They Saw a Thylacine

Malthouse Theatre They Saw a ThylacineFollowing a string of sell-out performances on the Fringe circuit, Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton bring their critically acclaimed work, They Saw a Thylacine back to Melbourne for its first ever staging by a major theatre company at the Malthouse Theatre from 16 September 2015.

On an unseasonably cold September morning in 1936, the last known Tasmanian tiger died in captivity at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart.

Conjuring the ghost of one of Australia’s lost beauties, the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) in a feisty slice of campfire storytelling, Campbell and Hamilton have used this event as inspiration for a striking piece of theatre, intersecting the story of a zookeeper’s daughter and a thylacine tracker.

Hamilton is also the great grandniece of wilderness photographer Moira Sargent, who captured one of the last and most famous images of the Tasmanian tiger. A Tassie girl, this work is as much an exploration of her family history as it is the last moments of the extinct animal. A celebration of self-preservation, They Saw a Thylacine is a timely reminder that we’re all in the same fight to survive.

“A work such as this is particularly relevant at a time when the scientific community is crying out for us all to think harder and speak up about the preservation of biodiversity,’” said Matthew Lutton, Artistic Director of Malthouse Theatre and collaborator on the restaging of this work.

Earlier this year, scientists released a paper revealing the earth was losing species – such as the thylacine – faster than ever before, and was on a trajectory for a mass extinction event to occur, caused by human activity.

Campbell and Hamilton worked with researcher and academic Dr Robert Paddle in creating the work. Dr Paddle is an expert on the Tasmanian tiger and has released the seminal ‘go-to’ book on the species. Paddle is also currently working on a new book that explores the undocumented history of female trackers after being inspired from seeing this show a few years ago in the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

They Saw a Thylacine won the Best Performance and the Tour Ready Awards at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival and a Standout Performer Award for Campbell at the New Zealand Fringe, as well as the Weekly Theatre Award at the Adelaide Fringe. It was nominated for three Green Room Awards: Best Female Performer (shared), Best Independent Production and Best Writing.

Creators & Performers: Justine Campbell & Sarah Hamilton  Artistic Collaborator: Matthew Lutton  Set & Lighting Design: Matthew Adey (House of Vnholy)  Sound Design: Jethro Woodward  Costume Design: Chloe Greaves  Stage Manager: Lisa Osborn

They Saw a Thylacine
Malthouse Theatre, Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: 16 September – 4 October 2015
Bookings: (03) 9685 5111 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Key Photography – Andrew Gough / Treatment – The Sisters Hayes