Live theatre and life-long learning go together in the lives of many lucky Australians. The recent advent of a new theatre company (Theatre 180) in Perth rekindled my interest in the performing arts.
John’s daughter, Susan Fleming, chairs the Board of Theatre 180. This stimulated John’s interest in attending more live theatre. A new phase of our life-long learning journey begins. A win-win for everyone!
About Theatre 180
Exciting and innovative, Theatre 180 evolved from the Perth company, Agelink Theatre. Jenny Davis, OAM, founded Agelink Theatre in 1993. Over the next 28 years, Agelink presented plays based on oral and recorded histories of Australians.
Most of the plays developed through interviews and workshops with seniors. This aspect of Theatre 180 continues with the production of plays which may be of special interest to older people, but which will attract everyone.
Mainstage, another aspect of this company, provides plays sourced from all over Australia and the world. These are presented, not only in conventional theatres, but also in other venues. So far, these have included cinemas, a cathedral, churches, town halls, community halls and outdoor settings.
Theatre 180 also recognises the role of performing arts in education. They say
‘Arts and Culture play a vital role in the fabric of a functioning, healthy, robust and enlightened society – THEATRE 180 is committed to both presenting works for and about, and creating educational opportunities for young people and students.‘
Personal highlights of Theatre 180
A Fortunate Life
The new theatre company began with its hugely successful production of A Fortunate Life. John and I saw this at a cinema in Perth in February last year, just before Western Australia began a long lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Like nothing I’d ever seen, it prompted what may well be called a rave review of the experience, which we absolutely loved. If you haven’t read my review, please read it now to gain some understanding of the magical qualities of this new theatre company. You can see the review by clicking ‘A Fortunate Life – an amazing stage production‘.
We saw this play in Burt Hall, in St George’s Terrace, Perth. Again, a rave review which you can read at ‘The Children a play by Lucy Kirkwood – a review.’
Live theatre continued
We also saw The Prisoners, staged in St. George’s Cathedral, Perth. Experimental and moving, this production both educated and delighted me. I learned much about what live theatre can and should do for an audience. The cathedral setting lent itself to the ambience of the play.
Dear Heart, written by Jenny Davis herself, had me in paroxysms of suppressed sobs and tears almost from the beginning. Other people similarly affected sat nearby. Beautifully written and crafted for the theatre, it grew from a story told to Jenny by the woman portrayed as protagonist in the play. I wanted to write a review but didn’t.
It’s a tragic story about letters sent (and not sent) during World War II. Any theatre company able to create such emotion in a theatre must be doing things right!
Here’s a photo of John and me with Glenice Duffy outside Burt Hall after the production.
I haven’t been this excited about live theatre since the1980s and 1990s when the amazing and delightful Hole in the Wall Theatre Company peaked. Theatre 180 demonstrates the innovation and excitement of the Hole in the Wall. For that I’m very grateful.
Live theatre coming soon
If you love the theatre, or want to love it, Theatre 180 has plenty in the pipeline for the rest of the year. The company’s motto is ‘Great stories well told,’ and it seems to have little trouble living up to that motto.
In spite of COVID-19 restrictions Theatre 180 has already proved its resilience and imaginative approach to theatre. You can see what is coming for the rest of 2021, and make bookings, here.
Meanwhile, John and I are off to Burt Hall to see The I’s have it, at 11 am on Thursday 3rd June. There are still some tickets left.
Although I am married to Susan Fleming’s father, I am not connected to Theatre 180. We have paid for our tickets to productions.