Ever wanted to be a wizard?

Children and adults alike can live the ultimate fantasy when an interactive theatre show based on a travelling steam train comes to Wellington next week.

Inspired by the many fictional wizards from Merlin to Gandalf and the continued interest in all things magical, local women Sarah Ferguson and Emma Oliver set out to create the story of the first New Zealand Wizarding Academy "Saremcroft".

Months of research and fact checking have gone into laying the basis for the experience, which will entertain families aboard a heritage steam train with lessons such as Spell Casting and Potions.


Passengers will battle mischievous hobgoblins, make "dragon snot" and also receive special souvenir gifts such as chocolate wands and other surprises.

"Everything we do is immersive," said Ferguson.

"You're interacting with people and hopefully learning some stuff as well, but just having a whole bunch of fun."

The actors are excited to be living a childhood dream, and to perform on a train. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
The actors are excited to be living a childhood dream, and to perform on a train. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

There are 16 actors who will be playing a mix of magical characters.

Hamish Boyle, who will be playing a professor, said he couldn't decide what he was more excited about - fulfilling a childhood wish of wizarding, or the fact that he would be acting in a show on a train.

Fellow actor Malea Nicholson said it was "what everybody wants" and was something fun people could get involved in without having to travel far.

She said being part of the show was about "bringing joy to people in a really fun way that everybody can enjoy, not just children".

Boyle said there was a fine balance between having fun and "taking it utterly seriously".

"It again just lets any sort of audience just watch it and allow themselves, despite knowing that it's a complete farce, to just buy into it anyway."

Ferguson was most looking forward to "the faces".

"When you walk through the carriages and people are having fun, that's it, that's what I'm excited for, I'm excited to see their faces. You can't beat it."

They are offering one of the carriages to children involved with a Kai for Kids charity.

"When school holidays come around they don't do what all the other kids get to go out and do," she said.

"For us that's kind of the payback, when we see kids faces that haven't been and done anything before like this."

Months of planning has gone into the event, including chartering the steam train and hiring steam train drivers from a pool of only four in the region.

A normal theatre show takes months to prepare, but adding a moving train into the mix made it even more complicated, she said.

The train will run for two days on July 14 and 15.