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A touring schools theatre program made by young creatives out of the CSU Bathurst Theatre / Media degree.
OUTPOST Theatre presents ROMEO & JULIET

Arts OutWest auspiced this Regional Arts Fund supported, Bathurst made, touring schools theatre program.

Three actors begin their tired old traditional performance of Romeo & Juliet that we’ve seen like a million times right? Sick to death of hiding away on her balcony the actress playing Juliet decides it’s time to flip the script: her Juliet is going to read Romeo’s part and the guy playing Romeo will play out Juliet’s part!

A new version of this timeless Shakespeare, this play thrusts the story of young love into the modern era. With both contemporary and Shakespearean language, this is an empowering contemporary take on a classic play that challenges the way we see young romance. A fresh, engaging and hilarious spin on Shakespeare, this show is suitable for high school English and Drama students.

After four weeks of development OUTPOST presented their Romeo & Juliet to supporters in the Creative Hub TV Studio on the CSU Bathurst Campus, in the Creative Hub’s TV Studio.

Q and A with the Outpost team

Who is in the Outpost company?

The Outpost company is made up of artists who grew up and formed their creative practice in regional communities. The collective of six connected through CSU’s Theatre/Media course and are all graduates who studied here in Bathurst.

What were your experiences of theatre growing up in regional areas?

MADELAINE: Growing up in Bathurst, my experience of live performance started with my mother’s involvement in the local musical society. The concept that theatre and community engagement in this way could be an actual career and not just a ‘hobby’ didn’t click for me until years (a decade at least) later. Meeting creatives through my career who had grown up in metropolitan areas, I often felt jipped when I learnt that they had been seeing STC shows and Bell Shakespeare touring productions from the ripe young ages of 10. It highlighted a gap in my exposure to the arts from a young age and reignited a passion to close that gap for other young people growing up in regional areas.

HUDSON: Highly limited. I was raised in Jindabyne where the closest major theatre company was Canberra (2 hours away!). Involvement in school productions was the only opportunity to participate and engage with theatre.

EMMA: I was really lucky that my parents made the arts a priority in raising us. From a young age, I attended the ballet with mum; the same way that she had done with her mum. We travelled into the city to see a lot of theatre. It always required a lot of organisation.

Why is working in regional Australia important to you?

EMMA: It is such a vibrant place that deserves more. There are so many stories here and working as an artist regionally means you get to tell and experience these stories in an authentic way. That to me is so important.

HUDSON: It feels like honouring and acknowledging my own regional context. Meeting and working with other artists who are like-minded or who have similar experiences and engaging with young audiences who may experience a similar lack of exposure is incredibly rewarding.

MADELAINE: The attitude that regional audiences are lucky to have metropolitan companies and artists bring work to them is incredibly ignorant and frustrating. Of course, having work with high production value tour to the regions is a valuable and wonderful thing but regional artist can be generators of art and culture; not just consumers.

 What has your development process been like?

Surprisingly relaxed. The amount of support we have received from BMEC and ArtsOutWest has meant that we can focus our attention and commitment on creating something that we are really proud of. We have come together as artists with a history of working together so there has been a strong sense of collaboration and motivation from the very first day of rehearsals.

What are you looking forward to on this tour?

Getting the project out there – the reason we work so hard is so that we can give something to an audience and we are really eager to do that. We’re excited to see how a modern adaptation of a classic text translates for a young contemporary audience, and what their response is.

Much of the motivation behind this project is to bring good work made by regional artists to regional students and we’re very excited to do that.

What’s next for the Outpost project?

BOOKING SCHOOLS! This tour is essentially a test drive of a project that we are very passionate about and hope to give further life to.

About Outpost

Providing high school audiences with exciting examples of contemporary theatre, OUTPOST is a company of theatre-makers that grew up in Regional Australia and understand how important it is that young people have access to powerful performance. An alternative to the stream of regional touring work that doesn’t get just how smart and engaged country folk really are, the OUTPOST team has come together to make shows that connect with the experience of country kids through staging contemporary Australian plays and wild new adaptations of older texts.

OUTPOST is new collaboration, based in Bathurst, between emerging Creative Producer Heidi Annand and established Theatre Director Adam Deusien founded to develop and tour exciting contemporary theatre and performance designed for young audiences in regional NSW. Working with a group of four other artists, all Bathurst-based graduates of the Bachelor of Communication (Theatre/Media) course at Charles Sturt University, OUTPOST creates innovative, high quality theatre work that fulfils a need that we all experienced firsthand in high school in non-metropolitan NSW; a lack of rich, contemporary theatre for regional students that honour a young regional audience’s intelligence, ambition and interests.

They are committed to providing theatre to high schools and communities that typically only have access to tours from metro organisations that lack an understanding of how robust and hungry young people in regional areas are for contemporary work. OUTPOST is committed to also providing sustainable employment for emerging regional artists, and is collectively committed to working in regional NSW.

Three actors begin their tired old traditional performance of Romeo & Juliet that we’ve seen like a million times right?

Location: Developed Bathurst. Toured to Bathurst and Dubbo.

When: 2019

Funded by: The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund

A project of OUTPOST Theatre auspiced by Arts OutWest.

With additional support from: Local Stages at BMEC

Artists: Heidi Annand, Adam Deusien, JoJo Zhou, Hudson Emery, Emma Paterson, Madelaine Osborne

Thank you also to: CSU Creative Hub