Barking Gecko breaking new ground with Sleepover at Heath Ledger Theatre

Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett and Maya Fernadez. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d444641
Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett and Maya Fernadez. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d444641

MATT Edgerton hit the ground running as the new Barking Gecko artistic director with preparations for the theatre company’s first fundraising sleepover on October 24.

Children eight to 16 years old, accompanied by an adult, are invited to experience a night to remember where they will sleep on the Heath Ledger Theatre stage and take a behind-the-scenes look including theatre tour, stagecraft demonstrations, makeup and acting classes, storytelling and the chance to perform on stage.

The evening is limited to 100 people and there must be one adult for every three young people.

“Falling asleep in the theatre is one of those forbidden things,” Edgerton said.

“It’s exciting for that reason but also because it’s never been done in the Heath Ledger Theatre before.

“We’re hoping it will be enjoyable but also raise funds for us and awareness that as a community we really need to support the arts if we want them to continue.”

Despite being from Sydney, Edgerton is no stranger to Perth having spent three years training at WAAPA.

After graduating in 1999 he worked at Black Swan State Theatre Company before heading east for stints at Bell Shakespeare and Ensemble Theatre.

He now lives around the corner from Barking Gecko Theatre Company’s home at Subiaco Arts Centre and said the relocation to the 30-year-old family theatre company was an easy decision.

“Barking Gecko is one of the best theatre companies we have in Australia and the challenge of working with so many different audiences and in so many different styles was one that I couldn’t resist,” Edgerton said.

“What we’re hoping is to be a cultural thread through a young person’s life so that you can see a show at Barking Gecko from the moment you can talk through primary school to when you’re a teenager, grow up and bring your children and grandchildren to see shows.

“Every year we have something you can see whatever age you are and that’s why I feel the company is such an important part of the cultural landscape.”

Edgerton said production ticket sales only generated one third of Barking Gecko’s income and the sleepover, which the company hopes will become an annual event, was one creative way to raise additional funds.

More at www.barkinggecko.com.au/sleepover.