Everyman Theatre is known for producing plays that tell compelling stories about their characters, as well engaging local talent to delight, enchant and rouse their audiences. After all, this is Everyman Theatre’s motto – that every man has a story to tell.
Their latest production, The Normal Heart, a Tony Award winning play by Larry Kramer; is no different. They bring to the stage captivating drama that focuses on the relationship between two loving people and those around them at the beginning of the AIDS crisis; a time when ignorance and intolerance allowed fear to govern people’s thoughts about a disease that doesn’t discriminate for race; age; sex or wealth.
The play was written in 1985, yet it still finds relevance today. Only last week there were headlines about finding a cure for this disease that attacks people’s immune system. The disease itself doesn’t kill, yet in 2015 there were 1.1 million people worldwide who died of AIDS related illnesses.
The cast and creatives involved in the production of this play are local Canberrans. By day, they go about their jobs just like you and me, and at night they come together to rehearse and put together a production is sure to entertain and provoke emotions that get you thinking.
Karen Vickery, director for The Normal Heart, is by day the Director of Learning and Visitor Experience at the National Portrait Gallery.
She tells me that she has worked with Everyman Theatre as both actor and director since arriving in Canberra 5 years ago, and that for her, being able to mingle with like-minded creative individuals allows her to exercise that muscle that spurs her own creativity.
‘if you are a creative person, and most people are, you need to exercise that muscle’
She trained at NIDA and later went on to teach there for 14 years. For her, performing and directing doesn’t just go away because you find a regular 9-5 job. In fact, she believes that the skills she gained as a trained actor and teacher, and her continuing to exercise these skills, helps her in her day job. ‘My role is about communicating with the public at the National Portrait Gallery, and so is acting and theatre, so it is very synchronous’, she says.
Karen is not the only one that finds that the skills gained as actors help in their every day job. Jarrad West (playing Ned Weeks) and Will Huang (playing Felix Turner), both work as ticketing agents at Canberra Ticketing.
Their experience as actors gives them a better understanding of productions, both from a technical and a patron experience perspective. It allows them to comfortably speak to patrons about productions, seating and general tips about the theatre industry.
Perhaps when you call to purchase your tickets to support this production you might just be speaking to one of them.
What you need to know:
- The Normal Heart is playing at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre for one week only and opens this Friday 21 October 2016 and closes on the 29th October 2016.
- Tickets are available by calling Canberra Ticketing on 02 6275 2700 or visiting canberratheatrecentre.com.au