Newly created production company Cherry Car will this weekend showcase their inaugural show The One-Armed Bandit at Burleigh Brewing Co. Inside Gold Coast sat down for a chat with the talented duo behind the business.
Can you give us a bit of background information on what life was before Cherry Car?
This is our first full length production. Prior to this we were/are both working as teachers; Chris teaches Drama and I teach English … to senior students. Chris suggested I should attend a short play festival at The Powerhouse in Brisbane. I grew up on a cattle farm so I hadn’t seen much theatre and I was immediately enamoured with the language coming alive on stage. So, the following year we created two original 10-minute plays for ‘Short and Sweet’ in Brisbane. Both plays made it into the top 10, and we won best independent theatre company. I think that marks the spot where we thought that perhaps the combination of writer and director could be a good fit for us. Sometimes we want to strangle each other but mostly it’s a good fit. Finding forms of creative expression beyond the classroom has certainly made us much better at our day jobs.
How did the idea for the business come about, what was your biggest motivation?
For us it’s not so much about business as it is about our passion for live theatre. We love a cinematic experience but for us nothing can compete with the buzz of watching drama unfold in the flesh … in a single exploding moment. Our biggest motivating factor is our passion for this particular art form, and delivering it in a way that reaches an audience beyond typical theatre patrons. The concept for this play actually emerged before the theatre company. Cherry had an idea about bringing pokie machines to life onstage through physical theatre, and when we started researching the issue of gaming rooms we discovered story after story of people whose lives had been destroyed by the slots. So, we are also driven by a desire to create theatre that questions the status quo and gives voice to the vulnerable. Yet, without our ridiculously talented performers we’d probably just be a silly logo. They are the lifeblood of Cherry Car Productions. That, and our silly logo.
Your first show, The One-Armed Bandit is on at Burleigh Brewery this weekend, it seems like quite a unique collaboration, why did you decide to hold it there?
Well, we think Burleigh Beer is the bee’s knees. Tick. The space is unconventional, contemporary and hip. Tick. And our play is set in a pub; whilst watching the production, our audience will be sitting alongside a forest of beer silos. The smell alone brings its own delicious atmosphere. Also, ‘The One-Armed Bandit’ is about the ways in which pokies have impacted on live music and our social culture, and Burleigh Brewing Co. is an independent business that we believe brings people together as a community. And they said yes when we thought they would say, get lost. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Do you think this is the way of the Gold Coast’s cultural scene, local businesses coming together to support one another?
This is our first taste but, yes, cooperatives on the GC seem to have been cropping up for some time. ‘City’ types love to turn their nose and refer to the GC as a cultural wasteland but we think our connection to the landscape and a particular way of life make this place far more interesting than a concrete jungle. I think the GC is finding its sea legs in the cultural scene … a really exciting time to reside on the Coast.
How do you feel about your first show as Cherry Car?
Pumped! Nervous. Setting up the staging, seating, sound and lighting on a short time frame in a working Brewery is a real challenge. Obviously the space isn’t intended for theatrical productions, but Burleigh Brewing Co. have been very accommodating. There are a few unknowns but we have complete faith in the ability of our cast and crew to adapt on the night. They are revved up for a rip-roaring show!
What’s up next for Cherry Car?
Sleep. And then we might take ‘The One-Armed Bandit’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Unless of course someone wants to support a complete run of this show in Australia … hello? We’d love to join forces with a composer and spend more time working on the musical aspects of our production. And then we might find another Australian issue to satirise.
What do you love most about the Gold Coast lifestyle?
We love the cleansing effect of the ocean … washes all your frets away.
Your favourite piece of life advice?
Get yourself some land, they’re not making any more of it.
You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t…
… gone home with sand in your pants.
Being a local business we have to ask for your favourites…
Restaurants: The Wine Barrel, Etsu
Pubs: Burleigh Brewing Co. (wink)
Coffee Shop: Parlour, One Roof Eatery, Refuel Depot, Counter … (full of beans)
Catch The One-Armed Bandit this Saturday at Burleigh Brewing Co.
Words by Kirra Smith.