It’s looking Grand for new White Rabbit Theatre Ensemble show…
Rehearsals are now underway at the Old Court House Theatre for The Grand, a new work produced and directed by JCU theatre alumni and award winning theatre director Lisa Smith. It is the Townsville debut for new Gold Coast based company White Rabbit Theatre Ensemble, started by Lisa in 2011, after working and living in the UK.
The Grand is proudly presented by Full Throttle Theatre Company, with the support of Townville City Council Regional Arts Development Fund.
Set in a once impressive but now crumbling hotel The Grand is a new work by playwright Victoria Carless, also a JCU Theatre graduate, following two women’s struggle to keep their hotel open despite a grim economic outlook. The Grand is darkly funny and touches on humanity’s big-ticket items – ambition, belonging and cocktail animals. During the show the ladies play host to guests of a different nature: bird inundations, mould infestations and even a ghost!
Lisa explains that the project came about due to a conversation between two old friends. In discussions about living in regional Queensland, Lisa and Victoria saw a likeness between their home towns of Cairns and the Gold Coast, in respect to both the environment and the transient populations that these cities play host to.
This led to the idea of creating a new work for performance that would be set in a place familiar to many other Queenslanders, the type of feel-good locale historically recognized as a “tourist town”. While the natural beauty of these towns is a draw card for visitors in bouts of economic “boom”, there are arguably equally strong impacts on the local community in times of financial instability, as happens with fluctuating economic fortunes.
Lisa hopes audiences can relate to these shifting of realities. She asks: “What do you do when something that was once so beautiful, so iconic, that holds your memories and dreams is threatened before your very eyes?”
Lisa and Victoria are thrilled that The Grand will have its premiere season in the Townsville, the city that nurtured them both as theatre students, and brought them together as friends and colleagues.
The creative team are complemented by a talented set designer, Townsville’s own Luke Ede, who has recently worked with Sydney Theatre Company and Bangarra Dance Theatre.
And they’ll be busy while in town:
“We are excited to be able to offer ongoing support to local artists as well as workshops in Playwriting and Directing for Townsville students and emerging theatre artists. There will also be a Post Show Forum after the matinee performance on Friday 1st November, which is open to everyone”.
“We are both looking forward to contributing to the already thriving cultural community that is Townsville”.
Adds Lisa, “I’m thrilled by what we’ve created, and that Full Throttle and RADF have given us the opportunity to produce a show by regional artists that we hope will really resonate with our audiences”.
“It’s fascinating to watch the power struggle between these two women and how they negotiate all that is thrown their way. At times it’s heartbreaking, but it’s also very funny too”.
White Rabbit Theatre Ensemble looks forward to seeing you there.
Follow us down the rabbit hole …
The Grand by Victoria Carless
DATES: Wed 30 Oct – Sat 2 Nov
VENUE: Full Throttle Theatre Company -The Old Courthouse Theatre, Corner of Sturt and Stokes Streets (81-99 Sturt St.) Townsville City