Sunshine Coast theatres are abuzz with preparations for the annual Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival, organised by Sunshine Coast LIVE! "The festival has been running for over 40 years," said Judy Frederiksen, president of Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance. "It's not only a way for actors and directors from all over South East Queensland to develop and showcase skills, they also compete for the much sought-after prize money and the adjudicator's praise."
Merry volunteers make it all possible!
For months now, local theatre troupes have been polishing their stage productions to perfection, eager to wow the audiences with an evocative range of comedies and dramas. Playwrights also appreciate the opportunity to have new works performed, and these works often go on to become mainstage productions in Sunshine Coast theatres.
Undertow scooped several awards
Winner of the best unpublished script award at the 2018 Sunshine Coast LIVE! Festival, Jasmine Fairbairn, was overjoyed when her first play – Undertow – also took out best play, best actor and best director. The award led to Jasmine, a stand-up comedian, and her partner, actor Clayton Storey, developing a strong relationship with the adjudicators, Michael and Margery Forde, renowned professional playwrights, directors and actors from Brisbane.
Thanks to the mentoring Jasmine and Clayton received from the Fordes, doors are opening for the young couple who have since gone on to write another six scripts. Much to their delight, they have caught the attention of Queensland Theatre Company and are also pitching a screenplay to Screen Queensland.
Mirror Mirror by Drama Works
For Sunny Coast kids, the Festival is a time of great excitement, with youth theatre groups coming together to perform and see the work of other groups. Past child performers have been as young as five years old.
A $1,000 bursary kindly sponsored by the Coolum Theatre Players is coveted by the many teenagers who participate. The cash prize enables the winner to receive further training in the dramatic arts that is not normally available on the Sunshine Coast.
Oz by Little Seed Theatre Company
Sunshine Beach based youth group, Little Seed, now celebrating 10 years as a participant, has produced the winner of the bursary for four consecutive years. Some of the winners have gone on to do workshops with the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA); The Factory Acting Studio West End; Brisbane Performing Arts Challenge; QUT acting school; and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAPPA). And it's not all about acting – some students have pursued interests in the technical side of stage productions, e.g. lighting and sound, as well as costuming.
"Sunshine Coast residents and visitors are in for a treat if they come along to watch the Festival," said Judy. "The variety and quality of offerings guarantees a full weekend of fun entertainment not to be missed."