Townsville Talent Collaborate at Anywhere Fest

The cast of 'FLOOD', being staged as part of Brisbane's Anywhere Festival 2019. IMAGE: Shalyn Knight

Three Townsville acting alumnae have spent the past few months collaborating on a new project, set to open in Brisbane tonight.

Local exports Brie Jurss, Emma Lamberton and Meg Bowden will join a small team of other actors staging the emotion-packed production FLOOD – also produced by Brie and Emma – as part of South East Queensland’s Anywhere Festival. We caught up with the three actors to learn more about the concept behind the production, and what else they have each been working on.

When was the last time we would have seen each of you on a Townsville stage?
Meg: I was a part of the Tech Team at Theatre iNQ from 2012-2014 and then became a member of the Bridge Project in 2014! The most recent show I was in was when I came back to Townsville to be in What is the Matter with Mary Jane? with Theatre iNQ.
Brie: I was involved in two productions with Theatre iNQ: X-STACY in 2013 and Two Weeks with The Queen in 2014. I was accepted into the Bridge Project for 2013 but was also accepted into the University of Southern Queensland’s Acting Program.
Emma: I was in the Bridge Project for four years from 2013-2016 and was a Company Apprentice in 2015 and 2016. My last production in Townsville was last year for Theatre iNQ’s production of The Vagina Monologues and before that I was Ophelia in Hamlet!

What have you been up to since moving South?
Meg: When I first moved down to Brisbane I involved myself in multiple Theatre Festival shows (The Picnic, Backyard Double Bill, Streetlight) in Brisbane and Sydney. In 2017 I was a Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble Apprentice and was cast as Mamillius and Perdita in their production of The Winters Tale. Last year I was in a Multimedia Production of Wheel of Fortune at Metro Arts.
Brie: I completed my degree in 2015 and then went on Tour with  the Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe into schools, facilitating workshops and performing Shakespeare-inspired shows across Queensland and Northern NSW. I’ve also been working with an Entertainment Company performing shows for fundraisers, corporate events and venues. Currently, I’m a resident artist at Mashed Theatre, performing shows and facilitating workshops across Queensland, Northern Territory and NSW.
Emma: Since leaving the Bridge Project and Townsville I have been in Brisbane refining and furthering my skills by attending workshops and play readings and also auditioning for various productions.

Can you tell us a bit about Anywhere Festival?
Anywhere Festival is an Arts Festival held in Brisbane and is in conjunction with the Brisbane City Council. The Festival opens Brisbane’s public spaces to artists and showcases the talent that the city has to offer.

Having this platform in Brisbane gives an opportunity to artists and performers (who are usually considered ‘fringe’) to be able to perform to a more mainstream audience. These independent artists are given an opportunity to put on shows that are rarely seen in the mainstream programming. This freedom and support empowers artists and is theatre that can quite literally be done anywhere.

And where did FLOOD come from?
Meg: Emma and Brie both had this awesome idea of putting on a show from the ground up, hence why they are not only Actors in the show but Producers too! I remember Emma and I sitting in our lounge room talking about interesting and unique plays and she sent me the script to FLOOD to have a read through. As soon as I read the script I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in.
Brie: Emma and I came together, both having the desire to put on our own work. We brainstormed ideas around devising theatre and reworking some of our previous projects. We decided as first time Producers to start with a published script. Emma had told me about FLOOD and how she was instantly drawn to its writing and structure. I read the play and saw the relevance that this text still has, even after six years since it was first published. We knew we had to put it on!

What should audiences expect?
The audience should head into FLOOD willing to be taken on a journey full of moments and characters they will laugh with and at. FLOOD is packed with moments that every Aussie will recognise and relate to and has an ensemble full of defined characters who represent varied points of view. It will leave the audience questioning their opinions and beliefs in regards to Australia’s treatment of its Indigenous Australians.

What’s so strong and enticing about FLOOD is that it invites a conversation and welcomes a discussion about a topic that is generally considered Taboo in most White Australian Circles. The play holds a mirror up to White Middle Class Australia without judgement and without persecution. The audience has the chance to review their unconscious behaviours and way of thinking to hopefully better the wider Australian society.

What will you get up to after Anywhere Festival? Will Townsville get to see you again soon?
Meg: Once FLOOD is over, both Emma and I will actually be heading back up North to Townsville to be in the reprise of The Vagina Monologues by Theatre iNQ! We are beyond excited to be coming back and to be sharing the stage with our talented home company again in an such outstanding production! The Vagina Monologues will be performed as part of the Northern Fringe Festival and will be held from the 17-21 July. You’ll see us soon!
Brie: After FLOOD, I’ll be working on a short film called I’m Not Funny, following a stand up comedian who loses her buzz. After that I’ll be heading back to Townsville for shows with Mashed Theatre!

Catch FLOOD at the University of Queensland’s Great Court from 17-25 May, with tickets available here. The Australian Cultural Fund is currently also crowdfunding for FLOOD‘s production expenses, so that ticket sales can be used to pay the creative team: click here to donate

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