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New cast join The Wiggles

Four new faces join long-running kids' troupe, to allow children to see themselves reflected on the screen.

The Wiggles are expanding their troupe with new faces to better represent today’s Australia.

Joining Anthony Field, Emma Watkins, Lachlan Gillespie, and Simon Pryce are a diverse group of dancers and singers from across Australia: Tsehay Hawkins is an award-winning dancer of Ethiopian descent; Taribelang woman Evie Ferris is only the second First Nations woman to have joined The Australian Ballet; John Pearce, of Filipino descent is known as part of Justice Crew; and Kelly Hamilton who is of Chinese / Australian background was previously a dancer with The Wiggles, Sesame Street Live, The Justine Clarke Show, and Dora The Explorer.

The Wiggles are also adding non-binary characters: Officer Beaples, a dancing police officer with a big smile and painted on moustache; Shirley Shawn the Unicorn who likes to eat apples and drive around Wiggle Town in a mini red car; and Bok the hand puppet, a timid character who displays emotions for children to empathise with. They join Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog and Henry the Octopus.

Upcoming series Fruit Salad TV will also feature singing, dancing, storytelling and embrace diversity in culture, race, age and gender to allow children worldwide to see themselves reflected on the screen.

The Wiggles were created during a time when early childhood educational concepts were the focus,” said Anthony Field. “As society has evolved, we have embraced the need for diversity and inclusiveness and want children all over the world to see themselves reflected on the screen. It’s so important that The Wiggles continue to evolve along with our society. This is the first step towards shaping The Wiggles for the next 30 years, taking us in a direction that truly represents and serves our community more inclusively.

“We are excited for the next chapter in The Wiggles’ history which will start with Fruit Salad TV and continue on with our other content and our live shows. We can’t wait to introduce our amazing new lineup of incredibly talented performers to children in Australia and around the world.”

Professor Michael McDaniel, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) at the University of Technology Sydney added, “The importance of children seeing themselves reflected on screen has been well reported, and the launch of this new era for The Wiggles is a genuinely positive step forward. The new group is truly representative of today’s Australia and will help to foster great social cohesion within the community, which paves the way forward to a brighter future for all Australians.”

Fruit Salad TV debuts on YouTube on September 4.

3 Responses

  1. Remember when Play School showed an LGBT+ couple in 2004 and it caused offence at the time. I doubt that would cause as much offense nowadays as it did then. At the same time, it’s really important for people to see a reflection of themselves on the TV. I noticed this in my high school years as friends would have a preference for bands/artists, celebrities, music videos, TV shows etc. with people that looked like them, even if they didn’t realise that themselves. People of Indigenous and ethnic heritage backgrounds say that they didn’t have this as much when they were growing up and it makes a difference.

    TV is broadcast widely, so when people see people that look like them on TV, it gives a sense of inclusion and belonging in society. I’d personally also be cautious not to step on toes or push the limits too far or too quickly.

  2. Couldn’t they have chosen new colours for the new wiggles? I like that they’re adding new characters, but if the new cast stay permanently its going to get confusing for everyone when referring just a “blue wiggle”…

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