Build­ing a new Tree­house

Fremantle Gazette - - STAGE - Tanya MacNaughto­n

IT is not just the AFL that have been forced to think out­side the square to get its 2020 sea­son hap­pen­ing amidst COVID-19 re­stric­tions and bor­der clo­sures.

Syd­ney-based CDP Theatre Producers has ex­tended its cre­ativ­ity usu­ally fo­cused on suc­cess­fully stag­ing chil­dren’s theatre shows — in­clud­ing The Gruf­falo and Spot the Dog — and found a way to bring the lat­est pro­duc­tion, The 91-Storey Tree­house, to Perth’s Heath Ledger Theatre.

“They’re send­ing the set across for a WA cast to re­hearse with a WA di­rec­tor,” play­wright Richard Tul­loch, who is re­spon­si­ble for adapt­ing Andy Grif­fiths’ best­selling Tree­house book se­ries to stage, said.

“Then the set goes to Ade­laide and mean­while the (orig­i­nal) Syd­ney cast has gone to Ade­laide to isolate them­selves for two weeks. Af­ter the Ade­laide sea­son I think they go on to Dar­win.

“It’s a mas­sive lo­gis­ti­cal ex­er­cise and a big jig­saw puzzle to put to­gether but what a credit to all the peo­ple who made it hap­pen.”

Tul­loch be­came in­volved in Mel­bourne Univer­sity’s stu­dent theatre while study­ing law and af­ter a Di­ploma of Ed­u­ca­tion was added to his de­gree, he found him­self en­ter­ing a ca­reer of writ­ing plays, books and tele­vi­sion for young au­di­ences.

He has adapted all five Tree­house pro­duc­tions ( 13/26/52/78/91-Storey Tree­house) pre­sented by CDP, each pre­miered at the Syd­ney Opera House, with the sup­port of au­thor Andy Grif­fiths.

“I read the book first, tear my hair out a lit­tle bit, ring CDP and Andy Grif­fiths to tell them it’s go­ing to be im­pos­si­ble, then they tell me they want an­other show and I make it pos­si­ble,” Tul­loch said.

The 91-Storey Tree­house is at Heath Ledger Theatre, October 6 to 11.

Richard Tul­loch

Pic­ture: Hei­drum Lohr

The 91-Storey Tree­house is com­ing back to Perth.

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