New Owner is hunting for a Helpmann Award

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 online coverage from Sydney of the 2017 Helpmann Awards from July 24.