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Mee to leave La Boite

According to a media release I've just received (second-hand), La Boite's Sean Mee is stepping down, and Brisbane's No. 2 professional theatre company is seeking a new artistic director. The release says, in part:

The Chair of La Boite Theatre Company, Kent Maddock, has announced that after nearly eight outstanding years as the Artistic Director of the Company, Sean Mee has decided to step down from the position. Kent said: “Sean believes it is time to introduce new creative and artistic energy to the Company.”

The release goes on to say that expressions of interest will be open from June and a decision is likely to be made in August. I wonder whether the new AD will continue Mee's policy of presenting only Australian plays.

Chasers no longer chased

Common sense has prevailed and charges have been dropped against the crew of The Chaser's War Against Everything for their motorcade stunt during APEC. The whole business was a joke and, it would seem, it was only the ineptness of the security that allowed them to get as far as they did. To celebrate, Chaser Chas Licciardello (who dressed up as Osama bin Laden for the APEC stunt) said, "We're thinking we might go out on the town with Nick D'Arcy. Nothing can go wrong there."
PS: Brisbaneites can see the Chasers live on stage at QPAC from June 25-29.

Todd McKenney mystery

Todd McKenney, who is facing drugs charges after being found dazed in a park, is claiming his drink was spiked at a party. There's more in this story (which, incidentally, uses several quotes from my interview with McKenney last year about his decision to father a child with Anne Wood).

An ill Wind?

Things don't look so bright for the musical version of Gone With the Wind, so London's Daily Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish has taken the opportunity to list his 10 worst musicals of all time. No. 1 is a show based on the Stephen King story Carrie and the list include lesser known works by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lionel (Oliver!) Bart.

Fun of the festival

Expect a steady stream of announcements about the Brisbane Festival following the revelation that the Spiegeltent will back in a new location. The entertainment roster will include France's Les Yeux Noirs, British band The Tiger Lillie, the Kransky Sisters, Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier, and My Friend The Chocolate Cake.
PS: Last time I spoke to Lyndon Terrachini, he suggested that Paul denny, the star of Johnno might be involved with the 2008 event. He also said this would be his second and last festival because a third one might kill him. If it's a success, though, I reckon he may be persuaded to make it a hat trick.

The Empire strikes back

The curtain goes up tomorrow night on Brisbane director Lewis Jones's production of Cabaret. It's at the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba - an historic venue that has been beautifully restored (as the Regent could be, given the political will).

NIDA nada

I was disappointed to read that Aubrey Mellor seems to have been ousted from the National Institute of Dramatic Art to make way for combined artistic and business leadership of Lynne Williams. This is despite many calls for Mellor to stay on from the distinguished likes of Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, John Bell and Neil Armfield. Armfiled described Mellor as "finest acting teacher". Brisbaneites will also recall that Mellor presided over a "golden age" at the Queensland Theatre Company in the early 1990s, where his programming was always astute and his direction inspired. He also nurtured a lot of talented people who have gone on to bigger and better things.

Mike Walsh says: Save the Regent

Theatre owner, entrepreneur and former television host Mike Walsh has backed the campaign to save and restore Brisbane's Regent Theatre. In an email to, Walsh wrote:

I think that saving and restoring The Regent Theatre Brisbane is a great idea , if a fully functional 1500 – 2000 seat live theatre can be built. In a city growing as quickly and prosperously as Brisbane is, how marvellous to have another theatre for musicals ,etcetc. It could be an essential part of the equation in mounting large scale musicals ,and become part of the tour. The QPAC Lyric is a fine theatre, but there will be a need for an alternative, as commercial theatre is booming in the London West End,Broadway, and Europe.

Cirque surprise

I've been spared the experience of TV's So You Think You Can Dance on account of being out of the country. However, I probably wouldn't mind watching the part of the Channel 10 show next Monday, April 14, when two performers from Cirque Du Soliel, Arthur Davis and Shenea Booth, are scheduled to perform an acrobatic routine. It is, of course, all in the name of promoting CDS's next Australian show, Dralion, which opens in Brisbane in November. You can sign up for preferential bookings here.

Something to sing about

First Jerry Springer, then Keating, now there are plans for an opera on the life of Anna Nicole Smith. Writer Richard Thomas says: "It's an incredible story. It's very operatic and sad. She was quite a smart lady with the tragic flaw that she could not seem to get through life without a vat of prescription painkillers." I wonder who they have in mind for the title role.

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