Any vibrant theatrical community, developing first class live entertainment, requires a careful balancing act between three equally important elements critical to every season in every production … Creative
… this page remembers and honors the latter two from the Queensland Theatre Company
All are artisans and theatrical practitioners in their own way, be it creatively financing, planning, selling, managing or bringing to life a designers vision… In the theatrical world, all of this is unique and often without any templates or historical reference.
Alan Edwards leadership perfectly embodied this balancing act recognizing these three distinct skill sets that made up the success of the company.
During the first two decades of the Queensland Theatre Company, separate from it’s incredible pool of onstage talent, musicians, choreographers and writers, it established, enhanced, developed and expanded a very strong centralized administration with a dedicated production workshop, bringing together the departments of carpentry, painting, props, wardrobe and lighting under a single roof.
Nearly everything was manufactured at the 1,788 square metre workshop at Precision Street, Salisbury a southern area of Brisbane.
The workshop space also housed the hire departments of lighting, props and wardrobe. By hiring inventory assets the QTC assisted professional and amateur theatre companies, schools, clubs and individual hirers whilst maximizing QTC resources and thus reducing dependence on Government subsidy.
In the early ’80’s, the QTC workshop employed twelve highly skilled specialist permanent artisans who manufactured not only the productions at the SGIO Theatre (later renamed Suncorp but referred to as SGIO throughout this page) but also all other company requirements for adult and school touring productions. The QTC also frequently provided major assistance for outside companies – for example, wardrobe staff made ninety costumes for the Lyric Opera’s inaugural season of LA BELLE HELENE.
Many months prior to staging, designers create exact replica models and scale working drawings which are used by directors, builders and scenic artists to create the finished product. The designers also provide detailed costume and props drawings as a guide for QTC artisans in those departments.
Under the leadership of Production Managers, scenery was built, assembled and painted in the workshop then dismantled into small components for transportation (typically by Rocklea Carriers trucking company) to the theatre on semi-trailers. It was then re-assembled on the stage in less than a day to allow the production staff and actors sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the set before opening.
Working long overnight, lighting instruments would be hung, patched into dimmer racks, and then each lamp would have it’s gel frame and color fitted, then be focussed to the designers needs, and wardrobe would arrive with costumes steamed and distributed to the dressing rooms.
In its heyday of the 1970’s/80’s, the QTC workshop would manufacture as many as 17 productions in a year, often incorporating materials recycled from previous productions. Indeed as an example, in 1981 the Queensland Theatre Company
was powering along doing 18 productions: 7 mainstage productions in its season at the SGIO Theatre
, 1 outdoors in Albert Park, 2 separate touring shows, ANNIE
doing a Queensland state tour and return season at Her Majesty’s Theatre
, 3 Theatre in Education
productions plus the launch of QTC Tangent Productions
with another 3 productions.
We honor the Production Managers Don Batchelor ★ Alan Colegrave ★ Arthur Frame AM ★ Peter Kaukas ★ Dennis Law ★ Graeme McCoubrie ★ John Watson and Production Secretaries Vicki Birch ★ Yvette (Capt) O’Brien and Myra Terry.