This year’s season of theatre has been launched in spectacular style in Lismore with a rich program promising to feed the mind, body and spirit.
Theatre lovers and friends of NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts) packed the new Lismore City Hall on Friday night to launch the NORPA 2014 season.
Tralala Blip is a mixed abilities electronica band who created intense atmospheric sounds for the audience at the launch and who also inspired this year’s home grown theatre production.
NORPA’s artistic director Julian Louis told Echonetdaily that he is most excited about My Radio Heart, a NORPA and Urban Theatre Projects co-production.
‘The whole program is exciting and eclectic and will certainly wow people in the region,’ Mr Louis said.
‘I am so excited about My Radio Heart which is our home grown work,’ he said.
‘This is an ensemble of performers with and without disabilities working under the creative leadership of one the country’s most interesting directors, Rosie Dennis.
‘You will be literally immersed, much like entering an installation work.’
My Radio Heart has been in development for two years.
‘Theatre can take a long time,’ Mr Louis said, ‘especially when it is original and inspired by the region.
‘These home-grown works mean a great deal to us.’
Mr Louis said there are shows on the program that will stimulate the mind.
‘Particularly the classic George Orwell’s 1984, it has been adapted for the stage and is an exciting production by a Brisbane company who create work that is visceral and dynamic,’ he said.
‘The show is still pertinent today when we look at such things as freedom of speech and how we are influenced by the media. People are still being gagged so it is really strong political work.’
Another show falling into the mind stimulation category is Food. Dance choreographer Kate Champion has teamed up with a writer for this piece.
‘This is about the relationship between two sisters set in a roadside diner in regional Australia,’ he said.
‘One sister travels the world and the other stays behind and deals with the family and being responsible, so there is a tension between siblings who are vastly different, which strangely is often what happens.’
The return of Bell Shakespeare for Henry V will also stimulate the mind.
‘This is about war, leadership and leaders sending young men and women into war and the ambiguity of leaders who do this as an act of supposed strength,’ he said.
Mr Louis said the terrain of body is explored through some of the shows in this year’s season.
‘We have a dance work called Lake where our theatre stage will be flooded with water,’ said Mr Louis.
‘The floor has flooded before, but this time it is on purpose.’
Expanding the body territory is Crimson Sky, a production by Taikoz.
‘This show is one of the most physical experiences you can have, this drumming troupe are very powerful musicians, it is as much about choreography as it is composition,’ he said.
The field of spirit is explored through a production that Mr Louis recently directed, a sold out summer show at the Sydney Opera House.
‘The 13-Storey Treehouse is a children’s play by Richard Tulloch who I believe is one of the best playwrights for children, these books are loved by thousands and thousands of young people I have discovered,’ he said.
‘This is about the spirit of the imagination and play and friendship that is explored, and it is madness – anything goes in this show.’
Andy Griffiths will do some post show talks and book signing.
Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui is an Indigenous family piece inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
‘It is a lot of fun – it is great to see a young Indigenous writer, Jason de Santis create something about where he is from, the Tiwi Islands,’ he said.
‘It has puppetry, pop and contemporary culture, it swings back into Dreamtime style work as well.’
Circus Oz has not been able to play the Lismore City Hall for a number of years as it was difficult for them to work in.
‘Our loading dock and more space backstage has enabled them to return with their new work, so we are very excited about that,’ he said.
‘This performance is about the spirit of anarchic fun and play and tomfoolery, their style of work is about the Australian spirit of irreverence and larrikinism.’
The beautifully presented NORPA 2014 Season brochure was printed using vegetable-based inks with alcohol-free printing initiatives on FSC certified paper.
For more details about the 2014 NORPA season go to www.norpa.org.au