"Somewhere under the sea and beyond your imagination is an adventure in fantasy."
Many Disney films hold a special place in people's hearts, but it's the tale of a young mermaid who wants to be human which has proven to be a story especially fond to so many children around the world.
The Little Mermaid is regularly voted among the most loved Disney films of all time, and now Brisbane Arts Theatre is proud to present a live musical adaption starring local actors.
If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with this favourite, this is the perfect opportunity to see heroine Ariel, along with her hilarious friends navigate the high seas to find and win her true love, along the way outwitting the evil Ursula and proving her independence to her father King Triton.
With magnificent costuming and beautiful performances by Brisbane Arts Theatre's actors this production is sure to captivate children of all ages (as well as their parents).
Why is live theatre so appealing and important for children, and what is it about theatre that engages children more than a movie and differently to a computer game? Intensity and reality of emotions, physical proximity to a fantastic story or the sense of occasion are all key parts of a child's theatre experience.
The evil Ursula seeks to rule the ocean (Image courtesy of Brisbane Arts Theatre)
One such young Brisbanite with a love of theatre is Alex Bolland, playing the lead role of Ariel. Alex is one of the members of New Stock 1, Brisbane Arts Theatre's selection of young performers aged 13-20 who attend classes free of charge, have professional mentors and are invited to audition for all appropriate shows at Brisbane Arts Theatre.
Alexandra has been singing and dancing since the age of three, starting with formal training in various forms of dance with the Sayers and Premiere dance studios. Over the years, she has studied jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, and hip-hop. Perhaps her greatest love is singing, starting her training with the Qld Show Choir. Alex has performed in numerous musical events, including the Queensland premiere of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and performing as a featured artist in the Bel Canto summer school, and the Gold Coast's Green Room Project, where she was coached by Rob Mills. Alexandra has recently joined Brisbane Arts Theatre, playing Edith in Charlotte's Web, and Lex in Jurassic Park The Musical.
For a production set under the sea, you need someone capable of creating and tweaking the "look" of Ariel's realm. Suspension of disbelief becomes that much more important when the setting is somewhere humans could never live. Enter John Boyce.
As Artistic Director, John has worked for a total of ten years at Brisbane Arts Theatre. His formal acting training at USQ led to TV credits including A Country Practice, Red Rain, GP, Police Rescue and The New Adventures of Skippy. His theatrical credits include roles with Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite, and national tours including The Hobbit. John's exploratory techniques in the role of Brisbane Arts Theatre's Artistic Director have fostered the company's growth as Brisbane's home of the performing arts. His seasons have included critically acclaimed productions of The Woman in Black, the John Birmingham Trilogy and Avenue Q, as well as Catch-22, The Boys Next Door, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Death of a Salesman.
Artistic Director John Boyce (image courtesy of Brisbane Arts Theatre)
Theatre patrons will have the chance to meet Ariel and the rest of the cast, when the characters come out to the courtyard after each show to meet the children and sign autographs - a 50-year tradition of Brisbane's oldest theatre. For children to experience not only the front of the stage, but the inner workings of theatre is priceless. For the first timers, it is unforgettable with many children completely awestruck; for the 'old-hands' it is a matter of pride, getting the courage up again to ask for an autograph and collecting autographs over the years. It also provides a little bit of inspiration as children realise that these actors (most of them children themselves) are just like them – demystifying the stage itself and making it truly accessible.
This exposure to live theatre has a positive impact on children's development; academic research has concluded that live theatre provides benefits that reading a play or watching a movie of the play does not. The story can be conveyed in a movie, but it doesn't engage the viewer in the same way.
Brisbane Arts Theatre capitalises on these benefits, with the theatre being a both a gateway for developing actors, and a place to enjoy consistently excellent productions over its long history in Brisbane. A commitment to accessibility for Brisbane audiences has translated to accessibility in price, accessibility in the types of productions staged and accessibility through the welcoming and intimate atmosphere at the iconic 50-year-old venue on Petrie Terrace.
Getting to the theatre is very easy. Located at 210 Petrie Terrace, it's only around an 800 metre walk from Roma St Station. Plan your journey with Translink here.
If you prefer to drive, there is free 4-hour parking is available on either side of Petrie Terrace after 7pm on weekdays and at all times at weekends. On Suncorp Stadium game days, Petrie Terrace is excluded from the Lang Park Traffic Area's 15-minute restrictions. To avoid a parking fine, do not park in the side streets during events, which are limited to 15 minutes where unsigned. Alternative parking is available on Countess Street below Hargraves Park, parallel to the Busway.
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