Getting things right: Barbara Lowing – (Interview 11)

If Barbara Lowing is in a show, you know your night in the theatre is going to be a good one. I love her work, for which, incidentally, she’s won a stack of acting awards. I note from her C-V that she was the first Queensland graduate of WAAPA (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts). Apart from being a director-teacher and a terrific photographer, she’s also great company, so it’s good to catch up with her for lunch last week. Barb’s in Toowoomba rehearsing for the Empire Theatre Projects Company (EPC) production of April’s Fool by David Burton, directed by Lewis Jones.

This production marks a lot of firsts for the EPC: the first fully professional show, the first to tour – it opens in Oakey this week, then Chinchilla, Dalby, Ipswich and a city season in Brisbane at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts. April’s Fool is possibly also the first-ever home-grown play about a real-life event in the city, the death of a young man, Kristjan Terauds in April 2009 from the complications following illicit drug use.

Director Lewis Jones heard of the events from mutual friends of the Terauds. His bringing of the story to the stage has been done with the full cooperation of Kristjan’s parents and extended family. The play also offers the perspective of other characters in the play – friends, observers – some of whom take varying points of view. ‘It’s didactic but never melodramatic,’ Barb adds. ‘Lewis and David have structured the text so there’s no sense of lecturing ever.’

We chat about the way the EPC production team have been working on what has turned out to be a verbatim theatre piece researched and scripted by Dave Burton and which the company has created from the ground up. Material has been drawn from interviews with friends, family and others associated with the event which is not yet 18 months old. The play’s action spans the 6 days following Kristjan’s death, in which his family attempted to come to terms with that most terrible of experiences for a parent, their child’s death. Whilst some names have been altered, all characters are ‘real’ and there’s not a word in the play, Barb tells me, that hasn’t been taken from interview transcripts, or from the diary which David Terauds (Kristjan’s father) kept during the event – as his book of solace, I imagine.  Continue reading Getting things right: Barbara Lowing – (Interview 11)

This Week in Queensland Theatre: August 9-15

Metro Arts facade
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

Further details on company websites

Opening:
April’s Fool by David Burton Dir Lewis Jones for Empire Theatre Projects Company (Oakey Cultural Centre)

Continuing:
The Secret Love Life of Ophelia by Steven Berkoff Dir Brenna-Lee Cooney at !Metro Arts
Boy Girl Wall for The Escapists, created and performed by Lucas Stibbard at !Metro Arts
I Love You Bro’ by Adam J Cass Dir David Berthold for La Boite Theatre at the Roundhouse (closes Sunday)


Empire Theatre Projects Company: April’s Fool (season)

Black Toyota presents an Empire Theatre Project Company production of

April’s Fool

12&13 August – 8pm Oakey Cultural Centre
17 August, Chinchilla Cultural Centre
18 August, Great Hall, Dalby High School
19 August, Ipswich Civic Centre
24-26 August, Judith Wright Centre

A true story of love, family, strength…and the choices we make. In April 2009, twoweeks short of his nineteenth birthday, Toowoomba teenager Kristjan Terauds died due to complications from illicit drug use.

Inspired by ‘April’s Fool’, an account of his son’s death by Kristjan’s father, the Empire Theatre commissioned award-winning playwright, David Burton to bring this story to the stage.

The best job in the world … Lewis Jones (Interview 6)

Everything’s coming up roses for the Empire Theatre right now.  Lewis Jones and I are having lunch at Encores, the very smart little restaurant attached to Toowoomba’s iconic theatre.  As is fitting for the Garden City on the Range, we can see gardenias and overflowing beds of gorgeous pink and white roses just outside the floor-to-ceiling open windows.  There’s a crisp autumn breeze, a touch of rain, but there’s no dampening of enthusiasm when Lewis talks about EPC, the Empire Theatre Projects Company – he’s its Artistic Director.  The Empire goes well with the roses; it’s a beautifully restored art deco building that is justifiably the pride of the city.  Lewis is clearly relishing his job at the helm of EPC.  Since his appointment in 2008, his task has been to establish a company to work with and reflect the community of Queensland’s Darling Downs region.

‘Friends in Brisbane ask me, How are things up there? and they think I’m joking when I say, I have the best job in the world.  I really do.’  I’m keen to hear why he thinks working in a regional city trumps a similar job in a metropolitan centre.  It seems to be all about opportunity, and it’s all positive.

Continue reading The best job in the world … Lewis Jones (Interview 6)