A new initiative fronted by four enthusiastic theatre professionals, Your Theatre Company, aims to increase paid work opportunities for Brisbane based actors and performers. The project is the brainchild of Samuel Klingner, in partnership with Jeremy Hansen, Katherine Vacca and Courtney Underhill.
What makes this project unique is that it will be the world’s first crowd-funded theatre company. Your Theatre Company will rely on donations and backing from its audience and supporters. Perks and rewards are offered to backers and contributors can have a say in executive decisions. Depending on how much is donated, supporters will receive merchandise, email updates and VIP tickets to shows. Once the company has enough funding, it will also be the donors who will help decide the organisation’s final name.
Well-known Australian actor Conrad Coleby (from Underbelly, Home and Away and Sea Patrol) was at the launch of Your Theatre Company to show his support.
“I think it is a fantastic concept. It is very different,” said Coleby. “It goes back to what theatre is supposed to be all about, people putting on stories they want to see, with people they want to see performing.”
The official launch of the theatre company featured a range of performances from talented Brisbane-based performers. Including a song from Annie by the young Chloe Thiel, Spring Cleaning by Samantha Hardgrave and Me performed by Matty Johnston.
Choreographer Courtney Underhill emphasised how Brisbane is losing the best of its local talent due to a significant lack of paid work.
“I have lots of friends who get to a stage in Brisbane and then can’t go any further, then they have to move to Sydney or Melbourne. Having that amazing talent here in Brisbane, it is such a shame for them to go. Just because there is a real lack of professional musical theatre and theatre in Brisbane,” said Underhill, “we’ve just got so much talent, why waste it?”
The fundraising effort was launched midnight April 22 and ends 20 June. The team at Your Theatre Company said that they would like to open with a musical. What musical it will be is yet to be decided and will be chosen by supporters. So if you would like to have your say in a local theatre company head to yourtheatreco.com to donate or find out other ways you can get involved.
Words and Images by Chelsea Heaney