Image by Andy Rasheed

By Erich Kästner, adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom

How do we find our friends in the world? How do we work together to defeat tricksters?

Never underestimate the determination of a child! Young Emil catches a train to visit family in the big city. Something valuable is stolen. But the thief soon discovers Emil was not such an easy target. A group of quick-thinking and resourceful children rallies around. Can a bunch of kids work together to uncover and outsmart the true criminal?

Adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom, Kästner’s 1929 novella is more than a ‘good romp’; it broke ground for the independent-children-versus-devious-adults story genre. Streetwise city kids, a hard-working single mother and Emil’s past brush with the law add grit and nuance to this satisfying tale.

In Slingsby’s signature intimate theatrical style, Emil and the Detectives is told by two skilled actors immersed in smoke and mirrors, miniature worlds and a cinematic score. Dark and light, intrigue and delight for audiences.

“The company’s theatre productions always have a sense of wonder and magic, and Emil and the Detectives delights, intrigues and astonishes its audience…Emil and the Detectives is an outstanding piece of children’s theatre which makes it an outstanding piece of theatre and an experience to be savoured by all.” – InDaily, Greg Elliott

“…Emil and the Detectives adds to Slingsby’s already substantial record of presenting entertainment for families that actually deal with important issues.” – The Advertiser, Peter Burdon

Listen to the synopsis 

Cast & Crew
Director: Andy Packer
Playwright: Nicki Bloom
Composer and Sound Design: Quincy Grant
Designer: Wendy Todd
Costume Designer: Ailsa Paterson
Lighting Designer: Geoff Cobham
Technical Design: Chris Petridis
Animation Director: Luku Trembath
Performers: Elizabeth Hay and Rory Walker

Age suitability
8+ years

Lighting effects, haze and smoke effects

Emil and the Detectives – Slingsby – Promo from Slingsby on Vimeo.

Adapting the classic children’s novel that redefined the whole kids-versus-adults genre, acclaimed immersive theatre company Slingsby use the magic of lighting and shadows to create an intriguing and enchanting story about never underestimating the determination of a child.

Suitable for Year Levels 4-12

Approved for SACE Stage 2.

Emil and the Detectives is supported by

Naomi Hobson: Adolescent Wonderland
  • Visual Arts

Naomi Hobson: Adolescent Wonderland

3rd March 2023 — 1st September 2023

Naomi Hobson’s Adolescent Wonderland is a series of photographs that tell the real-life story of young Aboriginal people in remote Australia

View event
John Wick: Chapter 4
  • Film

John Wick: Chapter 4

25th March 2023 — 1st April 2023

Strong action violence

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) takes on his most lethal adversaries yet in the upcoming fourth installment of the series.

View event

How much do you want to donate?

Area of giving

Personal Information

Contact Information

Sign in to your account

We found a Country Arts SA account with your email address.

{{ passwordResetOutput }}

Create an account

Enter a password so we can create an account for you.

Passwords must:

  • Be at least 8 characters long
  • Contain at least one uppercase character
  • Contain at least one number

Order details

Annual Appeal Future Fund Performing Arts First Nations Art & Culture Visual Arts
{{ formatCurrency(donation.amount) }}
{{ formatCurrency(donation.amount) }}
{{ formatCurrency(donation.amount) }}

Country Arts SA recognises that we are living and creating on First Nations Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.