The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

‘Bluey’s Big Play’ travels internationally, attracts audiences of all ages

Anna Fedczuk

Bingo! The beloved children’s show “Bluey” has taken to the stage in a theatrical adaptation, sweeping the nation on tour. 

Making a stop in Champaign, “Bluey’s Big Play” made its campus debut on March 26 and 27 at the State Farm Center.

“Bluey” is an Australian animated children’s show created by Joe Brumm that follows a family of red and blue heelers as they navigate the ups and downs of family life.

Making its television debut in October 2018, “Bluey” has quickly risen to the forefront of children’s TV. The show won two Logie Awards for Most Outstanding Children’s Program in 2019 and 2022 and an International Emmy Kids Award in 2020.

The show focuses on 6-year-old puppy Bluey and her adventures, who “along with her sister Bingo, parents and friends is learning all about the world,” according to Blueypedia.

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The intricacies of each episode take four to five months to produce, according to Mashable, and the show’s impressive animation and relatable script are years of hard work captured in seven-minute episodes.

“Bluey’s Big Play” features the original voice actors accompanied by life-size puppets controlled and acted by the cast.

Stephanie Stephens, who plays Bluey on tour, said this was her first acting job after the pandemic.

“I was out of work and really struggling,” Stephens said. “I was just so happy to be back and part of the first kind of theater to return.”

“Bluey’s Big Play” first premiered in December 2020 and began touring in Australia in May 2021. The U.S. tour started in November 2022 after a COVID-19 delay. The show has since traveled to Canada and Britain and will hit more European stages throughout the spring.

“We’re in three, sometimes four cities a week, and it’s just an incredible way to see the country and see the differences of different places,” Stephens said.

Sarah Herrick, another cast member, has been lovingly dubbed the “super swing” of the production.

As a swing, Herrick’s job is to be equipped to play multiple roles in the play, along with being ready to go onstage without prior notice.

“I know Bluey, I know Bingo, I know Chilli,” Herrick said. “I basically just play a lot of roles and a lot of hats, and I am constantly thrown into different roles.”

The tour’s stop in Champaign attracted audiences of all ages, from young children to working adults.

“We do go to a few college towns but not often,” Stephens said. “When we do, they all have the same kind of vibe. It’s just a really friendly, lovely, beautiful town.”

Herrick just celebrated her one-year anniversary of being on tour and has already been to 44 states in the U.S.

“I have been to certain parts of the country but never like this before,” Herrick said. “I love getting to see my country in ways that I never would have.”

The State Farm Center was the first arena “Bluey’s Big Play” has traveled to, offering a fresh aspect to both the performers and viewers.

A large part of the show’s claim to fame can be attributed to the parents, who have said they love the show as much as their children do. 

Adults appreciate the intelligent humor, depiction of real parenting problems and flawed but lovable characters, according to Screen Rant.

“There’s lots of humor in there for the parents and grandparents as well,” Stephens said. “That kind of is the joy of the show. There’s messages for all ages.”

Stephens emphasized that “Bluey’s Big Play” incorporates all the beloved elements of the show with a brand new story. With the voices being the original voice actors, the play maintains authenticity.

“Just get tickets,” Stephens said. “Come see the show. You will have a great time, and we love seeing you. It’s very special for us all.”


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About the Contributors
Sam Gregerman
Sam Gregerman, Senior Feature Reporter
Hi! My name is Sam, and I’m a sophomore majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. I was hired as a features writer in Fall 2023 after transferring to Illinois, and I began writing for buzz at the beginning of Spring 2024. I’m very excited to step into the role of Senior Feature Reporter and continue my contributions to The Daily Illini! If I’m not in the office, I’m probably next door at the Pi Phi house where I live, reading or watching reality TV. If you have any Champaign-Urbana events or topics you’d like covered, please send me an email using the button below! It is my goal to amplify community voices to the best of my ability.
Anna Fedczuk
Anna Fedczuk, Graphics Editor
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