Harvest Rain Theatre Company lends a hand to Brisbane’s independent theatre scene.

The Harvest Rain Theatre Company continues to inject lifeblood into the veins of Brisbane’s musical theatre community.

Last year, the company presented its first full season of professional theatre and also established a new home at Stafford, a state-of-the-art studio complex that includes a 100-plus seat theatre.

Harvest Rain is steadily positioning itself as a serious pro operator on the Brisbane theatre scene. And now the company has launched Incubator, a new initiative that aims to grow, nurture and provide the optimal conditions for some daring new theatrical experiences.

“Incubator is an opportunity for independent artists to produce the work they want to do – to give them a workspace that won’t cost them an arm and a leg,” says Brisbane theatre director and curator of the Incubator program Catarina Hebbard.

“We’ll provide a safe environment in which new work can be tested, developed, shown, reworked and then presented as part of the Incubator season.”

Hebbard says it has long been a dream of Harvest Rain’s artistic director Tim O’Connor to help develop and nurture new musical theatre work and emerging musical theatre artists.

“But how do they get their work up? The opportunities for artists at this level are few and far between and so I’m just so excited Incubator is happening – it’s long overdue. In this first year there may be a few hiccups but we’ll iron those out – you’ve got to make mistakes in order to improve.”

Two shows from the inaugural Incubator season will play through May and June. Matilda Award-winner Cienda McNamara will direct the Australian premiere of 35mm: A Musical Exhibition. Boasting a cast of talented locals, 35mm is set at an art installation where each photo creates a unique song.

“The art work goes hand in hand with some amazing music,” Hebbard says. “It’s a song cycle, a visual spectacle with audience interaction.”

Prior to 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, you can get your skates on for the best disco in town, Xanadu. Emerging Brisbane director Joshua McCann-Thomson will present a sparkling 21st century stage musical interpretation of the 1980 film. First staged on Broadway in 2007 and nominated for two Tony Awards, Xanadu-The Musical is a hilarious, roller skating adventure about a mysterious goddess who helps a young artist create a unique arts club called the Xanadu.

The stage version has all the great Jeff Lynne (ELO) and John Farrar songs from the movie – Magic, All Over The World, Suddenly, I’m Alive, Evil Woman, Have You Never Been Mellow and of course Xanadu.

It’s a musical about following your dreams despite the limitations. So if you want to feel inspired, there’s a place… and a show… it’s called Xanadu.

Xanadu plays Harvest Rain’s Hayward Street Studios, Stafford, from May 13. 35MM: A Musical Exhibition plays from June 3.

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