And action! Curtains raised on new Brolga performance space

THE Brolga Theatre’s new workshop and theatre space is already a hive of activity – providing a more user-friendly environment for actors, set builders and costume designers.

The Brolga Theatre and Convention Centre, Maryborough. PHOTO: Supplied.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the new space was important for local productions and as a means to attract new touring shows to the region.

“Council is very focussed on ensuring we attract touring shows to the Brolga to inspire local artists, provide us with a cultural outlet and entertain us,” Cr Seymour said.

“The touring productions also have an economic benefit and help attract visitors to the Fraser Coast.”

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The new space provides a larger loading dock which can also be used for short-term storage of the travel cases used by touring productions, storage for large theatrical equipment such as sets and double as a performance workshop area.

“The extra space improves the versatility of the theatre and convention centre by allowing staff to prepare for upcoming shows without interrupting performances and conferences that are underway,” the mayor explained.

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The $500,000 project was funded under Round 3 of the State Government’s Works for Queensland program and built by local company WIN Constructions.

The dust on the floor had barely had a chance to settle before the team behind the local production Wicked: The untold story of the witches of Oz! moved in.

Producer Robert Haigh said the timing was perfect.

“Any production with a large set requires a good deal of space for the set to stay when not in use and the theatre continues to operate,” Mr Haigh said.

“The new facility provides exactly that. 

“Previously our volunteers and crew had limited access to the theatre to paint the build sets and had to wait for times when no other productions or groups were using the theatre.

“The limited access increased the pressure and stress on them as time ran short,” he said.

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Mr Haigh said the new space was great for touring productions.

“More than 50 per cent of their equipment is carried in storage boxes and packaging designed to protect it. The new, large scenery dock within the workshop and theatre space will assist with the storage of these items and provide space for repairs to be undertaken if needed.”

Mr Haigh said many of the areas required by performers often land up being used for storage which limits the use of the theatre by larger community groups such as dance schools and eisteddfods.

“Having appropriate space to store resources will improve the client experience as well as streamline the work required to prepare for events and shows,” he said.

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Member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders said the Works for Queensland program has delivered more than $40-million to the Fraser Coast Regional Council to ensure infrastructure and maintenance programs can occur, while creating and maintaining jobs during COVID-19.

“This project will ensure that the Brolga Theatre and Convention Centre maintains its reputation as a premier regional facility and will have cultural and economic benefits for the region,” he said.

“I cannot wait to see Wicked next month. It is a pity I was unable to audition due to work commitments.”

Meanwhile, Cr Seymour Wicked will provide a high level of community participation and skills development with a cast of seven principal characters, 22 supporting characters within an ensemble of 30 to 40 members.

“After our stage and dressing rooms were left bare for months because of COVID-19, I hope audiences embrace the return of performances at the Brolga Theatre this year,” he said.

Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz! looks at what happened in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy arrived. It tells the story of two unlikely friends and how they become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

There will be three shows on 18 and 19 June 2021.

Tickets are available at the Brolga Theatre’s website.

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