Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

MATT Edger­ton hit the ground run­ning as the new Bark­ing Gecko artis­tic di­rec­tor with prepa­ra­tions for the theatre com­pany’s first fundrais­ing sleep­over on Oc­to­ber 24.

Chil­dren eight to 16 years old, ac­com­pa­nied by an adult, are in­vited to ex­pe­ri­ence a night to re­mem­ber where they get to sleep on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage and take a be­hind-thescenes look in­clud­ing theatre tour, stage­craft demon­stra­tions, makeup and act­ing classes, sto­ry­telling and the chance to per­form on stage.

The evening is lim­ited to 100 peo­ple and there must be one adult for ev­ery three young peo­ple.

“Fall­ing asleep in the theatre is one of those for­bid­den things,” Edger­ton said.

“It’s ex­cit­ing for that rea­son but also be­cause it’s never been done in the Heath Ledger Theatre be­fore.

“We’re hop­ing it will be en­joy­able but also raise funds for us and aware­ness that as a com­mu­nity we re­ally need to sup­port the arts if we want them to con­tinue.”

De­spite be­ing from Syd­ney, Edger­ton is no stranger to Perth hav­ing spent three years train­ing at WAAPA. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 1999 he worked at Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany be­fore head­ing east for stints at Bell Shake­speare and Ensem­ble Theatre.

He now lives around the cor­ner from Bark­ing Gecko Theatre Com­pany’s home at Su­bi­aco Arts Cen­tre and said the re­lo­ca­tion to the 30-year-old fam­ily theatre com­pany was an easy de­ci­sion.

“Bark­ing Gecko is one of the best theatre com­pa­nies we have in Aus­tralia and the chal­lenge of work­ing with so many dif­fer­ent au­di­ences and in so many dif­fer­ent styles was one that I couldn’t re­sist,” Edger­ton said.

“What we’re hop­ing is to be a cul­tural thread through a young per­son’s life so that you can see a show at Bark­ing Gecko from the mo­ment you can talk through pri­mary school to when you’re a teenager, grow up and bring your chil­dren and grand­chil­dren to see shows.

“Ev­ery year we have some­thing you can see what­ever age you are and that’s why I feel the com­pany is such an im­por­tant part of the cul­tural land­scape.”

Edger­ton said pro­duc­tion ticket sales only gen­er­ated one third of Bark­ing Gecko’s in­come and the sleep­over, which the com­pany hopes will be­come an an­nual event, was one cre­ative way to raise ad­di­tional funds.

More at www.bark­­over.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d444641

Os­car Kaspi-Crutch­ett (14) of Bassendean and Maya Fer­nadez (16) of Em­ble­ton ahead of an inau­gu­ral fam­ily fundraiser at the Heath Ledger Theatre.

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