La Boite’s 90th Birthday Ball
Friday July 31 2015
La Boite is a story of people, passion, purpose and place.
People like Barbara Sisley, who in 1916 found herself stranded in Brisbane when her theatrical touring company unexpectedly disbanded. She along with literature academic J. J. Stable formed the Brisbane Repertory Theatre Society in 1925 in response to the public’s growing appetite for high quality, locally-produced theatre. For twenty years, Sisley and Stable reigned supreme in Brisbane’s theatrical community.
After decades of moving between large venues such as the Theatre Royal and Albert Hall, in 1967 the company finally found a home of its own.
Company members (including Muriel Watson, pictured left) converted an old Queenslander in Hale St, Milton into a theatre-in-the-round. Hollowed out, the house had the appearance of a box and the name ‘La Boite’ was born. In 1972, the company moved next door to the Blair Wilson designed theatre, which so many remember with such fondness. This remained home for three decades, before the move to our current Roundhouse Theatre in Kelvin Grove.
La Boite has survived two World Wars, censorship, public outrage, politically-charged programming, changing tastes, floods and the constant flirting with failure that comes with walking the tightrope between risk and certainty.
To celebrate their 90th birthday, La Boite gathered hundreds of programs, posters and paraphernalia in a special online archive. Play your part by donating past programs, images, articles and uploading your personal anecdotes from La Boite’s eventful history. As the archive evolves, everyone will be able to search for their favourite production or fondest memory. Go to 90years.laboite.com.au to make your contribution.
Thanks to La Boite and the company’s Artistic Director, Todd MacDonald, we celebrated on Friday night in the space outside the theatre, under a spacious marquee, ninety years to the day after La Boite’s story was brought to life. Incredibly, I didn’t manage to actually get into the theatre or behind the green door and into the speakeasy, where there were cocktails to be had! At some point, early in the night, all the champagne was gone and for a little while the one goal was to get to the cocktail bar behind the green door! But there were too many friends to stop and talk to along the way so you will have to ask others about the vibe and the drinks offered in the speakeasy space. #missionfail
A combination of official formal proceedings, quirky performances from some of our faves, and the perfect set up for chance encounters and casual conversations made it a fantastic evening, fitting of the special occasion. We joined the masses using Uber and could have come from The Valley or Tenneriffe on our special occasion new member credit, however, I’d booked Rydges Southbank for the weekend, making our first Uber experience short and very sweetly priced! We love Rydges, they always look after us, and we enjoyed a stunning full-moon-over-the-river view, buffet breakfasts and a lazy Sunday morning after another late night, soaking up some sunshine in Soleil Pool Bar. With the added joys of a late check-out, and Southbank and its night noodle markets (part of good food month) right across the road, it was very hard to leave. #noodlemarkets
La Boite 90th Birthday Ball images by Paul Sickling. See more on Facebook
Insta images by XS Entertainment