Cautionary Tales for Children

Listen to director Naomi Edwards on ABC radio!

From the wild imaginings of Arena Theatre Company, one of Australia’s most celebrated creators of theatre for young audiences, springs a lyrical satirical cabaret at which you may lose your head entirely!

Meet our dysfunctional musical troupe of four, who have travelled to our stage via a time machine. They’re on a mission to teach today’s rascally kids a thing or two about the importance of being well-behaved, and are armed with Hilaire Belloc’s poems about wayward children and the outlandish fates that befall them. 

Under the razor-sharp direction of Naomi Edwards, Cautionary Tales for Children combines Belloc’s wonderful wordplay, the musical genius of composer Mark Jones, the quirky imagination of writer Claudia O’Doherty and Jonathon Oxlade’s prodigious design talent. Created for audiences aged 8 and above, the delightful family production Cautionary Tales for Children is proof that learning lessons about good behaviour has never been so quite so absurd and hilarious at the same time. 

Education Resource

Download our fun, lighthearted resource for teachers, students, and wayward parents. 

Filled with activities, information about curriculum links, interviews, and more, this is the perfect accompaniment to a visit to Cautionary Tales for Children!


New Visions New Voices

Arena was selected to attend the prestigious New Visions / New Voices development program at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, from 13 – 20 May, 2012.

New Visions / New Voices aims to stimulate and support new plays and musicals for young audiences.

The Kennedy Center selects artists to participate in the five-day intensive script development, culminating in a jam-packed 48 hours of readings, playwright slams and discussions, drawing audiences of industry practitioners from around the world.

This exciting international opportunity saw Arena’s Artistic Director Chris Kohn, writer Claudia O'Doherty and General Manager Erin Milne travel to Washington with the support of the Australia Council's Theatre Board, to workshop Cautionary Tales for Children.

More information through The Kennedy


Carnegie 18 New Music Theatre

4-7 February 2012, Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne


Based on the verse by Hilaire Belloc 
Adapted by Claudia O’Doherty, Mark Jones and Arena Theatre Company.

Director – Naomi Edwards

Writer – Claudia O'Doherty

Composer – Mark Jones

Set & Costume Designer – Jonathon Oxlade

Lighting Designer – Richard Vabre

Dramaturg – Christian Leavesley

Production Manager – Emily O’Brien

Stage Manager – Pippa Wright

Cast – Jolyon James, Mark Jones, Natalie O’Donnell, Sarah Ward



Arts Vic - horizontal lock up

The Arts Centre Melbourne