By Mariska Murphy produced for online by Jessica Sier
Brisbane’s Anywhere Theatre Festival is about to kick off, with pop up performances all around the city ready to inspire and entertain.
From next Thursday, do not be surprised next week if you are enjoying a coffee in a quiet cafe and a circus troupe walks in.
Or you are catching an elevator up to work and someone starts reciting Shakespeare.
The Anywhere Theatre Festival will perform throughout Brisbane, anywhere and everywhere.
Festival director Paul Osuch says the idea was conceived in 2010 when a lack of performance venues forced a major theatre production to bypass Brisbane.
“So we thought, how about we have a festival where we actually exclude all the traditional venues and it can be anywhere but there, and from there it really took off,” he said.
The Courier-Mail arts editor Nathanael Cooper says the initiative is an exciting way to boost the cultural vibrancy of the city.
He agrees, however, there is a dire need for new performance venues in Brisbane.
“It’s an enormous problem, you just have to speak to commercial theatre producers, even local theatre companies, they struggle to get their productions into QPAC,” he said.
The Festival is partnering with Queensland Rail, the Queensland Theatre Company and the State Library of Queensland to bring the performances to Brisbane.
Queensland Theatre Company program coordinator Shari Irwin says it is great for up-and-coming performers.
“If you’re just starting out or you’ve got a great idea but you don’t have a lot of money to rent a theatre or lights, we believe the Anywhere Festival is a great way to still get your work on and get it seen by people without a lot of expense,” she said.
Cafes, parks and alleyways in Brisbane will host more than 250 performances over 10 days.
Ms Irwin says she expects Brisbane theatre-goers will love seeing productions in less traditional places.
“Theatre and live performance doesn’t have to be something you put on uncomfortable shoes and sit in a dark room to experience.
“It can happen absolutely anywhere, and that’s what is exciting and fun about it,” she said.
Arts Queensland has given the Festival a $50,000 grant and Mr Osuch says the support has allowed the Festival to realise its potential.
“There’s a far wider range of shows as well,” he said.
From next Thursday theatre-goers can visit the State Library of Queensland and watch a London theatre company rehearsing over Skype.
Or perhaps pop along to a deserted warehouse in Hamilton to watch a comedy mash-up of Star Wars and Shakespeare.
Ranging from classical to new plays, the festival is offering free performances and all the information can be found on the Anywhere Festival Website.