A new stage door opens to theatre’s stars of tomorrow

DOOR 3 – Queensland Theatre’s new three-play program that fosters local indie talent – begins with the staging of award-winning Brisbane writer Anthony Mullin’s work, The Norman Mailer Anecdote

Apr 02, 2024, updated Apr 02, 2024
Playwright Anthony Mullins and actor Zoe Houghton at the launch of Door 3, a new initiative of Queensland Theatre aimed at fostering local theatre talent.

Playwright Anthony Mullins and actor Zoe Houghton at the launch of Door 3, a new initiative of Queensland Theatre aimed at fostering local theatre talent.

The late Diane Cilento would have been be thrilled with what’s about to happen in the performance studio that bears her name at Queensland Theatre.

Cilento, an actor who made a name for herself internationally before returning home to Queensland to foster theatre here – and in Far North Queensland particularly – would have been front and centre for the exciting program ahead.

Because Queensland Theatre has announced its inaugural DOOR 3 program – three independent theatre works from local creatives chosen from expressions of interests from across Queensland.

DOOR 3 aims to give Queensland creatives the space, support and mentorship they need to tell stories and bring those tales to life in Queensland Theatre’s iconic Diane Cilento Studio – an intimate performance venue that places audiences inside the action.

Set to complement the 2024 season, DOOR 3’s trio of local productions were selected from more than 80 entries.

Queensland Theatre associate artistic director Daniel Evans says the team was impressed (but not surprised) by the calibre of the applications.

“Queensland has a rich history of seeding and supporting brilliant independent theatre and we were absolutely blown away by the calibre of work that we received,” Evans says.

“The depth and breadth of the body of work meant we could’ve programmed DOOR 3 three times over. The successful productions were chosen because of their readiness and their rigour – and we think local artists and audiences are going to rally behind these diverse, divisive, and daring stories.”

High-calibre works selected for this year’s program come from award-winning writers and directors. Delving into topics from sexual assault to racism, The Norman Mailer Anecdote, Scenes From a Yellow Peril and Wanderings, all sound promising.

To open the program on May 3 Julian Curtis will direct Anthony Mullins’ The Norman Mailer Anecdote, a contemporary three-hander that was a Queensland Premier’s Drama Award finalist in 2022. (The play is presented with the support of philanthropist Phillip Bacon.)

The story takes place in a single room, over a single night and follows a successful family who are rocked by the news of an historical accusation against the father, Marshall (Christopher Sommers).

His wife Helen (Zoe Houghton) is on a roll. She is poised to finally make equity partner at her law firm — and according to her over-achieving college-age daughter Samantha, (Hattie Clegg-Robinson), she can still rock a mini dress at 50.

But her husband Marshall, a career novelist, arrives home and drops a bombshell … he has been accused of an historical sexual assault.

Therein lies, well, a drama and one that promises to be compelling.

Mullins is a BAFTA and AWGIE-winning Brisbane screenwriter (Safe HarbourFive Bedrooms) and this is his stage debut, a compelling legal drama that explodes out of Brisbane’s upper-middle class. Can’t wait, right?

Next on stage in August will be award-winning Chinese-New Zealand writer and poet Nathan Joe’s Scenes From a Yellow Peril, an uncomfortable, playful and enlightening provocation on racism and privilege. This meta-analysis of Asian identity is presented by The Reaction Theory and BIPOC Arts Australia, under the co-direction of Chelsea August and Egan Sun-Bin.

The inaugural DOOR 3 program will end with a look into the hearts and minds of Brisbane’s multi-award-winning The Nest Ensemble, with Wanderings.

In this production director Leah Mercer will take audiences on a journey of heart-opening opportunities, challenges and demands, with shifting identities and changing family dynamics through the eyes of a transgender adult (Kidd) and his mother (Stella), who is living with dementia.

During their season, each production will be provided six weeks of access to Queensland Theatre’s spaces, the company’s expansive furniture, prop and wardrobe store, support from rehearsal to production, a $5000 upfront cash contribution to fund their productions and 100 per cent of Box Office takings.

Executive director of Queensland Theatre Criena Gehrke says QT is committed to finding a way to support the next generation of Australian theatre and open the door to provide real opportunities.

“All of this was made possible thanks to The Jelley Family Foundation who have supported this initiative,” Gehrke says. “It’s fantastic to be able to offer this opportunity to local theatre makers and we look forward to seeing their stories on stage in the months ahead.”

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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