Local productions to UpStage the classics in Newcastle

13 Dec 2023

A day in the life of a modern café, inspired by Goldbergs on Darby Street, is a taste of the local flavour that features in the UpStage at the Playhouse program.

Written by Carl Caulfield, Karma Kafe showcases hard-working young staff and a diverse bunch of regulars and is one of four new and reimagined works that will call the Civic Theatre's intimate Playhouse home in 2024.

Deputy Chair of City of Newcastle’s Community and Culture Advisory Committee, Councillor Margaret Wood said this is an incredible opportunity to introduce works by home-grown theatre companies.

“Civic Theatre and City of Newcastle are investing in local productions, providing space and marketing support to local creatives," Cr Wood said.

"We invited Newcastle's creative and performing arts community to express their interest in being part of UpStage and we're excited about the range of applications, especially the top four productions.

"The atmospheric 195-seat Playhouse is ideal for presenting smaller shows and we're hoping a program such as this cements the connections between the theatre, our community, and the arts industry."

Alongside Karma Kafe, another original production on the program is Blueberry Play, written by Ang Collins, a one-woman show that explores the highs and the lows of being a teenage girl in a small town, packed with heart, humour and aching nostalgia.

The Magic Hour, a dark comedy written by Vanessa Bates, is described as Little Red Riding Hood meets Trainspotting, featuring an episodic take on Grimm’s fairy tales, where Jack’s beanstalk grows in his parent’s backyard and Rapunzel’s tower is on top of a housing commission high-rise.

Romeo and Juliet reimagined by Charlotte De Wit & Pip Thoroughgood is an adaption of the timeless classic, which seeks to bridge the gap between centuries, weaving the enduring beauty of Shakespearean prose with the visceral power of movement, dance and physical theatre.

Civic Theatre Manager Leonie Wallace said the program will bring local shows to local audiences and highlight the creativity in our region.

"The fact all four of these productions have been written by Newcastle playwrights just shows the depth of talent we have in our city," Ms Wallace said.

"The Civic Theatre is aiming to build the capacity and exposure of our artists and to build Newcastle's reputation as a cultural capital.

"It's wonderful to see original and re-imagined productions form part of the UpStage at the Playhouse program."

Each show will be given a two-week placement in the Playhouse, which is co-located in the same building as the iconic Civic Theatre.

Tickets for UpStage at the Playhouse will go on sale from 15 February 2024, with shows to run from August to November.

For more information visit https://www.civictheatrenewcastle.com.au/upstage