From the Director : Neil Gooding

October 27, 2017

What attracted you to this project? 
I love working at Riverside Theatre, have been very keen to work with NTOFP, and I loved Shaun Tan’s book when I read it.  So it was a pretty easy decision really. Having Hilary Bell on board as the writer and adaptor has been hugely exciting

What can audiences expect of The Red Tree? 
We want to make sure that fans of the book can recognise the iconic images and thems of the book. But obviously, the book has very little text. So our mission has been to flesh out the girl at the centre of the story, and to take the audience on an interesting and detailed journey through her inner world and imagination.

How do you feel the show differentiates from the book? 
The stage show is framed on the basis that our main character actually does not leave her room for the day. She can’t face school, or the outside world. So, we take the audience on a journey into her mind and her imagination. She still travels to all of the amazing worlds and places in the book, but only through her imagination.

Is this the first time you’ve directed a show for younger age groups? How do you find it? 
No, over the years I have directed a number of larger scale musicals that are targeted at family audiences and young children. At Packemin Productions we have staged Beauty And The Beast, Mary Poppins. Oliver, The Wizard Of Oz and other musicals that are targeted and younger age groups. I think it is always important to think about pacing to make sure that it does not get slow and dull for younger audiences, and also clarity in story telling. No matter how young the audience, they should be able to know what is happening in front of them on stage.

Your musical Paris sold out in Melbourne, will this show be coming to Sydney? 
It looks like it will be up in Sydney in early 2018 with the original cast from Melbourne which is very exciting. Plans are going to be announced very soon

You’re working on some exciting projects in the U.S, can you tell us a bit more about these?
I have recently been the Assistant Director on a new off-Broadway play called Church And State which played at New World Stages. It is a play essentially about gun control, politics and religion, so it was a pretty fascinating play and an incredibly unique time for it to be taking place, particularly as a non-American. I have recently established the US arm of my production company, so am currently in the process of planning productions to launch into New York over the next few years.

Can you tell us a bit about your current projects? 
Immediately following The Red Tree, I will be producing and directing HIGH FIDELITY, which is playing at the Hayes Theater in November / December 2017, and am also directing a show at the Old Fitz next year.  2018 sees me producing Queenie van de Zandt’s cabaret show about Joni Mitchell around Australia, as well as Catherine Alcorn’s show The Divine Miss Bette. And then there is always the Hayes Theatre ticking along in the background as well.


The Red Tree World-Premiere season is on at Riverside Theatres from 19-28 October. Click here to find out more