PUT on your best salwaar and dance the bhangra between mouthfuls of tasty biriyani at the Bollywood Dance Night at the Wizard of Oz Funland, at Leumeah, on Saturday from 6pm to 9pm.
If you’re brave enough, grab the microphone at karaoke and sing some Bollywood hits at the event. Funds raised from the night will support the India Vision Institute, which helps vision impaired children in that country. Singer Reshmi Kumar will perform and the night includes a fashion parade by An Ethnic Collection and Bag Bliss. Cost: $25 for adults and $11 per child. Price includes dinner. Details: 4626 7777.
BRIAN Laul has made a life out of the magical story of the Wizard Of Oz and in the process he himself has become a virtual wizard of Oz in the Macarthur region.
As if by magic, the Woodbine resident has created a business from his love of the classic story of Dorothy and her adventure on the yellow brick road.
Mr Laul, 56, has not only created The Wizard Of Oz Funland kids play centre at Leumeah but written and starred in a Wizard of Oz stage production which he has performed 4500 times around the world.
He is the archetypal immigrant success story, moving from his native India to Australia, becoming an Australian citizen and enriching his new community along the way.
He came to Sydney from Chennai in 1998 with his wife Christerine for a look and now finds himself entrenched in the Campbelltown area, conducting sound and light shows and drama workshops for local schools.
He has spent the past two years working on a template to franchise his Wizard Of Oz Funland throughout Australia and Asia, building on the groundwork laid by his family team of himself, his wife and their 23-year-old son Christopher.
“I believe conventional play has gone out the window. What we need to do is spark a child’s imagination,” he said.
Mr Laul said the Wizard of Oz Funland will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year and he had big plans to mark the occasion and to thank the Macarthur area community for their support.
The funland also hosts the annual Macarthur Has Talent competition, now in its ninth year, to give young performers in the region a chance to showcase their talents on a stage. Mr Laul has also started up Good Morning Macarthur Facebook site and said he was inspired by the Robin Williams movie Good Morning Vietnam.
“We film people telling stories that make them proud of Campbelltown,’’ he said. “It’s all about providing opportunity to your community. It’s a two-way street.’’
The former journalist has firm ideas about what is needed for the rich multicultural “tapestry” of the Macarthur region.
They include bringing a festival to the area based on the “play together, stay together” theme.
“It’s all about understanding each other. Which child cares about where their playmates came from?’’ he said.
“You don’t lose your cultural roots but you use them to contribute to a growing community.’’ He believes the Wizard Of Oz works for all ages because it is a multi-layered story and not just a fairytale, and has adopted its lessons in his own life.
“It’s about a journey of self-empowerment. “You can accomplish anything if you dare to believe in yourself,” he said. “That’s the mantra I have gone through life with. “Be yourself and do your thing. “I have been very lucky.”
DANCERS, musicians, singers, solo, duos and groups can now register for Macarthur Has Talent.
Registrations close on Friday for the talent quest, which will be held at Wizard of Oz Funland, at Leumeah, on Sunday from 5pm.
“Our region is home to some incredible young talent and we want to provide a platform for these young people to grow their abilities,’’ Funland director Brian Laul said.
Now in its ninth year, the competition gives young residents an opportunity to shine on stage.
Guest of honour Miss South Pacific Continents 2017 Brooke Murray said platforms like Macarthur Has Talent contributed to a young person’s growth.
“It’s amazing what a key role it plays in building up your confidence, self-expression and leadership skills,’’ Ms Murray said.
Maria Binny, 18, a past winner of the outstanding overall solo performer trophy, said the Macarthur region was home to some incredible young talents.
More than $5000 in prizes and gifts will be won on the day. Details: 4626 7777.
Photo: Former Macarthur Has Talent winners Elissa Tucker, 14, Dimitra Kolovos, 10, and Briteny Tucker, 18, perform at the Wizard of Oz Funland, at Leumeah. Picture: Robert Pozo
PARENTS are invited to bring their little princesses and princes to a high tea in the pink castle at Leumeah’s Wizard of Oz Funland on Thursday, October 5. The day also includes craft, singing and dancing on the stage and runs from 11am to 2pm.
It is one of the many fun-filled school holiday activities at the funland. Cost is $14. Children can also have a make over at a Trolls crazy hair party on Thursday. They will take part in Polly’s troll hunt and do the Can’t Stop The Feeling dance on the stage before enjoying party food. Cost is $11. Funland education projects manager Christerine Laul said a range of exciting activities were being held for children of all interests.
“Prices include putt putt golf, unlimited play, face painting and games,’’ she said. Youngsters can also get creative at a rock painting class on Tuesday, October 3. Materials are supplied and the class costs $11. The Wizard of Oz sound and light show is on Wednesday, October 4. Come dressed up for a photo with Batman at the Superhero Challenge Day on Friday,
CHILDREN across the Macarthur area will not be bored during the school holidays because a range of action-packed activities are on offer at Leumeah’s Wizard of Oz Funland. The fun starts today with a terrarium fun workshop from 2pm to 4pm. Participants can bring a little piece of nature into their home by making their very own terrariums from glass jars. The workshop also runs on Wednesday and Thursday.
Youngsters can learn a special dance and perform it on stage during the minion madness themed disco on Friday from 6pm. Have a cuppa with Princess Sparkle during the Princess High Tea Party on Monday and Tuesday, July 10 and 11, from 2pm. Funland education projects manager Christerine Laul said a Trolls crazy hair party would be held on Wednesday, July 12, followed by a bollywood dancing workshop on Thursday and Friday, July 13 and 14. All start at 2pm. Mrs Laul said the school holiday activities included dancing and creative events and parents were also invited to attend.
Cost: The minion madness disco costs $11 and the other activities are $20. Details: 4626 7777
CHILDREN across the Macarthur area will not be bored during the July school holidays because Leumeah’s Wizard of Oz Funland will host two weeks of action-packed fun.
Bring a little nature into your life by joining the terrarium workshop on Tuesday to Thursday, July 4 to 6, from 2pm.
Children will make their own terrariums from glass jars. Plants and materials will be provided. Cost is $20.
Youngsters can join Polly’s Troll hunt and dance on the stage during the Trolls crazy hair party on Wednesday, July 12, from 2pm. Cost is $20.
A Minion-themed disco featuring a banana hunt and games is on Friday, July 7, from 6pm. Cost is $11.
Have fun at the princess high tea party on Monday and Tuesday, July 10 and 11, at 2pm. Cost is $20.
Details: 4626 7777.
Cost: $11 for children Details: 4626 7777
It opened its doors in Leumeah in July 2008 – the culmination of Brian & Christerine Laul’s award-winning work with children globally over 35 years… and a “childhood obsession with all things Oz”.
Their vision was to create magical experiences for children filled with hope and happiness in a venue where minds can develop, imaginations run riot and a family could have fun together.
Today, The Wizard of Oz Funland is a landmark in Macarthur, a popular community hub and winner of several prestigious business awards.
While children are walking through a magical land playing Putt Putt Golf, having fun in the playmaze, jumping castle, Oz Balladrome, doing craft or watching a show, parents can unwind at the Rainbow Cafe or browse lots of quirky Oz memorabilia on display. Parties for kids with themed characters and Educational Excursions for schools have become sought after specialities.
It all started in 1999 when Brian Laul wrote & directed The Wizard of Oz Show, a unique re-telling of Frank Baum’s classic story, at Sydney’s Independent Theatre. Today this highly interactive children’s show has been performed over 4,000 times around the world, represented Australia at global showcases and been acclaimed as one of the country’s leading children’s shows.
“The Wizard of Oz has all the ingredients to stimulate your imagination plus such a positive message of hope, mateship, self-esteem and self-empowerment so necessary for young people of today”, Brian Laul says.
Oz Funland is passionate about encouraging local community initiatives and won the prestigious Champions of the West Tourism Award (2014) for its creative multicultural initiative Celebrate Campbelltown. It initiated and proudly sponsors Good Morning Macarthur, a popular Facebook-based video show that tells local stories.
Exploring the power of interactive shows to enrich local communities around the world together with India Vision Institute’s visionary CEO Vinod Daniel, Brian created Ollie the Optometrist, a mascot to spearhead IVI’s eye care awareness program for children (2014). Oz Funland is setting up a partnership with India Vision Institute “to screen and provide specs to children”.
Moving forward under the Oz Funland brand, the Lauls are looking to take their special kind of children’s entertainment venue across Australia & then overseas. They have launched a franchise company and are looking to associate with people who share their passion to become an integral part of the community as benefactors, service providers and local business leaders.
“Most important, they must have a love for working with children and nurturing their creative growth”.
For more details contact (02) 4626 7777 or visit ozfunland.com/franchise.
“In the course of moving around, we were coming across all these incredible stories of initiative, hope, goodness and raw community feeling. And I guess we just wanted more people to hear about them and celebrate together the pride we have in our Macarthur community”, Laul says.
They did not realise that within a year, Good Morning Macarthur would take off so dramatically as a sought after, well viewed fortnightly program on Facebook.
“Absolutely blown away by the way the community has embraced the show. Many of our stories are used by local schools for their community studies. And the great thing is that all the stories we now carry are suggested by our viewers who message in”, Laul says.
The midnight teas have only increased now, as the two friends bring us up to date with the community’s fortnight over hearty swigs of English breakfast from their yellow mugs on the 5th and 20th of every month.
“It is especially important to us to provide a place where people in our community can be inspired by their peers and publicly encouraged for their community service efforts. There is enough negativity around us, so nothing like some positive, genuinely feel-good stories to brighten the day”, Laul says.
Though Laul is now involved in children’s entertainment in a big way as director of Oz Funland, secretary of the Children’s Festival Organisation of Australia and producer of The Wizard of Oz Show (that has been performed over 4,500 times worldwide), community storytelling is a throwback to his early career days as a journalist, TV producer/director and award-winning documentary maker. Add to this Michel’s inherent passion for community television and the quirky format of GMM seemed inevitable.
Good Morning Macarthur is produced by Rainbow Crossing Incorporated, a not-for-profit body and run entirely by volunteers. The dream is to expand its scope by encouraging young reporters in every suburb, “quite achievable in this digital age where there is a shifting paradigm in the way we tell and consume the news. Social media provides that perfect interactive platform so necessary for grassroots community news”.
The GMM team has recently expanded with business coach Rolf Fuchs and cameraman Nick Naunov now on board. They urge university journalism or film making students – and even interested school-goers – to contact them in the coming days as GMM enters its next phase that will add mentoring and documentary production to its storytelling efforts.
“And”, they add, “of course anyone with a story idea, please contact us. After all, NO COMMUNITY STORY IS TOO SMALL TO TELL.”
For more details about how you can be involved with Good Morning Macarthur, call 0412 581 395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org