ASHEVILLE — Presented in partnership with Asheville Humane Society, The Last Great Hunt’s “New Owner” is a touching production about the life and adventures of a shelter dog, told through a combination of live action, animation and puppetry — coming to the Wortham Center for Performing Arts for six performances from Thursday, Jan. 16, to Sunday, Jan. 19.
Bart is a boisterous puppy at the shelter, and Mabel is a lonely widow. The day they find each other marks the beginning of a profound friendship. But Mabel is old, and Bart is young — and suddenly, he’s alone.
Using unique and colorful theatrical mediums, The Last Great Hunt’s “New Owner” transports audiences to a world full of adventures, told from a dog’s perspective.
From the minds of Arielle Gray and Tim Watts, founding members of Australian theater collective The Last Great Hunt, comes a touching and stunningly beautiful story about loss, friendship and new beginnings — in an up-close-and-personal experience at the intimate Tina McGuire Theatre, the Wortham Center’s new black-box theater, which seats up to 100 guests.
“The first spark for ‘New Owner’ came when touring another of our shows, ‘It’s Dark Outside,’” wrote creators Gray and Watts. “There is a scene in the show where a white, fluffy dog reunites with his owner. No matter where in the world the show is performed, the scene always greatly affects the audience. They absolutely fall in love with the dog, and it made us want to explore that character more.
“We started thinking more deeply about dogs and their lives. We began thinking about how, when dogs are adopted, the new owner will never know the adventures or experiences the dog has been through before they came into their lives. In ‘New Owner,’ we explore the myriad of relationships in the life of a dog — and how his experiences change him.”
“New Owner” is hailed by critics as a beloved, must-see production. Entrancing adults and children alike, it was nominated for Best Presentation for Children at the 2017 Helpmann Awards — though it is recommended for ages 7 and older, as it contains scenes of sadness and loss that may be upsetting for very small children. Using primarily visual storytelling, the show is suitable for people with hearing impairments and/or those who speak languages other than English.
» Master Class with The Last Great Hunt: Enjoy a unique puppetry master class with the artists Jan. 17 at the Tina McGuire Theatre. Learn more at worthamarts.org.
» Asheville Humane Society: As a presenting partner, the Asheville Humane Society will be on site in the Wortham Center lobby during all six performances to promote the ways to get involved with the Humane Society to help animals in need.
The Last Great Hunt’s Asheville performances of “New Owner” are presented in partnership with Asheville Humane Society and made possible by sponsors Joel and Deborah Bohan-Berkowitz, Henry LaBrun and Gail and Bill McCarthy, with additional support from media sponsors 103.3 Asheville FM and The Laurel of Asheville.
The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is at 18 Biltmore Ave., and the three-venue performing-arts complex comprises the 500-seat Diana Wortham Theatre, as well as the new Tina McGuire Theatre, a black-box theater seating up to 100 people, and the new Henry LaBrun Studio, seating up to 80 people.
The 2019-20 season is made possible by season sponsors 67 Biltmore, Asheville Citizen Times, Blue Moon Water, Buncombe County TDA, the North Carolina Arts Council and the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.
To obtain information about the Wortham Center’s 2019-20 Season or to buy tickets for any of The Last Great Hunt’s “New Owner” performances — at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, and Friday, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19 — (regular $32, student $27, child $20, student rush day-of-show with valid I.D. $10), call the Wortham Center box office at 828-257-4530 or visit worthamarts.org.