Mary Walker

GPAC launches its 2018 theatre season

Oh what a night it was! Geelong’s theatre enthusiasts gathered at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre eager to find out what is in store for the 2018 theatre season, and they were not disappointed.

A generous nine shows will grace the Playhouse and Drama theatre stages bringing laughter, tears, and every emotion in between.

First cab off the rank 22-24 February is the Sondheim classic A Little Night Music, starring Nadine Garner and John O’May featuring unforgettable music including Send in the Clowns and A Weekend in the Country.

Coming up in April we have Peepshow from the Circa Company. This innovative group have performed in 39 countries to over 1 million people, delighting with acrobatics, solo acts and duets. Circa has been called ‘A revelation in the art of circus’ and promises a great night out.

A change of pace comes in May with The Bleeding Tree described as a murder ballad blown up for the stage. Written by Victorian playwright Angus Cenini the Bleeding Tree promises laughter powerful lyrics and a highly original take on Australian gothic.

In complete contrast, and to the delight of Jane Austen fans, Sense and Sensibility makes it way to the Playhouse in June. This sparkling presentation has been described as Jane Austen on theatrical steroids. It promises laughs a plenty together with a great cast from the State Theatre Company of South Australia.

The Events written by David Greig will certainly cause a stir when it opens in July. Claire is a reverend, feminist, lesbian and choir director with a motley crew of followers from all areas of society. Not to give the plot away, I can say that patrons will be on the edge of their seats for most of the proceedings. The choir Raise the Bar is the adult choir from Geelong youth choir.

The Season, by Nathan Maynard, brings lots of laughs and centres on an Aboriginal family who come together for the traditional mutton bird harvest with hilarious results. Big hearted and honest, this production gives an intriguing glimpse of a little known tradition.

Jurassica brings Red Stitch Company back to GPAC and a favourite with Geelong audiences. This company brings a story of migration, family language and growing old. I believe it is also about dinosaurs, but not necessarily from pre-historic times.

The 2018 season winds up in October with a production which is heart stopping. It is set in a refugee camp in Tanzania with a young Congolese boxer gearing up for the National Championship title and haunted by his tortuous past as a boy soldier.

There is definitely something for everyone in this season. Book early as seating capacity has been reduced due to renovation work and the balcony will be closed.

By Mary Walker
Queenscliffe Herald theatre columnist


Sadly Mary Walker passed away 21/12/2017 after a short illness. Her articles in the Queenscliffe Herald reflected her passion for theatre whether it was a show at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre (GPAC), GSODA Junior Players, Footlight Productions where she played the role of Mrs Higgins with much aplomb in My Fair Lady in 2014, the Potato Shed in Drysdale, amateur theatre groups including the Queenscliff-Lonsdale Theatre Group and Theatre of the Winged Unicorn in Ceres.

Mary was a welcome presence at all these performances as she loved discussing plays with the directors, meeting the cast and promoting the show in time for theatre-goers to make an early booking.

Mary contacted the Queenscliffe Herald several years ago offering to write reviews for plays at GPAC ‘at no cost… I just want to keep my hand in’. Mary had been a theatre critic for the Geelong Advertiser and The Age, a drama teacher in schools, a voice coach and actor. I refused her generous offer explaining that as a monthly newspaper the plays would be over before we went to print. I told her I had a soft spot for amateur theatre and if she was up for it would she cover their productions and the deal was done!

Mary never missed a deadline and always wrote enthusiastically about the cast and crew in a professional manner. Her last article about GPACs 2018 season is on this page. My husband Allan and I will miss meeting Mary over a pre-dinner show at The Gordon and in the GPAC Green Room with her theatre companion Ken who usually drove her to the theatre. The Queenscliffe Herald and its readers will miss her contributions to its pages.

Carmel Murphy, Editor