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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Interview with Julian Louis, Artistic Director of NORPA

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NORPA shows are now all on sale: norpa.org.au.

NORPA launches new season

After a year in the shadows, NORPA is kicking in with a powerhouse program for the last six months of 2021.

Artistic Director Julian Louis said ‘We wanted to kick off when we felt it was safe to return to the theatre.’

NORPA continues to show why it’s one of the most innovative regional performing arts organisations in the country, with an impressive program that includes locally developed collaborative original works, alongside significant national pieces.

‘The NORPA originals are works we have been developing – Into the Forest, is a show I am directing and Kate McDowall is writing. We are still in the process of making this. Flow is also still in development.’

Into the Forest is a contemporary Australian twist on classic fairytales, and will hit the stage 10 and 11 June.

Flow takes us deeper into country to discover ancient stories and the power of music, family and connection. Showing 1–3 July.

Flow is the personal story of Mitch King’s connection to Yaegl country – around Grafton and Yamba – the story around the day that a native title claim was successful for a body of water – so it’s about his connection to the story of water and reconnecting to his roots and his stories. It’s a discovery and a sharing; in making the show he has reconnected to family and country and gone deeper – we get to share his experience this through spoken word and rhyme – he is also joined by Blake Rhodes, a music and sound maker’ says Julian.

In August NORPA presents Once, The Musical. Presented by The Darlinghurst Theatre Company, this is a guy meets girl smash hit Broadway musical.

‘I saw it in Sydney the year before last and it was so joyous and heartfelt, it’s a big show, one of the biggest we have brought here! It has a cast of ten, they all play music, it’s a big set, and it takes three days to create the set. They are doing a whole week of shows.’

Throttle is going to be incredible’ says Julian. This is an outdoor live action drive-in thriller.

‘You drive into a remote area of Lismore, and the show unfolds though your radio. I was a dramaturg for it at the Brisbane festival – it premiered last year, so now it’s here, created with the guys who created Cockfight – it’s text and dance – primarily a dance theatre work. It’s like a B Grade horror film!’

The program also includes Cheeky, the infamous Brunswick Picture House cabaret, bringing world class variety to Lismore. There’s the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective’s performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Legs on the Wall presents Man with the Iron Neck , there’s a return showing of Animal Farm by Shake & Stir Theatre Co, and the much loved Bell Shakespeare Company present A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

‘We want to create a program that pulls the region together and that unites us and gives some joy. We know there is a real hunger for live performance’ says Julian who is also excited about a new initiative NORPA is taking on for aspirant young thespians in our region.

‘We are launching a youth theatre program, with the director to be appointed. And that will be announced at the launch. Will be running after school, during school holidays and creating productions for young people. It’s been a long-term dream for us. So young people can access national quality productions.’

NORPA shows are now all on sale: norpa.org.au. The last words are from Julian: ‘Come to the theatre. Come laugh and cry with us.’

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