HOW do you get 15 life-sized dinosaurs to walk around a stage, each remember their cue and interact with other dinosaurs while telling their life story?

For Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Tour, coming to Manchester’s Arena next month, that very task lies in the hands of New Yorker Scott Francis.

Director Scott is behind the spectacular production of WWD and it is little wonder he was picked for the difficult job when you take a look at his CV.

Scott has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, directing the musical Chicago in 16 different countries around the world in over a dozen different languages.

He was on the production team for The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, and was the director for EFX at the MGM Grand Hotel, which was the biggest stage production of its time.

But this is the first production where he has directed actors of the four-legged extinct variety and reveals that Walking With Dinosaurs is a career highlight.

Scott said: "We take the audience on a journey back in time and show them how the dinosaurs might have actually looked in their prime — huge, sometimes frightening, sometimes comical monsters, that fought for survival every day of their lives.  “Our dinosaurs move as if they are real, with all the roars, snorts and excitement that go with it. The realism is mind-blowing."

Featuring 15 dinosaurs, the 96-minute spectacular takes the audience through the evolution of these giant beasts from their first appearance, millions of years, through to their extinction. They are accompanied on their journey by narrator Huxley, the only human actor in the entire show, who takes the role — much like Ross from Friends — of an enthusiastic palaeontologist.

The Arena Spectacular, based on the award-winning BBC Television series, came to life in Australia in 2007 and has since toured America before coming to the UK for the first British tour this summer. With a total stage crew of 65 people to make it all happen, Scott admits this production is one of his most challenging he has directed.

“The dinosaurs are actually controlled by three operatives, one driver and two what we call voodoo puppeteers who sit above the stage. One each control the head and tail motion, and minor movements like the mouth, blinking and roars.

“I have to think of them as individuals and not as three people controlling them. It’s the only way to direct them. I make small scale models of the set and show the operatives how I want it to look, by literally playing with model dinosaurs. It’s great fun!

“We have nicknames for them all, like Arnie, Big T and Baby T, Anky . . . the actual names are all a bit of a mouthful,” he said.

And according to Scott, this year’s tour is going to the biggest and best yet.

“We have improved the set dramatically, it amazes me how it gets from place to place,” he said “We’ve got the production director who has co-ordinated the tours for U2 and The Rolling Stones to magic everything to different venues. I just get there when it’s all done. It’s like a miracle.”

Scott added: “It’s such a unique performance. The whole family can go and all enjoy it. It’s not more for the kids or the parents, it’s a real all ages pleaser and everyone will love it.”

• WALKING WITH DINOSAURS — Manchester Arena July 29 to August 2. Tickets are available from 0844 847 8000.