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Inclusive theatre shares the joy

An inspiring production of Orpheus and Eurydice from Brisbane’s premiere inclusive theatre troupe, Blue Roo Theatre Company, and Opera Queensland played to sold out audiences earlier this month at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

A new English translation of Gluck’s classic opera, Orpheus and Eurydice was brought to life by a live orchestra of local musicians, opera singers and talented ensemble members.

Leading the way in Brisbane’s inclusive theatre scene, Blue Roo is a unique company led by the artistry, experiences and imagination of the ensemble, all of whom live with diverse abilities and impairment. 
“Seeing the ensemble perform together on stage with Opera Queensland’s artists was nothing short of amazing,” said Clark Crystal, Artistic Director, Blue Roo Theatre Company.

Clark worked closely with the team of 26 performers from Blue Roo over eight months, pairing their performance skills with the professional talents of five principal vocalists from Opera Queensland to create a passionate performance that fully expressed the epic love story.

Blue Roo’s 2016 Jamie Carrigan Award Recipient, Emma Gordon-Smith, featured in Orpheus and Eurydice as the 'Embodiment of Cupid'.

The award (named in honour of the late Jamie Carrigan, an outstanding Blue Roo ensemble member) celebrates current ensemble members and their passion for performance, as well as acknowledging their contribution and dedication to the company. After six years of performing with the company Emma’s skills continue to grow as she shares and learns from her fellow cast.

When asked about receiving the award, Emma said, “Jamie Carrigan was an actor with Blue Roo and he was our friend. We miss him. I was deeply blessed to get this award. I was very shocked when I was told I won it. My friend Nikela was married to Jamie too, so it is very special to me.”

"I just love being a performer, and that's my biggest dream, to be a performer."

Speaking of his experience in creating the work, Opera Queensland star Jason Barry-Smith said "I've learned so much about love which is really one of the main themes of this opera and of acceptance, of patience, and a real sense of two groups of people coming together and creating something."

Orpheus and Eurydice is just one of the many ways in which Opera Queensland, Blue Roo Theatre Company and the Judith Wright Centre continue to redefine inclusive community engagement. Orpheus and Eurydice was supported by the Queensland Artist Showcase Program and Blue Roo was successful in securing Organisations Fund support for 2017-2020.

In 2016 Blue Roo was able to share their incredible work with many unique Queensland communities. The company worked closely with HAND, Centacare and SWITCH ensuring people with disability could easily experience accessible theatre with their careers and family.

To learn more about Blue Roo visit the company's facebook page.