1200 crowd in for Canberra Theatre launch

Charlotte 23 October 2015
Canberra Theatre

There’s something wrong with the picture below (taken at the 2016 season launch at the Canberra Theatre tonight).

Canberra Theatre crowd

Can you spot the problem?

I’ll give you a clue. I pushed my way through hundreds of people to grab a glass of champagne and a polystyrene cup filled with penne alla Norma, circling the room twice, yet I never spotted you.

You weren’t there, were you?

That’s right, the problem is, you missed one of the best parties this year because, well, I don’t know. Why weren’t you there? Nearly 1200 other Canberrans made it. Perhaps you’re not on the mailing list for the Canberra Theatre? You’re not subscriber? Well you probably should be! Look into it before this time next year.

Here’s some of what you missed:


You also missed a stack of delicious canapés served by a bunch of beautiful people who work for Food to go, the catering arm of Tosolini’s. We ate them so quickly there was no time to take photos.

But most importantly you missed out on an exclusive preview of the theatre’s program for next year including video interviews on the big screen with author of Mao’s Last Dancer Li Cunxin, Wentworth star Pamela Rabe, international award-winning playwright Alana Valentine, comedian Jean Kittson and The Wharf Revue’s political satirists, Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott, fresh from having to completely rewrite their show in a matter of hours when Malcolm Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott.

The inspirational yet incredibly down-to-earth Li Cunxin was talking about the Queensland Ballet production of The Nutcracker (November 2016), for which he is creative director, and The Peasant Prince (June 4, 2016), an adaptation of the children’s book about his journey from poverty in rural China to becoming one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. There are post-show Q&As for both.

Pamela Rabe stars in the Belvoir production of The Glass Menagerie, which collected two Helpmann Awards in 2015, for Best Play and Best Actress. I wasn’t that interested, having yawned through it at school, but Rabe won me over. She raved about this particular production of the play, which comes to the Playhouse from May 3-7 next year.

Alana Valentine has spent some serious time in Canberra lately researching her latest play, Letters to Lindy, which is based on the 20,000 or so emails Lindy Chamberlain has received over the years since a dingo took her baby, Azaria, and which are housed in the National Library. Valentine has also interviewed Chamberlain on a couple of occasions. I’m locking in the post-show Q&A on August 11, 2016 now.

Jean Kittson was talking Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, one of four productions on the schedule at this stage that will appeal to Canberra’s kids (and those of us who have never outgrown plays for children).


Other highlights of the program include late February/early March’s La Clique in the Spiegeltent (think magic, burlesque, acrobatics and song in a tent composed of polished wood, antique stained glass and cunningly positioned mirrors and constructed in Civic Square); in early March, Shake & Stir Theatre Co’s Wuthering Heights (sumptuous, haunting, wet); in late May, the musical Little Shop of Horrors (hilarious and a little bit scary); in early June, contemporary Australian drama Things I Know to Be True by the playwright responsible for The Secret River and Lantana; in late June, the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ayad Akhtar play Disgraced, which examines contemporary attitudes to religion; and Extinction, by Hotel Sorrento creator Hannie Rayson and directed by film director and producer Nadia Tass (Malcolm, Matching Jack), in late July. It’s a play about a man who runs over a tiger quoll, embroiling himself in a story about love, sex, money, power and global warming.

There are eight more I haven’t even mentioned, most of which I’d also like to go to. If you can afford a season ticket, do it. You can pay in two instalments, one now and one in April. You’ll receive discount dining vouchers for Civic restaurants, priority booking for shows and the chance to mingle with the stars and crew if you book in on gala opening nights. It’s also up to $10 cheaper on a per ticket basis, with concessions and further savings for under-30s available.

See Collected Works 2016 on the Canberra Theatre website for more information and bookings.

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