Guest: Brenda White
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Segment overview: Nash Theatre, based in New Farm, is a community-based theatre company that produces multiple shows throughout the year including drama, comedy and musicals for over 20 years. Brenda White joins us in this program to talk about their upcoming show La Cage aux Folles, a musical based on the French play La Cage aux Folles by Jean Poiret. It is also known by many as The Birdcage. The opening of the show starts on Saturday, September 23rd at 7:30pm, and will be repeated every Friday and Saturday evening until October 14th.
Wayne Bucklar: You’re with Wayne Bucklar on Business Radio Talkers FM. And joining me in conversation on Arts and Media today is Brenda White, the Vice-President of the Nash Theatre in Brisbane in Queensland. Brenda, welcome to the show.
Brenda White: Thank you.
Wayne Bucklar: Now Brenda, tell us a little bit about the Nash Theatre.
Brenda White: Well people often ask how it got the name ‘Nash’ which doesn’t seem to have any relevance of where we are now. It’s because originally it was started up in Nash Street in Rosalie and it was the Nash Street Theatre. When the theatre had to leave that venue, they moved to Belfair Street in New Farm and just became Nash Theatre. That’s been used and was sold and Nash Theatre to move around a little bit for a while. And until they found the venue that we’re in now which is the Brunswick Room at Merthyr Uniting Church in New Farm. So we have actually added New Farm to our name. We’re actually officially ‘New Farm Nash Theatre’ but most people refer to us as ‘Nash’.
Wayne Bucklar: Now Brenda, it’s been around for a long, long time.
Brenda White: Yes, it has. I can tell you probably exactly how long it’s been around 1996 originally in Rosalie. And then we’ve been in the venue that we’re now since 2007 so 10 years that we’ve been in now. It’s over 20 years since we’ve actually been going. Originally, it was a Pro Group and then the man who sort of run that group had to disband it and we took over as a community theatre. So we’ve been a community theatre for I suppose since about not long after that, 1996 or 1997. We’ve been a community theatre in the New Farm area.
Wayne Bucklar: And it seems to me that you’re a fairly frequent producer of shows. How often do you have a show on?
Brenda White: We have 5 a year, 5 main house productions a year. We have sort of tried to have short-term productions in between but it’s very difficult. I mean we’re all volunteers for work in the daytime. So to get a show on, I suppose takes about a quarter of the year. We go to work, so yes, 5 productions a year which is pretty good really I think for community theatre.
Wayne Bucklar: Very ambitious indeed. Now I understand you’ve got a new show coming up shortly.
Brenda White: We have, La Cage aux Folles, a musical based on the French play La Cage aux Folles by Jean Poiret. But a lot of people may know the film ‘The Birdcage,’ an English translation of the play.
Wayne Bucklar: And very popular.
Brenda White: I think they’re popular. But La Cage aux Folles is the name of a nightclub and that figures quite largely in the musical version as you can imagine and it’s a nightclub where there are many artists. So yes.
Wayne Bucklar: And you’re doing the musical version?
Brenda White: We’re doing the musical version, yes. It should be great fun.
Wayne Bucklar: Yes. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of the country but I’d love to see it because it is a very funny show. And with the drag queens and the gay plot in the storyline, it’s very entertaining.
Brenda White: Yes, it’s quite relevant at the moment of course because the two lead leads Georges and Albin have been in a relationship for many years, 20 years or so. And of course, they’re not officially married by the time this was written. There was no such thing as same-sex marriage so I think there’s a little bit of relevance I supposed if you want to twist things around.
Wayne Bucklar: It should be a ton of fun. Now when is it opening and how can people get tickets?
Brenda White: Okay. It opens with a preview on Friday, September 22nd. All tickets for that performance are 15 dollars across the board. The opening night is Saturday after that, that is September the 23rd. Our performance will start at 7:30 p.m. And then it goes on every Friday and Saturday evening until October the 14th with a matinee on Sunday, October the 1st at 2 o’clock. If you visit our website, nashtheatre.com, that’s ‘nashtheatre’ all one word and the theatre spelt with an ‘re’ at the end, not an ‘er’ (.com). You can actually from there access the online booking. Otherwise, you can phone 3379 4775 or email, [email protected]. But our online booking is definitely the easiest. And we are offering a free glass of bubbly to anybody who turns up in drag. As long as they sit at the back because the wigs are sometimes rather big.
Wayne Bucklar: They’re rather tall, yes.
Brenda White: And they block the view of people sitting behind them. But that’s just a little quirk, we thought might be fun.
Wayne Bucklar: Who could go wrong with a room full of drag queens, and free champagne and a fabulous musical on stage?
Brenda White: I hope nobody can go wrong, right? I think it should be really successful.
Wayne Bucklar: Brenda, we wish you all the luck in the world with it because it is an ambitious production and I imagine getting the rights to it is not an easy thing to do for a community theatre either so congratulations for your ambition and we look forward to a review of the show when it opens.
Brenda White: Good. Thank you very much for speaking to me.
Wayne Bucklar: Thanks Brenda, thank you for your time. You’re listening to Wayne Bucklar on Arts and Media on Talkers.fm.