Richardson has achieved a perfect synthesis of fairy story, allegory and children's picture book, overlain with a strong emotional narrative that every mature adult will recognise.

720 ABC Perth

The Ghost’s Child

Sonya Hartnett’s The Ghost’s Child, adapted by Sally Richardson


Winner of the 2008 Australian Young Adult Book award The Ghost’s Child is an enchanting fable of haunting resonance about the worth of life, the quality of happiness and the power of love.

The Ghost’s Child is the story of Matilda Victoria Adelaide, a 75 year-old woman who once traveled the world with her father searching for the world’s most beautiful thing. Matilda was an only child who longed for her life to be as mystifying and magical as a fairytale. One day a strange young man appears unannounced in her lounge room. She offers him tea and biscuits and tells her story of falling in love with a wild boy named Feather and her attempt to build a ‘respectable’ life with him.


Adaptation/ Director
 Sally Richardson
Writer Sonya Hartnett
Composer/ Performer Melanie Robinson
Performers Nicola Bartlett, Kynan Hughes, Katya Shevtsov, Oliver Wenn
Production Design Matt McVeigh
Lighting Design Jenny Vila
Production Stage Manager Chris Donnelley
Props Assistant Emma Craig
Costume Maker Emma Loughridge
Set Build Plumb Construction and Design
Eagle Build Bianca Perira (Plumb Construction and Design)
Consultant Dramaturgy Humphrey Bower and Michael Barlow



Richardson has achieved a perfect synthesis of fairy story, allegory and children’s picture book, overlain with a strong emotional narrative that every mature adult will recognise – how love and loss are painful but always worth experiencing.
Victoria Laurie, 720 ABC Perth (read full review online)

Sally Richardson and her team have created a theatrical space to tell a story that explores the concept of imagination and conjures up the forever contested and cherished landscape of memory. It is exciting to see a nationally recognised director premiering work in the rapidly growing regional centre of Mandurah. Fans of Sonja Hartnett, and children between the ages of 9-14 who like a sophisticated fable, or anyone who loves an unapologetically epic romance, will all find something to like in this new independent work. Astrid Francis, ArtsHub (read full review online)


 | Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Mandurah, Western Australia


Sally Richardson Adaptor/ Director
For the past 25 years Sally has worked as a writer, director, dramaturg and performer in collaboration with some of Australia’s leading performing arts companies and artists. Her work has been a winner/finalist for Helpmann Awards, Green Room Awards, Equity Guild Awards, Ausdance Awards, and Dance Australia Critics Choice Awards amongst others. Her production of The Promise for the Flying Fruitfly Circus received a prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Presentation for Children in 2009. Sally is a past recipient of an Australia Council Dramaturgy fellowship (2006) and a Creative Arts Fellowship from the WA Department of Culture and the Arts (2008). She was a member of the Theatre Board of the Australia Council (2001-5), and Artistic Director of Steamworks Arts Productions (2001-). Sally was a board member of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (2007-10), and currently works for Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company (since 2010). Theatre productions include; Savage Grace, Nocturne, Medea 05, Decadence, The Danger Age for Steamworks, Black Swan Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, Belvoir, and Deckchair Theatre. Dance/ theatre productions include; The Drover’s Wives for the Perth International Arts Festival, Shanghai and Beijing International Festivals, I am Njinsky, Loaded (National Tour), So Do You Come Here Often? (Mobile States) and most recent Standing Bird for Fringe World 2012. Puppetry productions include; H20 for the Perth International Arts Festival, and Splat! for Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Circus productions include; Rhapsody and most recently Lucy and the Lost Boy for the National Institute of Circus Arts.

What is the world’s most beautiful thing? My beautiful sons…then after that…a kiss, a hug, a friend, life….

Sonya Hartnett Writer
Sonya Hartnett’s work has been published around the world. She is the internationally acclaimed author of several novels, including Thursday’s Child, winner of the 2002 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and Forest, winner of the 2002 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year: Older Readers. In 2003, her adult novel, Of a Boy, won The Age Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. In 2000 and again in 2003, Sonya Hartnett has been named one of The Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelists of the Year. In 2004, The Silver Donkey was published to great critical acclaim. It has won the 2005 Brisbane Courier Mail award for young readers and was CBC Book of the Year (Young readers) in 2005. Surrender was published in 2005. It was shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year Award and the Aurealis Award – Fantasy Division in 2005. In 2008 Sonya was the recipient of The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The prize is awarded to authors, illustrators, narrators and/or promoters of reading whose work reflects the spirit of Astrid Lindgren. It is the first time this award has gone to an Australian. In 2010 Sonya published her debut picture book, The Boy and the Toy which was followed by Come Down, Cat! in 2011. 2010 also saw the publication of The Midnight Zoo, which won the CBC Book of the Year (Older Readers) in 2011 and was nominated for the CILP Carnegie Medal (UK) for Best Children’s Book. Her most recent novel is The Children of the King.

Melanie Robinson Composer/ Performer
Melbourne-based musician Melanie Robinson plays the cello, sings, composes music and writes songs. She has released a solo album After the Storm and Mr Sister’s album Empty Places. In another guise she arranges, co-writes and produces the works of other Australian artists, including Washington, Tim Rogers, You Am I, John Butler, The Audreys and Leah Flanagan. She has released albums with each of these and tours regularly with most of them as cellist/singer. She also tours with the APRA/AMC award-winning quartet Overlander (together with Iain Grandage, Claire Edwardes and William Barton). Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “a heart-stopper”, with “a voice that will make your black heart beat again” (Adelaide Now), The Ghost’s Child is Melanie’s first foray back into making sound since the birth of her daughter five months ago.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? Sleep.

Nicola Bartlett Performer
Nicola graduated from NIDA in 1986 and has lived in Perth since 1989 raising a family. Her theatre credits include Face to Face, Charitable Intent, Soul Mates, The Goat (for which she received the WA Equity award for Best Female Actor in a Lead Role, 2007), Dangerous Curve, Heart and Soul , The Unexpected Man, The Matchmaker and Antigone. The productions she has worked on for Deckchair are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jimmy and Pat Meet the Queen and the NWregionaltourofRedAlert.HerTVcreditsinclude: ShiptoShoreII,TheGift, Parallax, Street Smartz, Damien Parer, Wormwood, Rapture of the Deep and ThreeActsofMurder. Shehasalsobeeninvolvedinseveralshortfilms: Atomic Desire, Automatic, Eyeliner, Hearts and Minds, and worked on the feature films Contagion, Sororal, Arise and Little Sparrows which received distribution in the USA, and was in competition at the Palm Springs Film Festival, International Rome Film Festival, Cinefest Oz, and Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? Life.

Kynan Hughes Performer
Kynan graduated from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts with an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts in Dance in 2000. Since then he has worked with a range of companies around Australia including: Leigh Warren and Dancers, Dance North, the Tasmanian Classical Ballet Company and Sydney DanceCompany. Hehasperformedandtouredarangeofnewandestablished works, both in Australia and overseas, by choreographers as diverse as Jane Pirani, Natalie Weir, Leigh Warren, Troy Mundy, Rafael Bonachela, Emanuel Gat and Kenneth Kvarnstrom. Kynan has also choreographed a number of works and taught at various companies and institutions around Australia. 2012 sees Kynan studying to attain his Bachelor of Arts, as well as working with Sue Peacock on Reflect and Sally Richardson on The Ghost’s Child.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? That there’s nothing in this world that is more beautiful than the next.

Katya Shevtsov Performer
Katya is a performer and theatre maker with training and experience spanning the disciplines of acting, dance, puppetry and physical theatre. She has worked in professional and independent theatre and film in Western Australia and Victoria and toured regionally, nationally and internationally. Recent theatre credits include Oraculos for Teatro de los Sentidos (PIAF), Honey Spot for Yirra Yaakin, If I Drown I Can Swim for Corazon de Vaca, The Night Zoo, The Deep and Miss Lily for Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and Turtle and the Trade Winds for Deckchair. Katya has begun to branch out into directing and dramaturgy. She recently completed her first production as director Marisa Garreffa’s Cured, and assisted the development of Joe Lui’s The Book of Death and Broken Image Ensemble’s Home for The Blue Room Theatre. Katya continually seeks diverse creative development opportunities and relishes a challenge.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? The human spirit perhaps? It’s power to create, to endure (and to destroy) is truly phenomenal.

Oliver Wenn Performer
Oliver graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in
2005, and has since been involved in a range of theatre and film projects. Most notably Oliver has appeared in Rowan Wood’s mini-series Blood in
the Sand, the BBC co-produced Shark Net as well as the Emmy nominated documentary Surviving Mumbai. Oliver toured Australia as the lead male
in the popular musical The Sapphires playing many of the countries major stages as well as the Daegu International Musical Festival in Daegu, South Korea, with the tour finishing at The Barbican Theatre in London last year. At the beginning of 2012 Oliver appeared as Dr Rosso on Channel 7’s Packed to the Rafter’s, played the lead in Ben Elton’s Gasping at The New Theatre and set up his own acting studio in Sydney called The HubStudio with ex-NIDA head Kevin Jackson.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? The day after tomorrow.

Matt McVeigh Production Design
Matt is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice mainly focuses on sculpture, community art and design for theatre. Since graduating from the WA Academy of Performing Arts (Performance Design 2008), Matt has worked as a theatre designer for Steamworks Art Productions, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Deckchair Theatre, WA Youth Theatre, Yirra Yakkin Aboriginal Theatre, Lark Chamber Opera, and been an assistant designer on productions for the Australian Ballet, Victorian Opera and Big Hart. He has also worked across the State as a community artist creating context-specific projects that engage with social and environmental issues within the idea of community. His visual arts practice has seen him contribute to a number of group shows nationally and he is a regular exhibitor at Sculpture by the Sea. Matt’s sculptures feature in private collections both locally and internationally. He is represented by Linton and Kay Contemporary Art Gallery in Perth.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? My family.

Jenny Vila Lighting Design
Now based in Perth, Jenny was born in Stockholm, brought up in Spain and Sweden and trained in London, graduating with honours in Technical Theatre from RADA. As a lighting designer in Europe Jenny’s work included Mara, Adios NoNino, Egobio, Cap Pela, Les Formigues and Kissing the Goldfish. In Australia she lit Sue Healey’s Variant at the Seymour Centre in Sydney, and CuredbyMarisaGarreffa. Whennotdesigninglighting,Jennyhasworkedas Technical Manager for the Singapore Carousel Festival, Venue Director for the New York Fringe and Producer of the Festival Internacional de Teatre Visual i Titelles in Barcelona. Between 2005 and 2010 Jenny was based in the UK where she was the International Producer of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and also produced both editions of the Norwich International Puppet Festival. She is currently Associate Producer for Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Res de Res.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? Light, the dark, and all points in between.

Chris Donnelly Production Stage Manager
Chris studied theatre at Murdoch University, graduating with Honours in 2007. He has toured extensively with the likes of SpoonTree Productions, Onxy Productions, Kompany M, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and Sand Piper Productions; as a tech, tour/production/stage manager and designer. Since coming off the road 18 months ago, he has acted in the award nominated Laryngectomy, produced and directed his own blue room piece Luminaire, as well as designing lights for three of this season’s Blue Room Theatre shows – Cat In A Box, Home, and The Polite Gentleman. Chris is an Aquarius and enjoys talking about himself.
What is the world’s most beautiful thing? When people come together to create something dangerous, creative, beautiful, thought provoking and boundary pushing. And on those rare occasions that all those people manage to go above and beyond in making such a thing – it is the most beautiful thing in the world.






Producer Contact
Fiona de Garis
+61 8 9200 6213



Posted: August 14th, 2012