Scott Rankin

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Scott Rankin (born 1959)[1] is an Australian theatre director, writer and co-founder and creative director of the arts and social change company Big hART.[2] He works in and with isolated communities and diverse cultural settings, as well as in commercial performance.


Rankin was born in Sydney and grew up there. His parents were businesspeople who owned an early learning specialist toyshop, and Scott Rankin has stated that his parents lived on a vessel in Lane Cove moored in Sydney Harbour for 21 years.[3][4] He enrolled in an Arts degree, but did not complete it, instead working in a retirement village and offering music workshops to homeless youth. Rankin has two older sisters and is married to visual artist Rebecca Lavis. They have three children. Since 1981, he has mainly lived and worked from the far north-west coast of Tasmania, with periods in Sydney.


As creative director of Big hART and as playwright and director, 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 Surrey Hills, Sydney;[12] Junk Theory for the Sutherland Shire,[13] as well as internationally touring works such as Certified Male.[14] Rankin's work has made a significant long-term contribution to contemporary Australian theatre, as well as under the umbrella of Big hART, providing new ideas for community cultural development (CCD) practice in disadvantaged communities.


Rankin and his theatre works have received many awards:

  • 2 Premier's Literary Awards of NSW and Queensland;[15]
  • 3 Melbourne Green Room Awards for Beasty Girl (most innovative work, best female actor in leading role (Leah Purcell), best direction)[16]
  • 2 Green Room Award Nominations for Namatjira (best production and best actor (Trevor Jamieson));[17]
  • 2 Sydney Theatre Critics Awards (best new Australian work and best newcomer (Derik Lynch)[18] and another 6 nominations (best mainstage production, best direction, best actor in a leading role, best actor in a supporting role, best lighting design and best score or sound design);[19]
  • 1 Indigenous Deadly Award (most outstanding achievement in film, TV or theatre);[20]
  • 1 Critics Choice artsHub Award;[21]
  • 1 Helpmann Award;[22]
  • 1 Human Rights Award (arts);[16] 1 Human Rights Commendation (arts)
  • 1 World Health Organization Award for Safe Communities.[23]
  • He has been awarded the Ros Bower Award for outstanding achievement in services to community cultural development,[16]
  • Fellow of the Australia Council for the Arts,.[16][24]

His works have been included in many arts festivals in i.e. Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Edinburgh and the Tasmanian Ten Days on the Island Festival and 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 (in reverse chronological order):[27]

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


  1. ^ "Rankin, Scott, 1959–", National Library of Australia
  2. ^ "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
  3. ^ "Treasure is one man's junk". The Australian. 28 February 2008.
  4. ^ Lehman, Ros (15 November 2017). "Big hART: 25 years of making art with people at its heart". ABC News.
  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. ^ "What Do We Reckon – Measuring the Cultural, Economic and Social Impacts of Arts Activities in Australia – Forum". Regional Arts New South Wales. 2000. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d "What Do We Reckon – Measuring the Cultural, Economic and Social Impacts of Arts Activities in Australia – Forum". Regional Arts New South Wales. Retrieved 10 December 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, C; Saunders, C; Grenot, D (April 2008). "Art and Safe Communities". C. Coggan, C. Saunders, D. Grenot in Health Promotion Journal of Australia 19(1), P.4–9. 19 (1): 4–9. doi:10.1071/he08004. PMID 18481925.
  24. ^ "Bio of Scott Rankin on". Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  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. ^ "Pilbara Production Invited to Canberra Centenary". ABC, presented by Tangiora Hinaki. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  29. ^ "Namatjira". ABC Radio National. 22 August 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  30. ^ "Namatjira wins 2 Sydney Theatre Awards for Best New Australian Work and Best Newcomer". Sydney Theatre Awards. 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  31. ^ "Namatjira". by Raja, Chris in: Art Monthly Australia, No. 230, pp. 53–55. June 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  32. ^ "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.
  33. ^ "Aboriginal Performance: Politics, Empathy and the Question of Reciprocity". Grehan, Helena, in: Australasian Drama Studies, No. 56, pp. 38–52. April 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  34. ^ "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
  35. ^ "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.

Further reading[edit]

  • Albert, Jane: "The Rankin File (Interview with playwright, Scott Rankin)", in: The Australian, 1–2 February 2003, pp. 16–17.
  • 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]