10th Year of Queenstown Garden Shows.
January 21 2019 by Blaise Barham
10th Year of Queenstown Garden Shows. Queenstown’s yearly Garden Show, performed by the actors of local community group Remarkable Theatre, roars into action shortly (25–27 January). The format is promenade theatre which comprises several short scenes with the audience ‘promenading’ from one scene to the next, starting at the Band Rotunda and moving mainly around the pond. There’s acting, some singing, some dance moves with a touch of slapstick comedy. Back-dropped by the idyllic and serene Gardens, it’s a lovely way to while away an afternoon. Shows are suitable for all ages; children are very welcome and audience members can also bring camping chairs and picnic blankets if they desire.
This year’s show is a milestone for Remarkable Theatre as it marks 10 years of Garden shows and is directed by Remarkable Theatre stalwart Melanie Grindell, who has also been involved in many of the shows. We see a pick of some of the best scenes from previous shows which celebrate locally-written sketches, British comedy, pantomime, fairy tales, Shakespeare and local gold-mining.
The idea first originated out of former Queenstown Shakespeare’s plays, which were at times set in the Gardens. Kate Blackhurst was one of the initial catalysts with the first Garden Show named ‘Shakespeare on Location’ in 2010, followed by ‘A funny thing happened in the Gardens’ in 2011. ‘Tales of Gold’ about local goldminers was directed by Tiffany Menzies helped by Andrew Edgar in 2012 after which Victoria Keating became a major driving force directing ‘Twisted Tales’ in 2013’, ‘A Jolly Good Stroll in the Gardens’ in 2014 and ‘Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits’ in 2016. Previously, Lisa Clough had directed Cinderella in 2015. Deborah Lind then directed ‘Oh No, it isn’t’ in 2017 and ‘Local Writes’ was produced by Tanya Surrey last year. The Remarkable Theatre committee members are always very involved in helping to bring the shows to fruition and a huge thanks goes out to all those that have been involved both ‘on’ and ‘back’ stage over the years. We also need to acknowledge the support of the local council and community groups, without whose help we wouldn’t be able to provide these shows for the public.
For those interested in getting involved in local community theatre, the Garden Show is an excellent way in, as there are various small and larger roles. We usually have a large cast of 20-30 actors, as well as many people helping backstage. It’s also a great place to ‘hone’ your acting skills as so many unexpected things can happen in live outdoor theatre (a ‘waddle’ of ducklings are always a scene stealer!) If you want to get involved in any of our shows, both Remarkable Theatre and Showbiz Queenstown are also hosting courses and workshops for adults and children early this year (get in touch via remarkabletheatre.org.nz to find out more). Come celebrate local theatre – we’ll see you in the Gardens this weekend!
Remarkable Theatre President