Brassey Weddings Masthead

Mister Maker comes to Canberra

Laura Peppas

Whenever I need a spare few minutes to myself, there’s one show that is guaranteed to have my toddler glued to the screen.

With his speedy antics, expert craft-making and spotty waistcoat, Mister Maker is one of those shows that kids can’t seem to get enough of.

On Tuesday 10 July the British master crafter will head to Canberra Theatre Centre for a brand new national show, Mister Maker Returns, featuring all new crafts, songs and adventures. (The live shows are said to be the kids’ equivalent of a rock show, so be prepared for some excitement!).

Ahead of his national tour, we caught up with Mister Maker himself, aka Phil Gallagher.

You’re kind of the kids’ version of a rock star. Why do you think the show has worked so well? 

Well for a start the kids love the spiky hair and the spotty waistcoat! Mister Maker is a really fun character that the kids feel they can relate to and look up to so that has enduring appeal. As Mister Maker I always try to really encourage kids to have a go at making stuff, even if they’re not sure they can.

By presenting craft making in a fun, fast and light-hearted way, that tends to really engage the kids. Children can get bored easily so we never want to present things in a dull or a slow way.

When did your love of art and crafts begin? 

I’ve always loved being creative. One of my favourite shows when I was in primary school was Art Attack – I was really inspired by the creations and I really looked up to the show’s presenter Neil Buchanan. I now work with some of the team from Art Attack on Mister Maker, so it’s a dream come true!

My love of art was also inspired by my granddad. In fact, my most treasured creation is a pom pom bug I made with him 35 years ago. I always think of my granddad being the original Mister Maker, he could make anything – he was incredible.

Do you get feedback from parents saying that it has helped get their child involved in art and craft?  

Yes, it’s really lovely when parents tell me how involved their kids have become in creating stuff on account of seeing the show. However, the one comment I always get from parents coming up to me is about glitter. They’ll say, “Why do you have so much glitter in the show? Now I’ve got glitter all over my house, it’s such a pain!” If it’s any consolation, my own house is covered in glitter too!

What are some of the highlights of the live shows? 

I can’t give too much away about our new live show because it’s a surprise, but everything we do on stage – the crafts, music and songs has never been seen anywhere before in the world. It’s a really amazing and exciting show. I do tend to sing quite a bit in the live shows, which isn’t something I usually do on the TV shows.

This tour we’re also going to get the audience even more involved in the show, including getting people up on stage to help do the crafts. I can also tell you that one lucky audience member will even be invited to become one of The Shapes! Other than that there is one new craft we’ll be making that might have you leaving the theatre feeling rather hungry …

What is the atmosphere like at the live shows? 

It’s really exciting, the kids are laughing so hard, shouting out, it’s just a lot of fun. I love Aussie kids because they are so enthusiastic and always want to come up on stage to participate. We’ve done huge UK tours, but sometimes the English kids aren’t as confident to come up on stage. In Australia we don’t have that problem!

What has been the feedback from kids and parents from the live shows? 

Just that they loved it and can’t wait for me to come back again! Sometimes parents and grandparents will come up afterwards and tell me that they also watch the TV show with their kids and grandkids and are now inspired to create as well, so I love hearing that.


the essentials

What: Mister Maker Returns
When: 10 July 2018, 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm
Where: The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre
How much: From $41

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author