2 Minutes with Emily Molloy

Townsville City Council's Emily Molloy takes us behind the scenes on the Townsville Civic Theatre's $10m upgrade. IMAGE: Sonia Warrell

As Team Leader Technical Services for Council’s Performing Arts Technical Unit, Emily Molloy is a key player behind-the scenes on just about every show you see at the Civic Theatre or Riverway Arts Centre. Emily’s job involves managing technical equipment, venues and staff to ensure the many complexities of each and every show run without a hitch. We caught up with Emily to understand more about the task, and how it will change with the Civic’s $10m upgrade, being publicly unveiled this week .

How did you get into your job and what do you like most about it?
I was a drama kid growing up and then did work experience at the Civic Theatre. I then started volunteering in community musicals and theatre. I worked on as much theatre and events as I could, to learn as much as I could, and it eventually lead to paid theatre jobs. I started with Thuringowa Council at Riverway Arts Centre in 2006 and then Townsville City Council at amalgamation. I like the fact that every day is a bit different. And I like that we contribute to the arts industry in Townsville.

What changes have you seen taking shape at the Civic while it’s been closed?
There’s a lot of systems change. We have a new fly system, a new orchestra pit and new fire safety system. There are a lot of WHS and compliancy upgrades to the building, because she’s 40 this year. We have some cosmetic upgrades as well so everything feels a bit fresh. She’s had a bit of a makeover.

How will these changes affect how you do your job?
It will be safer for us to work at heights, and easier to do our daily tasks. We’re stepping into the world of theatre automation, so we have new systems to learn and master. As a regional venue we’re very lucky to have such state-of-the-art technology and we’re looking forward to producing even higher quality theatre than before.

Which changes are you most excited about and why?
We are getting a brand new fly system, which is motorised. We can fly more set pieces at a time and the whole process is faster and safer. Another really exciting thing is our brand new sound system for the auditorium. It is immersive sound and something that people visiting premiere venues experience in capital cities. We can now bring that technology and audience experience to North Queensland.

Which shows are you most looking forward to for the rest of the theatre season?
I still volunteer in my own time for community musicals so I’m obviously looking forward to Les Misérables and Strictly Ballroom. I’m pretty excited about Rachel Cairns’ Morning Melodies, Opera Queensland’s Ruddigore and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Every show brings its own challenges and rewards though, so I usually look forward to them all.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I think we are very lucky to have two fantastic theatres that are able to be used by professional touring productions and local theatre makers alike. Townsville’s theatre scene is growing and producing amazing shows, and ultimately its adding to the cultural fabric of the Townsville Community.

The Townsville Civic Theatre will officially reopen with a celebratory variety show on 14 July 2018. For information and tickets, visit What’s On Townsville.

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