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In their own words, Nicholas Paine and David Morton are “hell-bent on bringing their inimitable brand of entertainment to the world”. In everyone else’s book, they’re the two guys who have registered one of the coolest company names in showbiz.

As founders of Dead Puppet Society, Nick and David create deeply imaginative theatre where the old school meets the technological and the mythic meets the modern.

From their student days at QUT, the duo blazed a trail through Brisbane’s most respected arts organisations then on to the world stage, including residencies in New York and productions in the UK.

One thing remains constant, despite their international successes – the global misconception that puppetry is just for kids.

What is your pet audience peeve?

David: Really young children being brought in (to the theatre) when the show is not for them. We did a few shows last week where there were three- and four-year-olds and we were like, “no!”

Nick: People being on their phone. Come one, theatre is a place where you can actually disconnect and put them away. Get off your phone.

Of all the performances you’ve seen, what one costume or set piece would you steal if you knew you’d never get caught?

Nick: Some of those handcrafted, Elizabethan costumes from Shakespeare in Love by Melbourne Theatre Company. Why not? I’m sure they’d come in handy for a costume party at some point.

David: I think mine would probably be that massive, amazing paperback tree-slash-cliff face-slash-waterslide from The Secret River.

Are ticket prices to live performances too high?

Nick: I think it depends on the venue. I think for the commercial musical I totally understand why they need to be that high but I think it does limit the possibilities for a lot of people. But across the board in Brisbane, ticket prices are standard and accessible.

David: Ditto

Who’s the most exciting theatre-maker in Australia at the moment?

David: I feel like I’ve got about 60 faces flashing before me.

Nick: I think my very favourite artists is Jonathon Oxlade, designer. His aesthetic is so brilliant.

David: I’d like to just say for the public record it’s not that I can’t think of anyone, it’s that I’m having so much difficulty putting one name above them. I think what’s so stunning about our industry is how collaborative it is.

What is your favourite Queensland event or theatre company?

David: Brisbane Festival because it brings everyone together and all the other amazing companies get profiled!

Nick: It gives an opportunity for locals to make work that might be a little more out of the box but it also brings fantastic international work in that Brisbane audiences wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

David: I think the Festival does such a good job too of appealing to audiences that might not necessarily be an arts-focused audience. I really appreciate it for that. You know when the Festival is on in Brisbane.


For more of David Morton and Nicholas Paine’s honest answers, listen to IMHO’s full podcast: My Honest Opinion About… why puppets are not for kids.


Listen to the IMHO Podcast