In January 2012, PlayWriting Australia's State Exchange travel fund supported the inter-state creative development for Tales of the Underground in Brisbane.
The project, led by Creative Regions in Bundaberg, Queensland, set out to explore the social impacts of mining through the experiences of three playwrights‐in‐residence in ex‐boom towns in regional Queensland: Angela Betzien in Mt Morgan, Victoria Carless in Mt Perry and Rod Ainsworth in Cracow. Their pieces were developed with dramaturg Peter Matheson, Melbourne-based director Leticia Caceres and actors Mel Zanetti and Eugene Gilfedder.
The Showman, The Goat and the Girl with the Sea in Her Eyes, by Victoria Carless (QLD)
Tall Man, by Angela Betzien (VIC)
The Extraordinary Fall of Wheezer Hennessy, by Rod Ainsworth (QLD)
State Exchange travel funding was sought to assist Melbourne-based playwright Angela Betzien to attend the creative development of Tales of the Underground at the World Theatre Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse in February 2012 ahead of an extensive regional Queensland tour in June with actors Louise Brehmer and Hayden Spencer.
“The overall project was a resounding success… and certainly hit a chord in the communities where the work was performed. People packed the Mt Perry Town Hall where the show was powered by the local mine’s generator. There was a standing ovation for the show and one older man said afterwards, “This is the first professional theatre show we’ve had in Mt Perry in my lifetime.” Creative Regions has used this experience as a great ‘practice led’ tool in order to develop future programming to create more meaningful work in regional Queensland.”
Rod Ainsworth, Playwright and Creative Regions Director
The project was a partnership between four local government areas through the Regional Arts Development Funds in each community, the Queensland state government through Arts Qld's Flexible Touring Fund and DEEDI’s Building Rural Communities Fund, the federal government's Regional Arts Fund and Regional Stages Project, an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland and Bundaberg Regional Council. It is the first time a collaboration like this has happened in central Queensland.