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Haunting Revival of Picnic at Hanging Rock arrives this August

NEWS 23/06/2023

The Rock is a nightmare, and nightmares belong in the past. Observatory Theatre’s much anticipated production of Picnic at Hanging Rock, adapted by Tom Wright after Joan Lindsay, arrives in Brisbane this August. 


The iconic Australian mystery will be staged at Studio1 in Yeerongpilly. The company’s Founder and Creative Producer, Lachlan Driscoll, will be directing the bold adaptation. Driscoll describes the play as “the classic Aussie tale, but not as you know it”. Based on Lindsay’s 1967 novel of the same name, Picnic at Hanging Rock has captivated and intrigued readers with the strange disappearance of three school girls and their teacher.


“Lindsay has given us a playground of ideas to delve into”, says Driscoll, and that adaptor, Wright, provides a “fascinating exploration into what this story means today, and how it has taken on a life of its own in our collective imagination”. 


Melbourne-born playwright Tom Wright is best known for his play Black Diggers, which won the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting in 2015. He’s no stranger to the art of adaptation, having tried his hand at the works of Euripides and Shakespeare. Perhaps there is no one more fit to have taken on this hallmark work of Australian Gothic Theatre.


The adaptation sets out to reveal “what really happened to the missing girls and their teacher on the infamous Hanging Rock”, says Driscoll, in what is “not your usual 'page to stage' adaptation”. Observatory Theatre’s production fronts a five-piece female ensemble of Brisbane performers, shifting between multiple characters over 80 minutes in a Brechtian, contemporary retelling.


Audiences can find out more about the show in the second edition of Third Eye, the new e-magazine by Observatory Theatre. The next installment, Echoes and Shadows, can be accessed through the company’s website, providing a tingling exploration into – and beyond – the original and adapted versions of this Australian mystery.

More information and tickets can be found here.

Images by Observatory Theatre

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For media inquiries, contact Marketing & Communications Coordinator Lucy Rayner-Toy

Outrageous Black Comedy Stomps on Stage This June

NEWS 28/03/2023

Tickets are now on sale for Observatory Theatre’s 2023 Season opener: The Turquoise Elephant by Stephen Carleton. 

This outrageous Australian comedy will be staged at Studio1 in Yeerongpilly from June 2 to 11. Observatory Theatre’s Founder and Creative Producer, Lachlan Driscoll, will direct the award-winning farce.

Mr Driscoll promises “laugh-a-minute theatre that will shock and delight you” while exposing the absurd delays on climate change action around the world. “The play tells us that delaying action on climate change is not only ridiculous but incredibly dangerous too”, he says.

The play is written by Stephen Carleton, one of few who have received both national awards for new Australian playwriting, including the prestigious Griffin Award in 2015 for The Turquoise Elephant. The satire was also recently voted one of the ‘Top 100 Plays to Save the World’ by Nick Hern Books.

Mr Driscoll sets out to boldly ask audiences, “How much longer can we downplay and scoot around these issues to avoid responsibility for our actions?”


The production stars well-known Brisbane performers Amanda McErlean (The Curators) and Rebecca Day (Robert The Cat, Metro Arts), who play Olympia and Basra Macquarie, members of a prestigious family who are confronted with the reality of the world outside their triple-glazed windows. 


In line with the play’s climate-conscious subject, Observatory Theatre is fundraising for the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). The Saturday 10th June performance will double as a ‘Giving Night’, featuring speeches and the opportunity to donate.


Audiences can find out more about the show by reading the new e-magazine ‘Third Eye’. The first issue, Eco-Theatre and Turquoise Elephants, can be accessed through the Observatory Theatre website and provides fascinating commentary on the outrageous black farce.

Book tickets for this year's most outrageous comedy can be booked here.

Images by Geoff Lawrence: Creative Futures Photography.


For media inquiries, contact Marketing & Communications Coordinator Lucy Rayner-Toy

What Would You Fight For? Observatory Theatre's 2023 Season

NEWS 02/02/2023

Observatory Theatre has launched its 2023 Season following its successful ‘larger-than-life’ productions last year that explored big stories and big ideas.


This year will see the continued rise of the young company across three electric productions: Stephen Carleton’s 'The Turquoise Elephant'; 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' by Tom Wright, after Joan Lindsay; and Oliver Gough’s 'Disney Off Ice'. 


All performances will take place at Brisbane’s newest creative hub – Studio1 in Yeerongpilly – and will be directed by the company’s Founder and Creative Producer, Lachlan Driscoll.


Driscoll said that the 2023 season will “explore what the future holds for us and what we can learn from the past”. The line-up invites audiences to consider what it is they would fight for and what really matters.


The first show is Stephen Carleton’s Griffin Award winning ‘The Turquoise Elephant’, a black comedy that highlights the absurdity of climate change denial.


Driscoll warns audiences to “come prepared to expect the unexpected and totally ludicrous” from this fire-cracker of a farce. 


The production is partnered with the Australian Conservation Foundation. Audiences are encouraged to make a donation towards saving our big outdoors and building a country that’s powered by renewable energy.


The season opener will be staged from June 2 to 11.


The poignancy is to remain just as relevant with this year’s second show - ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ adapted by Australian theatre luminary Tom Wright, after Joan Lindsay’s iconic novel. 


Driscoll describes this version as “haunting” and “powerful”. “Fans both old and new will discover things they hadn’t before,” he says.


The fresh classic follows five performers as they unpack the age-old mystery, and uncover ever timely truths.


The season is set to close with the world premiere of Disney Off Ice, commissioned by the theatre company’s new writing program ‘Telescope’. 


Driscoll describes author Oliver Gough’s writing as “savage, sharp and brimming with wit”. Gough’s parody explores what could happen if Walt Disney himself is thawed from the cryonic chamber of urban legend and thrust into a modern world. 


“If you think you know Walt Disney, come along and see the actual man behind the curtain,” Driscoll said.


Audiences can take up this offer from November 23 to December 3.


To celebrate the launch of Season 2023, the company is throwing a launch party at Yeerongpilly’s Studio1 on Saturday 18th February from 5:00pm. Entry is free but registration is essential. You can register through their website.


2023 will also inaugurate the in-house newsletter ‘Third Eye’. This quarterly e-newsletter will offer readers a closer look at each play and behind-the-scenes insights.


Driscoll says the 2023 Season is “full of characters standing up for themselves, fighting for the truth, and not backing down in the face of resistance”. He boldly asks audiences, “How far would you go?”

Images by Geoff Lawrence: Creative Futures Photography.

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For media inquiries, contact Marketing & Communications Coordinator Lucy Rayner-Toy

Powerful new musical performed under the stars in South Brisbane
NEWS 05/07/2022

Ireland’s infamous legend ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’ comes to life with a musical retelling by Brisbane writer and composer Anina-Marie Van Wyk in Observatory Theatre’s 'Destiny Doomed'.


Performed under the stars in the heart of South Brisbane, this outdoor production features an original acoustic folk-pop score, set against the rustic background of Musgrave Park.


'Destiny Doomed' combines heartfelt storytelling with strong messages about mastering your life and finding your place in the world.


Ms. Van Wyk said the legend of Deirdre has “long been a favourite” of hers. “Deirdre’s story has always been sad. I wrote this musical to give her a voice and to celebrate her power,” she said.


“The show speaks to victim blaming and roars with feminine strength. It profoundly declares women the masters of their own story,” Ms. Van Wyk said.


'Destiny Doomed' tells the story of a girl locked away by the King until she is of age to marry.


The girl is cursed by a prophecy, declaring that she will bring great suffering to the kingdom. Soon, rebellion ignites, and she isn’t going away quietly.


Actor Clarise Ooi plays Deirdre in the production. “I hope she inspires young people to stand up for themselves,” she said.


“It’s not often you see Celtic folklore reappropriated for modern audiences, so I think this reimagining will be a great chance to share the unique folktales of other cultures,” Ms. Ooi said.


The show features other Brisbane based performers, including Laura Fois, Elliot Gough and Kieran Evans.


'Destiny Doomed' runs from September 29 to October 8 at Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.


Do not miss this powerful new musical! Tickets are on sale now.

Images by Creative Futures Photography.

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Blockbuster new show exploding into Brisbane
NEWS 05/04/2022

Netflix’s Black Mirror will be taken to a whole new level with Observatory Theatre’s 'Control' exploding into the Queensland Multicultural Centre this June with direction by Matilda award-nominated Timothy Wynn.


'Control' was originally developed through the INK program at Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre in Melbourne and was written by playwright Keziah Warner.


This dystopian blockbuster spans several decades, questioning ethics and morality in the growing age of technology and is brought to epic life by a stellar Queensland-based team. 


'Control' director Timothy Wynn said, “This show features some of Brisbane’s best up and coming talent at their finest.”


“The story spans three distinctly different worlds and it is an exciting challenge to honour and detail each one,” Mr Wynn said.


'Control' explores sometime in the future where Big Brother’s gone into outer space, and someone is always watching. 


A revolution is brewing, and the Museum of Childhood faces a crisis as rebellion brews outside.


But lightyears away on New Earth, a programmer and their A.I. companion forge hope for the future of humanity.


'Control' grips with an urgency that is hard to ignore, questioning who’s really in charge and how human technology can become. 


'Control' actor Triona Calimbayan-Giles (BC Productions) said, “I couldn't put this script down the second I started reading. This is not one to miss.”


“It comments on a future that feels very plausible and real for us, and all the exciting and terrifying things that come with that,” she said. 


The show features other stellar Brisbane based actors; Egan Sun-Bin (Queensland Theatre) and Nykita O’Keeffe (Lynch & Paterson).


'Control' runs from June 9 to 11 at Queensland Multicultural Centre, Kangaroo Point.


Don’t miss this blockbuster show! Tickets are on sale now. 

Images by Creative Futures Photography.

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Observatory Theatre's larger-than-life 2022 program
NEWS 03/02/2022

Observatory Theatre will launch its 2022 Season on February 3rd after a successful 2021 season with raving reviews and performances at Anywhere Festival, Wynnum Fringe, and The Old Museum.  


Season 2022 is bigger and better with vibrant productions; Control - a Dystopian Drama and Destiny Doomed – an Original Musical.


This year will also see the launch of a new playwright program, Telescope, with its finished product playing in next year’s season.


Creative Director and Producer at Observatory Theatre Lachlan Driscoll said 2022 is about big stories and larger than life ideas.


“This year charts the incredible, personal power we all have as people and our desire to search for greater meaning in our lives,” Mr Driscoll said. 


“From our origins and tales of human courage to the future and the great potential of life going forward.”


The first show of Season 2022 is Control, a Dystopian blockbuster that investigates ethics, morality, and dependence in a technological age.


Directed by Ipswich director Timothy Wynn, the show will play the Queensland Multicultural Centre in Kangaroo Point from June 8th to 11th.


Mr Driscoll said the show has a message with an urgency hard to ignore.


“This epic and futuristic play with a show-stopping team dives into our multifaceted relationship with technology,” Mr Driscoll said. 


Control was originally developed in 2019 by Red Stitch Actors Theatre.


The second show of Season 2022 is Destiny Doomed, a new musical by Brisbane artist Anina-Marie Van Wyk, inspired by the legend Deirdre of the Sorrows.


It braves the storm with an original acoustic folk-pop score and a story that puts the dam(n) in ‘damsel in distress’.


Mr Driscoll said Ms Van Wyk is “immensely talented”, and it will be a “powerful and passionate” night out at Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.


Throughout 2022, Observatory Theatre will launch its new playwriting initiative Telescope.


Mr Driscoll said the program is an initiative that supports Australian playwrights to develop a new play.


“It’s about bringing diverse and unique thinkers together to make new stories that are of exceptional quality for independent theatre,” Mr Driscoll said.


“I am constantly inspired by the people involved, their ideas and creativity.”

Photography by Creative Futures Photography. TELESCOPE Image by Kévin Dorg.

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