Tuesday 16 February 2016 marks the celebration of Victoria’s annual Theatre Day, but here at AussieTheatre.com we are lowkey pulling for the event to be celebrated nationwide. (#theatreday2016)
Coinciding each year with the announcement of the Green Room Awards and originally negotiated between the Melbourne City Council and Blair Edgar (the founder of the Green Room Awards) way back in 1987, Theatre Day has been described as a day to “[…] honour all those who derive their living from the Theatre.”
This means all theatre workers both on AND off the stage. As the official proclamation states: “artists, musicians, the Craftspeople… Stage Crews, the Managements, the Publicists, the Media and the staff of every theatre enterprise” should be sharing in the celebrations!
With Australian theatre jumping from strength at the moment, we are currently in a position where our audiences and professionals have banded together to make our scene a massive success. Today feels like the perfect time to take a step back and to see how truly lucky we are to have such a thriving theatre community Australia-wide.
Some personal highlights from our theatre scene so far in 2016:
- The talent levels of our professional musical theatre actors are so insane that half the Australian cast of Les Miserables have jumped on a plane and joined international productions of the show. This indicates that our professional training and lived experiences produce talent to keep the entire world happy, or possibly sad, depending on how distraught the show makes you.
- Australian-made Strictly Ballroom: The Musical will make its way to the West End super soon, and King Kong managed to hook Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman as part of their re-vamped creative team before an eventual Broadway run. Although both shows had their problems, such large-scale productions created many jobs for Aussie theatre workers and the legacy of the original shows will live on. No matter the changes, Strictly and Kong will go on to be the Hemsworth Brothers of musicals, something we can constantly claim ownership of because it was born here.
- Speaking of new works and being born here, many of our upcoming new musical theatre composers are stepping up to the plate and making their own opportunities. Rather than merely competing with each other, NMT composers and professionals like Hedger & Nicholson are providing opportunities for new musical theatre to be tested in front of keen audiences through events and online endeavours such as Home Grown. New Musicals Australia and Hayes Theatre Co are doing fantastic work in offering the space in our country to workshop new work, and Matthew Lee Robinson is killing it representing us overseas.
- NSW and Victoria refuse to call it quits and are still trading punches in the “Theatre Capital” debate by booking massive productions annually. The plane tickets are wreaking havoc on my bank account, but as long as the standard of theatre produced remains competitive I’m pretty okay with how things are working out.
- International talent refuse to stop booking concerts here. Between Alan, Idina, Bernadette, Kristen, Aaron, Sutton, Audra, Schwartz… Honestly, Australia is the place to bring a solo theatre act right now, and audiences are loving it.
- Moving back to the Hayes, we finally seem to have found a company that is willing to champion a younger audience and produce content that has been largely missing from the Australian stage. Between companies like the Hayes (and all the production groups they support) plus StageArt, Squabbalogic, Pursued by Bear, etc., the content we see in Australia is diversifying and that can only be a good thing.
- Still not sure how it happened, but our country was chosen to trial amateur Wicked. That’s a pretty bloody massive tick of approval for our community theatre groups.
- There’s definitely other amazing stuff happening in Australian theatre right now, but I’m too excited by Theatre Day to write any more. @mention or # us somewhere if we missed something massive and you need to yell about it. @AussieTheatre #TheatreDay2016
Today is a day where the theatre fan inside you should feel welcome to go nuts. Blast the crap out of Hamilton, make theatre references until your friends literally consider strangling you, make sure to thank the staff at whatever show you might be seeing tonight, and rep’ your people with pride.
We should be proud that Australian theatre and the people who support it have the chance to stand in the spotlight today. We have earned this celebration, and it’s time to recognise our hard work, whether that be on the stage or slogging away at our nine to five jobs saving up for a theatre ticket.