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Robot Song

By Jolyon James

An uplifting family show that proves DIFFERENT = AWESOME
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Stage show, Musical, Comedy


Recommended for ages 8 to 108

Bookings/Touring enquiries


Listen to some of the songs from the show

When eleven-year-old Juniper May receives a petition signed by her entire class stating that she is ‘the most hated person in the school’ her life is thrown into complete turmoil. Juniper stops eating, she refuses to return to school and her parents become increasingly desperate. Finally, after exhausting all other avenues her parents resort to the only thing they have left, a giant singing robot.


Robot Song is a genuine family show. It is joyful and full of hope. It is for any child who has ever felt isolated, and any parent who is desperate for tools to help an isolated child. The show employs cutting edge digital technology, animatronics and a beautiful original musical score. 


Based on a true story, Robot Song illustrates the profound, transformative nature of creativity that, when combined with unconditional love, becomes an unstoppable force. For Juniper, creativity opens doors into places she never knew existed, allowing her to be defined on her own terms for the first time.

Robot Song is a deeply personal story. It shares an honest, intensely funny and often unconventional window into writer/director Jolyon James’ experience parenting a child on the Autism Spectrum. The show poses and attempts to answer the question, how do we support, foster and celebrate difference in our children in the face of an increasingly rigid and homogenised world?


  • Helpmann Award 2019
    Best Presentation for Children and Young People

  • VCE Theatre Studies Playlist (2020)

  • VCE Theatre Studies Playlist (2021)

  • 2019 Drama Victoria Award
    Best performance for VCE Drama  

“Engaging and with an important message about inclusion, Robot Song is a remarkable work, carrying a strong but not preachy anti-bullying rallying cry."

Melbourne Comedy Festival

"Robot Song is an impressive gem of a show, particularly suitable for children, but also enjoyable for adults as it celebrates difference in a touching and sometimes spectacular way."

Imogen Fox, The Dialog

“Please see this show, no matter your age! The world needs theatre to be different, like this. ”

Steve Davis, The Adelaide Show

Meet the team

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Jolyon James

Writer, Designer, Director

Jolyon James is a multidisciplinary artist with more than 30 years professional experience in performance, writing, visual arts, photography and directing. With a strong emphasis on creating contemporary original work for young people, Jolyon is equally comfortable in both traditional and non traditional theatrical forms often combining writing, directing, designing and new technologies. Works such as Robot Song, Cautionary Tales for Children and Trapper have toured Art Centres and theatres nationally. Other works, such as The Fight of Flight, Figment and The gift of the Bower Bird form a series of large scale, site specific community works, created to give voice to those living with a disability, the elderly or the very young. Jolyon is currently working with Vision Australia and Monash University to create a theatre work specifically designed to be accessible to individuals with a vision impairment. As the current Artistic Associate of Arena Theatre Company, Jolyon has been central to the development, design and implementation of the company’s regional workshop program and large scale arts residencies. This work lies at the heart of the company and provides a platform for the research and development of all of Arena’s current works. As a performer, Jolyon has regularly appeared on stage, television and screen both in Australia and Internationally. As a visual artist, he has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions and was recently a finalist in the prestigious National Photographic Portrait prize. Jolyon is committed to working in the theatre for young people sector and through Arena Theatre Company, is driven to create works that both challenge and reflect the complex and ever changing landscape young people inhabit.

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Phil McInnes


Phillip’s passion for creating new work and telling stories with purpose has lead him to work across many mediums and genres throughout his career for major festivals and companies both nationally and on the international stage. Deckchair Theatre Company gave him his first role, Lenny, in King For This Place in 1999. That same year he was accepted into WAAPA (Theatre), graduating in 2002. Since graduation Phillip’s worked extensively in theatre, film, television and voiceovers. Some of his credits include: Starchaser, Mr Freezy, Marlin Expedition, The Sleepover, The House Of Dreaming and Robot Song for Arena Theatre Company; Hard Rubbish with Men Of Steel and OT - Chronicles Of The Old Testament with Uncle Semolina & Friends as part of The Malthouse Company In Residence program; Last Scene Imagining’s production of Home for Perth International Arts Festival; Men Of Steel for Strut & Fret; Three Dog Night for Two Blue Cherries and Grug for Windmill Theatre Company, as well as various productions for Complete Works Theatre Company including A Man For All Seasons. Films include: Shayda, Judy and Punch, Top End Wedding and The Dying Breed. For television: Apple Cider Vinegar, Preacher, Dr Blake Mysteries, Blue Heelers, Stingers, Neighbours and Wakkaville. Phillip has been a proud member of MEAA since 1999.

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Ashlea Pyke

Juniper May

Ashlea Pyke is an accomplished performer beginning her professional career at age 17, touring extensively in commercial musical theatre. Notable credits include We will Rock You (Louise Withers and associates), SHOUT! (TML), Eddie Perfect’s Shane Warne the Musical (Token Entertainment), Hairspray (Crossroads live, Australia), ‘Serena’ in Legally Blonde (GFO) and ‘Columbia’ in the Rocky Horror Show (GFO). Ashlea originated the role of Billy in the MTC/Arena Theatre Company production of Marlin and the role of Juniper in Robot Song (Arena Theatre Company). In addition to being on stage, Ashlea is a choreographer and movement director. Credits include Spicks and Specks Farewell tour Spicks and Speck-tacular, Arena’s Trapper, numerous shows for the Melbourne International Comedy festival including Judith Lucy and Denise Scott’s award-winning show Still Here, movement direction for Malthouse Theatre’s Loaded, and choreographer for the stage adaptation of Alan Brough’s Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. Ash is currently working on an adaptation of Alison Lester’s much-loved book Imagine as creative development artist and assistant director, as well as developing her first solo work with the support of Geelong Arts Centre’s Creative Engine. Ashlea’s experience helping to workshop, develop and originate the role of Juniper in the Helpmann award winning Robot Song was an epic experience for her, leading to a life changing, affirming diagnosis as a proudly autistic ADHDer. It has shifted her understanding of the way she moves through the world, the way she views herself as a creative and the possibilities of creating ambitious, exciting works for young people.


Bridget a'Beckett

Mum / Musician

Bridget a’Beckett is a musical director, composer, theatre-maker and creative practitioner with a deep interest in the intersection of music, creativity and the human experience. Her entrepreneurial acumen and genuine passion for the arts culminates in her role as co-founder of Sprouts Creative, an organisation committed to fostering creativity and personal development in schools, workplaces and communities through live theatre, music and tailored arts programs. Bridget has created and produced three original musicals, composed over 150 songs and runs a choir in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. She is also the founder of Hood Jam, a popular event that brings amateur musicians and singers together for a ‘jam session’ with professional musos. Bridget has worked as a composer and musical director for choirs, youth musicals, the community arts sector, indigenous communities and corporations in Australia and India. Her innovative projects have captured the attention and support of federal government bodies in Australia and won awards internationally. She is the mother of two young children, loses her keys constantly and wishes she was a better cook. She is thrilled to be a part of Robot Song because it’s been one of her favourite pieces of theatre since she saw it five years ago as a new mother of an autistic child.


“Robot Song is a thoroughly enjoyable, moving, and funny story about something we can all relate to – feeling isolated or different."

Lucinda Naughton, Theatre Travels

"The love and laughter in the room on opening night were infectious."

Alex First, The Blurb

“Difference is celebrated in this imaginative play about a young girl's experiences with autism.”

Tim Byrne, Time Out Melbourne

Creative team

Assistant Director:
Lighting Designer:
PAUL LIM (Addi+ive)
Set Construction:
TOM EELES at JT Custom Builds
Costume Design:
Musical Director:


Ashlea Pyke & Phil McInnes
Premiere season
Ashlea Pyke & Phil McInnes
Theatreworks season
Ashlea Pyke & Phil McInnes
DreamBig Festival
Sophie Smyth & Chris Brown
National regional tour
Ashlea Pyke & Phil McInnes
New Zealand and Canada tour

Tour history

The Engine Room
Bendigo, VIC
St Kilda VIC
Red Earth Arts Precinct
Karratha WA
Queens Park Theatre
Geraldton WA
Ararat Performing Arts Centre
Ararat VIC
Dream Big Festival
Adelaide SA
The Lighthouse
Warnambool VIC
Swan Hill Performing Arts Centre
Swan Hill VIC
Frankston Arts Centre
Frankston VIC
Geelong Performing Arts Centre
Geelong VIC
Heyfield War Memorial Hall
Heyfield VIC
West Gippsland Arts Centre
Warragul VIC
Hamilton Performing Arts Centre
Hamilton VIC
Horsham Town Hall
Horsham VIC
Colac Performing Arts Centre
Colac VIC
The Drum Theatre
Dandenong VIC
The Cube
Wodonga VIC
Mildura Arts Centre
Mildura VIC
Bunjil Place
Narre Warren VIC
Glen St Theatre
Frenchs Forest NSW
The Art House
Wyong, NSW
Jetty Memorial Theatre
Coffs Harbour NSW
Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre
Nowra NSW
IPAY - Prince Theatre, Philadelphia Film Centre
Pennsylvania USA
Capital Theatre
Bendigo VIC
Bowery Theatre
St Albans VIC
Bathurst Memorial Theatre
Bathurst NSW
Dubbo Regional Theatre
Dubbo NSW
ARA Darling Quarter Theatre
Sydney NSW
Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre
Queanbeyan NSW


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VENUE PARTNER 2018, 2022

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