One of the oldest community theatre groups in the country, the Launceston Players is bringing a bit of staged madness to the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market this Saturday. Members of the cast and crew of the latest production, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest will be at Harvest Launceston to showcase the breadth of local talent that continue to sustain over 90 years of a passionate community acting tradition.
The Launceston Players was formed in 1926 and have been hard at work entertaining Tasmanians for the past 90 years with productions that are innovative and fun. From the intimacy of the theatre restaurant to the grand musical productions of Evita and Les Miserables, the Launceston Players have embraced it all. The Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Evita was a world premiere community production which received much attention and high level acclaim for the level of standards set. Since their first production of Eliza Comes to Stay in 1925 the Players have staged box office hits such as Steel Magnolias in 2014, Les Miserables in 2001 and the classic Dad’s Army last year.
The founders of the Players were striving for excellence in local theatre and today’s Players continue that tradition. In particular the encouragement and support of local talent is a key component of their activities. New talents in writing, performing and directing are nurtured and showcased in their programme of one act plays. But it is not all about treading the boards, the Players are always eager to welcome a diverse range of talents and skills from building, painting, sewing and admin, to acting or being part of the back stage crew during productions.
This year the Players will be staging One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, directed by Megan Jolly at the Earl Arts Centre from 24-28 May. The play is set in a 1960’s day room in a ward at a State mental hospital somewhere is the Pacific Northwest of the Unites States. Randle P McMurphy (Mac) is a charming rogue who contrives to serve a short sentence in a mental institution rather than prison. This, he learns, was a mistake.
The novel was written by Ken Kesey in 1962 and adapted for the Broadway stage by Dale Wasserman. In 1975 the film, also based on the novel was released and won five academy awards. The book regularly features in 100 best … lists.
The local stage has been witness to the variety and dedication of diverse talent that the organisation has brought to life and the Players will be at the market on Saturday to introduce the characters and plot to the local community. There is also a trivia night of “cuckoo and flying related questions and games” this Saturday at the Invermay Bowls Club in Forster Street.
However, it is not all about the acting, the Launceston Players conserve a comprehensive theatre wardrobe. Classic costumes and pieces from all periods are made available to local groups.