Magic in the classroom for Coledale students

It may not quite be the lunatics taking over the asylum, but it could be argued that the clowns have taken over the classroom at Coledale Public School.

The moment it became clear that all was not what it might be was when one of the mothers - Alicia Battestini - leaped out of the book returns box at assembly and into the principal's arms.

Oh yes, and she was wearing fake conical breasts, painted ovaries and had a crab on her head.

It is not recorded what her Year 1 son, Gus, thought of his mother's antics.

The stunt (to ask students to bring in a can of tomatoes and advertise a mufti day) was all part of an end-of-year show, Unexpected Magic, open to everyone and to be performed this Saturday.

"It's hugely ambitious, but you have to take a risk," Battestini, artistic director at Circus Monoxide until 2009, said.

"But if it's a shambles, it will be a wonderful shambles."

The evening of dance, circus, live music and film will start with a communal Italian village meal cooked by parents accompanied by live music from Swing Booty.

Although only a small school of 115 students set in a glorious, coastal location, Coledale has a rich resource of creative parents who will contribute to the show.

Bangarra Dance Theatre choreographer Frances Rings - whose latest show came to Wollongong in August - is creating a dance involving the whole school.

"I like the fact that kids are naturally creative and they have a lot of energy," she said.

"It's very exciting when you see kids explore in a way that is both uninhibited and free."

Then there is Lizzie Buckmaster Dove, who is exhibiting at Wollongong City Art Gallery next year, teaching the children how to make lanterns for the parade.

In the words of the Sun-Herald, the artist makes "extraordinary paper creations" and sells them through a top Sydney gallery.

Writer and blogger Rachael Mogan McIntosh, whose daughter Ivy has just started at Coledale, is wrangling the kindergarten and Year 1 kids into singing a jungle version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

"They are really cute and really noisy and they are so full of energy and joy," she said.

Battestini praised the school for being open to the creative arts, and allowing parents to take over class time to ensure Unexpected Magic is a success.

"Now, children are doing sideshow as part of their curriculum," she said. "It's about giving kids an experience which may even be life-changing."

■ Tickets (including dinner) cost $50 per family, $25 per adult, $15 per child. Details: 0409 280 151.

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