How To Train Your Dragon: Rehearsals begin in Sydney

 Next Monday 28 November, the 23 members of How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular’s international cast of will begin rehearsals for their world tour, which commences in Melbourne, March 2012. 

 Deadly Nadder from How To Train Your DragonNext Monday 28 November, the 23 members of How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular’s international cast of will begin rehearsals for their world tour, which commences in Melbourne, March 2012.   Sydney’s Fox Film Studios will host the team for three months of intensive rehearsals and training alongside 24 life-like dragons, towering up to 10 metres in the air, with the ability to breathe fire, fly, bank and turn, and take the breath away with the flick of a tail.  One of the most ambitious live shows ever created, How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular  will feature aerial acrobatics, hip hop, dance, martial arts, parkour, and circus skills.  “We travelled around the world twice searching for our amazing cast, auditioning over 2000 people. It was a long search but worth it. Our cast is really breathtaking”, said Director Nigel Jamieson.  “We have found the most extraordinary group of performers from across the globe, extreme athletes who can integrate their amazing skills into character and comedic routines, and in their own way astonish as much as the incredible dragons they are to perform with.”   In a massive coup for Australia’s performing arts industry, two young Australian performers have been cast in the lead roles of Hiccup and Astrid for this worldwide production. Rarmian and Sarah meet the Egg BiterMelbourne actor Rarmian Newton, who won a Helpmann Award for his performance in the Australian production of Billy Elliot the Musical (2008), will play the lead role of Hiccup, the unlikely Viking hero who makes a dragon his best friend.  “I let out a scream of joy when I found out I got the part!  It is definitely going to be a huge challenge – combining dance, acrobatics and acting and performing with giant animatronic dragons – but I couldn’t be more excited to take on this role of a lifetime!” said Newton.  Nineteen-year-old Queenslander Sarah McCreanor has been cast in the role of Astrid, the finest dragon slayer amongst the crew, who must possess the most impressive speed and prowess as a physical performer, with great command and attitude. “Sarah is a young performer with a myriad of skills in dance, circus and acrobatics, also possessing amazing acting ability, with a real knack for comedy. Her portrayal of Astrid is really a sight to behold,” says Nigel Jamieson.  Due to the intense physicality of these roles, two actors are required to share each of these roles. Joining Rarmian to share the role of Hiccup is young Hollywood actor Riley Miner, also an accomplished dancer and musical theatre performer. These two young men have the epic challenge of flying around the arena on the back of an animatronic dragon, falling, being caught mid-air and at times hanging by a dragon fin! Sarah will share the role of Astrid with American stunt performer Gemma Nguyen, a third degree Black Belt and six-time world champion in Tae Kwon Do. The role of Stoick, Hiccup’s father and the rough and ready old-school chieftain of the brawny Viking tribe, will be filled by a strong, stoic Australian bloke. Robert Morgan has been cast, a stalwart Australian actor who has starred in a host of acclaimed Australian films, including The Proposition, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, The Craic, and Suburban Mayhem as well as on TV screens in Blue Heelers, City Homicide, Stingers and Hollowmen. French kung fu champion and stuntman Godefroy Ryckewaert has been cast as Snotlout, Hiccup’s much despised cousin, the bossy bully of the teens and one of the more accomplished dragon-slayers. Ruffnut and Tuffnut Thorston are rough-and-tumble teens in dragon-training with Hiccup, Astrid and Snotlout. Australian hip hop and break dancer Virackhaly Ngeth, best known as one of the Top 20 dancers in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Australia, has been cast as Ruffnut. Tuffnut will be played by Sydney break-dancer Frace Luke Mercado, a founding member of SKB (Street Kulture Breakers), one of the world’s top break-dance crews. The compelling interactions between the cast of performers and the life-like Dragon creatures will be enhanced by an emotive musical score created by Hollywood composer John Powell, who received an Academy Award nomination for his score of DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon in 2010, and Icelandic musician and songwriter Jónsi (of Sigur Rós). Jónsi wrote and performed a song on the original film soundtrack and is also writing and recording a special song that will communicate the heart and soul of the show.

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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