High tea and drama on the lawns of Booloominbah

Published 08 February 2012

earnestThis month Armidale is set to experience a new out-door theatre event, OutDoorDrama (ODD). The Felt Tip Theatre Company, who are producing the performance, are hoping it will become a popular annual event. The inaugural ODD production will be Oscar Wilde’s much-loved classic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest.

The 2012 ODD season will consist of two performances on the lawns of the Booloominbah homestead at the University of New England. According to the producers, the homestead, which was built within the decade of the first performance of Earnest (1895), will serve as a stunning and fitting backdrop to this late nineteenth-century romantic comedy.

Felt Tip Theatre Company was founded by two University of New England graduates in Theatre Studies, Christopher Curcuruto and Alex Robson, in early 2011. Their vision is to perform in regional theatres, town halls and school auditoriums – wherever there is an interest in the performing arts – as well as staging regular productions in Armidale.

Felt Tip partner and producer of Earnest, Christopher Curcuruto, said: “We are very proud to be bringing this exciting venture to the New England region. Armidale has seen nothing like this in some time, and we think audiences will really enjoy it.” 

Director of the production and fellow Felt Tip partner, Alex Robson, said of the choice of play: “We wanted something grand yet timeless to suit the location, so Wilde’s play was the obvious choice. Whilst only one act is set in a garden, I believe the style of production lends itself beautifully to either an in-door or out-door performance.”

Complementing the play, the event will be presented as a high tea, with light refreshments for sale through the Booloominbah Collection, before, during, and after the performance.

For ODD’s first year, there will only be two out-door performances, but this will be supplemented by a larger season inside The Hoskins Centre, TAS, so as to acclimatise Armidale audiences to the event.

Executive producer, Pam Menzies, after remarking on the popularity of outdoor performances throughout the world, especially in the United Kingdom, said: “Australians are missing out on a wonderful opportunity by keeping their performances in-doors. Here in Armidale we are spoilt by beautiful landscapes and buildings, and the weather is no excuse.” In the event of bad weather, the performances will move to The Hoskins Centre.

The performance season will commence with a black tie gala on February 24th at The Hoskins Centre to celebrate Felt Tip’s debut full-scale production followed by ODD on Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th of February and subsequent performances at The Hoskins Centre. Tickets are priced at $20 for adults, $15 for concessions, and $10 for children, and are available from The Reader’s Companion bookstore or online at www.felttiptheatrecompanay.wordpress.com. Group discounts apply for group bookings of 10 people or more. For further enquiries or for group bookings, please contact Alex or Chris at felttiptheatrecompany@gmail.com or on 0458 386 834.