Steve and James Bernasconi bringing father/son dynamic to YPT's telling of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio

FAMILY COMBO: James and Steve Bernasconi, who are playing Pinocchio and Geppetto in the Young People's Theatre production of the old Carlo Collodi novel.

FAMILY COMBO: James and Steve Bernasconi, who are playing Pinocchio and Geppetto in the Young People's Theatre production of the old Carlo Collodi novel.

Hamilton’s Young People’s Theatre is presenting the story of Pinocchio, and the little wooden boy that came alive, and lead actors James and Steve Bernasconi are slipping into the father and son dynamic perfectly.

James plays the titular character of Pinocchio, one of three young boys given the role in a rotating roster of casts, while his father has stepped into the role of Geppetto, the lonely old man who creates a wooden son for himself.

Getting involved in the things James loves is close to Steve’s heart, he explains, and says he never wants to “sit by and watch from the sidelines”.

“I want to join in with their activities, and it gives my children a chance to see me in a bit of a different role to what they normally would,” Steve explained.

“You can’t really live their life for them, but it’s very important to not be an observer and just kind of ‘be there’ while they’re off doing things. It’s special to be able to share things alongside them, and with them.

“I think a lot these days parents become glorified ‘taxis’ for their children, and Young People’s Theatre does a really good job of getting parents and children involved and giving everyone a chance to work together, have fun, and show off this amazing product at the end of the road.”

CREW: Michael Nolan (director/musical director), Casey Nolan (choreographer), Maddie Newland (assistant director), Shoba Alexander (assistant director) and Stefano De Dona (production assistant).

CREW: Michael Nolan (director/musical director), Casey Nolan (choreographer), Maddie Newland (assistant director), Shoba Alexander (assistant director) and Stefano De Dona (production assistant).

Mr Bernasconi also revealed the chance to draw on extra emotions and bring that “heightened performance” to play comes out of acting opposite his own son.

“There’s a lot of scenes where Geppetto is grieving for Pinocchio and it makes it a lot of easier for me to conjure up that emotion and sadness because it’s my son lying on the floor in front of me,” he said.

“It’s been a really fun ride so far, and we’ve both learned a lot about it all.”

The show boasts two alternating casts for the shows at the Hamilton Theatre – OAK and PINE – with two additional Pinocchios, Jack Van Esveld and Nikolai Sneddon-Saanum, also added.

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The two older sisters of James are also among the 61 young actors who are in the two casts for the show’s season.

The show has upcoming Saturday matinees from July 14 to August 18, Saturday shows on July 14 and August 18, and shows each Sunday. Tickets are priced at $19, and are available for booking at boxoffice@ypt.org.au.

The Young Peoples Theatre is located in Hamilton, on the corner of Lindsay and Lawson Street.

All show times for YPT’s Pinocchio

  • Saturday, July 14 @ 2pm: Pine (James)
  • Saturday, July 14 @7pm: Oak (Jack)
  • Saturday, July 21 @ 2pm: Pine (James)
  • Sunday, July 22 @ 2pm: Oak (Nikolai)
  • Saturday, July 28 @ 2pm: Oak (Nikolai)
  • Sunday, July 29 @ 2pm: Pine (Jack)
  • Saturday, August 4 @ 2pm: Pine (Jack)
  • Sunday, August 5 @ 2pm: Oak (Nikolai)
  • Saturday, August 11 @ 2pm: Oak (Nikolai)
  • Sunday, August 12 @ 2pm: Pine (James)
  • Saturday, August 18 @ 2pm: Oak (Jack)
  • Saturday, August 18 @ 7pm: Pine (James) – Final Show