Scott Rankin

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Scott Rankin (born 1959) is an Australian theatre director, writer and co-founder and creative director of the arts and social change company Big hART. Based in Tasmania, Rankin works in and with isolated communities and diverse cultural settings, as well as in commercial performance.

Early life and education[edit]

Rankin was born in 1959[1] in Sydney and grew up there. His parents were businesspeople who owned an early learning specialist toyshop and lived on a Chinese junk in Lane Cove, moored in Sydney Harbour for 21 years.[2][3]

Rankin enrolled in an arts degree but did not complete it, instead working in a retirement village and offering music workshops to homeless youth. Since 1981, he has mainly lived and worked from the far north-west coast of Tasmania.[citation needed]


As creative director of Big hART and as playwright and director,[4] Rankin has created or collaborated on many large-scale Australian stage productions: Namatjira for the Namatjira family;[5] Ngapartji Ngapartji for Trevor Jamieson,[6][7][8] Box the Pony for Leah Purcell;[9][10] RiverlanD for Wesley Enoch;[11] StickybrickS for the Northcott Public Housing community in Surry Hills, Sydney;[12] Junk Theory for the Sutherland Shire,[13] as well as internationally touring works such as Certified Male.[14]


Rankin is a Fellow of the Australia Council for the Arts.[15]

Rankin and his theatre works have received many awards, including:

His works have been included in many arts festivals, including Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Edinburgh, and the Tasmanian Ten Days on the Island Festival. He has also toured to Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany[25] and the Netherlands.[26]

List of works[edit]

List of Rankin's works:[27]

  • Glynn With a Why? (1988)
  • Kissing Frogs (1991)
  • Girl
  • Pandora Slams the Lid (1993)
  • Girl / Pandora Slams the Lid (1994)
  • Three Men Walk into a Bar (1996)
  • Glynn Nicholas Group – Wrung Out (1996)
  • Box the Pony (1997)
  • Pandora's Shed (1998)
  • Pumping Irony (1999)
  • Certified Male (1999)[28]
  • Leaves Falling at Midnight (2001)
  • Career Highlights of the Mamu (2002)
  • What the World Needs Now (2002)
  • Beasty Girl: The Secret Life of Errol Flynn (2003)[29]
  • Riverland (2004)
  • Junk Theory (2007)
  • Brave Men Run in Our Family (2007)
  • StickybrickS (2007)
  • Ngapartji Ngapartji (2008)[30]
  • Nyuntu Ngali (2009)
  • This is Living (2009)[31]
  • Beat Bop Road (2009)
  • Namatjira (2010),[32][33][34]
  • Hipbone Sticking Out (forthcoming 2013)[35]


  1. ^ "Rankin, Scott, 1959–", National Library of Australia
  2. ^ "Treasure is one man's junk". The Australian. 28 February 2008.
  3. ^ Lehman, Ros (15 November 2017). "Big hART: 25 years of making art with people at its heart". ABC News.
  4. ^ "World Arts Summit – Outside the Comfort Zone". ABC Arts. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2012. ...Scott Rankin from Big hART, Australia's leading arts and social change company
  5. ^ "Namatjira". Alison Croggon, Theatre Notes. August 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2012. Namatjira, which opened last week at the Malthouse after a ... Sydney season at Belvoir St, plays authenticity against truthfulness. ... Namatjira, written and directed by Scott Rankin, is a supple mediation between the artifice of theatre ... and the realities that the story of Namatjira reveals...
  6. ^ Rankin, Scott (2012). "Namatjira, written for the Namatjira Family (Aranda) and Ngapartji Ngapartji written for Trevor Jamieson (Pitjantjatjara)". Currency Press. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Ngapartji Ngapartji". Sydney Morning Herald, Emily Dunn. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 10 December 2012. ...Ngapartji Ngapartji, a performance at the Sydney Opera House that tells the story of the Spinifex or Pitjantjatjara tribe of Central Australia and their encounter with atomic testing at Maralinga in the 1950s.
  8. ^ "Canberra Theatre Centre Announcement". Canberra Theatre Centre. 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. Ngapartji Ngapartji one is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government and the Australian Government
  9. ^ Rankin, Scott; et al. (1999). "Box the Pony". Hodder Headline. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  10. ^ Coates, Donna (2000). "Siting the Other: Revisions of Marginality in Australian and English-Canadian Drama". Marc Maufort and Franka Ballarsi in: Theatre Research in Canada. Retrieved 10 December 2012. Helen Thomson's informative and cogently argued essay, "Aboriginal Women's Staged Autobiography", for example, introduces a number of brave new works: Jane Harrison's Stolen; Deborah Mailman's The Seven Stages of Grieving (with Wesley Enoch); Leah Purcell's Box the Pony (with Scott Rankin); Deborah Cheetham's White Baptist Abba Fan; and Ningali Langford's Ningali. Representing the most marginalized of all social groups in Australia, these women have recently created and performed autobiographical shows that document their experiences as victims of the Stolen Generation.
  11. ^ "Adelaide Festival 2004: RiverlanD". Real Time Arts. 2000. Retrieved 10 December 2012. RiverlanD (director Wesley Enoch, writer Scott Rankin, design Richard Roberts)
  12. ^ "900 Neighbours" (PDF). Atom. 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2013. Scott Rankin, creative director of StickybrickS
  13. ^ Rosemary Sorensen (27 February 2008). "Treasure is one man's junk". The Australian. Retrieved 28 October 2020. On the River Torrens, Rankin has moored a Chinese junk, the sails of which reflect images put together by 100 people who live in the Sutherland Shire, around Cronulla in Sydney.
  14. ^ "National Library of Australia entry". 1999. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Bio of Scott Rankin on". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d e "What Do We Reckon – Measuring the Cultural, Economic and Social Impacts of Arts Activities in Australia – Forum". Regional Arts New South Wales. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012.
  17. ^ "2011 Award Nominations". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Measure of Belvoir's success confirmed with top prize from theatre critics". Sydney Morning Herald, Clare Morgan. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Sydney Theatre Award Nominees". Troy Dodds/Aussie Theatre. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Ngapartji Ngapartji". ABC Radio National Artworks presented by Amanda Smith. 26 October 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  21. ^ "The Namatjira Project". artsHub announcement of award winners. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Helpmann Award Winners". December 2012. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  23. ^ Coggan, Carolyn; Saunders, Christopher; Grenot, Dominic (2008). "Art and Safe Communities: The role of Big hART in the regeneration of an inner city housing estate". Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 19 (1): 4–9. doi:10.1071/he08004. PMID 18481925.
  24. ^ "Scott Rankin ‐ Australian of the Year". Australian of the Year. 2018. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  25. ^ "Bio of Scott Rankin on". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Big hART portrait on the International Community Arts Festival homepage". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  27. ^ "if not referenced separately, then the work is listed on this register of Rankin's works". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  28. ^ "Les Dennis in Certified Male at the Edinburgh Festival". Telegraph by Dominic Cavendish. London. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2012. Scott Rankin and Glynn Nicholas's show, which was initially put on in Australia, digs deep into the wounded recesses of the modern male psyche, but it does so with the lightest of touches.
  29. ^ "Mornings with Margaret Throsby". ABC Radio presented by Margaret Throsby. 24 February 2003. Retrieved 10 December 2012. Scott Rankin, Artistic Director of Big hART – His latest production "Beasty Grrrl" begins a season at the Melbourne Festival 16th October
  30. ^ Grehan, Helena (April 2010). "Aboriginal Performance: Politics, Empathy and the Question of Reciprocity". Australasian Drama Studies (56): 38–52. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  31. ^ "This is Living". ABC, Tim Walker. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2012. The Scott Rankin written and directed piece is being debuted in Tasmania as a part of the biennial festival Ten Days on The Island.
  32. ^ "Namatjira". ABC Radio National. 22 August 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  33. ^ "Namatjira wins 2 Sydney Theatre Awards for Best New Australian Work and Best Newcomer". Sydney Theatre Awards. 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  34. ^ "Namatjira". by Raja, Chris in: Art Monthly Australia, No. 230, pp. 53–55. June 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  35. ^ "Pilbara Production Invited to Canberra Centenary". ABC, presented by Tangiora Hinaki. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Albert, Jane: "The Rankin File (Interview with playwright, Scott Rankin)", in: The Australian, 1–2 February 2003, pp. 16–17.
  • McKone, Frank (15 November 2018). "Cultural Justice and the Right to Thrive". Canberra Critics Circle.
  • Rankin, Scott & Nicholas, Glynn: Certified Male: Let's Face It...Men Are Funny Buggers: Songs & Highlights from the Hit Show, sound recording, Balaclava: Art Cackle & Hoot, 2000.
  • Rankin, Scott: Namatjira: Written for the Namatjira Family (Aranda); and, Ngapartji Ngapartji: Written for Trevor Jamieson (Pitjantjatjara), Strawberry Hills: Currency Press, 2012.
  • Rankin, Scott: "DIY Virtuosity Versus Professional Mediocrity", in: Australasian Drama Studies, (52) April 2008, p. 97–112.

External links[edit]