In Melbourne this morning (March 7, 2012) Lucy Graham join the media fill at Hisense Arena to satisfy the stars, front of the civilization Premiere of How come Train her Dragon-Arena Spectacular.

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After three months that rehearsals, manager Nigel Jamieson is ‘not getting too much sleep’, saying while the display is couchsurfingcook.completely safe, there are so numerous interconnected cues, the the little glitch has the potential to lug the show undone.

Hisense Arena is a mighty large, three-dimensional stage. And also it requirements to it is in in order come accouchsurfingcook.commodate the show’s stars. Twenty-four dragon dwarfed their person counterparts, who had to fight for our fist this morning.

Each the the five largest dragon weighs 1.6tons, that’s about the weight of your family members car, and each calls for three operators: one driver and two voodoo puppeteers, v one manipulating head, tail and gross motor movement, and the various other minor activities such together eyes, mouth and roars.

The world Premiere the How to Train your Dragon – Arena Spectacular is the result of a creative partnership in between RZO Dragon Productions, an international Creatures, responsible because that the wildly effective Walking v Dinosaurs-The Arena Spectacular, and Dreamworks Theatricals.

The teamwork is one an international Creatures CEO Carmen Pavlovic claims ‘fuses our own world-class modern technology with the vision and also dedication the a renowned for its state-of-the-art creativity and storytelling skill.’

Based top top the 2010 DreamWorks computer animation movie i beg your pardon grossed approximately $500 million world-wide, How come Train your Dragon is collection in a Viking village, where young young Hiccup, difficulties his village’s established mindset to dragons, as creatures to it is in feared and also therefore slain by the heroic dragon-slayers.

Auditions for people were performed in 13 worldwide cities, before two young Australian performers clinched the roles. ‘We went anywhere the world and auditioned 2,000 people,’ said Jamieson, ‘and guess where we finished up!’

Hiccup is play by Rarmian Newton (Billy Elliot the musical 2008), that hails from the victor city of Geelong. It’s a function that has him flying roughly the arena top top a dragon’s back, being recorded mid-air and even hanging by a dragon fin. Newton shares the role with young Hollywood gibbs Riley Miner.

The function of Astrid is played by nineteen year-old Queenslander buy it McCreanor, who has actually been actors for she ‘impressive speed and also prowess together a physics performer’. She shares the role with American stunt show Gemma Nguyen, who is a third degree black color Belt, and also six-time word champion in Tae Kwon Do.

With a cast and crew 80 strong, including circus and also acrobatic performers, and also innumerable technicians, How to Train your Dragon will additionally make substantial use of projection, pyrotechnics, music and fire, and also will need no much less than fourty semi-trailers to take it top top tour.

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

Check the end Lucy Graham's review -

Our earlier Coverage

Theatre Where dimension Really walk Matter

Frank Hatherley ‘meets’ two dragons and also a Hollywood legend at the beginning of a $20million+ touring mega-production.

It’s a inquiry of size. Stage Whispers writers space well attuned to offbeat venues, pokey platforms and cut-price creativity. Football-field-sized rehearsal rooms, huge props and also $20m+ budgets are not our usual beat.

But mine editor assures me it’s still theatre, therefore off ns trot come the PR start of How come Train your Dragon Arena Spectacular, the even more expensive follow-up come Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular. It’s ‘the very first day the rehearsals’ and also I’m come ‘meet the cast’ and a ‘stunning never prior to seen dragon’.

When ns arrive outside Sound phase 7 in ~ Sydney’s Fox Studios I sign up with a group of video clip crews and also photographers. Prompt mass publicity: luring the regional media to ‘please, please take notification of our show’ is plainly not a difficulty here. High sound guys, their earphones currently in place, jostle for position.

Constructed inside what was once the Easter Show’s mighty couchsurfingcook.commemorative Pavilion, Sound stage 7 is a colossal 3,400 square metres of rehearsal room — sound-proofed, air-conditioned, with soaring arches. Exactly how much would certainly it expense to hire this because that a day? at one finish a dozen young circus/gymnasts, flexible beyond belief, were whirling, flipping and also martial artsing. One girl was swinging through space on a harness.


Dinosaurshad been a worldwide hit. A co-production through The RZO couchsurfingcook.companies of brand-new York and also Melbourne-based animatronics aces global Creatures, it has actually justended a five-year civilization tour. The production, it claims here, ‘played to 6.5 million people and also has taken end $350 million at the gate’. No wonder they have the right to spend huge on the follow-up.

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

Director and Adaptor that the brand-new show is Nigel Jamieson. He directed a segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic opened Ceremony and also then developed the opening and also closing of the Melbourne couchsurfingcook.commonwealth Games. He’s done vivid proscenium arch work, too. His 2008 variation of Gallipoli in ~ the STC to be memorable. Possibly I’ll ask the if he misses classic stage work.

Now t-shirted Jamieson, much looser 보다 the tight Katzenberg, take away charge. He transforms the camera crews away from the rehearsing gymnasts to introduce Gronckle, star dragon of the event. “We’ve only had him for a day,” claims Jamieson, “so the doesn’t yet have all his bells and whistles.” down the long space, v booming lift music and magnified roaring, stomps the undeniably impressive giant puppet/animatromic/robot.

Gronckle is being moved at floor level by one operator in what looks prefer a camouflaged go-kart, however he sure looks favor he’s wade on his 4 thick legs. He’s gained wings, evil-looking eyes that blink, and also shiny teeth that look choose they’ve simply chomped some unspeakable breakfast. That puffs out quantities of exhilaration aligned through the roars. Supposedly he will certainly breathe convincing fire, too, couchsurfingcook.come the day.

After Gronckle couchsurfingcook.comes Nadder, a couchsurfingcook.comedy dragon (you deserve to tell native the tinkly soundtrack) v teeny wings and also a quite threatening discharge hole at the rear. I note that when the soundtrack isn’t playing, every dragon’s manoeuvres sound like my electrical mower from Bunnings.

During the activity I keep in mind the raised platform complete of the technicians. These room the ‘Voodoo Puppeteers’. Utilizing wireless, remote-controlled joysticks, their nuanced hand movements control every facet of a dragon’s performance. Each dragon has actually a driver and two VPs.How plenty of backstage/technical staff should be necessary to run the show! according to the PR notes, the touring cast and also crew will number 80.

I also take keep in mind of the vast ceiling grid: a 3-ring track has actually been suspended over the studio floor. Shortly dragons will be flying, no doubt ridden by their circus-trained person friends. I later on learn that the room hasn’t to be hired because that a day or a week: silly me, it’s their for 3 months.


Asthe TV crews move in for your close ups, I sign up with the line to talk with the 2 young Australian leader (Rarmian Newton and Sarah McCreanor - seen right here meeting the Egg Biter - photographer: Jim Lee) and director Jamieson. I have determined not to stroked nerves Katzenberg that I overhear telling networks 7 and 9 that his ‘excitement’ in ~ this ‘spectacular version’ of an ‘enduring story’. What else is the going come say? He’ll absolutely never offer me the within story of his separation from Disney.

The actors are likewise ‘thrilled’, ‘blown away’, etc., so ns decide to have actually my two minutes with Jamieson, that is juggling the PR madness v keen, blue-eyed professionalism.

Yes, the loves arena theatre: “with all these wonderful playthings to play v we’ll be pushing modern technologies to brand-new limits.” and the projections — he’s obtained 60 square metres of display screens behind the action and 1000 square metres that floor underneath. March in Melbourne will certainly be the start of a 5-year civilization tour and also he will be see the present every three months. It’s currently time for my Stage Whispers question: walk he miss out on the proscenium arch? that looks at me archly. “Not in ~ all. Now I can lug some theatre magic to people who never get the opportunity to walk to the STC or whatever. I observed the previous Dinosaur show in Bangkok recently. 100,000 civilization saw it in one week.” But...

He’s gone. More TV cameras await.

I leaving the an excellent hall, Easter show venue of mine childhood. I’m persuaded that this is walking to it is in a large show. Large big big. Really big. However is that Theatre?

How to Train her Dragon Arena Spectacular dram the Hisense Arena, Melbourne, 2-11 March; Acer Arena, Sydney, 15-25 March; Brisbane entertain Centre, 18 in march – 1 April. It then goes to Auckland prior to its united state tour, couchsurfingcook.commencing in June.

Tickets (now available) range from $19.90 come $99.90.

Originally published in the January / February 2012 publish edition of phase Whispers.

More previously coverage

On the eve of the world Premiere that How come Train your Dragon Arena Spectacular, the seven Network aired an exclude, TV special, How come Train her Dragon couchsurfingcook.comes come Life.

This exclusive tv special delves behind the scenes during the production of How to Train her Dragon Arena Spectacular. This arena display is based upon Dreamworks' highly successful animated function film How come Train her Dragon. The publicity guarantees high-flying, fire-breathing dragons to life in an unprecedented live to chat event.

The television special, to be aired country at 6.30pm ~ above Saturday 4th February, will function the cast and crew preparing for the show’s world Premiere in Melbourne in March. The star dragon that the show Toothless, will be introduced to viewers with his dark colour, piercing eyes, and lovable nature.

Audiences will additionally get a glimpse right into what that takes to carry these mythical beasts to life via animatronics and also 'voodoo' puppetry, and also how these substantial creatures are carried to life through theatrical magic and ground break engineering. Audience will also meet the entire cast and their favourite dragon from the film.

Cast members Rarmian Newton, Riley Miner, Sarah McCreanor and Gemma Nguyen look in ~ various aspects of the production and also how the designers and an imaginative team mountain a spectacle the this dimension - indigenous the massive wall-to-floor projections, come the amazing flying rig, to the dragon themselves.

Dreamworks AnimationCEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, award-winning theatre director Nigel Jamieson andCreature designer Sonny Tilders, additionally take viewers behind-the-scenes because that a rare look at how theatrical magic have the right to transform an arena stage right into a mythical world with dragons, vikings and also images that will leave audience in awe.

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How to Train your Dragon Arena Spectacular will start its world Tour in Melbourne in march 2012.

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