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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Interview with five times Aria Award winner Katie Noonan

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Katie Noonan is at the Brunswick Picture House on Saturday at 7pm.

Noonan Rising

Five times Aria Award winner Katie Noonan is presenting a very special one woman show at the Brunswick Picture House on Saturday, presenting songs from her acclaimed albums in an intimate stripped-back setting.

The show comes on the back of her performance at the State Theatre and was organised when she had to quarantine for two weeks in Northern NSW before heading back to her home state of Queensland. So now that the border’s open she’s decided to push forward with the show. ‘I’ve never cancelled a show in my life,’ she laughs.

This is a woman who understands the hustle of the biz. ‘For that 90 minutes on stage there is probably about 900 minutes of hustle to get there.’ During the lockdown she put in for 47 arts grants and received 22.

‘That’s not just for me, it’s for Eumundi School of Rock, for a new festival – all sorts of ideas – and 85 per cent of income will be for other artists,’ says Katie, who is the kick arse Queen of getting shit happening.

Back in her hometown village of Eumundi she’s about to announce the line up for a new Festival that features 100 per cent Queensland artists; pushing back against the cultural cringe that has dogged performers from the northern state. It’s happening over the Labour Day weekend at the Eumundi showgrounds – this is going to be one to watch out for.

Like every artist in the country, Katie’s 2020 plans didn’t pan out how she had imagined.

‘This was my year for returning to being a full time artist. I had spent the most stressful years of my life running the Queensland Music Festival, I learnt a lot – it was awesome but it was incredibly intense. I was the music director for opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games. So for 2020 I had two international tours booked, I had a residency at a chateau in France! Ironically my second-to-last gig before covid started was a year ago at the Brunswick Picture House – it was date two of a 25 date tour, and I got to show three!’

The losses both artistic and economic were major.

‘The losses were catastrophic. My livelihood depends entirely on travel and gatherings of people. But even though it was stressful, it was a blessing and a gift as I hadn’t spent that much time at home in 25 years! I have been a touring musician all the time, and it was wonderful to be home and take pleasure in the simple joys of being with my kids and ruminating around the house.’

Although, you’d think with putting in 47 grant applications, and appearing on Masked Singer, there wouldn’t have been that much time to ruminate!

‘Being an 8’8” teal blue sloth that I called Sally saved me! She was bonkers and super fun. It was very strange being in Melbourne in full lockdown – it was really dystopian.’

So the lockdown did give Katie a chance to stop, but in stopping she may have put down the groundwork for perhaps the busiest year of her life to come, bringing those projects like Eumundi School of Rock – to fruition!

‘I am a prolific dreamer and schemer,’ she laughs.

Katie Noonan is at the Brunswick Picture House on Saturday at 7pm.
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