Dinosaurs on last stop of world tour

By Frances Morton

Walking with Dinosaurs. Photo / Supplied
Walking with Dinosaurs. Photo / Supplied

A New Zealand entrepreneur is going from walking with dinosaurs to space walking with Kiwis.

Bruce Mactaggart brought prehistoric creatures to life with the hugely successful arena show Walking with Dinosaurs, an adaptation of the BBC television series of the same name.

Now he is teaming up with the local creators of Apollo 13: Mission Control to blast the hit play on to the global market.

Walking with Dinosaurs opens on Wednesday at Vector Arena. Auckland is the last stop of a three-year world tour.

Mactaggart said he wanted to use his experience and connections from presenting the multi-million dollar production to opening up international opportunities for Kiwi talent.

"There is no reason why, from the base of New Zealand, we can't achieve the same sort of success in live entertainment and spectacle as people like Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor [of Weta Workshop] have achieved in film," said Mactaggart. Apollo 13 is a high-octane interactive show based on the failed 1970 space mission.

It premiered in Wellington in 2008 and has toured around New Zealand and Australia to critical acclaim and sell-out audiences.

Mactaggart was fascinated by the underpinning notion that creators Kip Chapman and Brad Knewstub came up with and impressed by its execution.

"What the boys have achieved with the smell of the oily rag is pretty remarkable."

He is now working with Chapman and Knewstub to develop the show for international audiences.

With the backing of Mactaggart's funds and knowhow, the sky's the limit for Apollo 13: Mission Control.

Now living in Havelock North, Mactaggart has seen Walking with Dinosaurs dozens of times but will be back at Vector Arena for Auckland opening night.

It is a very special homecoming for Mactaggart, who is now co-owner and operator of Vector Arena. "I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.

- Herald on Sunday

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