Queensland Theatre Company launched their 2012 season yesterday. Yes, on a Sunday and on a Sunday that I had already booked…with the first of our final rehearsals for Dancing With the Local Stars. I was devastated to miss QTC’s official 2012 season launch and I even stomped my feet on the lovely new studio floor when the tweets and Facebook check-ins started taking over my Hootsuite feeds…but, boy oh boy, you should see my dancers now! What a fantastic little group of talented, dedicated and absolutely passionate people they are! They are doing it all for nothing – all proceeds raised go to our Sunshine Coast Hear & Say Centre – and they have been working really hard, not only at the fundraising but at polishing the dances so the audience is thoroughly entertained. Yesterday, of course, we had to step it up another notch! With just five more sleeps, we had to raise the stakes! Todd McKenney will be there for god’s sake! They responded well and I’m very proud of them! Also, I’m in awe of their dance partners (a number of Sunshine Coast and Brisbane dance teachers), who have choreographed the numbers, taught their celebrity dance partners the steps and put them through their paces for the last few weeks. Check out the Facebook page for pics and more details about the event. Working with such professional artists makes my job easy!
Anyway, I digress. But I don’t apologise for doing so because this is exactly what happens every single day of my life. We are so busy that there is no single focus. So much is happening here (the blog is looking a little neglected, I know; you only know about half of what we’re up to) that I’ve even had to get Sam multi-tasking. I know! On any given day, we are each working our day job as well as reading, conceptualising, negotiating, directing, casting, managing or producing something new for somebody. Not to mention keeping up with their social media because, as some smarter businesses are finally starting to realise, somebody needs to be doing it! But no wonder we never get a funding application in for ourselves! A friend, who really knows her astrology, says I will never focus on doing just one thing. I’m not supposed to…I’m a Sagittarius. Another friend, who really knows palms, says I’m here this time just for fun. On. This. Earth. For. Fun. I must have worked bloody hard in a previous life! I thank you.
Anyway, lucky for me, Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch and his team, saw the value of inviting the punters (and the actors) in for an open forum the following evening, in order to discuss the season. Not much discussion was had during the presentation itself (and although questions were asked and answered, I had to wonder at the “forum” part; a slightly more structured Q & A session would have really gotten people talking). The bulk of the conversation was in fact being had before and after the event, over drinks. Of course, across social media, the conversation never ends!
I’d already decided to live-tweet the launch. Having read Insider Marketing’s interesting piece (and the comments accompanying it on Facebook) and having been in talks recently with a lot of people about audiences (on the Sunshine Coast, in Sydney and in Brisbane), I was already very interested in how this new season of plays would be sold to subscribers and “new” audiences. Also, because I think that live-tweeting is something that’s not quite happening enough when the obvious realm in which to explore this groovy marketing tool is the theatre. I spoke briefly with Kathryn Fray (Subscriptions) about live-tweeting the shows and events and it’s a really controversial issue! Not that Kath has any concerns about it but, for example, at the launch, a friend who is a journalist was asked repeatedly to stop tweeting because the glow of the iPhone was giving some woman a migraine! WTF? MOVE! And, with Pygmalion upcoming, which is the play that inspired My Fair Lady, it might be more appropriate, though entirely, unashamedly re-contextualised, to shout at such an ignoramus, “MOVE YOUR BLOOMIN’ ARSE!” Look, it’s so gorgeous and Melanie Zanetti looks SO elegant and Audrey in the poster for Pygmalion, we are going to stop and enjoy the entire My Fair Lady race scene again, right here, right now. Go on. You’ll love it and then you’ll want to book your tix for Pygmalion online immediately after!
I’m also excited about David Williamson’s Managing Carmen, Dario Fo’s Elizabeth, Matt Ryan’s Kelly and a brand new take on Romeo and Juliet. I’m keen to see what comes of Wesley’s positive, affirmative, action-packed leadership and I’m intrigued with the shape the Greenhouse might take (it’s replacing the Studio season and making the Bille Brown Studio the place where the “artists can get their hands dirty”. It will offer workshops, master classes and creative development for new works, not to mention a youth theatre, eventually, in some shape or form, focusing on training and mentorships, in the tradition of the Associate Artists program). 2012 at QTC seems to be all about the relationships and – not to throw all my uni words on you at once but – all about welcoming, enticing, seducing audiences, engaging them and making connections with them so they feel not only a part of that theatre community in the stalls (or the gallery or the cheap seats or wherever) for the duration of the piece but also, as they leave, they feel a part of something that is the wider community and that community is one that has theatre – art (living, breathing, able to move us and revive us art) – at its heart.
Isn’t she stunning?!
As far as selling the season goes (and I asked specifically about the Greenhouse season, made up of largely unknown works presented within a largely unidentifiable structure), Wesley implored us to engage our networks, to get the word of mouth happening and unashamedly use our own circles and contacts to promote the good work that’s being done. I think Brisbane creatives are more supportive of each other than they care to admit. But I don’t want to give up my sources either so we’ll hope that the mutual admiration society (and communication rather than that uneasy sense of competition we were beginning to feel there for a while) continues to foster relationships amongst the artists.
The other thing I’m interested in watching is how QTC get on with utilising their social media for optimum results. The trick will be, now that the company has established a strong presence online, to connect with people in a way that elicits heartfelt responses.
How have you responded to the season? What do you think? What are you talking about? What will you be seeing? Is there anything there that doesn’t interest you? Why is that?
To view the entire season and to book tix go to the website. Actually, this links to Wesley’s blog on the website and I thought you should read it. Not every AD is able to connect with his audiences so genuinely and I think that will be a big part of QTC’s resurgence/revival/rebirth in 2012.
To read the tweets from Sunday’s launch and from Monday’s forum search #qtc2012
To read my feed from the forum follow me on Twitter
At some stage, I’ll have to fill you in on the rest of Dancing With the Local Stars, our show at the Sydney Children’s Festival, The Book of Everything, 10 000 Beers, The Book Into The Fire, Dance Edge Studios and the rest of it, including long overdue #ATF links and the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival forum topics and reviews!
Did you know that my Skype student, Elisabeth, is one of our new Jane Banks in Mary Poppins?
Did you know that our work experience student, Libby, was the last Queenslander in the final Sydney auditions for the new Young Talent Time?
Did you know my sister has really gone and run away with the circus this time? She and the husband and the three children are currently in Russia with Saltimbanco!
Did you know that Wolfe Bowart will be at The Events Centre in the morning, with his show, The Man the Sea Saw? I missed it in Sydney and I haven’t been asked to review it up here so Poppy and I are going just for FUN! WHEEEEEEEEEE!