To those who are reading this, I hope you had a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year's Eve. Despite the "Christmas Tornado" on the gold coast that hit our area, we were fortunate to only lose a fence. Unfortunately, the rest of our street suffered significant damage. Nevertheless, it was an interesting way to end a year that was, for many, quite challenging.
On a positive note, the addition of two twin kittens to our family has helped alleviate some of the sadness we experienced after losing our twins six months ago and made Christmas bareable. So now, it's time to be creative and look ahead to better days.
This year, I'm looking forward to exploring new concepts and experiences with rehearsed readings, a collaboration with a Sunshine Coast/Noosa theatre company, Reader's Theatre classes, a trivia night experience and I will also still be exploring the idea of audio books and productions.
In May, I'll be directing Tugun Theatre's first show of the year on the southern end of the Gold Coast and hopefully Spooky Dog will be making a return.
Now due to the current financial landscape and the impact it has on our pockets, I've decided not to provide any dates just yet. Instead, become a free subscriber to receive email updates and keep an eye on The Drama Merchant's social media channels for when these events happen.
So here's a glimpse of what I'm planning to offer this year 2024!
I am pleased to announce that I will be directing the May production of "The Haunting" at Tugun Theatre. This spine-tingling tale, adapted by Hugh James from Charles Dickens' classic ghost stories, follows a young book dealer, David Filde, and his employer as they explore a decrepit mansion surrounded by desolate moors. They uncover a series of inexplicable and terrifying events that threaten to derail their work, creating a truly immersive experience for the audience. Live sound effects will be used to create a chilling atmosphere that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This production provides an excellent opportunity for schools to expose their students to the lesser-known works of Charles Dickens, not to mention how atmosphere was created in the old days of theatre. While the play delves into themes of mystery, fear, and the supernatural, it departs from his more famous social commentaries.
Auditions for the production will soon be available on The Drama Merchant's social media pages, the Tugun Theatre website, and the Gold Coast Theatre Alliance website. The production team is also seeking talented crew members who can help bring the spooky atmosphere to life through live sound effects.
Don't miss your chance to be a part of this hauntingly unforgettable production, either on stage, behind the scenes, or as a captivated member of the audience. "The Haunting" arrives at the Tugun Theatre in May 2024.
If you missed the last season of "Spooky Dog and the Gang" at Tugun Theatre last year, don't worry – they will be returning this year to solve another mystery at the Creepola County Fair. This show, written by Eric Pliner and Amy Rhodes, is inspired by classic Saturday morning cartoons and features themes that were once unknown to us as children but are now explicit.
The Teen-Age Mystery Gang embarks on a quest to find a missing pop culture icon suggested by the audience while encountering a host of colorful characters along the way, including a ghostly country singer and a not-so-psychic fortune teller. The audience plays an active role in the performance by choosing the identity of the icon, a piece of advice, and a prop that will be integrated into the show.
In addition to solving the mystery, the gang must also deal with their own desires, unexpected side effects from tasty dog treats, and a newfound passion for dance. The show's aesthetic pays tribute to the past, featuring bright, colorful, two-dimensional costumes, sets, and props. However, the characters themselves are anything but flat – they are naive but authentic, at least in their own minds!
Please keep an eye out for details on location and tickets – you won't want to miss it!
In the realm of spoken word and readers theatre, this year I will be exploring a few ideas.
Firstly I gave myself the challenge to record & finish a favourite full length story before 12am New Years Eve so chose my second favourite Jules Verne adventure! Its a bit rough with my accent changing a little until i got into the flow of things but I did it!
So having been introduced to Verne's timeless tales through the magical world of Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I have been working on an audio book of my second favourite Jules Verne adventure, to introduce new audiences - The Master of the World.
The story, follows the intrepid John Strock as he investigates a series of perplexing events that have thrown the United States into chaos. Against the backdrop of technological progress and power struggles, the thrilling narrative also delves into themes of nationalism and imperialism. The Master of the World promises to captivate the imagination of Verne's fans and those new to his works.
In a generous gesture, fans can pay what they think the story is worth before each chapter is released on The Radioplay Hour over sixteen weeks. For free subscribers of The Drama Merchant, three chapters will be granted free of charge before payment is required to enjoy the rest of the tale.
I'm looking forward to collaborating with CatBird Theatre, on the Noosa/Sunshine Coast for Algernon Blackwood's atmospheric ghost story The Empty House. The live storytelling experience follows a woman with a passion for psychical research as she invites her brother to join her on a midnight investigation into the mysterious death of a servant girl a hundred years ago. But the house may not be as empty as they initially thought. The theatrical and spooky show, complete with live sound effects, is a throwback to a time when ghost stories were shared by candle and lantern light on Christmas Eve.
I will also be launching two programs! One is called REHEARSED, a program which aims to give gold coast writers a chance to have their scripts read, rehearsed and subsequently performed in front of a small audience to obtain feedback. The first script of this program is "All Things Bright and Beautiful," written by local playwright and Drama Merchant supporter D.A. Kennedy.
The story revolves around George Jackson, an elderly man grieving the loss of his wife, who finds comfort in an artificial intelligence android named Iris. Later, he meets Edie Snell, a widow who is struggling with her own inner demons. Together, they navigate the past, present, and future to overcome their pain and create a hopeful future. The story touches on themes of love, passion, resilience, and embracing life's changes.
The second program starting this February, is a unique opportunity to nine readers who want to improve their storytelling skills while gaining confidence in public speaking and teamwork.
Readers Theatre Classes are designed to teach the art of storytelling and foster public speaking with confidence. Participants will be able to practice their storytelling skills in front of a supportive group, helping them overcome any fears or anxieties they may have about speaking in public. In addition to storytelling skills, the program will offer a chance to learn how to create sound effects to enhance the experience of live readings.
This will add excitement to the storytelling and enable participants to bring the stories to life. The program will culminate in a live reading event that will also be recorded and featured on The Radioplay Hour. Participants will have the opportunity to showcase their newly acquired storytelling skills and share their love of literature with a wider audience.
Inspired by Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, Toad's Tale includes three complete chapters of the classic tale. Young readers and listeners will join Mr. Toad, Ratty, and Mole on an adventurous journey that stands alone while serving as an excellent introduction to Grahame's beloved book.
Classes will be held at Q.W.C.A Hall at Mermaid Beach, starting from Wednesday 7th February from 4:00pm to 6:00pm for reading ages 13 to 16.
Costing will be available from 15 Jan! If your interested please subscribe to our waitlist, so we can send information directly to you once a couple more things are confirmed.
And finally explore the Armchair Detective World with a Unique Trivia Night!
Are you ready for a one-of-a-kind trivia night experience? I've been working on this concept of an armchair detective-themed trivia night that is able to transport you back to a classroom in 1932 where you'll learn the art of crime-solving from 3 master armchair detectives. But don't expect the ordinary game of questions and answers.
This trivia night is different. It requires intelligence & intuition, and an understanding of human behaviour to solve bite-sized mysteries packed with clues. You'll have to rely on your wit and powers of deduction to emerge victorious and not the luck of multiple choice.
What will hopefully set this trivia night apart is you'll feel like you're part of the class as you test your mettle. So if you and your team manage to solve the toughest cases, you'll be rewarded with the ultimate prize – a prestigious Diploma of Education in Armchair Detection! The detective's philosophy is simple yet profound – the average criminal is not that bright, and it's usually their own stupidity that gets them caught, not the detective's genius.
So gather your armchair detective skills or team up with other mystery lovers and don't miss this chance to earn your place among the elite Armchair Detection Diploma-holders.
There are a few other small creative endeavours bubbling away, but they will be revealled when the time right!
In the meantime thank you for your support, and I hope we all have a creative and productive new year!