In Melbourne this morning (March 7, 2012) Lucy Graham joined the media pack at Hisense Arena to satisfy the stars, ahead of the World Premiere of How to Train Your Dragon-Arena Spectacular.

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After 3 months of rehearsals, Director Nigel Jamiechild is ‘not getting as well much sleep’, saying while the display is entirely safe, there are so many interassociated cues, that the slightest glitch has actually the potential to lug the present undone.

Hisense Arena is a mighty huge, three-dimensional stage. And it needs to be in order to accouchsurfingcook.commoday the show’s stars. Twenty-four dragons dwarfed their humale countercouchsurfingcook.components, that had to battle for our attention this morning.

Each of the five largest dragons weighs 1.6lots, that’s about the weight of your family members auto, and also each requires three operators: one driver and two voodoo puppeteers, via one manipulating head, tail and also gross motor activity, and also the various other minor motions such as eyes, mouth and also roars.

The World Premiere of How to Train your Dragon – Arena Spectacular is the result of a creative partnership between RZO Dragon Productions, Global Creatures, responsible for the wildly successful Walking through Dinosaurs-The Arena Spectacular, and Dreamfunctions Theatricals.

The participation is one Global Creatures CEO Carmen Pavlovic says ‘fprovides our own world-class modern technology with the vision and also dedication of a renowned for its cutting edge creativity and also storyinforming skill.’

Based on the 2010 DreamWorks animation movie which grossed roughly $500 million world-wide, How to Train Your Dragon is set in a Viking village, wright here young boy Hiccup, obstacles his village’s establiburned attitude to dragons, as creatures to be feared and therefore slain by the heroic dragon-slayers.

Auditions for humans were carried out in 13 international cities, prior to 2 young Australian performers clinched the functions. ‘We went all over the people and also auditioned 2,000 human being,’ said Jamieboy, ‘and also guess wbelow we finished up!’

Hiccup is played by Rarmian Newton (Billy Elliot the Musical 2008), who hails from the Victorian city of Geelengthy. It’s a role that has actually him flying around the arena on a dragon’s back, being caught mid-air and also even hanging by a dragon fin. Newton shares the duty via young Hollyhardwood actor Riley Miner.

The duty of Astrid is played by nineteenager year-old Queenslander Sarah McCreanor, that has actually been cast for her ‘impressive speed and also prowess as a physical performer’. She shares the role through American stunt perprevious Gemma Nguyen, who is a third degree Black Belt, and also six-time word champion in Tae Kwon Do.

With a cast and also crew 80 solid, including circus and acrobatic performers, and also innumerable technicians, How to Train Your Dragon will certainly likewise make considerable usage of estimate, pyrotechnics, music and also fire, and will call for no much less than forty semi-trailers to take it on tour.

How to Train Your Dragon is in Melbourne until 11th of March before travelling to Sydney (March 16-25), Brisbane (March 28 – April 1), Auckland also and also the USA.

Check out Lucy Graham's evaluation -

Our Earlier Coverage

Theatre Where Size Really Does Matter

Frank Hatherley ‘meets’ 2 dragons and also a Hollylumber legend at the launch of a $20million+ touring mega-production.

It’s a question of dimension. Stage Whispers writers are well attuned to offbeat venues, povital platdevelops and also cut-price creative thinking. Football-field-sized rehearsal rooms, giant props and $20m+ budgets are not our usual beat.

But my editor assures me it’s still theatre, so off I trot to the PR launch of How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular, the also even more expensive follow-as much as Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular. It’s ‘the initially day of rehearsals’ and also I’m to ‘fulfill the cast’ and a ‘stunning never before prior to checked out dragon’.

When I arrive external Sound Stage 7 at Sydney’s Fox Studios I sign up with a crowd of video crews and photographers. Instant mass publicity: luring the local media to ‘please, please take notice of our show’ is plainly not a trouble below. Tall sound men, their earphones already in area, jostle for place.

Constructed inside what was when the Easter Show’s mighty couchsurfingcook.commemorative Pavilion, Sound Stage 7 is a colossal 3,400 square metres of rehearsal area — sound-proofed, air-conditioned, via soaring arches. How much would certainly it price to hire this for a day? At one end a dozen young circus/gymnasts, functional beyond belief, were whirling, flipping and also martial artsing. One girl was swinging through area on a harness.


Dinosaurshad been an international hit. A co-production by The RZO couchsurfingcook.companies of New York and also Melbourne-based animatronics aces Global Creatures, it has actually justended a five-year civilization tour. The manufacturing, it states below, ‘played to 6.5 million world and also has actually taken over $350 million at the gate’. No wonder they have the right to spfinish significant on the follow-up.

Now Dragon brings in a dynamic new couchsurfingcook.companion, DreamWorks Theatricals. DreamWorks Animation had actually developed the hit 2010 movie ($500m global gross) on which this present is based. And here, now, in Sound Stage 7 is legendary Hollywood number Jeffrey Katzenberg, previous Disney CEO, currently CEO of DreamWorks. He’s a neat, slim, bespectacled figure and also he ‘just loves’ couchsurfingcook.coming to Australia.

Director and Adaptor of the new present is Nigel Jamiechild. He directed a segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony and also then arisen the opening and also cshedding of the Melbourne Republic Gamings. He’s done vivid proscenium arch occupational, also. His 2008 version of Gallipoli at the STC was memorable. Maybe I’ll ask him if he misses typical stage occupational.

Now t-shirted Jamiekid, a lot looser than the tight Katzenberg, takes charge. He turns the camera crews amethod from the rehearsing gymnasts to introduce Gronckle, star dragon of the occasion. “We’ve only had him for a day,” claims Jamieson, “so he doesn’t yet have all his bells and also whistles.” Dvery own the long area, through booming background music and also intensified roaring, stomps the undeniably outstanding large puppet/animatromic/robot.

Gronckle is being thrust at floor level by an operator in what looks like a camouflaged go-kart, but he certain looks like he’s walking on his four thick legs. He’s got wings, evil-looking eyes that battach, and shiny teeth that look favor they’ve simply chomped some unspeakable breakfast. He puffs out volumes of smoke aligned through the roars. Apparently he will breathe convincing fire, too, couchsurfingcook.come the day.

After Gronckle couchsurfingcook.comes Nadder, a couchsurfingcook.comedy dragon (you deserve to tell from the tinkly soundtrack) through teeny wings and a rather threatening discharge hole at the rear. I note that when the soundtrack isn’t playing, each dragon’s manoeuvres sound choose my electric mower from Bunnings.

Throughout the activity I note the raised platform full of the technicians. These are the ‘Voodoo Puppeteers’. Using wiremuch less, remote-controlled joysticks, their nuanced hand movements control eexceptionally aspect of a dragon’s performance. Each dragon has a driver and also 2 VPs.How many backstage/technical staff must be essential to run the show! According to the PR notes, the touring cast and also crew will number 80.

I likewise take note of the expensive ceiling grid: a 3-ring track has actually been suspended over the studio floor. Soon dragons will certainly be flying, no doubt ridden by their circus-trained humale friends. I later learn that the space hasn’t been hired for a day or a week: silly me, it’s theirs for three months.


Asthe TV crews move in for their close ups, I sign up with the line to talk through the two young Australian leads (Rarmian Newton and also Sarah McCreanor - viewed below meeting the Egg Biter - photographer: Jim Lee) and director Jamieboy. I have actually determined not to bvarious other Katzenberg that I overhear telling Channels 7 and 9 of his ‘excitement’ at this ‘spectacular version’ of an ‘enin the time of story’. What else is he going to say? He’ll absolutely never offer me the inside story of his break-up from Disney.

The actors are additionally ‘thrilled’, ‘blvery own away’, and so on, so I decide to have my two minutes through Jamiechild, who is juggling the PR madness via keen, blue-eyed professionalism.

Yes, he loves arena theatre: “through all these wonderful playthings to play with we’ll be pushing modern technologies to brand-new limits.” And the projections — he’s acquired 60 square metres of display screens behind the action and 1000 square metres of floor underneath. March in Melbourne will be the start of a 5-year human being tour and he will be seeing the show every three months. It’s currently time for my Stage Whispers question: does he miss the proscenium arch? He looks at me archly. “Not at all. Now I deserve to lug some theatre magic to human being who never gain the possibility to go to the STC or whatever before. I observed the previous Dinosaur Sexactly how in Bangkok recently. 100,000 people experienced it in one week.” But...

He’s gone. More TV cameras await.

I leave the great hall, Easter Sjust how venue of my childhood. I’m encouraged that this is going to be a huge show. Big massive massive. Really big. But is it Theatre?

How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular plays the Hisense Arena, Melbourne, 2-11 March; Acer Arena, Sydney, 15-25 March; Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 18 March – 1 April. It then goes to Auckland also before its US tour, couchsurfingcook.commencing in June.

Tickets (now available) array from $19.90 to $99.90.

Originally published in the January / February 2012 print edition of Stage Whispers.

More previously coverage

On the eve of the World Premiere of How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular, the Seven Network aired an exclusive TV distinct, How To Train Your Dragon couchsurfingcook.comes To Life.

This exclusive television distinct delves behind the scenes in the time of the production of How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular. This arena display is based upon Dreamworks' very successful animated function film How To Train Your Dragon. The publicity guarantees high-flying, fire-breathing dragons to life in an unprecedented live entertainment event.

The television one-of-a-kind, to be aired nationally at 6.30pm on Saturday 4th February, will certainly feature the cast and also crew preparing for the show’s World Premiere in Melbourne in March. The star dragon of the display Toothless, will be introduced to viewers through his dark colour, piercing eyes, and also lovable nature.

Audiences will additionally get a glimpse right into what it takes to carry these mythical beasts to life by means of animatronics and also 'voodoo' puppeattempt, and also just how these substantial creatures are brought to life through theatrical magic and ground breaking engineering. Audiences will certainly additionally accouchsurfingcook.complish the whole actors and also their favourite dragons from the film.

Cast members Rarmian Newton, Riley Miner, Sarah McCreanor and Gemma Nguyen look at various elements of the manufacturing and how the engineers and also imaginative team mount a spectacle of this dimension - from the enormous wall-to-floor projections, to the amazing flying rig, to the dragons themselves.

Dreamworks AnimationCEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, award-winning theatre director Nigel Jamieson andCreature designer Sonny Tilders, likewise take viewers behind-the-scenes for a rare look at how theatrical magic have the right to transform an arena phase into a mythical human being with dragons, viemperors and also imperiods that will certainly leave audiences in awe.

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How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular will begin its World Tour in Melbourne in March 2012.

Image -Sarah McCreanor and also Rarmian Newton fulfill the Deadly Nadder. Photographer: Jim Lee