Erth brings to town their Dinosaur Petting Zoo. Read on to find out what the production is about.
When you were younger, did you ever think you would be performing a show like Erth?
No, not really, but as a child I was an extrovert, and I also loved and made my own puppets. The two things had to come together at some point.
What is Erth, and the “dinosaur petting zoo”?
Erth is a visual and physical theatre company based in Sydney, at an awesome venue called Carriageworks. We have been around for 20 years and tour shows around Australia and overseas.
Visit our website at erth.com.au – there’s heaps of cool pictures and info – this is the specific petting zoo page and you can get downloads off this page.
The dinosaur petting zoo is a very cool show that is presented as a live animal display, like Steve Irwin would have done at Australia Zoo, but instead of crocodile and snakes we have dinosaurs.
All of the dinosaurs are Australian and during the show we let kids come up and pat them, feed them … and if they behave badly we feed them to the dinosaurs (joking).
How was the concept inspired?
We do a lot of work with museums throughout the world, making life size dinosaur puppets, and we decided that we would make some of our own and promote Australia prehistoric natural history.
It’s very funny but educational at the same time. We always get people coming up to us at the end of the show telling us how much they enjoyed the show, and how they didn’t know what to expect but were really pleased that they came.
Aesthetically, the show looks interesting. What about the storyline? Does any plot exist?
There’s no real storyline. It really is a live animal presentation. Of course, each dinosaur comes with a back story about where it came from, what it eats, etc.
Who are some of the most popular characters?
The babies, dinosaurs and the big scary carnivores.
One truly amazing thing about their popularity is that we have many dinosaurs that have appeared on various youtube clips. We totalled the amount of hits the other day and discovered that our dinosaurs have amassed over 5 million hits collectively.
One dino in particular has 3 million to herself!
The designs are amazing! Who creates them, and how?
We create everything in the show, we have some amazing artists that work with us. Bryony Anderson is one of them, she’s awesome and inspiring.
Where have you toured?
Where haven’t we been! Robert Irwin’s birthday in Queensland, one of the oldest theatres in Wellington (New Zealand), the halls of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. The show has been so many places and will continue travelling. Next year we have a month in Ireland and a month in Scotland as part of the famous Speigeltent’s program.
Would this production appeal only to artists or a wider audience?
This show appeals to anybody between the ages of 5 and 500.
Who is your team?
The Erth team/crew are always great people with vast amounts of skill and experience. Amber, who is presenting the show, is a real zookeeper and is one of only a few people who is licensed to handle chimps.
It‘s really cool when she does the show ‘cause she really does look after animals. Whereas whenever I do it, I’m just a theatre director who knows a lot about dinosaurs … even though a lot of people think I’m a paleontologist!
And the puppeteers are all great at bringing our dinosaurs to life.
What’s the best thing about taking this production on tour?
One of the endearing things about touring the show is performing the work in more and more regional towns. The audiences are so warm and appreciative.
The show really does appeal to so many people and it’s always great to do the show for new audiences. The response and enthusiasm is wonderful, and you feel like the show evolves with every thank you and round of applause.
Thank you Scott.