Let the drama begin...
The Northern Rivers has its own professional theatre company – which is quite a cultural luxury for a regional area.
But we’re lucky here on the Northern Rivers.
Last Friday, Norpa held its 2010 season launch at Lismore City Hall – and the auditorium was packed with more than 450 people getting a taste of the performance delights that Norpa will present to the community this year.
“What was exciting that night, apart from the huge turnout,” Norpa artistic director Julian Louis said, “was the diversity of the people who attended. And people got a preview of the diversity in the program.”
Since it was established in 1993, Norpa (Northern Rivers Performing Arts) has presented more than 200 productions to the local community for its enjoyment. And some of those were Norpa-produced.
Locally-produced shows are something that Julian Louis is passionate about.
“Generator is our development program,” he said. “We aim to connect with the region, to inspire and be inspired by our location.
“Generator is about developing new ideas and connecting with local artists – of all disciplines.”
Railway Wonderland, in conjunction with the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre, is one such project. Drawing on local history, it’s about our old railway stations, the local people and their stories.
House, another Generator project, is theatre that invites the audience into the home of two retired circus performers and features the acrobatic work of wickedly talented local duo, The Pitts.
Norpa is also collaborating with the Githabul people to create a contemporary dance piece celebrating the Indigenous culture.
This year, apart from his artistic director role within Norpa, Julian will also direct Engine – a locally produced play that deals with the tragedy of young lives lost in car crashes. This topical work will tour the North Coast and then have a three-week season at La Boite theatre in Brisbane.
Julian is excited by this venture.
“We’ve have designed that within Engine there’s an interactive chorus as well as professional actors,” he said. “When we tour, four students from each local school will be in the show. It will allow each town to have an authenticity within the play’s content.”
It’s a varied program from Norpa this year, ranging from the more conventional theatrical forms to the innovative.
“What I like is the contemporary nature of many of the shows this season,” Julian said. “They’re current and have been developed through collaborative processes – which means they are the voice of our culture now.”
Check out the program at www.norpa.org.au. And while you’re there you can subscribe and enjoy what Norpa gives us.
We’re lucky here on the Northern Rivers.