Posted by Morgan Leek, August 14th, 2012

Last week we began production of Sonya Hartnett’s The Ghost’s Child, adapted and directed by Sally Richardson, with a day of reading and discussion of the final pre-rehearsal draft of the script. Like most independent performances the show has had a long journey to the stage. Follow the final weeks of preparation for the premiere season at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre here in our blog.

First up, some thoughts and feelings on the eve of rehearsal from the Director. 

Words: Sally Richardson  Images: Fiona de Garis


Over four years ago I read a book, loved it, and felt that I really wanted to bring it to life on a stage.I could see it and I hoped that one day an audience could too…

After convincing Performing Lines WA’s inimitable Wendy Blacklock and Fiona de Garis, so it began. The hunt was on for for dollars and friends. Negotiating adaptation rights, various script drafts, creative development, dramaturgy, workshops, ideas, designs, drawings, presentations, applications, rejections, acceptances and wrong turns…

With persistance, patience, and some tears later… finally armed with a DCA grant, an Ozco Music Board commission, Stages WA support, many more friends and a co-producer in the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre team led by Guy Boyce… we begin to make The Ghost’s Child!


For a performance maker, after the initial process of dreaming up ideas and images in your head comes the delicious moment when you start to bring those images into some kind of shape. When you begin the initial process that will take the work for the first time onto a stage and to its audience. The arm twisting, and waiting game, are for the moment done. And that bittersweet delicious immersion into a process of realisation can begin. And so for the next 6 – 8 weeks or so, I get to do what I REALLY love.


I breathe deeply. Here we are now sitting around a table and looking at design drawings, costume sketches, someone’s being measured up, it feels fantastic! We hear from the producing team, talk about promotion and possibilities for audience engagement, discuss train schedules and car pooling while completing tax forms  – and then we read the script…

You are listening, making notes, rude asterisks and question marks on the draft in front of you, and watching closely the people around you as they start bringing these characters to life. You laugh out loud, sometimes in surprise, you hold your breath, and you ‘feel it’ and begin to sense its heart, its truth, its potential. You are again delighted and entranced by actors and their craft, the insights that emerge from the collective creative brain…and know that yes, this is going to be magical…

Support the production on Pozible .

The team:
Direction/adaptation: Sally Richardson
Composer/performer: Melanie Robinson
Production Design: Matt McVeigh
Lighting Design: Jenny Vila
Production Manager: Chris Donnelley
Assistant Designer: Emma Craig

And featuring:
Nicola Bartlett
Katya Shevtsov
Kynan Hughes

Premiere Season   28 September – 5 October 2012
Presented by Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
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