Justine and Sarah on They Saw a Thylacine

25 September 2015

Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton, co-creators and performers in They Saw a Thylacine talk on the origins of the five star production.

Photo / Pia Johnson

A note from the creators / They Saw a Thylacine

Growing up in Tasmania, tales of the thylacine abounded. the regaling of grandpa’s encounter with a Tassie tiger was imbued with mystery and a sense of great importance. We went on many camping trips deep into the heart of ‘tiger territory’ in the hope of catching a glimpse of this elusive creature. Although the image of the thylacine is central to Tasmania’s identity (it’s even on the beer labels), it was once considered unevolved and a ferocious pest.

The stories we have written are based on truth. We thank those who have so generously shared their tales and insights. Beatie’s account is based on a collection of anecdotes and documented histories. The events surrounding Alison Reid and the last thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo are a truthful and tragic lesson. Both women endured chauvinism that affected
not only themselves,  but also the thylacines they encountered.

The extinction of the thylacine was a result of a number of factors: its Indigenous status rendered it second-class; it became the scapegoat as a result of mismanagement of land and livestock and with a name like ‘tiger’, it’s not surprising that the media embellished its savagery. These factors, combined with denial and indifference, resulted in the gradual annihilation of the species. Too little was done, too late.

We humans are an adaptable species. It can lead to our victory, or our downfall.

Our ability to shift the baseline of what is normal means that we can so easily forget the lessons of the past. that being said, we hope you enjoy our play.

– Justine and Sarah
Co-creators and performers.

Don't miss this incredible show; majestically transformed for the main stage. Hurry book now  – must close Sunday 4 October.