Getting on …

With a few notable exceptions – !Metro Arts in Edward Street, The Roundhouse at Kelvin Grove, and the Judith Wright Centre in the Valley – most of the major theatre premises in Brisbane have been damaged in some way as a direct result of the incursion of floodwaters last week. Fixtures and fittings and stock, costumes, props and tools have been destroyed.  Some theatres are planning to reopen again today and continue their business; others will be dark for some time. Performances have been cancelled or postponed.

For those theatre buildings directly affected by the flooding, especially those by the river – QPAC and Queensland Theatre Company‘s home at 78 Montague Road – the task of just wading in and cleaning up was daunting. They weren’t the only places affected, of course. Many, for example, turned out to help Drift Restaurant at Milton, a favourite spot for indie cabaret-style shows.

Mud Tracks: Bille Brown Studio floor

However, this weekend – the first of many perhaps in The Big Cleanup – saw huge numbers of volunteers turn out to clean up the mess. One of the media channels clocked 22,000 volunteers in Brisbane alone on Saturday. The arts community rallied around too, and signed up in response to registers set up online by Harvest Rain Theatre Company and as an ‘event’ the Flood Recovery Working Bee – which quickly became ‘The Big Wash’ – on Facebook at Queensland Theatre Company.

Industrial strength cleaning products in hand, dozens and dozens of gumbooted artists, creatives and their audiences – the Mud Army – came together with a common purpose. The enemy was the putrid mud which had found its way into every nook and cranny. As they able-bodied pumped then fire-hosed and swept and shovelled and stacked destroyed things on the footpaths, others fired up portable barbecues or dropped off home-baked treats for the workers. Hearts were sore, but spirits high.

Shows at QPAC have been postponed or cancelled, and those companies which are mid-rehearsal and flood-affected are going to have to find alternative rehearsal spaces. Typical of their generosity, other more fortunate companies have offered their own premises. The year’s plans for many will need revamping. Recovery could take years.

Sobering times, and companies will need your support as never before. Please give what you can to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

These pictures, taken by Amelia Dowd at yesterday’s big cleanup at Queensland Theatre Company, poignantly capture the aftermath of Brisbane’s biggest flood since 1974.
You can find more pictures of the Brisbane flood and its aftermath on Amelia’s Flickr page: thealphafemale

Check details of ongoing performances from affected companies. Most have notices on their websites, and have already indicated their intention of notifying ticket holders of shows due to play at this time e.g., Wicked and Aladdin at QPAC

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One thought on “Getting on …”

  1. So closely behind the immediate thoughts of loss (of decades worth of sets, costumes, props, technical equipment, archives and dreams) comes the brainstorming of how to rebuild/recover and reignite. THAT is what makes my heart sing.
    For those who can’t lift, bend or pull their way through the rebuild, they too can make what some would say is the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE.
    Open your wallet, get a group of friends together and BUY SOME TICKETS. We can clean and rebuild until venues shine, but unless people continue to experience the passion of live theatre/music, the industry will truly struggle.
    Support your local shops, once shelves are restocked and the doors flung open. Support your local theatres just the same.

    Megan Shorey
    (Joymas Creative – AD)

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