Tara Hobbs, producer, Cinderella
There’s not a show I’ve worked on where I haven’t learned something – you are forever redefining your style, your process, your world ...
Dating in the age of Tinder can be a pain. Superficial connections abound, and it almost seems like the golden age of romance has disappeared for good. Gone are the days of your soulmate tracking you down to return your glass slipper – it seems the most we’re likely to get is an accidental super like. A new theatre collective called MYTHS MADE HERE is giving the classic fairytale story of Cinderella a modern overhaul, following a single woman as she tries to find a half-decent date. The reinterpretation tackles romance in the digital age, and features a cast of celebrated Queensland performers. Ahead of the beginning of Cinderella’s season at QPAC, we chat to producer and member of MYTHS MADE HERE Tara Hobbs about her love of theatre and what to expect from this retelling of a classic tale.
First of all, we’d love to know about your first experience with the theatrical arts. Can you remember the first show you ever saw?
From memory it was Phantom of the Opera! I was six! What were Mum and Dad thinking? I slept with a light on, out of fear, for about the next five years – but subsequently still love the show, and perhaps most importantly stories that celebrate love, conquering fear, and that go out with a bang!
What was it about your formative experiences of theatre that made you want to be involved in some capacity?
My early career was established through coordinating an amazing event that was run by Backbone Youth Arts, the 2high Festival. This event – originally established to provide young women an opportunity to cut their producing, technical, programming, and marketing chops in the arts, in a safe, mentor-led environment – allowed a team of around nine of us to learn how to run a multi arts event at the gorgeous QPAC. It was an incredible real-life, safe space, that changed my life – and certainly put me on a path – to what would be an awesome career with festivals, music, theatre and live events.
You’re part of the newly formed collective MYTHS MADE HERE. What is the group’s central focus and creative ethos?
We believe in a good story, well told. We believe a good story has something to say about the world at large, something to declare – loudly or quietly – about what it’s like to be right here, right now.
For those that are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the theatre industry, can you tell us what the role of the producer entails?
It’s all the sexy stuff. Contracts. Schedules. Budgets. Venues. Ticketing. Partnerships. Putting out fires. Sometimes starting fires. But all in all, it’s about ensuring a team are all on the same page, moving forward together, to make something special happen on stage and, most importantly, having fun as we go!
We’re excited to catch MYTHS MADE HERE’s production of Cinderella when it comes to QPAC! What was it about the Cinderella tale that enticed you and the team to tackle it in the first place?
I think in 2019 this is just such a timely retelling of this old classic. It acknowledges that many of us are still looking for love, but that the old pumpkin and prince might be a little hard to relate to now!
From all reports you’re presenting a new take on the classic story! What can audiences expect from the show?
It’s a beautiful, heartfelt reimagining that is, perhaps, more about us learning to love ourselves, so that we are confident enough to ‘get out there’ than for waiting for a fairy tale to swirl around us.
What would you say is the best thing about Brisbane’s theatre scene right now?
I think there is a sense of renewal in Brisbane at the moment, in the deep desire and urgent need to celebrate this beautiful place and to start telling our own stories. Coupled with an amazingly booming food and bar scene, I think we’re seeing the theatre experience become part of the ‘going out’ experience. And I know that’s something that MYTHS MADE HERE are keen to encourage!
Although Cinderella is taking centre stage at QPAC, there are undoubtedly numerous groups making incredible theatre on a smaller scale. What is your advice for people who want to dip their toes into the scene as a budding performer or lover of theatre?
Ooof! This is a big one! I think the greatest thing you can do is to find your pack. Find like-minded people who love to talk, test, see and make stuff happen. There’s not a show I’ve worked on where I haven’t learned something – you are forever redefining your style, your process, your world.
Are there any other Brisbane-based groups that you think are doing great things?
Yes! My fave being The Good Room. They are always pushing the limits of creating new and exciting work that makes me feel and think and celebrate and dance, all at once! Also, Optikal Bloc. Whilst not a theatre company, their world-class video design has lifted many a show I have seen or been involved with into a whole new dimension!