Two Minutes With Chrissy Maguire

Shai Regan in Theatre iNQ's 2017 production 'Frankenstein.' IMAGE: Chrissy Maguire

She is one of the handful of photographers whose reputation precedes them in the local theatre community, and for good reason: Chrissy Maguire is incredible at what she does. We sat down with Chrissy to find out where her passion for capturing productions through a lens comes from.

How did you get started taking photos for theatre groups?

I think it was in about 1993 with Trellis of Lizards, then with Extensions, and Dancenorth with Jane Pirani … and it grew from there. My kids were in shows and I got to know both the Townsville Choral Society and NQOMT well over time – but now there are others taking photos of the musicals, it’s good to share and let new (and younger) people gain skills there.

Why do you choose to support local productions in this way?

Because I just love taking the photos; getting my lens into the ‘moment.’ I find myself laughing and crying a lot during these shoots, hopelessly involved, and apparently have been heard pressing the shutter in time with music! I adore the light and drama, but am basically a ‘backstage’ person – I would never be seen in public.

“I adore the hands and passion of conductors; the eyes of people breaking my heart; the music; watching some directors both direct and act and stun the audience; the lighting techs… I love how the backstage technicians of this town are so wonderful to me, always keeping my lost lens caps and shoes.”

You released a book of your work in 2011, Break a Leg. What can you tell us about it?

It was part of an exhibition that Terri Brabon of Shakespeare under the Stars – now our beloved Theatre iNQ – sort of tricked me into. I was terrified as I am not properly trained and have made it up as I go along, wishing I had time to properly take courses. I was really scared, but Terri and Brendan O’Connor helped me choose some of the photos, and were so encouraging. 20 years of Theatre in Townsville was a lot of photos, and made for a great exhibition and book. I have to say, it gave me a new confidence and it was lovely to see the photos in frames. I am proud of the book; I adore fine art printing too, all on archival paper and reminding me of dark room days.

How do you juggle full-time work and passion projects?

If only I could give up my day job and not rush the editing of photos for shows – but it’s important to get the photos to the lovely people involved, both front and back stage, so they have them to share quickly. Most of the performers are people who contribute, with huge commitments, all with day jobs, and it’s a wonderful ‘family.’ Despite most not being professionals (what does that mean?) they give so much, breaking our hearts, making us laugh and playing fabulous music.

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