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'the Boy & the Ball'

a story about making a friend and how one friend can become many


In a quiet heuristic world, simply constructed from multiple cylinders of all shapes and sizes, we meet a very shy boy and witness how, with the assistance of his ball, he makes a friend. This nonverbal performance is a wondrous tale of reassurance, joy and connection... with a little visual magic achieved through carefully devised theatrical illusion.

Insightful and highly skilled early-childhood theatre-makers, have created an intimate performance designed exclusively for kindergarten audiences.

Conceived and Performed by Stephen Noonan

Direction and Dramaturgy by Dave Brown

Design and Dramaturgy by Greg Cousins

Music composition by James Brown

Artistic Advisor - Dr. Sally Chance

Observing Scholar - Anne-Marie Shin 

the Boy & the Ball was awarded the 2023 Ruby Award for 'Outstanding Work, Event or Project for Young People', presented by the Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia. 


Developed over a two year period in close consultation with a highly experienced team of artists and educators alongside the participation of kindergarten children, 'the Boy & the Ball' is exquisitely nuanced to engage kinders in storytelling wonder.

the Boy & the Ball Photo Credit_ Andy Rasheed EyeFood Photography.jpg.jpg
the Boy and the Ballby Stephen Noonan_ball play.jpeg

'the Boy & the Ball' by Stephen Noonan  Image : Andy Rasheed  EyeFood photography


"It is a masterpiece in exploring the subtle niceties, insecurities and joys of play, making friends and sheer magic...The mastery of this work is its delicacy and respect for its young audience, their capacity to respond to it and be rewarded in that response by what happens before them by a supremely aware performer in Noonan." The Barefoot Review

"undeniably elegant and intimate work... a theatrical gem" Stage Whispers and Theatre Travels

"the Boy & the Ball provides a significant frame for the early learning context with a particular focus on conceptual thinking. ‘the Boy & the Ball’ provides space for children and educators to explore humour, play and encapsulate the imagination. There are few opportunities to witness the agentic nature of conceptual thinking and humour in children as co-designers and participants of an educational experience.  ‘the Boy and the Ball’ is cleverly crafted to achieve these important pedagogical aims".

Dr Belinda MacGill – Senior Lecturer in Arts Education

University of  South Australia

'the Boy & the Ball' began as a research and development project titled Lift Off. In this research and development project Stephen worked with students and staff at Kilkenny Preschool between January and July 2021. Each visit to Kilkenny Preschool involved Stephen presenting a short self-devised performance to students and staff. The aim was to test these performance segments with students to see what they respond to and engage with. Each subsequent visit informed by the previous visit lead to the development of a solo non-verbal image and movement based performance for 4 year olds which was given the title 'the Boy and the Ball'. The work in 2021 was documented in text, photographs and video under the sessions tabs 1-10 at the site 

In 2022 Stephen began the final development and rehearsal of 'the Boy & the Ball'. It involved ongoing trialing of the work with staff and students at Kilkenny Preschool, West Beach Kindergarten, Ngutu College and Newland Park Kindergarten. In 2022 Dave Brown of The PaperBoats joined the project as dramaturg and director alongside collaborators designer/maker/dramaturg Greg Cousins and musician/composer James Brown. In August 2022 'the Boy and the Ball'  premiered as a part of Goodwood Theatre and Studios COMEBACK Festival season. The work in 2022 was documented in text, photographs and video under the sessions tabs 11-27 at the site 

Enjoy the 3 minute video highlights of 'the Boy & the Ball' below. Full length version available upon request.

This project is in partnership with The PaperBoats and has been supported by the Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia, Country Arts SA, Goodwood Theatre and Studios, South Australian Circus Centre and Adelaide Fringe 2023 Artist Fund.

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