Turning a much-loved children's program into a high-flying circus show to suit adults and kids was quite the challenge for producers of new show at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre this week.
Shaun the Sheep's Circus Show opened at the Wollongong theatre on Wednesday, with a nine-acrobat cast taking on the persona's of characters like Shaun and Bitza the dog.
Internationally-acclaimed circus ensemble Circa are the masterminds behind the near two-hour production, though associate director Ben Knapton said it's harder than you think to embody the personality of a sheep into an acrobat.
"It was a huge creative challenge for everybody that was involved," Mr Knapton told the Mercury.
"Honouring the characters from the TV show and the challenge that was in that, and the acrobats working with these established characters and making sure the traits and characteristics were on stage.
"Because these guys are not trained actors, they're acrobats and dancers."
It was a huge creative challenge for everybody that was involved.Ben Knapton
Shaun the Sheep is a British claymation television series focusing on adventures at a small farm and a spin-off of the popular Wallace and Gromit series.
It's been broadcast in around 180 countries since it began airing in 2007, and also was transformed into two feature-length films and a Christmas special.
Circa has been working with Aardman Animations (creators of Shaun) for nearly three years on the production, finally resulting in the world premiere for Shaun the Sheep's Circus Show at Brisbane's Lyric Theatre in February in Brisbane. Wollongong the first city in NSW to host it.
"It's super fun and exciting, and there's a huge amount of awesome acrobatics," Mr Knapton said.
"One of the early things we said was we weren't going to put on suits and do the scenarios from the actual TV show, we needed to combine what Aardman Animations do and what Circa does.
"I think what Circa does is it brings a kind of humanity and an honesty and an authenticity to the stage, we work with an incredible ensemble of acrobats ... and they bring themselves to the stage and their hearts and souls."
While it is a show children will love, toddlers may be a little young to enjoy the full length of acrobatics and daring physical antics on stage.
Shaun the Sheep's Circus Show is at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre from May 19 to 23.
It runs for 1 hour and 40 minutes, including interval.