Short Season of Big Talent

Catherine McKernan Doris (front left) with all Townsville Little Theatre winners at the 2016 North Queensland Festival of One Act Plays. IMAGE: Townsville Little Theatre

Last night marked the launch of Townsville Little Theatre’s Short Season of Short Plays – an annual event showcasing the talents of not just local actors, but writers, directors and everything in between. We sat down with local playwright Catherine McKernan Doris to hear about her entries in this year’s Short Season and what to expect over the final two nights of the event. 

How many years have you been involved in the Short Season of Short Plays?
I have been involved for four years now. Not sure how long Townsville Little Theatre (TLT) have been running this for to be honest, although I know they will be celebrating their 50th anniversary as a theatre company next year.

How many of your original plays will feature in this year’s event?
I have two plays being performed; a ten minute comedy called “A Little of What you Fancy” and a one act play called “Family Matters”. The one act play is also a new work which is very different to anything I have attempted before so I hope it goes down well with the audience. I have full confidence in my director, Dr Michael Doris (who has trained under Fiona Perry and also worked with Theatre iNQ) and am truly blessed to have Jennine Padgett, Pippa Thompson and Kath Hotschilt as my cast.

What can people who haven’t been to a Short Season before expect?
Short, snappy plays; usually written, directed and acted by locals.

Why do you believe events like this are important to Townsville’s writers and thespians?
I think it is an important avenue for Townsville people to have their work produced and staged. I have spoken to so many people in larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne who have been writing for years and have never had the chance to see one of their plays staged, which is really sad. Townsville Little Theatre and other companies give locals a chance to write, act, direct and stage manage. It really helps the creative process if you know that you will be able to see the finished product brought to life. We have so much creative talent here in Townsville, with writers like Julie Johnston, Michael Sams and Susan Mattocks, all of whom have had work produced and staged throughout Townsville and overseas and the Short Season is a great testing ground for their new work. It also gives “new”actors a chance to perform in front of a local, supportive crowd.

This usually acts as a warm-up for the TLT plays that will be showcased in the NQ Festival of One Act Plays – any word on that returning this year?
The Festival of One Act Plays is being staged in Malanda this year. I, myself am bringing up the two plays that will be showcased at TLT’s Short Season (not under TLT though). I also know that TLT are entering a play as well with Anne Coombe directing.

And what’s next for you, are you penning a few more works this year?
I am almost finished a full length farce which just needs to be run past my dramaturg again for final polishing. I am hoping to have it staged next year, again locally. I am also hoping to run another “PlayDate”at A Touch of Salt restaurant who have been very supportive. We bring three short plays into the restaurant scene and they are shown after each course.

Anything to add?
I’ve had a huge start to the year. I just completed a trek to Everest Base Camp and I also won Best Script (out of 1000 entries) at Short+Sweet Sydney which I am very chuffed about. Heading to Brisbane with “A Little of What you Fancy” in August/September time for the Brisbane Gala Finals of Short+Sweet Queensland. Short+Sweet Townsville will return towards the end of the year.

Catch Townsville Little Theatre’s Short Season of Short Plays at the St Margaret Mary’s Theatrette tonight and tomorrow night from 7:30pm, with tickets available here.

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