28 June 2023

Lights, camera, action! Queanbeyan theatre group plans for the future after COVID-19

| Claire Sams
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Cast members from a previous production of ‘Downtown: The Mod Musical’.

Cast members from a previous production of Downtown: The Mod Musical. Photo: Queanbeyan Players Inc./Facebook.

You enjoy going to the theatre and watching a live performance, but have you thought about what behind-the-scenes work takes place before the curtain rises on opening night?

Queanbeyan Players president Jen Hinton has put the call out for people to send in their ideas for an October 2024 show, as the group looks to build its post-COVID schedule.

“We usually solicit for proposals each year, but the pandemic caused a backlog of shows, I guess is how you would say it,” she said.

“We had quite a few shows that got delayed due to lockdown, so we kept them on the back burner.

“As we’ve been able to stand them up and stage them, we can now look towards future shows,” Ms Hinton said.

The amateur community theatre company is based in Queanbeyan and stages several productions a year.

Two are held at Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre (also known as The Q) and the group also put on a Christmas carols concert at the Bicentennial Hall in Queanbeyan (The B), and for the past two years they have been holding a smaller production at Belconnen Community Theatre.

“We’re a community not-for-profit, so everyone’s a volunteer,” she said.

“It feels like they’re spaced out, but it can feel like they roll into each other at times.

“There’s constantly rehearsals and planning and things like that that happen in between all of those shows.”

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Ms Hinton said the group could also provide a proposal template to those looking to get involved.

“If we’re able to lock a show in about a year out, that’s generally enough planning time that you can really get yourself set up for success before your rehearsal period starts.

“You’d usually rehearse for three to four months, anyway, but there’s things like set design, props planning, auditions to be done as well.”

For productions intended to be held at The Q, Ms Hinton said that while they tended to be bigger productions due to the size of the venue, that was not “set in stone”.

“In terms of the type of productions we want, we’re really open to see the sort of proposals come in.

“We’re looking for strong visions and clear ideas of what the production will involve,” Ms Hinton said.

“We’re also open to strong artistic choices as well, that may not necessarily sell as well but we see as a real opportunity to put on something different.”

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Even though a production involves many people acting in many roles, Ms Hinton said there was support if someone new to the world of theatre needed a bit of extra help.

“We’ve got choreographers, musical directors, directors, production managers and stage managers within our committee, and we’re always willing to ask our own networks.

“We’ve had production teams that have been quite green, and we’ve supported them, as well as productions from experienced old hats.”

An application must include the show’s title, a brief summary, information and characters, who the production team is, why the show has been chosen and information on how the show would be held.

“We’ve been really lucky over the last few years and have had a lot of successful shows in a row,” Ms Hinton said.

“We go out to the community and, if there are people interested in putting on a show or being involved with us, this is their chance to get in touch.

“We’re really open to whatever people come up with – we’re really excited to hear what people come back to us with.”

Proposals must be submitted via email to Queanbeyan Players Incorporated by 31 August 2023.

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