Castlemaine collector in seventh heaven

CASTLEMAINE collector Kent Bates had a trip into a fantasy world at the opening of Sydney’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stage show.

At the national debut of the production last weekend, Mr Bates was invited along to bring some of his own personal memorabilia of the production.

He said the chance to be involved in part of the performance was beyond his imagination.

“It was fantasmagorical, that’s probably the best word I could use to describe it,” he said.

Before the first show, Mr Bates did a short interview on the red carpet and took a couple of small items of  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang paraphernalia with him. 

His own magical pedal car was also used to promote the event.

“I was so thankful that something that I had could be used for another purpose,” he said. “To say that I was excited was an understatement. It’s been a wonderful all-round experience to see the musical finally come to Australia.” 

Mr Bates has been building his assortment of magical cars and other Chitty Chitty Bang Bang paraphernalia since 1969.

The collection – with more than 2000 bits and pieces relating to the film and stage show – is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Organisers of the production got in touch with Mr Bates after hearing of his collection and expressed their interest in showing some of his memorabilia in the theatre’s foyer.

He said he jumped at the chance to share it with other fans. “It’s amazing, the grandparents down to children who come in. Everyone has that passion for it and I like getting to talk to people about it. At the Melbourne premiere I’ll have a few more items on display.”

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, on January 30. 

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