Arts editor HELEN MUSA looks at summer shows and arts events coming up
THEATRE patrons could be forgiven for thinking they were looking at a mainstage Canberra Theatre season when The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, today (December 10) announced its 2019 season in two showbiz-style shows.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall praised the “fantastic season of entertainment” for combining shows with a mix of local flavour and shows that had been hits all around the world, while program manager Stephen Pike told those present to be patient over the next 12 months while an upgrade to the adjacent Bicentennial Hall took place.
As well as coming up with a dazzling set of musical shows, beginning with “The Sapphires” in February, followed by “Gypsy,” starring Geraldine Turner in April and May, and Stephen Fisher-King’s “The 70s Unplugged” in August, Pike’s season will wind up with his own production of Noel Coward’s 50th play, “Waiting In The Wings” in November and Catherine Alcorn’s show-stopping tribute to the Divine Miss M, “Christmas with Bette” in December.
In a co-operative move, the Coward play will later travel across the border to be performed as part of Canberra Rep’s 2019 season.
Movement and dance are always to the fore in Pike’s programming, so in May the Bicentennial Hall will have “Jump First, Ask Later”, a portrait in movement on the streets of western Sydney, while in June, Expressions Dance Company from Brisbane will return with Natalie Weir’s satirical piece on power and greed, “The Dinner Party”, with costumes by fashion designer Gail Sorronda and original music by Southern Cross soloists.
Lovers of non-musical plays will not be disappointed. The director of Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre, Mark Kilmurry will present “Two”, by Jim Cartwright, which brings to life a pair of colourful characters who’ve bought the local pub.
“My Urrwai”, staged by Rachael Maza for Ilbijerri Theatre Co, will see Ghenoa Gela here during August in a comic reminiscence that won the Keir Choreographic Award and the Deadly Funny Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Jordan Best’s production of the first play for The Q’s new Echo Theatre, “Belfast Girls”, will look at Irish girls brought to Australia as cheap labour in the 19th century.
During September HIT productions will bring actor Mandi Lodge back to town to play Angela, in Geraldine Aron’s “My Brilliant Divorce”, while in September from Brisbane comes “Spencer”, by Katy Warner, a racy take on a dysfunctional Australian family.
The popular “Morning Melodies” program kicks off in February with an acoustic guitar program by Keith Potger, formerly of The Seekers and now resident in Braidwood.
When it comes to children’s shows, you can’t get enough of Gruffalos, it seems, so we will see “The Gruffalo’s Child” in late January and “The Gruffalo”, pure and simple, in March.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Outside the theatre’s own curated season will be the book-in shows, not least Free Rain Theatre’s production of “Kinky Boots”, “The Tap Pack”, Darren Coggan in “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Supa Productions’ “The Full Monty”, Queanbeyan Players “Hello Dolly” and “Oliver!” and the musical treat, “The Diamonds”.
The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre 2019 season. Bookings to theq.net.au or 6285 6290.