They Saw a Thylacine

20 Sep 2013-05 Oct 2013,

Melbourne Fringe,

North Melbourne,


Could thylacines be roaming the fringe? Time Out talks to Sarah Hamilton and Justine Campbell

This event has finished

For Sarah Hamilton, who grew up in Tasmania and worked as a bushwalking guide for six years, Tasmania's thylacine has been life-long fascination.

"It was almost a fantasy to think that the Tasmanian tiger was still out there and that I might one day see one," she says, remembering the long treks into the wilderness.

Now this writer and performer is transforming her fascination into art, bringing a new thylacine-themed show to the Melbourne Fringe, working with regular collaborator Justine Campbell.

Hamilton's obsessions were nourished in childhood by the many stories circulating of strange things seen in the wild. Indeed, her own parents have seen ‑ or claim to have seen ‑ the elusive carnivorous marsupial.

"It was late at night, on the east coast," says Hamilton. "Mum has no doubt that it was a thylacine. But my dad never talked about it. When I asked him he would say, 'Oh, I don't remember that'."

Now that his daughter is writing a show about thylacine sightings, his memory of the event has returned, but this, says Hamilton, highlights one of the problems in talking about the thylacine: "People are afraid of being ridiculed."

A consequence of this silence is that we've never really faced up to the conservation implications of the thylacine's disappearance.

Although, Hamilton works by day as a presenter at Melbourne Zoo she insists that They Saw a Thylacine is not a lecture.

"It's not a lament, and it's not educational," she says.

According to Justine Campbell, director and performer, it will be fantasy mix of dialogue, monologue and funky stage design.

"It's a narrative two-hander," says Campbell. "It's a comedy, with glitter, fake nails, flesh and thylacines. And maybe some dry ice."

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First published on . Updated on .

By Andrew Fuhrmann   |   Photos by Luke Lennox   |  

They Saw a Thylacine details

North Melbourne Town Hall

Fringe Hub, Rehearsal Room
521 Queensberry St

North Melbourne 3051

Nearby Stations: North Melbourne

Telephone (03) 9660 9666

Price from $16.00 to $23.00

Date 20 Sep 2013-05 Oct 2013

Open Tue-Sat 6.30pm; Sun 5.30pm

Director: Justine Campbell

Cast: Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton

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