Artistic director and programming manager at Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Jordan Best, said the rumour was "ridiculous". Photo: Helen Musa.

AN ill-judged April Fool’s email has sent shock waves around the local musical theatre community.

An email sent to 60 members of a Canberra theatrical interest group earlier this morning (April 1) said that from 2022 The Q, the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, would no longer allow amateur companies to perform there. That, the email said, would include  Queanbeyan Players and Free-Rain Theatre, and the Players would move back to the Bicentennial Hall.

Such a move by The Q appeared credible, given that a similar change in direction at The Street Theatre some years ago had seen amateur companies out in the cold.

By the time the author of the “joke” was located, the email had spread like wildfire, eliciting distressed and angry emails pointing out that it was Queanbeyan Players, and the late theatre advocate Norma Roach, who had battled to get the theatre in the first place.

Artistic director and programming manager at Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Jordan Best, immediately denied the rumour, saying, “I’m on the radio every two weeks and I’ve been publicising Queanbeyan Players and Free-Rain, and talking about the Q and community theatre and how important it is – ridiculous!”

She added, “The Q always has, and will continue to, champion local artists, professional, amateur and community. I have been a vocal and passionate supporter of all sectors of our local arts scene for the past 20 years, and I am excited to be able to now support it with the backing of this beautiful theatre.

Meantime, portfolio general manager at Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Jacquelyn Richards, and her staff were left speculating as to the source of the false information, fearing some disaffected members of the local art community might be involved.

As with so many light-hearted online pranks, this one created more confusion than fun.

Eventually the perpetrator apologised in a second email, which simply read, “Sorry for any distress caused but it did keep me amused”.

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor