An Australian Legend. or an Australian Outlaw?
Ned Kelly was the first Arena Spectacular that Ozworks creative Mark Eady was ever asked to produce. After the success of Hell West and Crooked an Outback Stunt Show at the 2001 Sydney Royal Easter Show, Eady was then offered to move into the Main Arena to the BIG STAGE for the 2002 Easter Show.
It was Entertainment Manager Andrew Cooper that chose the theme of Ned Kelly after the successful Man from Snowy River Arena Spectaculars that featured in 2000 and 2001. A hard act to follow.
This production was also a first for many people within the production. Zelie Bullen was chosen to be the Liberty Horse trainer. Eady's script required Ned's horse to be sent by Ned from the gun fire at Glenrowen Inn to the safety of an exit and then half way through the gun battle return at Liberty (without rider) back to Ned. (This actually happened!) Zelie and her husband Craig Bullen, 8 years later are working for non other than Stephen Speilberg as his liberty horse trainers in his recently filmed "War Horse" to be released in December 2011.
Another first was to train a team of horses pulling a Cob n Co coach without a rider. Commanded, it would appear, by the booming voice of Harry Power who trained Ned as an apprentice outlaw.
When researching the Ned Kelly Story producer Eady discovered that Australians were black or white about Ned. He was either a Cop Killer and Outlaw by some or a persecuted Irish settler that was pursued and victimized by the Victorian Police.
Either way this production told the story through the eyes of Ned's mother Ellen Kelly on the Big Screen. As she told her story of son Edward the action unfolded on the arena below. The idea of Ellen being the story teller was taken from an old photograph. The photograph was taken of mum Ellen later in life while she was holding a young great granddaughter. At the time the photo was taken 8 of her 14 children were dead.
Boy, did she have a story to tell.