GRAN’S BAG is a delightful, heartwarming show by Greg Lissaman and Chrissie Shaw, for 3 to 10 year olds. A fun experience for families, it's an ideal show for school holidays, festivals, schools, and touring.

When Gran comes to visit, she brings her beautiful big red bag. It is a treasure trove of secrets and small delights. All sorts of surprises emerge; puppets, bags large and small, songs and stories about all sorts of grans and their grandchildren. They take us to a city in Australia, a lonely witch’s house in a deep dark forest, a bus going to the beach, and a house in China. The best story of all is about how Gran found her magic carpet bag – or did her bag find her?

Chrissie Shaw brings the tale to life as the larger than life Gran and pulls the entire show out of her giant red handbag – which seems to have a life of its own. With storytelling, songs, and puppetry, Gran takes us on a fun adventure full of twists and turns. Where will the story go next?

GRAN'S BAG was supported by, and premiered at the State Library of Queensland in 2008.

Single-hander: Performer Chrissie Shaw.

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
The production can be modified to suit most venues
Touring Party

In a theatre, simple lighting plan/plot is supplied. For community venues and other non-theatre spaces company can bring own lighting. A high stage is not appropriate unless audience are also sitting on the stage. Maximum stage height 500mm with a tread at one side (Stage Right). Can perform on floor level in front of raked seating. 'Gran' enters from behind the audience, so need access from dressing room. Best audience size is maximum 100 because of intimate nature of the show.

SmallShows encompasses the independent work of Canberra-based performing artist, writer and producer Chrissie Shaw. Since 1991, Chrissie has produced eight original plays, in collaboration with other producers and artists, all initially funded by artsACT, most touring interstate. These are: About Face (by Merrilee Moss, directed by Tessa Bremner) Footprints on the Wind (by Chrissie Shaw, directed by Camilla Blunden) A Sweeter Fern – That’s Red! (by Chrissie Shaw and Lynne Ellis, directed by Lynne Ellis) Drumming on Water (by Geoff Page, directed by Kate Gaul) Flotsam and Jetsam (by Greg Lissaman, songs by Chrissie Shaw, directed by Catherine Roach). The Keeper (by Chrissie Shaw and Penelope Bartlau, directed by Penelope Bartlau) Gran’s Bag (for children, written and directed by Greg Lissaman). Bijou – A Cabaret of Secrets and Seduction by Chrissie Shaw, Directed by Susan Pilbeam. ACT Critics Circle and Green Room Awards.

Chrissie has worked as a freelance actor and musician in Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra, with Pipi Storm, Vitalstatistix, The Canberra Theatre Company, Women On A Shoestring, Jigsaw Theatre Company, and The Street Theatre. Chrissie is a partner in A Bunch of Posers musical duo, and conducts community choirs. Awards include several Green Room and Critics Circle awards.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

GRAN'S BAG is an intimate show, simple in its approach, adaptable for theatres, schools, libraries, community venues. The show has great appeal to audiences, because the material relates directly to their experience, and also takes them on a journey akin to the archetypal fairy story. Children are drawn in to Gran's world, her big bag and the little puppet characters, human- and bag-shaped! They are immersed in the tale, become part of the fun as they learn a song and contribute to the story. Adults enjoy the show as well, delighting in sharing the humour with their little loved ones.

Marketing Materials

Artwork for Posters and Flyers Marketing copy Media releases Video of trailer Video of whole show Teachers' notes High res images Low res images for websites Playscript (not published)

Community Engagement

This is an opportunity for family members to experience together a charming piece of theatre in an intimate setting. The show is totally low-tech, the performer engages directly with the audience and involves them in the story. Children will go away singing the song they have learned during the show, remembering the images, and how they added to the story. In researching the show, we engaged with many grandparents and grandchildren of all ages, and this informed the content of the show. Children in Brisbane gave us ideas, drew pictures for the show, and wrote one of the songs. Therefore the show reflects the experience of most members of the community. An added plus is that we've included migration stories: there is a small section in Mandarin (translated!) including a song, a reference to the experience of relocating to another country, and a beautiful picture of a Chinese house. For schools there are teachers' notes available, and children are invited to write letters and draw pictures to send to one of the characters in the show! Q&A and photos after show if required. Chrissie Shaw is a musician and choral director and offers vocal workshops to local choirs.