For Immediate release
JUTE want to give our community the opportunity to come and observe this work-in-progress at a showing on the last day of the creative development, August 19th. Audiences are invited to come along and see how the creative team have been developing this work and get an insight into our theatre-making factory.
‘Doug is Hamlet’ is the second project JUTE has undertaken with Doug Robins. The contemporary imagining of this work takes the themes within this play and places the audience in a dystrophic world where the indecision of the characters, their inability to recognise their journey towards the grave and their inability to make change to stop the destruction of our world are all brought into play. The scenes developed in the first creative development are funny, ribald, push at political correctness and play with a language that is half way between Shakespeare and Beckett. Indeed ‘Waiting for Godot’ became a key image of the world we created. The characters fail to notice the rotting fish (something is rotten in the state of Denmark), cannot move, cannot make a decision, cannot make change and are moving inexorably towards the open grave which they fail to notice. It’s an exciting vision for a work that asks an audience – what is the price of inaction, what are the consequences of our actions….To be or not to be?
JUTE commissioned the script in 2015 and with this week of creative development in August, it will produce the work in early 2017 in Cairns with a tour to Brisbane later that year as part of Access Arts second disability arts festival.
Doug has a unique story to tell on stage. A 26-year-old actor, drama graduate of JCU, Doug is a wheelchair user living with the fatal Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy disease. Average life expectancy of people with this illness is 25, yet here he is in his artistic prime.
The outcomes from ‘Propelled’, JUTE’s first show with DOUG, along with the audience the work attracted, proves that there is a need for more diverse stories to be explored. Employing local regional artists is always about building capacity. The investment for JUTE in developing ‘Doug is Hamlet’ will reap rewards when it is produced in 2017 but even before then, in this creative development phase, it will send strong messages that artists with disability and artists from the regions can create world class theatre that Queensland can be proud of.
JUTE has commissioned local playwright Kathryn Ash to develop the script that began its life in the initial creative development. The design will be developed for this new work during the creative development, with all designers in the room, making the work ready to be rehearsed and produced in 2017. The design elements are as integral as text and performance elements in this work. Friday night will reveal how this intricate process is constructed between artists on the floor during the week.
As a production company with a track record of 69 new Queensland works and 33 tours, and a loyal regional audience, JUTE has the skills and knowledge to create an extraordinary piece of theatre staring Doug. Central to the artistic concept is the audience response to Doug as a performer. As with ‘Propelled’ the emphasis will be on artistic excellence and quality of performance so people are mesmerized by the story being told: a focus on ability not disability.
Showing starts at 6pm. Tickets are $10 and are available from the website ,jute.com.au.
The creative team is made up of:
Director: Suellen Maunder
Playwright: Kathryn Ash
Dramaturg: Peter Matheson (regional NSW)
Set Designer: Simone Tesorieri
Costume Designer: Simona Cosentini
Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright (Bris)
Multi Media Artist: Craig Wilkinson (Bris)
Sound Designer: Guy Webster (Bris)
Performers: Doug Robins, Tia Adoberg, Joel Spreadborough (Bris)
The artists include 8 regional artists, 3 Brisbane artists and 1 artist with a disability. A tremendous achievement we are very proud to share for Cairns on the local, national and international touring stage.
Award-winning playwright Kathryn Ash is a respected playwright, published with Playlab Press, produced by QTC and recently showcased at the 2014 National Playwrights Festival, Sydney. With her knowledge of form and experience in visually driven work, Kathryn’s exceptional skills will make this a production to be remembered for its creativity and artistic excellence.
The opportunity to undertake the initial creative development in March 2015, came about because of Doug Robins $8000 Access Arts Award. The imperative for the development and production of the work is because of the powerful impact the work had on the audience at the work in progress showing and Doug’s particular circumstances of living with a terminal illness. Doug has a unique story to tell on stage. A 26-year-old actor, drama graduate of JCU, Doug is a wheelchair user living with the fatal Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy disease. Average life expectancy of people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is 25.
The commissioning and creative development will take time, but JUTE must consider the artistic quality of the final product balanced against the need to act while Doug is well. JUTE will use its operational funding in 2017 towards the costs of producing this work and will collaborate with Access Arts to tour the work to the 2017 Disability Festival in Brisbane.
The Project provides opportunities for artists of different abilities to work together in a professional theatre production, building the skills and knowledge of all artists.
The project builds the capacity of our sector in regional Queensland by developing work that already has touring interest, allowing us to showcase work from this region.
The project contributes to the livability of Cairns by generating world class contemporary theatre with universal themes and showcasing Cairns as a region that values diversity and quality artistic endeavour.
The project provides professional pathways for artists with different abilities
This project specifically targets Regional Queenslanders and People with a Disability. Everything JUTE does is focused on developing the capacity of artists who wish to reside in regional Queensland. It also contributes to the livability of a tourist town like Cairns, injecting high quality original theatre product into a town focused almost exclusively on pitching itself as reef and rainforest while ignoring the rich and diverse cultural activity that makes the region unique. Building on the extraordinary work being undertaken by Arc Disability and Tropical Arts, JUTE is able to create professional pathways for artists with different abilities and produce work that places these artists at the centre of contemporary new stories. This gives artists with a disability great visibility and increases awareness of the value of these artists to our regional community and further afield. I believe Cairns is a leader in generating work with diverse artists.