Life’s a circus for this little trio.
When it comes to families, you can’t get more colourful, creative and crazier than Koral Chandler’s brood. A musician, producer and publicist, Koral has now added the role of ‘mum’ to her resume. Her partner Tom Flanagan is an entertainer with his own acrobatic/comedy show, Kaput. And their pride and joy, baby boy Ernie, completes this roadshow of non-stop hilarity.
“We are a bit of a travelling circus packed into a little family of three. I kind of have to juggle a fair bit to get it all done, but juggling is what circus folk are good at, right?” Koral says.
Pre-baby, life was just as hectic for the creative powerhouses. Koral juggled working as Marketing and Publicity Manager for The Garden of Unearthly Delights while organising the production for Tom’s shows, as well as prepping for her own, while Tom focused on Kaput while they travelled and juggled multiple events at a time. Post baby? Life hasn’t changed much.
“I seem to remember more hangovers though,” Koral recalls of life before Ernie.
“No more last minute trips to Morocco for a romantic date or jumping on a plane at the drop of a hat to be in a show in London,” Tom chimes in.
Welcoming their baby might’ve seen the first time parents lose a smidge of freedom and a few restful nights, however, they gained an awesome sidekick for life – and a huge fan instead.
“Today Ernie laughed at me doing slapstick for the first time. It was the greatest moment of my comedy career to date,” Tom proudly says.
Thanks to a showbiz-like attitude where ‘the show must go on’, Koral and Tom have the profession and parenthood mix down pat. Luckily, Ernie has also taken to his parents’ creative world like a duckling to water.
“Tom and I love what we do, so it was never a question that we would get stuck back in as soon as we could,” Koral explains.
“Ernie just kind of fits into our lives in a great way because he’s such a chiller. I take him to meetings where he charms everyone, hold him on my lap while I run the production for Tom’s shows or Tom (or other musician mates) holds him (wearing cute little hearing protection earmuffs) at my gigs.”
“Being a creative is the best life for a kid,” Tom adds. “Playing is how we live, it’s how we survive, and it’s part of our life. Ernie will grow up playing every day. I couldn’t imagine a better childhood.”
It’s not all glitter and glam. Koral admits she and Tom have had their fair share of ‘parenting moments’ over the past five months.
“Some days are harder than others. Some moments I just put my phone on silent, close the computer and make sure I look at my partner in the eyes or play with my child. Some days we have to ask for help from our community. Some days we crack and have a cry, hug each other, take a deep breath and try again.”
The publicist and entertainer are extremely thankful for their support network. And by support network, the pair credits everyone from amazing neighbours to the extended arts crew in Adelaide, including Koral’s boss.
“My boss (and working mum hero) Michelle Buxton from The Garden of Unearthly Delights was once given the confidence, tools and opportunity to get back to work after having her babies by another arts boss mama. She has since done the same for me. We get on with it; we make it work,” Koral concludes.
Koral’s Fringe Tips For Parents
The Garden is pretty much the best place to be as parents. The directors have designed their ultimate event with their own family in mind: a safe environment, family shows, carnival rides, big shady trees, grass and bars. Ernie is going to have the best time.
Adelaide Fringe must see and do
Splash Test Dummies will be hilarious as always. Two of our newly married acrobat friends have developed a new show called Jelly or Jam and I think Ernie is going to go nuts for The Amazing Drumming Monkeys.
We are also totally going to boogie at Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco because we miss going out and dancing up a storm. Morning dance party? Yes, please!
Have I mentioned Kaput? Seriously, Tom’s show is an absolute ripper (which is lucky because I don’t think I could have a baby with a person who I didn’t find hilarious), and it’s not just for the kids.
Fave non-Adelaide Fringe hang out
Africola. We went there two days after Ernie arrived. The incredible team there made it the most relaxed and special evening. I could not love a restaurant more.
Tickets to Kaput’s final show on March 12 Available here
Photography by Meaghan Coles