A performance from TaikOz is as much about movement as it is music.
A performance from TaikOz is as much about movement as it is music.

Northern Rivers residents inspire packed NORPA 2014 program

IT TAKES mind, body and spirit to put together a theatre season for the Northern Rivers.

Just ask artistic director Julian Louis, who has announced this year's incredible program inspired by people of the Northern Rivers.

"I think about our region and the people and the diversity and the issues within it," Louis says of putting this year's program together.

"Ultimately it's the audiences that inspire both the making of the shows and the shows we choose to bring here."

NORPA has been bringing theatre to the region, as well as creating it since 1993.

Last year the regional theatre company had a shortened program to allow for renovations at the Lismore City Hall.

The hall re-opened in August, and has already played host to several productions. Making the new space buzz is what NORPA is about, and after show talks and the pop-up diner have helped create that energy.

Pinned up on Louis's office wall, well before Tralala Blip took to the stage last night, were three sticky notes: things for the mind; things for the body and things for the spirit.

And from there his program began.

The Mind

1984, March 18

THE George Orwell classic is brought into the present by Shake and Stir Theatre Company. Big brother is watching and the thought police are roaming the streets.

"1984 is an intellectual work that shows our ability to love in a world that has gone mad," Louis says.

Food, July 11 & 12

DIRECTED by Kate Champion and Steve Rogers, Food is about two sisters who are working at a family take-away shop where reminiscing is on the menu.

"Food is a scripted text about love and how we communicate," Louis says.

"It's about the history that we carry into that relationship and a fascinating exploration of how we are brought up by the same parents, but are often so very different, but it's also about what links us and makes us common."

Henry V, September 19 & 20

LOUIS says this production is the ultimate provocateur to make you think about what matters in life. The Bell Shakespeare theatre company come under the direction of Damien Ryan in an unflinching examination of the questions Shakespeare raises about political spin, patriotism, religion and class.

The Body

Lake, May 20 & 21

"THIS will be one of the most powerful body experiences," Louis says of Lisa Wilson's, Lake.

In this dance work, water floods the stage and the dancers use their bodies to express the emotional landscape of a relationship. Lake merges contemporary dance, video and sound to create an immersive experience with a startling visual impact.

Crimson Sky, October

10 & 11

BROUGHT to the region by Australia's acclaimed drumming ensemble, TaikOz, Crimson Sky weaves hypnotic melodies with drumming, bass kato and a 17-string plucked instrument. The performance, says Louis, is as much about body and movement as it is the thunderous music they produce.

"Watching people drumming is a very physical act, you can feel it through your body, into your heart."

My Heart Radio, March 27,

28 & 29

CREATED through NORPA'S Generator program, My Heart Radio is a love story for the 21st century. The production has been inspired by the Marvel comic book series, X-Men, arcade games and the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. Louis says the production explores the body in fascinating ways, looking at how we project ourselves through avatars - through an imagined self. The Generator program is about pushing the art form, says Louis and My Heart Radio achieves that. The local cast, consisting of members of Tralala Blip will resonate with local audiences.

The Spirit

The 13-Story Treehouse
The 13-Story Treehouse

The 13-Story Treehouse, May 30

DIRECTED by Louis, and adapted from the award winning book by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, The 13-Storey Treehouse celebrates the spirit of play and limitless imagination. The play looks at the beauty and the power of the friendship between Andy and Terry, where anything can happen. It starts with an empty space but is soon filled with puppets, chaos, spectacle and a real sense of the adventure they've just been on.

Circus Oz
Circus Oz robert blackburn

Circus Oz, October 31 & November 1

BRINGING their brand new show to Lismore, Circus Oz is the spirit of danger and skill.

"I love it how artists dedicate their lives and their bodies to their craft," Louis says. "I think that's what all of us find thrilling. And in Circus oz the spirit of comedy and skill combine to be something uniquely Australian."

Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui, April 8

A PRODUCTION packed with spirit and humour, Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui, is narrated by Jarparra, the Moon Man, and explores the language and rhyme of the people of the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin.

"I think we all crave Indigenous stories and understanding," Louis says. "When we're privileged enough to view these stories we understand our landscape more."

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