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Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

Interview with director/choreographer Maureen Bowra, of Menopause The Musical

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Menopause The Musical at The Byron Centre

For those about to sweat, we salute you! 

For those who are cranky, hot and sweaty, and those who have to live with them, Menopause The Musical might just be the care package you need to get you through ‘the change’. The show is coming to Byron at the end of the month and Seven caught up with director/choreographer Maureen Bowra to see how her hormones were hangin’. 

Are any of the women in the cast menopausal? How is that working out for you? Is there any eye-gouging during rehearsals? 

Maybe the saying should be, ‘never work with kids, animals or menopausal women’. Just kidding! They’re all in various stages of their journey. They have been amazing to work with, despite all the added challenges of changing hormones. 

Is it okay to laugh about our hormones, or lack thereof? 

Laughter is definitely allowed, and encouraged! The characters these women are portraying are extremely relatable. This show goes there… like, really goes there, and requires a lot of bravery from our performers.

Do you think this show is educational for those who don’t know about menopause? 

Oh absolutely. I remember years ago accidentally pushing my mum’s buttons and asking what was wrong with her. She, in the midst of a raging hot flush, yelled at me, ‘It’s called menopause Maureen, look it up!’ I would have loved to have been taken along to a performance that made clear what my mum was dealing with; I definitely wouldn’t have been such a jerk to her. I think it gives our unwitting ‘victims’ an excellent insight and perhaps a lot more empathy for their mums, wives, friends. Some women find it hard to speak into what they’re going through so a show like this is an excellent conversation launching-pad.

What has been the most challenging aspect of the show for you?

Our rehearsal process for this production is really, really intense. Not only are we dealing with a whole 90-minute script to learn (plus all the songs and tricky choreography) but having to do all of that while working through hot flushes, brain fog, tears and stress, exhaustion from insomnia… the list goes on! When we got to the end of rehearsals and realised we had a show on our hands it was a miracle. I applaud the cast wholeheartedly for their tenacity and determination!

What has been the highlight?

Spending time with and learning from these beautiful women. They’ve all become like my mums/sisters who are so generous with their time and wisdom. Plus they are massive party animals – see if you can catch them in a bar after the show.

What do you hope is the big takeaway from the show?

When you’re in that theatre and hear hundreds of other people laughing along with the same things as you that it really connects us and reminds us that we’re not going through ‘The Change’ alone. So reach out to someone and have a chat, have a laugh and remember that this is all just part of the rich tapestry of life – and invest in a good vibrator! 

Menopause The Musical® will play four shows including a matinee from 30 August 30 till 1 September at the Byron Theatre. Tickets byroncentre.com.au.

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