Spare Parts Puppet Theatre has taken home the award for Best Mainstage Production for their interactive work On Our Beach written by Peta Murray and Directed by Philip Mitchell, at this year’s Performing Arts WA Awards. As well as taking home this prestigious award, Australia’s flagship puppetry company was also nominated for four other awards, including:
• Best Mainstage Director: Philip Mitchell, On Our Beach, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
• Best Composition or Arranging: Lee Buddle, On Our Beach, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
• Best Stage Design: Cecile Williams, On Our Beach, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
• Best Actor (Female) Rebecca Bradley, On Our Beach, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre team are honoured to have been awarded as the Best Mainstage Production and are thrilled to see that a theatre work for young people has been recognised at this year’s awards night.
On Our Beach writer, Peta Murray is ecstatic to have received this award saying, “Securing recognition for works of Children’s Theatre is difficult at any time, so seeing Spare Parts Puppet Theatre acknowledged by its peers with five nominations by PAWA was almost thrilling enough, but to carry off The Big One is the biggest buzz of all.”
On Our Beach, which premiered in September 2019, is an immersive, experiential work that explored themes around connectivity and belonging. This unique production relied on the amazing Spare Parts Puppet Theatre family of supporters and volunteers to transport audience members to a very magical beach. Participating audience members enjoyed an array of activities together, including playing in a giant ball pit which fell from the sky!
“It’s such great news for the Theatre for Young Audiences right now, following funding cuts around Australia to many high-quality companies working in this area,” said Artistic Director, Philip Mitchell. “It was such a team effort to create On Our Beach and at Spare Parts we create new works in our own unique and collaborative ways, so this award means so much to everyone who contributed to the work,” said Mitchell.
“I am proud to have made a new work for young people that explores and questions notions of what we in Australia valorise as “fairness”. I hope the kids, the teachers and the families took away an experience that gave them things to talk about, but even if they did not, I am chuffed we made something that challenges the dictums of what children’s theatre and puppet theatre may be and garners Mainstage recognition. I hope it will have further exposure. And if it makes friends out of strangers in the space of an hour and gets adults laughing and playing with their kids and having eye contact with each other for forty-five minutes then that’s my kind of a win,” said Murray.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will celebrate their 40th year anniversary in 2021 and look forward to creating more unique and creative works for years to come.