Black Swan’s Extinction the right environment for Myles Pollard

Actor Myles Pollard with a tiger quoll at Caversham Wildlife Park. Picture: Martin Kennealey d442593
Actor Myles Pollard with a tiger quoll at Caversham Wildlife Park. Picture: Martin Kennealey d442593

DUNSBOROUGH actor Myles Pollard’s passion for the environment was immediately stirred on reading Helpmann Award-winning playwright Hannie Rayson’s latest play, Extinction.

“I think the environmental side of it was what really triggered me,” Pollard said.

“I haven’t really talked about it much but that’s why I live down south; I surf and spend all my spare time outside, so it infuriates me to see it destroyed.

“Hannie has written something around a subject matter she loves but in a very even-handed way.”

Presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company, Extinction begins with the death of an endangered tiger quoll but also questions the allocation of environmental research funding.

Pollard plays vet Andy Dixon, who is facing his own mortality. The actor loved his character’s many contradictions.

“On one hand he wants to protect the environment but on the other hand, he understands there’s a tipping point where when a population of animals gets to less than 5000, you can’t save them,” Pollard said.

“He can appear cold and calculated and detached, but he’s driven around saving the environment.

“The play is not hitting you over the head with a big political message; it’s not didactic and there are two arguments which are both as eloquent and significant as each other.”

With both parents working as teachers, Pollard grew up in the North-West before moving to Perth for Year 10 at Greenwood Senior High School and studied teaching at Edith Cowan University “because it was in my DNA and my Dad said get something behind you”.

He always knew he wanted to be an actor but it was not until after graduation and while working on a Kalgoorlie mine site that Pollard decided to go for it.

He spent the next year preparing for WAAPA and NIDA, auditioned, was accepted to both and chose NIDA.

“I was at the point in my life where I needed to go on an adventure and just get away from home,” Pollard said.

“It was a bit of a ‘find myself’ exercise.”

He has since starred on television shows including McLeod’s Daughters and in feature films Drift and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, while also running acting classes and workshops.

Pollard returns after a hiatus from Black Swan Theatre Company last year, where instead he appeared in Bell Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale at Sydney Opera House.

“I try to do a play with Black Swan every year because I enjoy it and find it a valuable process for me as an actor,” he said.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Extinction

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre

When: September 19 to October 4

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au