JUTE’s BBB kick starts Esther Elder’s theatre career


Fresh from completing her Bachelor of Theatre degree with CQU and hungry for every opportunity that would further develop and improve her skills base across theatre and the arts, Esther Elder was primed to attend a series of JUTE’s Build Back Better training PODS including Writing and Dramaturgy, Stage Management and Directing.

Esther says that without JUTE she would not have been able to secure her first professional theatre job post university studies.

“Through the Stage Management POD, I was offered a contract in Darwin for Browns Mart theatre as a Stage Manager.  Having this opportunity blew my mind,” Esther said.

Having since completed the contract, Esther is back living in Rockhampton, the heart of regional Queensland.

According to Esther, JUTE Theatre Company opened the door to a whole range of arts opportunities that are currently available to creatives in regional Australia.

“I had thought before I started my first POD – Writing and Dramaturgy – that there would only be work in places like Sydney and Brisbane. I also thought that to be an artist working in Australia you had to be based in a big city. I very quickly realised there was just as much work – if not more – regionally,” she said.

“For me, the biggest impact JUTE’s BBB series had on me was realising I could be a regional artist. JUTE has also helped connect me with other local artists in my area that I have kept in touch with. They have also inspired me to consider what art I can create locally with the artists who are already here, instead of looking elsewhere. I would love to one day start a professional theatre group here in Rockhampton.”

For Esther, another key learning has been learning the steps to work as a professional artist in a regional setting and meeting the people and knowing the resources that will help her journey as a professional artist.

“I now have confidence in my ability to be a regional artist which all thanks to JUTE, I can now say I have worked in a theatre.  JUTE has given me so much – it has changed my perspective on the industry and provided a connection to my local theatre community.”

Interestingly, until Esther was recommended to sign up for the workshops by her former university lecturer, she hadn’t ever heard of JUTE, but it didn’t take long before discovering that in fact, the organisation had a hand in a lot of the theatre she already knew about.

“This kind of shocked me.”

Esther welcomes further opportunities like this and says there is always room to develop and be the best you can possibly be.

There is always better, and there is no reason why regional arts cannot have better.

“I think more training from JUTE would be amazing!  I would also love to see JUTE set up a community forum for regional artists to connect, share resources and knowledge.

“JUTE has taught me so much – I just wish I had heard of the organisation while I was at UNI at CQCM.  It would be great if JUTE could interact with the students and help them on their artistic journey.  Most students are from regional areas and have this misconception that they must move and live down south to be successful.”