Jute Theatre’s 20th season opens

Thursday 8 March 2012

Jute Theatre’s 20th season opens

by Roy Weavers

Jute Theatre Company’s original commissioned work entitled ‘At Sea, Staring Up’ by internationally acclaimed Hobart playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, will officially open at The Jute Theatre tomorrow night (9 March), marking the theatre's 20th anniversary.

This world premiere production illustrates the enthusiasm, creativity  and dedication that production Director Suellen Maunder brings to the Jute Theatre. 

As well as being the Director for this current production she is also one of the founding members of the contemporary arts movement in Cairns. 

She is the artistic director and CEO of Jute Theatre Company and admits that over 20 years ago in 1992 during the very early days of her passion for the arts she was happy to be labelled a ‘radical’. 

It is that fervour for the arts and her pioneering spirit that has generated one of the most powerful and indeed one of only about five professional theatre companies operating in Australia today.

This production introduces local emerging talent including Brett Walsh, Natalie Taylor, Ella Watson-Russell, Christiaan Westerveld and The Daintree’s very own Laura Pegrum - daughter of the legendary, now Far north local, Nigel Pegrum, who many of you will remember from his Steeleye Span career. 

Laura Pegrum plays one of the leading roles in this innovative and magical love story about the intertwined lives of five totally different characters across three different continents.
“I am the youngest actor in the cast and it is amazing to realise that I was only two years old when Suellen (Maunder) and her fellow pioneers had the foresight to start up the Jute Theatre on just dreams.  I am thrilled to be part of the opening of this 20th anniversary season," 22 year-old Laura told The Newsport.

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“It is fantastic working with this cast.  Most of them are only two years older than me but they have so much more experience than I have. I’m learning so much from them and all of us are looking forward to our opening night and enjoying the two and half weeks that the play runs for,” she said.

The expertise of Sydney based designer Luke Ede has been invaluable.  As have the contributions from Adelaide-based composer and sound designer Quincy Grant and Brisbane-based lighting designer Jason Glenwright.  

“This play works on the idea of magic and all the creatives have been really clicked into the vision for the work," Ede said.

"I can literally feel the magic bouncing off the stage as I sit in the theatre, the production is such a joy, I can’t wait for the regional audience to experience it.”

‘At Sea, Staring Up’ opens on Friday 9 March and runs through until 24 March. 

Tickets are on sale now through the Jute Box Office online, over the phone on 4050 9444, or at the box office between 10am and 5pm Tuesday to Friday from the Centre of Contemporary Arts, 96 Abbott St, Cairns.

Pictured: Local actor Laura Pegrum takes centre stage.