The How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular is the product of a great many talented individuals. The movie upon which the show is based was of course produced by DreamWorks Animation, which in turn was based on the novel by Cressida Cowell. To create the live arena show, DreamWorks has teamed up with Global Creatures, the technical wizards who produced the widely popular Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular. Learn more about the creative team behind this great show:


DreamWorks Theatricals – Producer               

the dream works movie studio logo featuring a crescent moon in a starry night sky with clouds
DreamWorks Theatricals, a division of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., was established in 2007 to develop and produce live stage and arena show productions inspired by the Company’s franchise properties of How to Train Your DragonKung Fu PandaMadagascar and Shrek. Current productions – including “How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular” and “Kung Fu Panda Arena Spectacular” – are one-of-a-kind, global tours and immersive entertainment experiences for the whole family.  DreamWorks Theatricals productions are guided by much of the creative leadership team that develops the studio’s award-winning feature films. DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series and live entertainment properties, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has theatrically released a total of 22 animated feature films and currently ranks #10 on the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE® Magazine.

Global Creatures – Producer                         

logo for the Global Creatures companyGlobal Creatures is an international entertainment group that develops new and exciting theatrical productions to take to audiences around the world. The animatronics arm, The Creature Technology Company, invents and deploys the latest in animatronic design.

The hugely successful production “Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular”, based on the award winning BBC TV series, represents a new entertainment genre all on its own. The production is a spectacle of unprecedented size and quality, which captivates young and old alike. The “Walking with Dinosaurs” tour was the number one tour worldwide in 2010.

Global Creatures has announced “King Kong – Live on Stage”, which will be produced in co-operation with the estate of “Kong” creator Merian C. Cooper.

Global Creatures and Bazmark (the multi-media company founded and owned by Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin) have announced a partnership to produce a stage musical adaptation of the first movie of Baz Luhrmann’s ground-breaking Red Curtain Trilogy, Strictly Ballroom.



Nigel Jamieson – Director/Adaption for the Stage

portrait photo of Nigel JamiesonNigel began his career in London, where he founded Trickster Theatre, whose work toured the world for eight years. He was an associate director at the Royal National Theatre, founded the London Festival of New Circus and the London International Workshop Festival, receiving a Greater London Arts Award for outstanding contribution to London’s Arts.

Moving to Australia in the 90’s, he directed Tin Symphony for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony and created eight segments for the worldwide 24 hour Millennium Broadcast. The following year he co-directed The Yeperenye Federation Festival, a historic gathering in central Australia involving some 2000 indigenous performers from 40 different language groups. In 2002 he directed the Closing Ceremony of Commonwealth Games in Manchester, then created a performance and land mine benefit at Ankor Wat in Cambodia with Jose Carreras, 400 Buddist monks and the Royal National Cambodian Dance Troupe. From 2003 to 2005 he was Artistic Director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, doing the development phase of the event. More recently he directed the opening of the European City of Culture celebrations in Liverpool, creating an outdoor ‘Peoples Opening’ involving the people of Liverpool and iconic Liverpool artists, and the inaugural show for the new Liverpool Arena.

In addition to such large scale projects, Nigel’s theatre work tours the world.  It includes multi-award winning shows such as the Indonesian collaboration The Theft of Sita, All Of Me, and Wake Baby which have all toured extensively throughout Australia, Asia and the US, including major festivals and seasons in London, New York, Berlin, Vienna, Zurich, Shanghai and Singapore. Honour Bound, his 1997 production about Guantanamo Bay, was named Best Mainstage Production and Best New Australian Work at the 2006 Sydney Theatre Awards and has toured to festivals in Vienna, Amsterdam and the Barbican Centre London. Later that year, his production of the Opera Dead Man Walking at the State Theatre in Sydney received seven Helpmann nominations and three awards.

More recent projects include Minutes of Separation for the IWC Switzerland, which featured Cate Blanchett, Joseph Fiennes and combined film, aerialists, live performance and animation; Gallipoli for the Sydney Theatre Company; and direction of The Sydney Festival First Night, which involved closing the CBD to traffic and transforming the city into an epic performance space, attended by over 350,000 people. His production of As The World Tipped, about the effects of climate change, premiered at Norwich& Norfolk Festival and is currently touring the UK.

Nigel’s contributions to Australian cultural life have been recognised with the award of an Australian Federation Medal in 2002 and the 2007 Sydney Myer Individual Performing Arts Award. He won a 2011 Helpmann Awardas Best Director for his production of Opera Australia’s La Fanciulla del West


Sonny Tilders – Creature Designer

portrait photo of Sonny TildersSonny Tilders has spent the last 21 years designing and building animatronics creatures for film and theatrical industries. With formal training in graphic design, he graduated from Swinburne University, Melbourne in 1988.

Sonny worked the following 10 years at Australia’s foremost models and effects company, Mothers Art Productions, based in Melbourne. He left his Senior Project Management role in 1998 to pursue his interests in the specialized field of “animatronics”, the world of high-tech puppet making for film, television and theatre.

Sonny’s work can be seen in US feature films such as Peter Pan, Ghostrider, The Chronicles of Narnia and Star Wars -The Revenge of the Sith. His television credits include the US science fiction series Farscape as Lead Animatronics Engineer. Working with the resources of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop was an opportunity to develop his animatronics skills further and fuelled his passion for this niche industry. Although focusing on film and television, Sonny has also built puppets for Australian theatrical touring productions of The Hobbit and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

In late 2005 Sonny was approached to lead a workshop whose main focus was to design, engineer and build the animatronics dinosaurs for “Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular”.

The success of this venture lead to the formation of The Creature Technology Company (CTC) and the Global Creatures group.  Sonny is Creative Director of CTC and sits on the Global Creatures board.


Peter England – Production Designer

Peter England received a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Design, National Institute of Dramatic Art, 1994, and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Hons.), University of New South Wales, 1986.  He has won multiple awards including: Helpmann Award for Best Set Design in 2001, 2002 and 2004, Green Room Award for Best Opera Design in 1998 and 2002, Green Room Award for best Dance Design, 2005.  In 1997 he won a Mike Walsh Fellowship and he was a finalist in the Pentagon Memorial Design Competition (with Room 4.1.3) in 2002.

Peter has designed over 50 event and theatrical productions including: For Bangarra Dance Theatre:  Fire, Mathinna, Boomerang (Green Room Award 2005), Unaipon (Helpmann Award 2004), Bush, Walkabout, Skin and Fish. For Opera Australia: Sweeney Todd (Helpmann Award 2002, Green Room Award 2003), Simon Boccanegra, La Bohème and Madama Butterfly (Green Room Award 1998). For The Australian Ballet: Amalgamate, Aesthetic Arrest and The Rite of Spring. For the Shakespeare Theatre (Washington DC): Titus Andronicus, Richard III and Hamlet. For Sydney Theatre Company: Victory, The Virgin Mim, The School for Scandal and Betrayal, and Tot Mom. For the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Closing Ceremony: Sydney Handover. For the 2004 Adelaide Festival of Arts: Universal Playground. For the Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Awakenings (Helpmann Award 2001). For the Victorian Opera: Orpheus and Eurydice. For Global Creatures: Walking With Dinosaurs The Arena Spectacular. And for the City of Sydney: Millennium NYE Celebrations on and around Sydney Harbour. Peter is currently designing sets for the Global Creatures stage production of King Kong, and Bloodland, a new Australian work for the Sydney Theatre Company.

Dan Potra – Costume Designer and Projection Designer

Dan works across theatre, opera, dance, film, television and events. Dan’s career highlights in the different mediums are:

Opera productions; Idomeneo with Graeme Vicks at Coruna Festival in Spain, The Barber of Seville for Houston Grand Opera, A Streetcar Named Desire and Norma at St Gallen,  Carmen, Batavia, Jenufa and The Love of the Nightingale at Opera Australia, Love in the Age of Therapy and Orlando at OzOpera, La Boheme at Berlin Staatsopera and Idomeneo with Pinchgut Opera.

Theatre productions: The Bourgeois Gentleman, Fred, Volpone and The Miser for Sydney Theatre Company; Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Melbourne Theatre Company; Twelfth Night for Bell Shakespeare Company; The Lieutenant of InishmoreHamlet and King Ubu for Company B Belvoir; The Love of the Nightingale, The Importance of Being Earnest, Merrily We Roll Alongand Moon Landing all for Derby Playhouse in England; Dead Man Walking for Andrew MacManus Presents; Seven for Leigh Warren Dancers; Bubble for Legs on the Wall; The Gathering, an arena show, for 2009 Edinburgh Festival and Cyrano de Bergerac for National Theatre of Greece.

Event work includes the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the opening ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the 2008 opening and closing ceremonies of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture directed by Nigel Jamieson. This ceremony involved the creation of hand drawn one-off animations projected over huge spaces in Liverpool and 13 regional centres in the UK.

Dan was nominated for an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Production Design in 2004 for feature film Tom White directed by Alkinos Tsilimidos.

Dan has been nominated for a total of five Helpmann Awards for his design work in opera and theatre in Australia and has won three including Best Scenic Design (2008), Best Opera (2002) and Best Costume (2000).

Dan also designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and worked with the creative team for the opening of the 2010 World Cup.

Gavin Robins – Associate Director/Aerialist Devisor

Gavin draws inspiration from a broad spectrum of theatre and performance experience. His work focuses on the biomechanics of the actor and the animation of the actor for both stage and screen.

He has toured internationally as a physical performer with Legs on the Wall and has created large-scale visual and aerial performances in many theatre festivals throughout the world.

He was instrumental in the training and choreography of the Tin Symphony in the Opening Ceremony of the  2000 Olympics.

Currently Gavin is working as the aerial/circus director of the Global Creatures production of King Kong scheduled to open in Australia in 2013.

As director, his credits include High Flyers for the Sydney Festival , The Opening of Ferrari World, At First Sight for the National Institute of Circus Arts and Wicked Bodies, La Boite Theatre Co.

As Movement Director and Choreographer, he has worked for The Sydney Theatre Company , Opera Australia, The Queensland Theatre Company,  Company B, and The Bell Shakespeare Company amongst others.

For Television  and Film, his credits  as movement director include Farscape Series 2, the 2001, 2002 and 2004 ARIA Awards, The AFI Awards, and Australian Idol (Series 1, 2 and 3); Australian feature film Prime Mover and the TV series Spirited.

Gavin is a teacher of movement and acting at a host of Australia’s leading performance training institutions.

Jonsi – Composer

Jón þor Birgisson is the lead singer with the Icelandic rock group Sigur Rós, a band he started back in 1994, naming them for his then-new kid sister, Sigurrós.  Jónsi has released and toured the world in support of five studio albums with Sigur Rós, as well as a raft of side projects, including the Icelandic documentary film ‘Heima’, the Merce Cunningham dance collaboration ‘Babatikidido’ and the ambient work ‘Riceboy Sleeps’.  In 2010 he released and toured his first solo album ‘Go’.  Jónsi is now working on a sixth Sigur Rós studio album at home in Reykjavik.

John Powell – Composer

British-born composer John Powell’s list of film credits exemplifies his ability to transcend genre. Since moving to the United States 13 years ago, he has demonstrated his unique talent by scoring over 46 feature films, including Chicken Run, Shrek, Mr and Mrs Smith, United 93, X-Men: The Last Stand, P.S. I Love You, and Alfie with Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger.

Powell’s ability to compose in a variety of genres stems from the wide array of styles present in his early musical studies. By the time he reached his late teens, he had already been exposed to soul, jazz, rock and world music as well as having a deep classical music background from the age of seven courtesy of his  father, a musician in Sir Thomas Beecham’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.  In 1986, he began studies in Composition at London’s Trinity College of Music. During his time there, his skill was recognized with both the John Halford and the Boosey and Hawkes Bursary Music College Prizes.

While at Trinity, Powell studied composition, percussion, electronic music, and experimented within the new medium of performance art. He joined the group Media Arts, and with longtime collaborator Gavin Greenaway, composed music and sound for the group’s performances. Although the group disbanded, Powell and Greenaway continued to create many mixed-media installation pieces with artist Michael Petry in the following years.

Powell’s first foray into professional composing came soon thereafter, when he landed a job writing music for commercials and television at London’s Air-Edel Music. There, he met other composers including other Air-Edel alumni, Hans Zimmer and Patrick Doyle.

Later, with Greenaway, the two co-founded London-based commercial music house Independently Thinking Music (ITM), where they collaborated on more than 100 scores for commercials and independent films.

Powell shifted his focus away from commercials to longer form composition with the opera “An Englishman, Irishman and Frenchman,” also co-created with Greenaway and Petry.

Arriving in the States in 1997, he immediately scored two DreamWorks TV projects: the second season of Steven Spielberg’s High Incident and the pilot For the People. He also arranged songs composed by Stephen Schwartz for DreamWorks’ animated feature Prince of Egypt (1998).

But it was Powell’s hair-raising score for John Woo’s Nicolas Cage/John Travolta blockbusterFace/Off that garnered critical acclaim and catapulted him into the realm of A-list composers.

Powell is the recipient of the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.  He was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011 for his score for How To Train Your Dragon.

Peter Hylenski – Sound Designer

Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award nominated. Selected Broadway designs include: Shrek the Musical (New York, London, US Tour), Rock of Ages (New York, London, Toronto, Australia, US Tour), The Scottsboro Boys, Lend Me A Tenor, Elf, Wonderland, Cry Baby, The Times They Are A-Changin’, The Wedding SingerSweet Charity, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, Little Women, Brooklyn.  Other credits: Le Reve at Wynn Las Vegas, Ragtime (London), Walking with Dinosaurs, MameOpening Doors, Annie.  He’s designed for Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and The Kennedy Center.  Architectural projects include the Plaza Hotel (New York City), Wynn (Las Vegas), Chicago Auditorium Theater and the American Museum of Natural History.  Peter is also a producer and engineer for film, album and television projects.  He’s engineered television commercials for Levi’s, General Mills, Kia and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  Peter co-produced the cast album of Shrek The Musical and was the re-record mixer on his fourth film for the American Museum of Natural History titled Journey to the Stars.  He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Phil Lethlean – Lighting Designer

Philip is the principal designer for Melbourne-based  ‘Light Designs Australia’. His 20+ years of experience is founded in theatre and extends to designing lighting for all art forms and genres, and his works have consistently enjoyed Australian and International touring.

Philip’s work has encompassed lighting designs for everything from launches and conferences for such major corporate entities as BHP, Holden, BMW, Glaxo Wellcome and ACER, to high profile events like the 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Melbourne and the Australian Pavilions at World Expo 2005 and 2010. His theatrical productions include Opera Australia’s La Fanciulla del West; MTC’s Life x 3, Rockabye and The SeagullThe Dragon Child for the Beijing Children’s Theatre; Titanic at Sydney’s Theatre Royal; Circus Oz globally; and Britain’s National Day at Expo Shanghai.

Max Lambert – Musical Supervisor    

Max Lambert is one of Australia’s most talented composers, arrangers, musicians and musical directors. His composing credits include work for the Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Theatre Companies, the Sydney Dance Company and The Australian Ballet.

Max has recorded albums with Kate Ceberano, Wendy Matthews, Grace Knight, Vince Jones, Judi Connelli, Renee Geyer, Paul Kelly, Iva Davies and Icehouse. Max was the pianist on the ABC’s Playschool from 1991 to 2000.

Max has been involved in films such as Happy FeetSweetie and The Last Days of Chez Nous. Notable musical theatre credits have included David Atkins’ critically acclaimed production of Hot Shoe Shuffle and Musical Supervision on the ARIA Award winning The Boy From Oz. In the realm of dance, Max co-composed and performed in Berlin for the Sydney Dance Company and co-wrote Tivoli for The Australian Ballet.

Max’s Musical Directorship credits include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of The XXVII Olympiad, the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester in 2002 and the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar in 2006 and the Opening Ceremony of World Expo in Shanghai. Max has also overseen the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Sydney and the Australia Plays Broadway concerts in New York in 2008 and 2009.  Recent Musical Supervision credits include Hairspray and Fame.

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One Response to “Meet the Creative Team”

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