in the category of the General List. This commemorative medal marked the achievements of a broad cross section of the Australian community at the commencement of the new century. 


Dave Brown (Direction & Dramaturgy) had the privilege of being Artistic Director of Patch Theatre Company for 20-years and allowed him to develop a distinctive philosophy and practice of professional theatre-making. Across those 20 years, he has co-conceived and directed twenty-eight original, devised works for 4-8 year old children, ten of which have toured internationally in the US, Canada, Singapore, Korea, Japan and New Zealand and fourteen of which have toured nationally in extensive Playing Australia tours. Nine of the works have been presented by the Sydney Opera House, three by the Kennedy Centre in Washington and two by the New Victory Theatre in New York. Included in the repertoire are two National Helpmann Award winners, an International Victor Award winner and six National Touring Drovers Award winners.


In 2015, Dave received the Mickey Minor Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence from IPAY – a leading international membership organization supporting the performing arts for young audiences in North America. Dave’s thinking around collaborative theatre-making has found fresh expression in The PaperBoats project and its seven theatre-making principles, representing a new phase in his investigation into creative processes and artistic vibrancy (beginning in 2016). He believes we’re on the cusp of trail-blazing possibilities in theatre-making, prompted particularly by new technologies and the open-source, co-creation movement.


Greg Cousins (Design, Maker & Dramaturgy) is a designer and maker with an interest in creating visual theatre from simple materials and everyday objects. Based in Adelaide, Greg worked for a number of years in the circus/comedy duo Bruised Fruit, creating, producing and touring works for primary and secondary school audiences. In 2004 he was part of the creative team that developed the images for the Patch Theatre Company production 'Emily Loves to Bounce'. In 2006 Patch produced 'Special Delivery', a Visual Theatre work that Greg conceived with long-time collaborator Jane Leicester. In 2005, he started producing work under the name Small Wonders. He presented The Twittering Machine in association with RiAus at the Science Exchange in 2011, and then as part of Barrio at the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts. 


James Brown (Music Composition) is a musician, recording engineer, mixing engineer and producer in Adelaide, Australia. One third of Wizard Tone Studios and also working as a freelance musician, James splits his time recording, producing and mixing as well as writing and performing, predominantly as a guitarist, and spending time with his young family. While musically at home working in many genres, James's musical roots lie with Jazz and improvised music tradition. He completed an M.Mus (performance- Jazz) in 20027 and during that period formed many strong and long-lasting musical relationships, including Wizard Tone companions Adam Page and Jarrad Payne.

Publicity Info

Interview with Stephen Noonan by the University of Adelaide
Interview with Stephen Noonan by Aspire Magazine
    • Aimed Towards Children
Primary Language
Accessibility Information
  • Highly Visual
  • Non-Verbal
  • Relaxed (adapted to people with communication difficulties, autism or sensory impairment)
Event Format
All Contributors ‘On the Ground’