Red Wiggle Simon talks music, Wiggle weddings and children

First it was yellow Wiggle Emma and purple Wiggle Lachy who tied the knot. Now another Wiggle is set to waltz down the aisle with a performer he met on the Wiggly stage.

It’s Red Wiggle Simon Pryce. And he’s set to marry Wiggles’ back-up dancer Lauren Hannaford next year.

“We met because she came on board as a gymnast on The Wiggles,” the smitten Wiggle says.

“I used to see Lauren – she’s incredibly fit – go off in between shows and go for a run and do some exercise in carparks and all over the place.

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“One day I said ‘hey Lauren, if you don’t mind, can I come and join you?’. It nearly killed me but I hung around and we kind of formed a relationship through our love of fitness and health and it has kind of grown from there,” Simon says.

“Now, I just try to keep up. A couple of kilometres in and we are not running together anymore. I’m some guy a couple of hundred metres behind.”

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Simon says he is madly in love with his fitness fanatic fiance and can’t wait for their big day.

“It was just a really lovely friendship which has grown and grown and grown and I am very happy she said yes,” he says.

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Most of the wedding plans are being left up to Lauren, Simon admits.

“We are getting there, we are still trying to pin down a few dates, it’s a bit hard to find dates to fit in amongst touring. But it will be next year and it will be in Australia,” he says.

“We are both really excited about it.”

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When the big day comes, it’ll be the second Wiggly wedding to wow the fans. Thousands sent their well-wishes and congratulations when Emma and Lachy married in spectacular style earlier this year.

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But, with 70,000 tickets to The Wiggles’ end-of-year show sold in just 24 hours last week it’s anyone’s guess when Simon will find the time.

Simon took a moment between shows to chat to Babyology about Wigglifying orchestral music and being honest with a tough but fun audience, as well as the kilometres he ran for love.

With a background in orchestral music, opera and musical theatre, Simon says he was excited to bring a piece of music which holds a special place in his heart to a new audience.

The Carnival of the Animals is an orchestral piece written in 1886 by the composer Camille Saint-Seans. Simon says his nan introduced it to him at a young age and he has now put a new spin on it, with animal noises and witty commentary, for his young fans in a newly released album.

“I stumbled across it a little while a go and thought, ‘wow that’d be a really nice idea to sort of introduce this piece of music to an early childhood audience’,” he says. “At about the same time the ABC actually came to The Wiggles with a recording of it by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

“It was one of those moments where everything sort of came together and I wrote a narration, I was just listening to it and a story came to mind.”

Simon says one of the great genuine qualities allowing The Wiggles to continue to evolve is by understanding its audience.

“The message and philosophy of entertaining and educating children through music and dance remains the same, but I think the beauty of what The Wiggles bring is that we – original and current wiggles – bring ourselves to it,” he says.

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He says adjusting to the younger audience was interesting but fun.

“Coming from my background where everyone sits politely in a theatre and at the end they applaud, it was interesting at first because if you’re not engaging with the children then they will just switch off,” he says.

“They are a great audience and they are a tough audience, but there is nothing better than jumping out on stage to thousands, hundreds or even ten children – doesn’t matter how many children – and seeing them jump up and down and dance with you. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Being on tour since March and with four shows each day this year alone, it is no wonder wiggle love is blossoming on set.

The Wiggles will tour Australia in November and December 2016. Tickets for the Dance Dance The Wiggles Big Show tour go on sale from 22 June, 2016.

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