Puppetry-based theatre company Erth has staged many productions popular with children, such as Erth’s Prehistoric World and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, but their latest show might give some kids and their parents pause.
Erth’s Shark Dive is a 40-minute interactive piece that puts audience members inside a (non-submerged) shark cage in a darkened room. As music and a voiceover play on headphones, a realistic four-metre great white shark looms out of the blackness towards them.
“A shark dive is something that very few people in the world ever get a chance to do, and you can do it all without ever getting wet,” Erth artistic director Scott Wright said.
“It’s very exciting and quite a beautiful experience.”
The show takes place inside the Brisbane Circus Centre in Hamilton’s Northshore precinct, which is home to the Flipside Circus company. Wright has enlisted local circus performers such as Rachel Robinson to operate the great white.
“This is my first time puppeteering, but it’s been an amazing experience,” Robinson said.
“We’ve been rehearsing in a quiet space, but hearing the crowd and getting to see their reactions will be worth it.”
Wright said that as part of his research he interviewed veteran Australian shark diver and filmmaker Valerie Taylor, who shot footage used by Steven Spielberg in the film Jaws.
“Jaws turned the world against sharks almost instantaneously, and she has spent the rest of her life advocating for sharks,” Wright said.