The longest-running children’s show in Australia Play School will feature Indian Episode with Punjabi song written by Leah Vandenberg
Press Release 09.09.2021
Australian Indian actor & screenwriter Leah Vandenberg has created one of the first Indian episodes and written a custom Punjabi tune for kids to air live on Play School- one of Australia’s most watched TV shows for children with over 900 000 weekly children tuning in. This will be
- First time traditional Punjabi instruments Tumbi & Dhol are on set
- First time Bhangra is happening on the Play School set plus Humpty & the toys do Bhangra
Leah is a member of Australian South Asian Centre (ASAC) a community of impact driven leaders, creatives and entrepreneurs. She was an artist in residence at Soul House in Belgrave where she began writing the episode. She has been an actor on award winning Netflix series, The Letdown, SBS’ The Hunting & was one of Australia’s first South Asian female actors to be cast in a regular role on TV. Born in NZ to an Irish-Australian mother and a Fiji-Indian father, Leah spent early years in Fiji and then moved to Brisbane. She was recognised as Australia’s Stellr South Asian Women 2021 by ASAC. Leah’s warmth and playfulness in person and on-screen embodies Play School’s ethos encouraging children to wonder, think, feel and imagine.
“As an Indian / Punjabi who was bullied in school – I feel indebted to Leah for her commitment to increasing representation on mainstream Australian TV in such an authentic way, her work makes us feel like we too belong in Australia. Representation created by those with lived experience is what leads to more harmony and inclusion, if children can see diversity in this way while they are young this directly tackles racism. It’s very impressive that she has written the tune despite Punjabi not being her mother tongue – her genuine and deep interest in various cultures is an inspiration to all of us. She’s a real role model. ” – Daizy Maan, Co-founder & CEO Australian South Asian Centre
Leah hopes this representation on screen will put an end to the common phrase “I never saw myself on Australian television growing up.”
“This episode was the result of a collective effort. I was in awe of how Leah brought together members of the diverse Punjabi community to make it all come to life. Melbourne based songwriter Manish who is an international student and a member of Ranjhe, one of Australia’s award winning Bhangra teams, provided support for translation of the lyrics. Well known singer and musician Devinder Dharia is featured playing the Tumbi, Harman Sunner, a philosophy student at University of Sydney and carpenter is behind the Dhol (drum) – both traditional and quintessential instrument in Punjabi folk music.” – Daizy Maan
Where to Watch & Learn More About Leah
Watch with your children tomorrow (10/09/2021) live on ABC iview at 9am or watch recording on ABC iview.
https://ab.co/2VJHt1tRead Leah’s in-depth interview for Australia’s Stellar South Asian Women & more photos available: https://bit.ly/37BrC83
Leah’s profile on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khushi_cow/
I met Devinder Dharia first time when he came from India in late eighties.. We worked together for over 15 years and had our first Punjabi concert and then started Vaisakhi Mela in Blacktown, which became a regular annual event. Devinder, in addition to being a professional musician and singer, is genuine personality and a perfect gentleman.
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