Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Six perspectives in one inspiring production capture the resilient spirit of regional Queenslanders: JUTE Theatre Company

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JUTE Theatre Company, Media Release, 20 February 2024

Hitting the Queensland roads in February and March, audiences in Gympie, Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton, and Bundaberg are destined to be uplifted and enthralled by six stories of strength and resilience in the one original and heart-warming theatre production of GRIT.

Developed in 2022 after Gympie’s devastating floods, GRIT is an original work co-devised by Perseverance Street Theatre Company (Gympie) in collaboration with local community members to honour regional voices.

In the aftermath of the recent cyclone and weather events impacting regional Queensland, the 2024 tour of GRIT is considered a timely reprisal by the presenting partners JUTE Theatre Company (Cairns), Topology / RASN (Townsville), Midpoint Theatre Company (Rockhampton) and Bridges Health and Community Care (Bundaberg).

Looking ahead to the forthcoming tour, Perseverance Street Theatre Company’s CEO, Dr Sharon Hogan, said she feels immensely proud.  

GRIT: The Stories, The Town, The Music premiered in 2022 after an exhaustive creative process in which our team interviewed more than 30 people of different ages and backgrounds.  

“From artists, mothers, doctors to engineers, to veterans and pensioners, GRIT emerged into a profound performance of six original stories with stunning vocals.  

“And now, in 2024, with the addition of a local story told by a local character from each town or city visited, GRIT is a tour-ready production we are confident audiences will identify with and enjoy,” said Dr Hogan. 

For the forthcoming tour of GRIT, a major new performing talent, 20-year-old Fletcher Colfs demonstrates intellect and maturity beyond his years in the lead role of The Storyteller.

According to Dr Hogan, this challenging role requires Fletcher to portray and seamlessly transition through six characters depicting differing relationships to their hometown: The Recluse, The Saint, The Romantic, The Nomad, The Runaway and The Rationalist.

JUTE Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and CEO Suellen Maunder said she is excited to support and present Perseverance Street Theatre Company’s touring production of GRIT.

“GRIT’s tour is a fitting finale to JUTE’s Build Back Better project, made possible with three-year funding from the Regional Arts Fund. From hosting a series of skills-based training modules to the ultimate prize of regional touring, we have made real inroads into the growth of Queensland’s regional theatre industry.  

“The good news is we can continue that work over the next three years with strategic programming being implemented under the banner of DARTS (Driving and Activating the Regional Theatre Sector).

“We know that Queensland is a hotbed of talent and creativity, and the only way to realise this potential is through collaboration, of which this tour is a shining example,” Ms Maunder said.

The following quotes are attributable to GRIT touring partners:

Topology / Regional Arts Services Network (RASN NQ), Madonna Davies (Regional Arts Officer)

“Topology / RASN NQ supports regional theatre makers to perform and tour through regional Queensland. We are very excited to be presenting this inspirational new work. Grit uses a variety of artistic forms to explore human frailties and strengths after a life-changing natural disaster such as a major flood. 

“Our experience with the 2019 floods left us vulnerable, raw, and exhausted. Grit is about resilience, bravery and community, our ability to overcome adversity, and honouring the emotions that cling to our memories.”

Midpoint Theatre Company, Jessica Lamb (Creative Producer)

“Through this regional tour, Midpoint Theatre Company and our collaborators have had front-row seats into the processes and practices of Perseverance Street Theatre Company, another young and exciting theatre group emerging from the regions. 

“We’ve loved building these connections with our regional peers and are confident that GRIT, which captures and celebrates a familiar resilience of spirit, will resonate deeply with Rockhampton audiences.

“When the Perseverance Street team suggested that the show might be opened with a local story demonstrating ‘grit’, we leapt at the chance to speak to Mick, a Rocky local whose positivity and unwavering refusal to take himself too seriously helped him to overcome a traumatic brain injury. Working alongside local playwright Stella McMahon, Mick has spun a yarn that is equal parts wry self-deprecation and earnest gratitude for the life he has today. 

What better way to prepare the stage for this deeply funny, profoundly moving work of regional Queensland theatre?”    

Bridges Health & Community Care, Sharon Sarah (CEO)

“Bridges is bringing GRIT to Bundaberg as part of our Arts-Led Wellbeing programming in partnership with JUTE Theatre in Cairns. We see the benefits that the arts can bring in sharing stories that connect people and communities.”

GRIT regional tour dates are as follows:

  • Perseverance Theatre Company, Gympie: Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 February 2024 in Local Halls – Concert Version. Click here to book.
  • Topology / RASN NQ, Townsville: Saturday 2 March 2024, Dance North Theatre, Cnr Stanley & Walker Streets, Townsville. Click here to book.
  • JUTE Theatre Company, Bulmba-ja Arts Centre Cairns: Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 March 2024. Click here to book.
  • Midpoint Theatre Company, Walter Reid Cultural Centre, Rockhampton: Wednesday 13 March 2024. Click here to book.
  • Bridges Health and Community Care, St Lukes’ Anglican School Performing Arts Centre, Bundaberg: Saturday 16 March 2024. Click here to book.
  • Perseverance Theatre Company, Gympie: Wednesday 20 March to Wednesday 27 March 2024 in the studio – Full Theatre Version.  Click here to find out more and book tickets.

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