It’s Dark Outside – ON TOUR IN AUS

Hey website-eers,

It’s Dark Outside is heading off on a 3 month national tour of Australia.

Thanks to Perth Theatre Company, all the lovely venues that are putting the show on and Australia Council for making it possible!

Here is a list of dates and places, come along if you can and come and say HI afterwards.


2-3 May – Darwin Entertainment Centre
6–10 May – Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Fortitude Valley
13-14  May – Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cairns
17 May – Glasshouse Theatre, Port Macquarie
24 May – Civic Entertainment Centre, Newcastle
26–29 May – Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta
30–31 May – Casula Powerhouse, Casula
3–8 June – The Street Theatre, Canberra
16-18 June – Theatre Royal, Hobart
20-21 June – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat
24 June – Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, Hamilton
1 July – Country Arts SA, Port Pirie
3-5 July – Matt Dann Cultural Centre, Port Hedland *
9 July – Queen St Park Theatre, Geraldton
11-12 July – Esperance Civic Centre, Esperance *
16-17 July – Arts Margaret River, Marget River *
18 –19 July – Bunbury Entertainment Centre, Bunbury *
23-25 July – Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Mandurah *

* Showing The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer

It’s Dark Outside and Alvin Sputnik UK TOUR

Hey y’all,

We are currently on tour with The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer and It’s Dark Outside in the UK.

Thanks to House and Theatr Mwldan who present the Perth Theatre Company tour.

Dates below (* is Alvin shows)

11 March – Maltings, Farnham*
12 March – Quarterhouse, Folkstone *
13 March – The North Wall, Oxford *
14 March – Theatre Royal, Margate *
15 March – Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury
16 March – Playhouse, Harlow
18 March – Corn Exchange, Newbury
19 March – The Theatre, Chipping Norton*
20 March – Corn Hall, DISS *
21 March – Letchworth Arts Centre, Letchworth *
22 March  – Bedford Theatre, Bedford
23 March – Gulbenkian, Canterbury
25 March – Quay Arts, Isle of Wight *
26 March – South Street, Reading *
27 March – Firestation Arts Centre, Windsor *
28 March – Forest Arts Centre, New Milton *
29 March – TOM, Brighton
30 March – Cambridge Junction, Cambridge *
1 April – The Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft *
2 April – West End Centre, Aldershot *
4 April – The Point, Eastleigh
6 April – Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
8 April – Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth *
9 April – Y Ffwrnes, Llanelli
10 April – Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
11 April – Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan
12 April – Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead *

Alvin Sputnik does Denmark

Alvin hit venues all around Denmark for about a month. We drove up and down the country visiting big cities and small, crossing many bridges and passing by a variety of wind turbines.

We also went on a ferry and spent one of our days off at LEGOLAND.

We visited Aarhus, Odense, Ballerup, Nykobing Mors, Randers, Holbaek, Vaerlose, Valby, Rudkobing, Svendborg and Thisted.

We were treated very nicely at most of the venues and given coffee (lots of delicious coffee). Some places we got magnificent platters of fruit and cheese or danishes. Lovely. Here is an example from Randers.

It’s always interesting seeing how audiences respond when you are touring to a different country, especially one with a language other than English. It was requested that we do the show in English and not translate it, and even though everyone in Denmark speaks VERY good English, there were parts of the show (word play, metaphor) that did not get the same reaction and were, I assume, lost in translation. Danish audiences were also very quiet audiences. They enjoyed the show and would be very excited after the show, but during, they were very quiet.

At the end of the first couple of shows in Aarhus, the audience began to clap in unison. The first time it happened we thought ‘nah maybe it just sounded like they were in unison’, but then it kept happening. Here is a little bit of context. A friend of ours once told us that when an audience in Russia do NOT like a show they start clapping in unison at the end of the show. So naturally we are thinking ‘uh oh, the audience HATE Alvin Sputnik’. After the second show we asked our Danish usher about the unison clapping and we found out that actually in Denmark, clapping in unison is like an audience shouting ENCORE. Phew, THEY LIKE US!

Also some lovely people from the Australian Consulate in Copenhagen came to the show in Valby. Here is a picture.

We met some great people while we were in Denmark. Here are some notable ones.

Gry and Peter: we met Gry at the artist commune (Godsbanen) we were staying at in Aarhus. She is an actress from Copenhagen and was rehearsing a show about a Danish electronic music composer. Peter was her boyfriend who is an animator studying in Copenhagen. Here is a picture of Gry in the communal kitchen at ‘Godsbanen’.

Laura: Laura is an incredibly talented and lovely composer from London who we also met at the artist commune in Aarhus. The kitchen there became a very festive place. Here is a video of Laura improvising with Alvin.

Jette: Jette ran the lovely place we stayed at in Valby, she gave us bikes to use and we spent a lovely evening with her talking about life while eating cheese, grapes, strawberries and drinking wine and coffee. Here is the view from the window.

Here are some bonus pics from Denmark from some of the places we went to.

It’s Dark Outside – Update

Hey bloggers,

I have been absent from my updating due to being distracted first by the crunch time of It’s  Dark Outside and then by having a great old time doing a script development on a script by Bill McClusky called ‘Boomtown’ and finally by being away in Europe on an Alvin Sputnik tour (more to come about that!).

So I just wanted to let you all know how it went!

When i dropped off the radar for It’s Dark Outside it was the lead up to tech week and the show. We were working pretty hard. Tim was animating 24/7 because we didn’t want to animate things before we locked them in and we didn’t lock them in until the last minute. Rachael Dease was scoring the entire show, whilst dealing with us constantly moving scenes around and adding bits in… she is a legend. The theme song she wrote for us is incredible


Anthony Watts: Gadget extraordinaire was trying to get the lights right. You see, we wanted the show to be self sufficient in everything including lights. So we used the same LEDs that we used for Alvin Sputnik (available at your local JAYCAR) and then Tim and Anthony developed a new system of operating the lights through MIDI so that we could operate the whole show; animation, sound and lights all through ‘QLab‘. I’m not the most technologically savvy person in the group so if you want to find out more about the technology email:

Meanwhile, Chris, Tim and I were trying to sew the show together, piece all the bits and pieces into a coherent storyline that made sense and was physically possible (i.e. time for me to get into the mask or for Chris to get into the Tent etc.) It was tough, it was stressful. We were trying to focus on a million elements at once and self-direct at the same time.

We had lovely people come in and give us help and feedback. Michael Barlow from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre was a life-saver. He came in and gave us reassurance about the puppet we made and the puppet scenes we had done. He also gave us invaluable dramaturgical advice. Mel Cantwell from PTCo was our outside eye for tech week, which was incredibly helpful, especially for performative elements (which often get overlooked in crunch time of a devised piece). Michelle Robin Anderson, Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Natalie Holmwood gave us tough feedback one week out, which lead to small but dramatic changes to structure, so the story made sense. And of course Julie and Tony Watts (Tim’s parents) who throughout the whole process given us amazing feedback, advice and support.

When the day of the first preview rolled around, we hadn’t done a run of the show without stopping. We did one that afternoon and by showtime, we were shitting our pants (sorry but there is no other way to describe it). Are the audience going to know what’s happening? Is everything going to work? Is it even good?

They did. It was. They liked it. We breathed again.

Check out pictures, the promo video and the reviews HERE

Back soon with an update on The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer   Europe Tour (we are currently in Denmark!)

It’s Dark Outside – May Development – Week Two

Oooohhh it’s finally here, the suspense is finally over, i’m going to blog about… WEEK TWO of It’s Dark Outside (buy tickets here).

Alright, enough dramatics. Week Two was a very significant week in the development process as it marked the change from generating content for the show to starting to build the structure/putting the show in order. We came to the realisation that we had enough content, that we had a lot of scenes and that now we needed to string them together and make the show.

First step, we made ‘scene cards’ (see below- it’s upside down and i don’t know how to fix that) so that we could put them in order and then move them around a whole lot as we changed our mind (this happens a lot), although to be fair the beginning and end stay pretty much where they are, it’s just the middle that keeps getting rearranged.

We then started working through some of the scenes and adding more detail, fleshing out some of the least fleshy parts. p.s. Don’t be alarmed, i’m not wearing the mask in this rehearsal but i will be in the show.

Next up in the week we had the special Perth Theatre Company members event. This meant we got the luxury of spending the whole day in the studio underground, which means we got to test out a whole lot of our ideas for set and lighting and see how they looked in the space… It also meant a whole lot of ‘dammit, that didn’t work as well as it did in my head’. Papa Watts came in to help assemble prototype 1 of the screen that he had built for us, which was great to be able to try. We also showed a couple of scenes to the group of members and had a big ole chat afterwards (mainly about the show), and it was great to hear the feedback from them.

Lastly, we had decided that we wanted to do a rough draft showing (for a select few) of the whole show, in all its messy, unpolished glory. So that we could get a sense of the arc of the narrative and how it all fits together. On the next Monday (28th May) we trundled into the State Theatre Centre rehearsal room 2 with all our stuff (which is a lot at this point) to have a day of preparation and then a showing. (The picture below is actually from the members event showing, we didn’t get any pictures of our private full-length showing… because we were all doing the showing and not available to take pics)

It’s always a bit scary doing these showings. Putting your work out on the line when its unfinished and messy and transitions are clunky and performance is not at top quality, but it is always useful from a creator point of view. You find out what is translating and what isn’t, where the holes are in a piece, what your audience want from the piece, and where the show is not quite delivering. But then you also find out that parts of the show do work, or that parts of the story/images still move people, even without the gloss, which is very reassuring.

Anyway next up i will tell you guys what we have been up to in-between our last development and when we start our rehearsals next week. (Tim and Chris went to Japan with Alvin Sputnik, but we have been doing other stuff too!)

p.s. We have a new mask, created by Tim Watts, see image above. It hasn’t been painted yet so it looks a bit scary, but we will keep you in the loop as it gets worked on.

It’s Dark Outside – April Development and ODay

Alrighty, faithful blog readers. It’s update time and i am going to give you the hot update on what we did in our excellent one week development in April. I am also going to show you a few piccies from the ODay ‘puppet demonstration’ that we did.

We arrived at our lovely rehearsal space at MLC (yep the all-girls private school), they had been kind enough to let us use their studio while it was the school holidays! It was a beautiful space with sprung floors and a whole wall of mirrors, and no-one was around so it was very peaceful and there were no interruptions.

We have officially brought Chris Isaacs on board for the show, Chris works with Tim and I very well and it was so wonderful having him in the room for the week. He is operating the puppet with Tim and I (he is the feet) as it is (at times) a three person job. He is also ‘onstage tech’ and much more.

This is Chris on ‘The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer‘ UK tour. He has been travelling with the show since the beginning. He has seen it over 200 times…

This week we really focussed on Puppetry and Mask work, which was just brilliant. We generated a lot of material and came up with some exciting ideas. The mirrors in the room were super helpful for me working in the mask and for the puppet, especially when all three of us were operating. Since we are self-directing the work, being able to look at ourselves during a scene is very very useful! Unfortunately i did not take that many photos of the development, but below are a few that i took.

Old man having a rest…

Puppet having a rest…

one of the things we discovered in the week was what the old man’s ‘thoughts’ are made of… the answer: stuffing! We have been playing around with the stuffing (making exciting discoveries) and this is some of the fallout. I don’t want to give too much away and show you what we have been doing with it specifically…

At the end of the week we did a small showing of all the scenes we came up with to Mel Cantwell (Artistic Director of PTC) and to Tim’s parents (Tony Watts – gadget extraordinaire and Julie Watts – poet and counsellor). Their feedback was great and we were very happy with the content we came up with in this week.

More recently, on Sunday 29th April we did a puppet demonstration in rehearsal room 2 at the State Theatre Centre of WA as part of the Cultural Centre O Day.

We were expecting about 7 people to come, but we ended up with over 130 people! This is a pic of Tim doing some good talking before we got right down to it and showed everyone the puppet, and talked about how we had made him and how he works. There were quite a lot of kids there, and we were really surprised by how interested they were in the mechanics of the puppet!

You can see him there on the right of the pic, sitting next to Chris, just hanging. Thanks to Kate from PTC for running the event and to everyone who came!

Well we are doing another 2-week development in May so i will give you an update about that (when it happens). After that we are down to crunch time. June 5th we start full time rehearsals for the show and june 29th we preview! To book tickets… click here

It’s Dark Outside – Puppet

Tim and I have been attempting to make a puppet for It’s Dark Outside. Tim is making the head and i am using my very basic sewing skills to try and sew together a very simple body. The hardest part is finding a way to make the joints (knees, elbows, shoulders, hips) move in a realistic way (i.e. no backwards knees).

Just using Calico at the moment (thanks to Textile Traders for the material and the stuffing!) and just attaching the body parts together with safety pins until we can test it properly, and then i will sew it.

This is what it looks like in it’s current state. We also had out housemates (Gita Bezard and Alissa Jane Claessons) help us out by making some clay hands and shoes which we were going to try and cast. They are super cute…

Next post i will show you how the head is shaping up. It looks pretty rad.