Simon Pryce (aka. The Red Wiggle) is a busy man. Describing his life as “absolutely wild and crazy” to Kinderling Conversation, he shares that this year alone, The Wiggles have performed almost 450 shows across the globe, bringing joy to thousands of children.
But this year he’s also found the time to write a beautiful new story for the Lights of Christmas, the yearly projections that appear on Sydney’s Saint Mary’s Cathedral. And the meaning behind it is truly special.
Listen to Simon on Kinderling Conversation:
The gift of giving
“The charity behind it is St Vincent's Hospital and so I went away and thought about trying to put all the values of St Vincent's Hospital, the incredible work they do, the great people who work there [into the story],” Simon explains. “I thought about all those sort of values … love, kindness, compassion, care for others, the gift of giving.”
With all of this in mind, he’s written the story of best friends, Roger the Robot and Charlie, for children and their families.
Ideas coming to life
The red-skivvied entertainer says that it’s wonderful seeing the characters come to life.
“I write most of my stories to classical music, I choose classical pieces and write the stories around the feeling of a certain piece of classical music, which is what this is about,” he says. “But to see the characters come to light and see these incredible animators and artists drawing these characters which have come out of your brain, giving them life ... is really, really amazing.”
A family of musicians
Simon’s exposure to music started early. “She was an opera singer, my Nan. That's where it comes from - both my grandparents were opera singers.”
Growing up, there was a lot of music around. “My Pa always whistled - he whistled constantly, never stopped. My Nan used to sing around the place. She's a beautiful, beautiful singer, and did a whole heap of incredible work.”
And he wants kids to love classical music too!
If you’re a regular viewer of The Wiggles, you’ll know that Simon’s got a set of lungs on him. And he’s keen for children to be exposed to the classical music he’s trained to perform, and hopefully take that into their adult life.
“My background is opera and classical music and that's one of my passions,” he says. “I just thought it was an opportunity for children to start to listen to classical music from an early age and to get a bit of an appreciation for it.”
There’s still regular singing at home
Simon does admit he and his wife, Lauren Hannaford (a former Dorothy the Dinosaur), belt it out at times.
“We do sing together at home a little bit,” he chuckles. “[But] Lauren probably wouldn't sing in front of people that freely, we'll put it that way.”
And this Christmas may see some more! After The Wiggles visit the Randwick Children’s Hospital on December 25, the pair will visit Simon’s 99-year-old Nan. What a beautiful way to spend the holidays!
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