The Happiness Box

Performed by narrator and orchestra for young children

The Happiness Box tells the story of three best friends, a lizard, a monkey and a frog, who find a magical box and embark upon a  journey through the jungle to discover the secret of happiness. In an act of inspiring optimism, this delightful tale was originally written for Changi Jail’s child prisoners in 1942 by Australian POW David Griffin, and illustrated by fellow POW Leslie Greener, while they were interned in the camp. It has been adapted and scored for young audiences by award-winning composer Bryony Marks to capture the sense of wonder, trepidation and delight of the friends’ adventure. Greener’s beautiful illustrations from the 1947 edition of book accompany the narration and music.

As well as introducing children to the sounds of the orchestra, The Happiness Box's themes are timeless and universal: the value of kindness, resilience, industriousness, humour, courage, and most importantly: the value of friendship. 

In eleven performances between 8-11 May 2013, more than three thousand children aged between 3-7 enjoyed the world premiere of The Happiness Box by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Brett Kelly, with acclaimed actor Stephen Curry as narrator.