Woah! What a huge week!
Nelle, Judy, Nick and I arrived in Emerald on Tuesday morning to be greeted by our crew – Shauno, Scotty and Gilly at the airport, each with an Hawaiian lay in hand for the cast – thanks gents! After an embarrassing initiation ceremony in the middle of the luggage collection area and a few odd looks from the locals we grabbed our bags (each weighing 3 kilos less than the national leg of the tour – we learnt our lesson). We quickly met our new tour vehicles – Bessie (the Hyundai imax) and Borris (the 3T Mitsubshi Fumo) both aptly named by the crew. It was then time to hit the road – first stop – Capella.
With the cast and Shauno travelling in Bessie and Gilly and Scotty following in the truck, we rely on walkie-talkies to converse on the road – giving each other updates, road directions and taking travel games to a new level. ‘I Spy’, ‘Would You Rather’ and ‘Hey Cow’ – will never be the same again.
Bessie to Borris – over.
We arrive in Capella and check into our accommodation. After having a chat with the Motel’s talking Cockatoo (who could only say ‘Hello’), Nick, Nelle and I set up our portable shake & stir office in Nelle’s room while the crew head to the theatre to bump-in for tomorrow’s 10am performance.
After a few hours office work and checking in with Ash, Sam and Mike (our awesome School’s Touring crew – who had their first day of term 3 touring in Brisbane), the crew return with bump-in complete.
We had a great night as an entire company, having dinner and a few bevies at the town’s only restaurant – and what a restaurant it was! We’re talking steaks the size of your head and a couple of bottles of Capella’s finest. It was very nice to have the co back together – spirits are high for the first regional QLD leg of the tour.
We wake early Wednesday morning for a 9.00am call for a 10.00am show. The show was a hit with the mostly student audience – some students travelling a few hours to get to Capella Cultural Centre. The show was quickly followed by a will2shake workshop with 50 students – the cast were very impressed with the enthusiasm of every student. While the cast led the workshop the crew bumped out and in an hour we were ready to hit the road once again – next stop – Nebo!
Not too much going on in Nebo – it’s a prime cattle town and a service centre for all of the nearby mines. Once again, the co enjoyed dinner with the locals at the only restaurant in the town – and you guessed it – steaks all round!
Another great night with the company – we all hung out in my room for some communal TV viewing (that new renovation show had us hooked) and at midnight it was time for bed. An epic day awaits.
We pull into the Glenden Recreational Centre at 11.00am on Thursday and lucky we watched the reno shows last night as we had 5 hours to transform the local gym/crèche/drop in centre into a fully functioning theatre! All hands on deck as we pulled out everything from the truck for the first time in our 2-month tour thus far. Most venues we have travelled to have their own pre-rigged lights and equipment and we only need to use our special lighting and set – however some of the smaller regional towns we are now visiting require us to BYO everything! It is a very rewarding feeling “bringing the magic of theatre” to these smaller communities.
We couldn’t resist playing with a few of the crèche’s toys during our break however.
We were set and ready to go for our 7.00pm performance and the space looked brilliant – our crew are awesome! Quick company shot on stage and then – show time.
Another very well received show with an audience of over 150 (we had to hold the show for 10 minutes while the local presenter brought out more chairs!). Straight after the show – the crew got to work bumping out and it was the cast’s turn (the crew went prior to the show) to visit the Miner’s Mess – a cafeteria-style restaurant open from 4.00am – 10.00pm every day to feed the hundreds of miners that work in Glenden. It was intense – think Sizzler x 3. The food was amazing! Chicken Teriyaki, steamed fish, roast lamb/beef/potatoes, soups, lamb hot pots, vegies, salads, cheeses, fruit, cold and hot desserts – tea and coffee and milo. After such a huge travel/bump-in/show/bump-out day is was great to see so much glorious food!
Friday – Moranbah here we come! We arrive nice an early – the crew go straight to the theatre and the cast settle into the accom. Nick, Nelle and I steal some time to touch base with our office in Brisbane – catch up on emails etc… Nick and Judy head to the theatre to run our will2shake workshop with a smaller bunch of very passionate students (and teachers). Nelle and I join them at the theatre and we are ready to go for the 7.30pm performance. Again, our sincere thanks to Shaun, Scott and Gilly – the space looked incredible!
We loved Moranba. The venue had a great pre and post show function happening in the foyer – with live music, drinks and finger food. There was a heart-warming sense of community and we felt so lucky to be a part of it.
The cast and crew were also invited to a home cooked dinner post show provided by the local arts council reps as an added cherry on top. Bon appetitio!
After a swift bump out – and a quick company catch up back at the accom (this time in Gilly’s room) we were off to bed, feeling very satisfied with our first week of performances. Tomorrow is a travel day – a big drive from Moranbah to Townsville, stopping for lunch in Mackay so Nick can drop in and visit his Grandma. Awwwwww!
And that brings us to Sunday – currently a perfect 22 degrees in Townsville for a day off. The company takes advantage of needed rest – heading to the shops (Gilly, Nick, Judy and myself seized the moment and bought thongs – after all – Cairns is just around the corner) cafes on Palmer Street and a ferry to Magnetic Island for an arvo of sun and surf. Life’s tough.
We are all looking forward to jumping into week 2 – next stop Ayr followed by Cairns and Mission Beach.