Tree by tree, song by song, and puppet by puppet, iconic puppetry company Western Australia’s own Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will celebrate its 40th anniversary with the world premiere of a new puppet musical about hope, love, and changing the world on September 25 at the company’s home theatre in Fremantle.
The company’s first ever original musical theatre production, The One Who Planted Trees is an uplifting story of one woman’s quest to change her life and the world around her, told through puppetry, digital animation, and music from toe tapping numbers to Broadway anthems to hip hop.
Written and performed by Amberly Cull and Nick Pages Oliver, and co-creator Bec Bradley, with songs by Melanie Robinson and Carmel Dean, and directed by Philip Mitchell, the musical production stars an iconic puppet cast of Australian animals, including Bandicoot, Koala and Frilly, a fun-loving Frill Necked Lizard, who, along with a chorus of singing bees, termites, dogs and frogs, and the odd bacteria or two, tell us the story from their point of view.
Artistic Director of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Philip Mitchell said that The One Who Planted Trees was an entertaining romp through the Australian environment and an uplifting story about hope, change and the power of one person to make a difference in the world.
“The One Who Planted Trees is an inspirational tale designed to show that even the smallest actions can have big gains,” he said. “As a musical it is both fun and joyous, and a perfect springboard for deeper discussion about our world and the environment we all value. It will leave you humming the songs, grabbing a spade, and watering plants into the ground in next to no-time. As a Chinese proverb says, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second-best time is today.”
For the company’s first ever musical theatre production, Mitchell assembled a passionate team of internationally and nationally renowned artists, including writers and performers, Amberly Cull, Nick Pages Oliver and co-creator Bec Bradley, designers Leon Hendroff and Clare Testoni, and composer Melanie Robinson. Music will be recorded by a band including Melanie Robinson (cello), Harry Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass), and Ben Vanderwal (drums).
Philip Mitchell said it has been an exciting and fulfilling experience working with such a creative team on the company’s first ever musical over the last 18 months.
“Logistics for a musical production are mind boggling in themselves, never mind factoring in a world pandemic,” he said. “So, huge kudos to this wonderfully talented, passionate team who have pressed on through many restrictions, lockdowns, quarantines and all manner of show business challenges to bring this inspirational show to life for all Western Australians in our fabulous 40th year.”
The show runs for 50 minutes and is suitable for everyone but perfect for ages five and above. The world premiere season runs from September 25 at Spare Parts’ home theatre in Fremantle, Monday to Saturday with two shows daily at 10am and 1pm (public holidays excepted) and special twilight performances on Friday October 1 and 8 at 6.30pm. Tickets are on sale now and can be booked online 24/7 at www.sppt.asn.au or by calling 9335 5044.
Established in Fremantle in 1981, the award winning, internationally recognised puppetry company has entertained over three generations of Western Australian families and delighted countless audiences around Australia and the world. Following the season of The One Who Planted Trees, the 40th anniversary celebrations will culminate in a huge outdoor, absolutely free community event, Puppets in the Parkon November 6. For information on all of the ways you can celebrate and take part in the fabulous 40th anniversary community celebrations, visit sppt.asn.au