Uncovering the Truth: A Look into Observatory Theatre’s 2023 Season

The stage is set for an exciting new season at Observatory Theatre, where truth is the theme that will guide the exploration of stories, characters, and the world we live in. Bravo Brisbane sat down with Creative Producer Lachlan Driscoll to discuss the thought-provoking plays and programs that make up the 2023 season, from the hilarious absurdities of “The Turquoise Elephant” to the edge-of-your-seat mystery of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. 

Read on to see what Driscoll had to say about it!

Can you tell us about the themes explored in this year’s season at Observatory Theatre?

We’re exploring truth this year in all its forms: truths about ourselves, our world, the lives we lead and the history we leave behind. Truth is a rare commodity these days with so much information at our fingertips 24/7, including fake news. We are now able to access a staggering array of opinions, facts, comments and theories than ever before, and it’s not necessarily a good thing. We need the truth now more than ever, so we will do our best to present and uncover it this year, or at least what is true for myself and the voices on stage.

What inspired the choice of Stephen Carleton’s play “The Turquoise Elephant” to open the 2023 season?

The Turquoise Elephant is so much fun! I find new laughs and things to love every time I read it, but in particular, I love how it delicately balances absurdity with social commentary, which is what all good plays do. The Turquoise Elephant will open the season with its lighting energy and (spoilers) explosiveness. It’s a perfect way to kick start the year.

How does the adaptation of “Picnic at Hanging Rock” differ from previous versions?

I think audiences are going to be very surprised by this version of Hanging Rock. It sure caught me off guard, and I think it’s worth audiences to see for themselves. What it does do is make the story fresh and completely contemporary for our times. In fact, the mystery of what happened to Miranda, Edith and the others will even be solved for many people. Wright’s Hanging Rock is the definition of ‘edge of your seat’ entertainment.

What can audiences expect from the world premiere of “Disney Off Ice”?

You’re going to see the legend that we know as Walt Disney as you’ve never seen him before. This play is delightfully wicked, but don’t come expecting a family friendly time. Oliver has grabbed hold of a famous Disney conspiracy, so come along if you like your theories wild and your stories even wackier. We have found the perfect actor in Tom Coyle (Ad Astra, Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble) to play the part who is already deep into preparation! And I predict the foyer talk after the show to be lively and possibly cause some debates over who Walt really was, his achievements and legacy

How has the company’s new writing program “Telescope” contributed to this year’s season?

Disney Off Ice is the first delicacy fresh out of the Telescope oven. Telescope is our new writing program that commissions imaginative and inventive plays, supporting the playwright and their unique vision at every step of the way to reach their creative potential. The workshops and meetings we’ve had for Disney Off Ice were like magic, and hearing the response and thoughts on the latest drafts has been illuminating. I am passionate about new stories, especially stories that take risks theatrically, which is exactly what the program (and Observatory Theatre in general) is not afraid of.

What do you hope audiences take away from this year’s season at Observatory Theatre?

Definitely, firstly, let’s have a good time! I hope audiences enjoy the shows, are entertained and are glad they took the leap to come along. Next, I hope they find something new about themselves or their relationship with the world. It’s only by becoming aware of new perspectives that we can better ourselves and the people around us.

Can you discuss the partnership with the Australian Conservation Foundation for “The Turquoise Elephant”?

The Turquoise Elephant talks about delays to progress on solving climate change and what the planet could be like if we do not fully acknowledge the issue. The ACF collaboration came about because I wanted to double the impact that a show like The Turquoise Elephant can have. Putting on a show is great, but I wanted to explore that next step where theatre can make a difference. So now when you come to see the show, you can donate to the Australian Conservation Foundation at the same time. In this way, you’ll be learning about environmental and climate change issues, helping to spread awareness of these issues, and also combatting areas that need attention through the ACF, such as conservation efforts and fighting pollution

How does the launch of the in-house newsletter “Third Eye” add to the experience of the 2023 season for audiences?

I am particularly excited to launch Third Eye within the coming weeks. I always find that I’m itching to know more about a certain play that I’ve just seen, what it means to different people or under what circumstances it was created, so this multi-media newsletter will aim to cover that. There will be short articles, videos and other interesting things for you to investigate. The first edition will explore eco-trends in the theatre industry and how The Turquoise Elephant was recently listed in the Top 100 Plays to Save The World!

You can subscribe to Observatory Theatre’s Third Eye here.

Read more about Observatory Theatre’s 2023 season and get tickets on their website.

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