The Gruffalo? With the APO? What's an APO? Why, didn't you know?

The July school holidays brings to Auckland an enchanting film experience of a children’s literary classic with live music score performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO).

Presented in association with Auckland Live, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child will be brought to life on the big screen and accompanied by the APO on Saturday 21 July. The animated films are based on the best-selling children’s stories by the multi-award-winning duo, author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo tells the story of a smart mouse who goes on a mission “in the deep dark woods” to find nuts. Along the way he is confronted by a series of predators, all of whom wish to make him their dinner. The mouse cleverly escapes danger by evoking fear of a monster he makes up. It turns out that the monster – the orange-eyed, black-tongued, knobbly-kneed and wart-nosed Gruffalo – is actually real and the tiny protagonist manages to outwit him, too.

The book, first published in 1999, has sold over 13 million copies and has won multiple prizes for children's literature. It is a true classic, the world over.

The Gruffalo’s Child follows the adventures of the Gruffalo’s young daughter who, one wild and windy night, ignores her father’s warnings and bravely tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse.

In the films, the mouse is voiced by James Corden, the Gruffalo by Robbie Coltrane with narration by Helena Bonham Carter. Other voices include John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson and Rob Brydon in The Gruffalo and Shirley Henderson in The Gruffalo’s Child.

For both films, each 30 minutes in duration, René Aubry’s magical score will be performed live by the APO. The orchestra is conducted by the Olivier Award-winning Terry Davies, who has conducted this show all over the world.

APO Chief Executive Barbara Glaser says, “The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child are family favourites, not only for the clever storytelling, but also the familiar, repetitive poetic metre. The addition of a live score by a full symphony orchestra opens up a fantastic new world to fans of these beloved books.”

The double-bill of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child will have two sessions (both films are presented in each session) on Saturday 21 July at 11am and 2pm, and is aimed at children aged three to eight years old.

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