Thanks to the Lovers, the Dreamers and You

29 April - Nic Marshall

At its heart, the Jim Henson Retrospectacle has been a loving tribute to the power of creative spirit and collaboration. This was a rare opportunity to marvel at the scope and huge appeal of Jim Henson’s work for its groundbreaking artistry; to see much-loved characters live on stage with Bret McKenzie and the NZSO; to go deep into Jim Henson’s extensive and brilliant early works; to look closely at Jim’s life, partnerships and life-affirming inspirations; and to consider the impact of his unique imagination and outlook within New Zealand’s own creative community.

We could not have shared any of this, without the dedication and commitment of a great number of generous individuals, organisations and audience members who supported and believed in this Retrospectacle vision.

My enormous thanks are as follows:

To The Jim Henson Legacy – it was such a privilege to present the Retrospectacle in partnership. I offer immesurable thanks for all the years of conversation, encouragement and generosity – to Jane Henson, Arthur Novell, Al Gottesman, Bonnie Erickson, Craig Shemin, Karen Falk, Fran Brill, Cheryl Henson, Heather Henson, Thea Hambright, Rhoda Cosme and Nathaniel Wharton; your expertise, friendship, patience and trust are beyond compare.

To the brilliant Square Eyes Film Foundation Board of Trustees; Hannah Clarke, Rebecca McMillan, Jim Rush, Michelle Turner, Caroline Dinniss and chair Catherine Marks. I offer the deepest of thanks for your deep-seated belief in my capacity to helm this big old Retrospectacle.

To our principal partners – MBIE and New Zealand Major Events ,Tourism New Zealand, WCC Major Events and WREDA. Thank you for underpinning our vision and offering the crucial financial support to make the Retrospectacle a reality. We are hugely proud to have shared a one-time-only cultural event such as this in Wellington, Aotearoa, and your assistance and ongoing support and guidance have been fundamental to the success of the Retrospectacle. To Shauna Mendez, Kristina Ryan, Gus Sharp, Lisa Gibson, Fiona Dally, Nicky Garland, Juliana Foster, Mary Donn, Ellie Bell, Warrick Dent, David Perks, Drew Naika, Tiana Rakete and Lizzie Boekhorst – I thank you all very much.

To Alicia Durand, and Sesame Workshop; Debbie McClellan, and The Muppets Studio and Disney; and Nicole Goldman, and The Jim Henson Company. I’m hugely grateful to these three magnificent women for so much, and thank them for allowing me to honour the Jim Henson Legacy and Jim’s memory alongside them in this way.

To our esteemed guests from the Legacy; Arthur Novell, Bonnie Erickson and Craig Shemin, who gave such thoughtful, sage, and heart-felt personal insights into Jim’s life and work. Massive thanks to Craig too, for such a superb concert script and film series curation.

To Dave Goelz and Karen Prell for offering so much of themselves as they shared the depth of their experience with wit and wisdom, and shone a unique spotlight on their creative lives and long collaborative relationships with Jim.

To such wonderful performers – Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, Carmen Osbahr and Peter Linz, who brought beloved characters alive on stage, and gave such engaged and meaningful context to Jim’s work as it continues in the world today.

To Bret McKenzie for his incredible concert hosting and all the development and shaping that entailed – and for his terrific friendship.

To Chris Caswell for the heart of the concert; the most wonderful arrangements imaginable – and for his incredible live concert piano performance.

To Andrea Detwiller for her exceptional technical expertness.

To Wayde Harrison, Eddy Lamkay, Debbie Goelz, Kelly, Lyla, Keaton and Flynn Vogel, Mary, Scarlett and Sabrina Jacobson, and Jonah Linz for travelling so far and being such great company.

To the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the NZSO administration team, and Hamish McKeich for the huge generosity around their talent and time.

To Doug Walter for his scoring brilliance.

To Trevor Jones and Ryan Youens for the majestical Dark Crystal score.

To Jeremy Dillon and Sarah Thomson for their vast performance talents.

To Supertonic for being the best chorus ever.

To Sam Johnston and Larissa Marno, who led a beyond seamless production team.

To Andrew Foster for his stage direction skilfulness.

To Andy Craig, Gil Eva Craig and Emily Hakaraia for making the concert sound so darn great.

To Mike Oppenheim, Sebastian Blair, Quillon Sampson, Steve Creasy, Will Smith, Xavier Quilimbaqui, Andreas Mann, Susan McErlain, Tara McErlain, Nicole Alexander, Ash Moore and Ruby Rowe for all they did to ensure a brilliant concert.

To Venues WellingtonDavid Perks, Helen Glengarry, JJ Mikaele, Jennifer de Montalk, and Oliver Labone for all their attentiveness.

To Richard Taylor, Sharon McGeown, and Cam Harland for years of encouragement and ongoing support.

To Miri Young, Dave Treeby, Anneliese Mudge, Elenor Holland, Helena Botes and the exceptional Te Papa team.

To Lisa Devitta and the magnificent Park Road Post family.

To Bill McDermid, Caleb Button, Chris Matthews and the terrific Embassy Theatre team.

To John Apanowicz, Chris McGeown and Sharon McGeown, for FRAG (Financial Risk Advisement Group) support, and keeping a constant eagle eye on our finances.

To Dominic Rowe and Russell McVeagh for the enormous scope of pro bono legal support.

To Caroline Dinniss for managing multiple school groups and so expertly wrangling Wellington kiddos in and out of the Embassy at record speed.

To Bex Shannon for her digital engagement prowess.

To Hadley Donaldson for such superb identity design.

To Caroline Palmer and Timothy Keats for being exemplary venue managers.

To the wonderful Viv Winter for her accountancy expertise.

To Meg Willams, Marnie Karmelita and the NZ Festival team for super preview support.

To Chrissy Cummings and the whole QT Museum Wellington family, for making us all so welcome in the very best home away from home.

To Seamus Kavanagh and Chris O’Riley, the bestest hosts and drivers in the land – and to Jacqui Pryor and Kate Mulligan for connecting us.

To Jo Randerson and Chris Lam Sam for warm and generous hosting and Behind the Seams event moderating.

To Maury Rogoff for her US PR prowess.

To Cheryll Goodley at Landau for her print magic, as always.

To Bron Thompson, Michelle Kennedy, Josh Twaddle, Ben Wright, Claire Campbell, and the entire Springload studio for a superb online Retrospectacle home.

To Christine Moxham, Ben Humphreys, Sarah Gandy and Sam Wallace at NZME; Katherine Ryan, Kim Hill, Lynn Freeman and Yadana Shaw at RNZ; and Toby Manhire and Alex Casey at The Spinoff.

To Robert Sarkies and Rebecca McMillan for beautiful captured images.

To Caroline Toplis and the United States Embassy in Wellington for their extremely generous guest hosting funding support.

To Ri Streeter, Johnny Fraser-Allen and Ben Hawker of Weta Workshop for all their ongoing support.

To Miles Gazley, Aaron Musgrove and Gazley Motors for the generous use of three grand Skoda cars.

To Jim Wilson and Jamey Holloway at Phantom Billstickers for helping us share word up and down the country.

To Michael Hollings and Chow; and Lucas Putnam and La Boca Loca.

To Jason Buckley and Hell Pizza.

To Cristine Angus and Rachel Helm at Angus & Associates for their commitment to our reporting process.

To those friends and crucial collaborators who encouraged and supported over untold development years, keeping morale up and vision strong. I'm ever grateful to you Melissa King, Usha Bhana, James Moir, Anthony Haigh, Aaron McKirdy, Meena Kadri, Jude Benson, Chris Morley-Hall and Anna Cameron.

To the exceptionally brilliant Claire Mabey. I'll be ever thankful that the Retrospectacle brought us together.

To the most supportive and remarkable semi-professional driver I'll ever know, Duncan Sarkies.

Lastly, but most certainly not leastly...

To Rebecca McMillan, Melanie Hamilton, Martin Rogers and Stephanie Richardson – the best little delivery team imaginable. These four gave all they had to Retrospectacle development and roll-out, and I'll be forever grateful for such a committed display of collaboration, heart, care and generosity.

Nicola Marshall Executive Director, Square Eyes Film Foundation and Director, The Jim Henson Retrospectacle

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