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James Works, Plays Onstage and Screen

James Works, Plays Onstage and Screen

What: Play School Concerts
Where: Belmont 16ft Sailing Club
Author: Anthony Scully
When: Monday November 8, 1999

YOU may recall seeing actor DAVID JAMES in the latest television commercials for Dare flavoured milk, telling his wife about the exploits of the milkman in their street who has conquered all but one of his customers.

On the non-commercial channels James is better known as playing his singing, dancing, storytelling self on ABC television' long-running PLAY SCHOOL program.

The nature of working as a Play School presenter means that James and his co-presenters are free to pursue work outside the program, as it is only filmed four times a year despite being aired daily on ABC TELEVISION. It illustrates just how much research, rehearsal and vetting by children's educators goes into creating just 40 or 50 new episodes each year.

Apart from presenting, James and long-time presenter BENITA COLLINS also perform live PLAY SCHOOL CONCERTS, coming to Belmont 16 Footers on Monday, November 8, at 10am and 11am.

'Doing it live you get kids and their parents coming up to you, telling you how happy they are with the show and the fact that it's on,' he said.

As an actor James says he can't quite pinpoint the qualities producers look for in presenters, but he's glad they chose him to join a long line of actors to have been through the show, including JOHN WATERS and NONI HAZELHURST. 'I wish I knew. It's just one of those intangible things,' he said.

'You've just got one of those things that connects you to children and keeps them entertained.'

Apart from liking children in general, James says he makes it a rule to 'never talk down to them'.

'Kids get a lot more than we give them credit for,' he said.

'I think they really appreciate people who talk to them like we're talking now.'

Play School concerts feature songs, games and stories, plus toys from the series including BIG TED, LITTLE TED, JEMIMA and HUMPTY. 'It's very similar to the TV show, but there's more singing, and it's more acted out than a book story, with lots of colour and movement,' he said.

'It's a bright and breezy half hour show.' TE

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