How I Saved The Western Black Rhino


Photo credits Katy Green Loughrey

See it yourself at The Joan, Penrith in March 2018.  ($30 for Under 30's!)

Listen here - Podcast for Audrey Journal with Rachel Roberts about 'Back to Back' 2018.



If you’re looking at a whole lot of endangered species but you only have
resources for some, how do you make that decision?

In the history of the earth there have been five mass extinction events, the most famous of which is the dinosaurs. With the current extinction rate thousands of times higher than normal, we might be in the middle of the sixth – and this one is being caused by us.

In ‘How I Saved The Western Black Rhino’, Australian theatre maker Nathan Harrison looks at the current extinction crisis and explores the daunting complexity of wildlife conservation – along with the uplifting story of travelling to Africa to try to save one of the last Western Black Rhinos in existence.

Development has been supported by Camden People’s Theatre, Hackney Showroom, Coney, and the Q Lab at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.



Written and performed by Nathan Harrison
Directed by Emma McManus
Dramaturgy by Jennifer Medway
Set and Costume Design by Katja Handt
Sound Design by Tegan Nichols
Lighting Design by Chris Page
Stage Manager Karina McKenzie
Produced by The Q at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (Thanks, Nick Atkins)



David Finnigan, Rebecca Giggs, Clare Hawkins and Bookend Trust, Nikki Kennedy, Rachel Roberts, Mark Rogers, David Shaw, Tassos Stevens, Erin Taylor, Maddy and Simon Vaughan



Here are some books, articles, podcasts and websites that I've found interesting and useful developing this work.

  • Nature Trackers is a Tasmanian based organisation developing citizen science programs responding to threatened species. They do really lovely work, including a recently funded program to train residents to monitor wedge-tailed eagles. It's run by Clare Hawkins, who was most generous with her time and expertise.
  • Decision Point is a magazine on conservation decision science. It's challenging material but an insightful look into the complexities of conservation policy.
  • Stephanie Hayne's book White Man's Game is a powerful account of how even with good intentions conservation projects can go awry, and how complex human-nature relationships can be.
  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert is an engaging and frightening look at extinction crises happening all over the world.
  • Douglas Adams' Last Chance To See is beautiful and charming and sad.
  • This photoessay by Amos Chapple on Siberian mining of mammoth tusk from the permafrost is just, I don't know, we are in a strange new world.
  • The discussion around licensed hunting funding conservation is an interesting and fraught one, and I didn't find time for it in the show (I'll happily tell you my opinions anytime) but this article about an Oregon conservationist stuck with me