Queensland Theatre’s first Theatre Residency Week NQ

For five decades Queensland Theatre has operated Theatre Residency Week (TRW) in Brisbane, a sleep-away drama camp for high school students. It is the longest running theatre program of its kind in Australia and accepts 100 students each year, with one third of attendees travelling from regional and remote Queensland to participate.

In 2020, after two pilot years and much anticipation, Queensland Theatre was excited to run its first full-scale Theatre Residency Week across two locations in North Queensland (Townsville and Ayr). In this tumultuous and screen-dependant year, the Company felt it was especially important to push ahead with TRW NQ and bring an affordable and accessible arts experience directly to regional students during their July school holidays.

Queensland Theatre’s Associate Director, Travis Dowling, delivering a socially distanced workshop for TRW NQ students. Photo credit: Chrissy Maguire.

Adapting quickly to design a COVID-safe day camp, Queensland Theatre’s Education and Youth team and project partners TheatreiNQ and Kirwin State High School engaged with 47 students from across north and central Queensland for a week of socially-distanced actor training, theatre skills workshops and performance opportunities.

Students spent their mornings training in self-selected core groups to develop essential skills in an actor’s toolbox, from script analysis to ensemble devising, character development and even clowning! In the afternoons they were able to delve into one-off masterclasses in Shakespeare, musical theatre, acting for film and television, and mock injury special effects makeup. The program was delivered by the state’s leading teaching artists including Queensland Theatre’s Associate Director Travis Dowling, TheatreiNQ’s Education Manager Arminelle Fleming, Cassie Harris, Thomas Larkin, Sandra Neal, Ngoc Phan and Ron Pullman.

TRW NQ culminated in a whole group showing, uniting the Townsville and Ayr groups to share and celebrate everyone’s achievements and cement new friendships before saying goodbye until next year.

Tim Fairfax Family Foundation joins in celebrating the success of QT’s first NQ Theatre Residency Week and commends Queensland Theatre on their dedication to delivering quality learning experiences for students in regional, rural and remote Queensland.

Students gained skills and confidence and formed new friendships. Photo credit: Chrissy Maguire.

Quotes from participating students:

“It was amazing! I have no access to drama where I go to school and in my community, so this opportunity was awesome. I learnt a lot throughout the week and everybody was so friendly.” — Student

“I have learnt so much from the week and I appreciate the opportunity that you gave me to attend. That week has given me a good look at what opportunities are available in the career of acting. I have learnt so much, from Shakespeare and acting essentials to being on camera. I have also got to interact and meet new friends that have similar interests.” — Scholarship Recipient

“It was super, super fun! The atmosphere was awesome and really inclusive, plus we could step outside our comfort zones without the fear of judgement. […] I also met tons of amazing new people who had similar interests and formed some friendships with them.” — Student