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Magic, music and wonder abound as two wanderers discover beauty in unexpected places.

Twilight is falling one crisp, autumn day when two tired and hungry homeless pals find themselves in a junkyard for the night. As they settle down to sleep, beautiful reverberations suddenly fill the air and in no time they’re off on an extraordinary quest, exploring hidden sounds that live all around them. A saw plays a duet with a cello. Bottles and flutes interweave in a beautiful serenade. Pots, bowls, horns and even sandpaper transform into magical instruments as the pair waltz and play and tumble among the discarded treasure. After an enchanting black-light dream sequence, the wanderers, the orchestra and the audience finish off this mesmerizing show with an epic percussion battle.

Rhythm in Your Rubbish is 55 minutes of spellbound wonder for the whole family. The orchestra provides the only voicing throughout the entire production with artfully selected pieces ranging from the exquisite Swan Lake Suite to the outrageous Turkey in the Straw. Young spectators remain joyfully enthralled as the animated duo fill the hall and take over the stage exploring the power of imagination. Rhythm in your Rubbish is a touring family show intended for ages five and older and is sure to be a highlight in your family or education series.

Rhythm in your Rubbish is a commission of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

National Arts Centre
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Story Themes

  • Power of the Imagination 
  • Overcoming Hardship
  • Beauty in the Everyday  
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Musical Themes

  • Found Sounds
  • Storytelling through Music
  • The Musician in Each of U
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Fun Facts

  • Our first show performed without a single spoken word. 
  • Commissioned by Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra. 
  • 174 props, costumes and set pieces used during the show. 


2(1.2Picc)2(1.2EH)22 / 4231 / Timp + 2/ *orchestral strings

*The number of string players is at the discretion of the orchestra. Number of books supplied is 87665. All music is supplied by Platypus Theatre in the form of bound books for each musician. A score with all text cues is also supplied as well as a rehearsal CD and a DVD for the use of the conductor and stage crew. 


Cardy, Patrick - Original music for “Rhythm in Your Rubbish”

Copland, Aaron - Buckaroo Holiday

Von Tilzer (arr. Wagler) - Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Fucik, Julius - Entrance of the Gladiators

Strauss, Johann - Wiener Blut

Anderson, Leroy - Sandpaper Ballet

Poncielli, Amilcare - Dance of the Hours


Dvorak, Antonin - Cello Concerto in B minor (excerpt)

Freedman, Harry - “Samba 2” from Oiseaux Exotiques

arr. Wagler, Trevor - Turkey in the Straw

Brahms, Johannes - Lullaby

Prokofiev, Serge - “Masks” and “Scene” from Romeo and Juliet Suite No.2

Tchaikovsky, Peter Illyich - Swan Lake Suite (excerpt)

Technical Info

This performance requires the services of three artists from Platypus Theatre: two performers and a stage manager

Lighting can be varied to suit facility.

Presenter must supply two flesh-coloured, inconspicuous microphones (Sennheiser MKE 2 Gold or similar) that can be hooked over the ear or attached to the face.

For full technical requirements, click on downloads for the rider

Rhythm as a School Concert

Each Platypus Theatre program is tailored to suit both the primary (kindergarten to third grade) and junior divisions (fourth to seventh grade). Our in-depth and relevant study guides were developed by teachers, with separate activities by grade level and curriculum that meet or exceed most state and provincial standards for arts education. 

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Cross-Curricular Connections

  • Drama (clowning, mime)
  • Social Studies (relationships, recycling, poverty, homelessness)
  • Science (sound production)   
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Character Education

  • Resilience 
  • Appreciation 
  • Social Responsibility