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Prospect Terrace: A Queensland Story from Script to Stage

Theatre production Prospect Terrace is a testament to the creativity, collaboration and commitment required to bring a new, original Queensland story to life on stage.



From the seed of the idea six years ago, the Prospect Terrace project, led by Cairns-based playwright Angela Murphy, has evolved through scripting, workshops and creative development, culminating in final rehearsal period and a critically acclaimed season at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) in November 2020.

The play explores its themes through characters representative of a range of generations, designed to both appeal to a wide audience and stimulate public discussion around the social issues highlighted throughout the plot. These include dysfunctional family relationships, addiction, and issues with aged care in 21st century society. These were heightened by the volatile mix created by the family’s warring siblings, ageing patriarch and a dangling inheritance.   

A key phase in the production journey occurred during a second creative development of the work in 2018.  Over a week, the project team reworked the script, tested performance elements and workshopped scenes, which culminated in showcasing the work to potential audiences and producers with a public, rehearsed reading in March 2018, at the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre, Cairns.

This initial presentation of the work-in-development provided an opportunity to facilitate a Q&A with the audience, who offered valuable feedback, supporting Angela and the creative team to advance the quality of the script towards production.  It also furthered the professional and personal development of a regional playwright, provided a networking opportunity, and raised the skill levels of those involved.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions that challenged the production’s progress throughout 2020, five professional performances of Prospect Terrace were successfully presented at CPAC in November 2020. Prospect Terrace premiered as the first theatrical work in CPAC since the COVID lockdowns.



When and where

Creative development and public reading - February to March 2018, Cairns.

Rehearsal period and professional production - October to November 2020, Cairns.


Key stats

  • 1 new script and stage production

Work-in-development rehearsed reading 2018:

  • 95% attendees and/or participants rate the work as good or excellent.
  • 35 attendees
  • 2 Queensland arts workers employed
  • 6 Queensland artists employed through project
  • 6 Queensland-based businesses contracted to supply services

Final production season 2020:

  • 97% attendees and/or participants rate the work as good or excellent
  • 727 attendees 
  • 9 Queensland arts workers employed
  • 14 Queensland artists employed through project
  • 8 Cairns-based businesses contracted to supply services


Arts Queensland investment

  • $11,620 support through Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) – Arts Impact, 2017.
  • $55,000 support through Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) – Arts Ignite, 2020.

QASP provides funding to support the delivery of vibrant and accessible arts and cultural experiences for Queensland. 




  • Create a new Queensland story: Continued efforts to develop Prospect Terrace resulted in the creation and final presentation of a new, original Queensland story and all locally-produced theatre production.
  • Professional development opportunities: The play, both in-development, and in-production, was well received by the audiences who provided positive, valuable responses, both verbal and written. Having it videoed (both in-development and in-production) meant the footage could be reviewed to generate further feedback on the actors' delivery and greater insight into the audience response. The videos allowed Angela to improve her skills and professionalism as a playwright, collaborating with the creative team and cast to rework the script as required (pre-production) and incorporate stronger performance elements. Exit videos were made of the audience after the production performances which further highlighted the positive impact the show had on audiences.
  • Opportunities to tour a new Queensland work and engage new audiences: Prospect Terrace premiered in November 2020 as the first play in Cairns Performing Arts Centre after COVID-19 lockdown, receiving critical acclaim and encouragement to take the work on tour.
  • Using art to drive social change: The work highlights important issues, such as damaged family relationships, issues with the provision of aged care in 21st century society and addiction, with the aim to stimulate audience discussion.


Learning and reflections

Throughout the 2018 creative development of Prospect Terrace, Angela worked to revise and rewrite the script to improve the play's through-line and highlight important social issues, aiming to stimulate audience discussions.  

The project team found using age-appropriate actors allowed them to better explore the characters and the social issues to help refine the play’s storyline.

“This creative development used age-appropriate actors which meant the intentions of the characters could be better brought to life. Their dialogue was addressed and revised to reflect their ages. The creative development also focused on the form of the play and the devices it used to develop and discuss its themes. As a result of the scene readings, plot points were added, and text moved to different sections to drop 'plot crumbs' to the audience.”

A challenge to any work presented in Queensland is weather conditions, as Angela and the project team discovered during their work-in-development presentation in 2018.

“Cairns had a deluge that day with over 200mm of rain falling, so some of the audience simply could not attend due to localised flooding. Despite that, 75 percent of the booked audience attended, which was a credit to the people of Cairns and how they continue to show their support for myself, as a regional playwright. They were very keen to see more of my work, which was very encouraging.”

Leading into the production of the Prospect Terrace at CPAC in 2020, the project team dealt with several challenges including the initial COVID requirements and restrictions, and the subsequent lifting from 25 percent to 100 percent capacity in a short space of time. This impacted the number of ticket sales and the way they could be sold.

“Choosing to go ahead with the show in a COVID-19 environment, that had significantly impacted the arts, required determination, perseverance and nerves of steel.”

“We experienced challenges created by COVID-19 restrictions on audience numbers for inside theatres and had to adhere to strict protocols. The volume of information required to gather contact-tracing information proved a deterrent to some people when booking.”

“Feedback from the public indicated there were some issues with the CPAC’s ticketing system/website, which meant some patrons had difficulty purchasing tickets online. The impact of this on sales is hard to determine but ensuring ticket purchasing is made easy for the public is essential.” 

The playwright found the creative developments and the time taken to fully develop the script over the years, meant the final production brought all the elements together to deliver Prospect Terrace as a strong, comedic yet deeply emotional theatre piece that resonated with a wide audience.

“The directing, sound, lights, set and atmosphere were exceptional. The audience were transported into an old Queenslander, complete with chaise lounge, wrap verandas, flowering frangipanis and curlew calls. The audience recognised their world, their house, and their family. Relationships were revealed. Dysfunctions unfolded. Extremely poignant opposing views about 'what happens to ageing parents' (nursing homes vs home care) were analysed by the two sisters, Pepper and Bunny. Their patriarchal father Jack was both delightful and despicable in equal measures. Audience members said they really related to this family.” – Arts Hub Review 




From the initial showing of the script in-development:

"Very true to life. All members of the audience would undoubtedly be able to relate to the themes it explores." – audience member.

"Intriguing. I seem to know this family! Loved the character building. Sad, but it also relates to an age, and the family ignoring all the elephants in the room." – audience member.

"A beautiful piece, I can't wait to see the end result." – audience member.


From the final production:

"Absolutely loved it. I am from New York City and have seen many productions and performances and this was on par with Broadway. I didn't know what to expect, but I loved it. It was a great bit of storytelling. Thankyou!" – audience member

"Very moving and funny. Relatable family moments, with family dysfunction and love.  Brilliant!" – audience member

"Excellent. Evoked a full range of emotion. From out loud laughter to a few tears. Probably speaks to most people in the audience and their complex family dynamics.  True to life." – audience member

"Brilliant play. Equal parts hilarious and heart-rending. The dysfunctional nature of the family was clear, and powerfully captured and conveyed." – audience member

"Loved it. Family, grief, anger, reconciliation. Great script." – audience member

"Beautifully written, directed and performed. Family bonds so powerful. Need for belonging, sense and place and home. Little flashes of 'Street Car' came to me with the two sisters hugging on the floor." – audience member

"Prospect Terrace and the meaning of prospects. The Queenslander vibe made it local. Excellent." – audience member

"Fantastic. Direct to the heart. Related to all four characters. More please." – audience member

"Loved it. Very real. All families are messed up more or less. I related to all the characters." – audience member

"Well done. Characters well portrayed. We are all individuals. It rang a few bells! I loved it." – audience member

"An excellent play and production. Well done Cairns." – audience member

"An insightful observation of family. No families are perfect. Interesting topics that need to be faced and talking about them can be difficult. Excellent understanding of the characters. Clever writing. Thank you for getting us back into the theatre." –  audience membe


Tips for others

Following the 2018 creative development and showing:

Consider the timing and scheduling for development process. 

“While the most should be made of the actors and director while they are in engaged in the project (especially if you are in a regional centre and have had to fly them in), thought needs to be given to how best to use the days, and allow for development /writing time.”

Following the final production in 2020:

  • Back yourself. Stay strong and have buckets of perseverance. 
  • Engage with as many members of the community as you can in the lead up to a production.
  • Respect all the people who are involved. Treat them with generosity, kindness and care.  This will be returned in spades and you will benefit from it.
  • Surround yourself with people who have professional skills and expertise as they will help you bring out the best in your production.
  • Ensure you have a good, well-researched script so it makes real connections with people.
  • Take plenty of photos in the lead up and get a professional photographer and videographer to film the show.


What next

Throughout the process of developing her work, Angela launched her own Veranda Theatre Co. After the success of the 2020 production of Prospect Terrace at Cairns Performing Arts Centre, Angela together with Veranda Theatre Co received encouragement to tour the work more widely. The team are looking forward to presenting further works and developing new projects in 2021.



Find out more

Verdana Theatre Facebook 

Veranda Theatre Instagram 

Prospect Terrace Website


Image on Case study menu: Natalie Taylor and Andy Bramble in Prospect Terrace. Photo: Blueclick Photography

Case study banner: Andrea Allumay and Andy Bramble in Prospect Terrace. Photo: Blueclick Photography