On an unseasonably cold September day in 1936, the world's last known Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity at Hobart's Beaumaris Zoo. Out of the darkness, Sarah Hamilton and Justine Campbell conjure the ghost of one o f our lost beauties - the thylacine. With the suspense and warmth of a campfire story, these feisty, funny women weave a lyrical tale of discovery and destruction. For this thylacine tracker and zoo keeper's daughter, it's a quest to protect a threatened creature…and themselves.
Gutsy and rebellious, They Saw a Thylacine is a beautiful reimagining of Australia's lost history that shines a light on extinction and our own survival. The script, written in free verse, tells the stories of Alison Reid, the daughter of the last curator at Beaumaris Zoo and Beatrice McCullough, a trapper hunting the rare thylacine. For these two it's a quest not just to protect a threatened creature, but themselves. Rebellious and gutsy, these women face life and fight to survive.
Although Beatrice McCullough is a fictional character, Alison Reid is well documented through her efforts to save the last thylacine in captivity. Following the death of her father, the Reserves Department refused her application for the post of Zoo Curator. The Department refused to appoint a woman although it is clear she was the most qualified applicant. With no trained person left to care for the animals, they died of indifferent feeding and exposure.
The tale brings the audience's attention to the fragility of our ecosystem and the unsettling truth of how small acts of ignorance can cause great destruction to current and future generations. This story celebrates small progressive steps, charging us with a responsibility to carry greater wisdom into the future.
This award-winning work is re-envisaged for touring with a stunning team of artistic collaborators including Matthew Lutton, Artistic Director at Malthouse Theatre, lighting/set designer Matt Adey, sound composer Jethro Woodward and costume designer Chloe Greaves. They Saw a Thylacine was first performed at Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2013 and in 2014 toured to Adelaide Fringe Festival and New Zealand (Splore Festival Thames, The Basement Theatre Auckland, Bats Theatre Wellington, Centrepoint Palmerston North) and was performed at the Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds.
2014 - Weekly Theatre Award, Adelaide Fringe
2014 - Stand Out Performer, New Zealand Fringe
2013 - Best Performance, Melbourne Fringe
2013 - Tour Ready Award, Melbourne Fringe
Warning: contains coarse language
By Human Animal Exchange
Toured by Performing Lines