Chasing the Whale opens tonight on the Gold Coast!

Chasing the Whale

The Arts Centre Gold Coast with Artists in Residence Soapbox Theatre Productions presents

Chasing The Whale by Matthew Ryan

Directed by Jessica Westhead

Jerry Daniels is falling apart. 
Haunted by his own ad campaigns, Jerry struggles to keep his perfect world together.
But when you lock your life in a briefcase, don’t be surprised the day it wants out. 

Chasing the Whale is a surreal award-winning comedy and theatrical feast from Matt Ryan, the writer of Boy Girl Wall.

Chasing the Whale

Last week, we attended a special preview event for Chasing the Whale at the Arts Centre, with Soapbox Theatre Productions and invited guests.

There are a couple of things I’d like to mention about that evening. The first is that apparently, some of the invited guests didn’t show. Of course there were some who had politely declined the invitation well in advance and apologised for being pre-committed that evening and therefore unable to attend. And there were those who obviously felt bad at the last minute, sent a brief text message or Facebook message to inform somebody putting together a preview night for a major production who had time to check last minute messages, that they would not be in attendance.

I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know, as I always am in these circumstances, that no one was dying.

And there were some who just didn’t show.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. QTC Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch, who certainly has his social media sorted, posted on Facebook a similar thought the very day I was pondering this problem of old fashioned manners gone AWOL. You see, I threw a little party on the weekend and not only did I receive late text messages from friends who had decided not to stop by, I was disappointed days earlier to have not received any response at all from others. Did I follow up with annoying phone calls, sms messages and Facebook messages to chase people up for their RSVP? No. I knew I would have there the friends we were supposed to have there and I was right. It was a lovely night and we raised some money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to boot. I’ll follow this up in a future post because I notice it happening more and more often in the theatre too but in the meantime, let’s all try harder to actually get to where we say we’ll go and if it’s not possible or you can’t be bothered to stop by after all, let the host know and they’ll know to think twice about inviting you again. I know I have to get better at the early declines because Sam and I are usually triple-booked and sometimes it is simply impossible to be everywhere. But I have to say, we get to most things, even if it’s just to drop in, make an appearance and wish the host well before we’re due to be somewhere else. You will have noticed that last week, we SPLIT UP so we could honour our RSVPs to both La Boite AND ACPA opening nights.

A simple RSVP or an early apology is a show of good manners and genuine respect for the person or company hosting the event. Don’t you think?

The other thing I will say about our evening with Soapbox Theatre Productions is that it was delightful! These kids know how to put on a show, y’all! I hope this season sells out because Matt Ryan has written an awesome script that is so funny and surprising you’ll want to go back and see it a second time WITH FRIENDS! If you’re on the Other Coast, as we are, this is one to make the effort for. Take the trip, stay the night somewhere (or drive home at a ridiculous hour as we often do because there is school or gymnastics or swimming or a coffee date or a champagne breakfast or something the next morning that we are committed to), and enjoy an evening with this dynamo young company and their stellar production of Chasing the Whale.

What’s that? You didn’t know Soapbox Theatre Productions were there, on the Gold Coast?

Soapbox have in the past, been sticklers for the classics with their main stage productions featuring Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and more recently, Louis Nowra’s Cosi also staged at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.  This year, they’re trying something new.

So who is this Matthew Ryan fellow, and why are Gold Coast audiences being encouraged to chase a whale?

Chasing the Whale (originally titled The Dance of Jeremiah) made its premiere in 2005 with Brisbane’s La Boite Theatre Company starring Hayden Spencer.  Soapbox will be the first production company to stage this revised version of the popular Queensland play that bagged several awards including 2005 winner of Queensland Theatre Company’s 2000 George Landen Dann Award and was heavily nominated all round for the 2005 Matilda Awards after its La Boite Season.

Ryan is certainly the writer in demand; his play The Harbinger (which he also directed) with The Dead Puppets Society enjoyed a highly successful season at La Boite Indie, Boy Girl Wallwhich he co wrote (and directed) has recently wrapped a national tour, while The Queensland Theatre Company staged his latest work, Kellyin September.

So how does this multi talented artist feel about a Gold Coast Company taking on his work?

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity re-writing Chasing the Whale for Soapbox and I can’t wait to see them premiere the new ideas and content” says Ryan.  “I started out performing at Spotlight Theatre, Gold Coast Little Theatre and Javeenbah Theatre. The wonderful Gold Coast audiences and theatre-makers taught me my most valuable lessons about the stage and I can’t wait for them to see this play. This is a story about the pressure to succeed, set in a city on the ocean. Who could understand that better than the GC?”

So who’s in it, you ask?

Stephen Hirst

Sarah Kennedy

Garth Ledwidge

James Odenbreit

Kim Stewart

When is it?

Date: 1-4 and 6-10 November

Time: 7:30pm (Sundays 5:00pm)

Where is it all happening?

Venue: The Space, The Arts Centre Gold Coast

Will we be reviewing it?

Of course! But we’re unable to attend on opening night (Soapbox know because we’ve already told them), so we’re sending Craig and Lisa. Keep an eye out for their review after opening night tomorrow night! Will you be there?

Bookings: 07 5588 4000


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