Celebratory season, right on Q

A LOOK at local theatre schedules for 2013 suggests there’s a centenary coming up, so jam-packed are the programs.

Surely, it’s not the same across the border in Queanbeyan. But it is! That fair city is not a mere 100 years old, but 175 and with that in mind, Stephen Pike, programming director at The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, has come up with a formidable selection of 12 shows spread over the calendar year.

As usual, Pike has scored some notable coups. There’s a return this season of the Frankie Valli spectacular, “Oh What A Night!” in January, a stage production of “Animal Farm” in March, a visit from one of the wickedest actresses in Australia, Amanda Muggleton, with “The Book Club” in October, and David Williamson’s “Dad Married Fury” in November, a play looking at that most sordid of questions, the parental will. A lighter look at death comes in the form of Elizabeth Coleman’s “It’s My Party (And I’ll Die If I Want To)” in March. What a great title.

Less grim, but just as worrying, actor/playwright Annie Byron will give us a new slant on internet relationships during September with “RU4ME”.

There’s musical theatre. Pike himself will direct the hit off-Broadway musical “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” in April-May. Soon after that, in a complete change of mood, he has the Edinburgh Fringe winner, The Australian Voices, performing “MOON”, an a capella choral-theatre piece. In July, two of the rising stars of Australian musicals, Lucy Maunder and James Millar will be here with “Noël and Gertie”. Local audiences love anything to do with Noel Coward and Nancye Hayes is choreographing that one.

Pike obviously loves Shakespeare. He has Natalie Weir and Expressions Dance Company in town during May with the dance take on “Romeo and Juliet”, “R&J”. And he’s talked Queanbeyan City Council into backing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, directed by Jordan Best, with music by AFI Award-winning composer (and her dad) Peter Best, to run from July to August.

Finally, just because you’re in Queanbeyan it doesn’t mean you can escape politics. In May-June, Shortis and Simpson are teaming up with that old radical, playwright John Romeril, for “Prime Time”, a new original musical show about a favourite local subject – Prime Ministers.

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