One of the great joys of living in the northern rivers is getting out to see a NORPA show.
As someone who haunted Sydney and Melbourne theatres for decades, my one fear in moving from the big smoke was of losing the chance to enjoy live theatre.
Well, after eight years and many, many NORPA shows, I’m here to tell you that I should never have worried.
Some of the best theatrical moments of those two cities find their way to Lismore, polished and perfected.
And best of all, each year NORPA produces at least one of its own productions through its Generator program.
This year’s new Generator work is called Dreamland (they seem to like ‘land’ in the title – last year, of course we saw a sell-out reprise of NORPA’s runaway success, Railway Wonderland).
Created by the same team, Dreamland has been developed as part of Arts Northern Rivers’ project If These Halls Could Talk, and will be performed in and around the Eureka hall.
NORPA’s artistic director Julian Louis pointed out the important role that the small halls have played in our community as the gathering places for community celebrations over generations.
‘[They] are fertile ground for terrific stories that reflect our ever-changing community.
‘We love to take the audience on an adventure and what better way to do that than perform the show in a beautiful community hall? he mused.’
There’s another local treat in store NORPA subscribers and theatregoers that is being ‘Generator-ed’ for next year.
Three Brothers is NORPA’s new work-in-development celebrating Bundjalung culture and stories, which will premiere at NORPA in 2017.
The show will be co-directed by NORPA board member, Bundjalung woman Rhoda Roberts and the launch-event audience was treated to an excerpt.
Ms Roberts also announced that Kirk Page will take join the company as associate director, supported by a grant from Arts NSW.
Mr Page will work alongside artistic director Julian Louis in the Generator process.
‘Kirk is one of our exciting new theatre makers and with his engagement NORPA will continue to build networks with our communities, our stories and culture,’ said Ms Roberts.
But lest you think art always equals something serious, NORPA has introduced a new season into this year’s program titled Lismore Laughs.
The mini comedy festival, which kicks off this year’s program, this year includes lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby with her show Dogmatic.
Also on the bill will be the self-described Legally Brown Nazeem Hussain, who was nominated for both a Helpmann and Logie for the stage and TV versions of his show.
And for the kids, comedy duo The Listies turn up the laughter with a ‘wickedly funny’ show called The Listies Make You Lol.
Among other highlights in NORPA’s 2016 Season are Circa’s Il Ritorno combining contemporary circus with opera; ‘kamikaze’ cabaret star and performance artist Meow Meow; a powerful new Australian drama Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River and an exceptional play for young adults Sugarland by acclaimed Australian Theatre For Young People (there’s another ‘land’ title for you).
Tickets for all NORPA’s 2016 shows are now on sale. Many shows are expected to sell-out so be quick to avoid disappointment.
Tickets to individual shows are available or three-show packages start from as little as $54 (for under 18s) to $89 (for adults).
According to Julian Luis, the ticket prices equate to ‘a fraction of what people are paying for the same shows in the cities’.
See, there are great benefits to living in the northern rivers. And one of them is a night (or day) out at a NORPA show.
All shows are now on sale at www.norpa.org.au, phone 1300 066 772, or drop into the NORPA box office at Lismore City Hall.