Great risk pays off with Helpmann nod

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya Macnaughton

THE Last Great Hunt found­ing artist Arielle Gray had just ar­rived home from a busy day of de­vel­op­ing a new work for the Perth in­de­pen­dent theatre com­pany when she re­ceived a text mes­sage from cre­ative pro­ducer Sean Walsh with a lot of ex­cla­ma­tion marks on it.

The com­pany’s 2016 pro­duc­tion New Owner, which Gray co-cre­ated and per­formed in at PICA, had re­ceived a Helpmann Awards nom­i­na­tion for Best Pre­sen­ta­tion for Chil­dren.

“It’s a lovely lit­tle nod to our com­pany that of­ten gets a lit­tle over­looked, be­ing that we are based so far away from the rest of the in­dus­try,” Gray said.

“So it is very warm­ing to know that we are still mak­ing a splash. It helps the com­pany’s rep­u­ta­tion on a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional scale, as well as draw­ing at­ten­tion to both the show it­self and our other work.

“It’s al­ways lovely to re­ceive a nom­i­na­tion be­cause it means the work that you are mak­ing is hav­ing an im­pact on some­one, per­haps many peo­ple.”

New Owner was the first pro­duc­tion The Last Great Hunt had made specif­i­cally for younger au­di­ences, although it was en­joy­able for all ages.

Gray said it chal­lenged them to step up and cre­ate a show that in­te­grated more an­i­ma­tion and pup­petry than they had worked with be­fore.

“There is al­ways a risk of fail­ure when you are try­ing new things, so it’s a proud mo­ment when the risk pays off,” she said.

Helpmann Awards win­ners will be an­nounced at Capi­tol Theatre in Syd­ney on Mon­day, July 24, on the set of mu­si­cal Kinky Boots.

Un­for­tu­nately Gray will be in a new work devel­op­ment and un­able to at­tend, but her part­ner and New Owner co-cre­ator Tim Watts will fly the flag for The Last Great Hunt, along with his fa­ther An­thony Watts, who built the set and many of the gad­gets in the show.

“Awards nights are a great cel­e­bra­tion of the in­dus­try as a whole and Tim is look­ing for­ward to rep­ping the Perth theatre scene in a small way,” she said.

“It’s also nice hang­ing out and chat­ting with con­tem­po­raries.”

Other Perth nom­i­nees in­clude achieve­ments by WA Bal­let, co­me­dian Joel Creasey, WASO, Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany, WA Opera and PIAF. Fol­low our cov­er­age from Syd­ney of the 2017 Helpmann Awards on­line at­mu­ni­

Pic­ture: Jamie Breen

Arielle Gray and Tim Watts in New Owner.

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