My first interview as a full-time journalist was with one of the most popular bands among young Australians. Hi-5 of course!
Children’s entertainment group Hi-5 are going through a series of firsts at the moment too, as they get ready to tour their new Australian House Party stage show with two new members, after touring for the first time in Indonesia earlier this year.
I met Hi-5 in Southbank and their smiles were infectious. The interview was full of jokes, laughter and even an impromptu rap… If all interviews are like these, I could definitely get used to it.
HI-5 cast members Stevie, Lauren and Dayen welcomed Ainsley and Mary at the beginning of this year, both graduates from performing and musical theatre courses.
Stevie and Lauren handpicked the new members after a long audition process that included a lot of silliness, singing, script work and improvising.
“I was a squid at one stage and then a seahorse… and that is the real job,” Mary says.
Newcomer Ainsley remembers watching the show as a kid and says it’s a ‘mind warp’ to be a part of the group now as a role model for children.
The overpowering grins and energy given from this group is a sign that they are genuinely good friends, rather than colleagues, that share a passion for entertaining and educating kids.
“It’s been an unreal year so far, we’ve been basically living with each other in Singapore while filming over there and it’s been fun,” Stevie says.
For many young children, seeing Hi-5 will be their first live show and the members say excitement levels run high as they get ‘HI-5 Fever’.
“A lot of the kids just stand there with their mouths open and they don’t know whether they should laugh or cry. They just stand there looking at you, going ‘I don’t know what to do right now’,” Mary says.
“When they come and see a live show, it’s like ‘Woah! In Hi-5 world these people are so big and fun’ and most of them just love it and want to dance,” Lauren says.
One of the best things about HI-5 according to newcomer Mary is how kids, without realising, learn from the show because it’s a game or it looks like fun.
Even the members are learning new things! Dayen learnt about kaleidoscopes and Lauren about brolgas and baklamas. My guesses for the last two were a little off, but I’m told the new series will teach me all about them.
The fun and silliness on stage happens behind the scenes on the road as well, with Dayen explaining they’re always together doing something funny and keeping energies high, although attempts by Mary to play I Spy are generally unsuccessful.
Having spent a lot of time away from loved ones, they are excited for their Australian HI-5 House Party tour, which features three Queensland dates.
“Hi-5 House Party is full of songs, dancing and party games… We borrow the best parts of the TV show and put it into a stage show, it’s fun,” Stevie says.
Stevie jokes that people should buy their tickets quickly or risk Queenslanders Lauren and Dayen’s families packing out the shows to welcome them home.
“We are going to places that Hi-5 have never been before and it’s all part of the legacy they created, it is such an honour to be able to take something so uniquely Australian and take it to the world. We are very proud of that,” Ainsley says.
“It is such a fun experience to be travelling the world making kids happy… even dressed as a giant caterpillar! It doesn’t get more fun than that,” Stevie says.
You can see Hi-5 in their House Party live stage show at Redcliffe Cultural Centre on 21 November and Brisbane’s Garden Theatre on 22 and 23 November.