Javeenbah Theatre Company Inc

Javeenbah Theatre Company Inc
Javeenbah Theatre Company Inc
Weddings & Occasions-NERANG, QLD
Weddings & Occasions-Nerang, QLD
The word Javeenbah is taken from the language of local aboriginal tribes and means The Meeting Place. Javeenbah was formed in the early 1970s by a Nerang psychiatrist, Ivor Fitz Patrick, as ..
Cnr. Ferry & Stevens Streets, Nerang, Qld, 4211.
Cnr. Ferry & Stevens Streets, Nerang, Qld, 4211.
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The word Javeenbah is taken from the language of local aboriginal tribes and means The Meeting Place. Javeenbah was formed in the early 1970s by a Nerang psychiatrist, Ivor Fitz Patrick, as an outlet for local artists, potters, sculptors and writers to come together in a collaboration of talents and to display or sell their products. In the late 70s Dr Fitz Patrick, himself a potter, decided to expand the concept to include a performing arm with help from fellow potter Shaun Thorburn. With donations from enthusiastic locals and members of other theatre companies, Javeenbah Theatre Company was born.

A History of Javeenbah

The word Javeenbah is taken from the language of local aboriginal tribes and means "The Meeting Place". Javeenbah was formed in the early 1970s by a Nerang psychiatrist, Ivor Fitz-Patrick, as an outlet for local artists, potters, sculptors and writers to come together in a collaboration of talents and to display or sell their products.

In the late 70s Dr Fitz-Patrick, himself a potter, decided to expand the concept to include a performing arm with help from fellow potter Shaun Thorburn. With donations from enthusiastic locals and members of other theatre companies, Javeenbah Theatre Company was born.

It was met with a great deal of hope by local actors and directors, who were growing increasingly tired of the staple diet of frothy comedies and outdated musicals being constantly offered by other companies. It was envisaged that Javeenbah would look more to the modern and confronting play to awaken an audience's awareness of what theatre could truly offer.

This continues to guide Javeenbah in its choice of programming today. The theatre strives to present a wide range of productions from the cutting edge to the family favourite.

ENLARGEJaveenbah Theatre opened its first play – One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Dale Wasserman, from Ken Kesey's bestselling novel – on 21 November 1979. (Click the program image to enlarge.) Mr Thorburn directed and Dr Fitz-Patrick's son Paul played the part of one of the hospital aides.

Members created a crude stage area beneath Dr Fitz-Patrick's old Queenslander style house on the corner of Cotton and White Streets, more or less where the roading authority Main Roads now is.

Legend has it that volunteers dug out the downstairs area by hand, but Paul Fitz-Patrick says this goes a bit further than the facts. Volunteers did install steel beams to support the roof so that central support columns could be removed to create a clear view and slapped in some seating rescued from an auction house!

With the artists and artisans working and showing upstairs, the actors performing downstairs and the Bali Hut restaurant next door, Javeenbah soon drew a steady stream of locals eager for something new.

There was an ambitious program for them. With Mr Thorburn directing, Javeenbah put on seven productions in its first 12 months.

ENLARGEAlmost immediately the performing arm with its increasing membership, began to outgrow its tiny downstairs theatre. With a new artistic director on board, Gwen Foggon, the theatre moved up the street a little way in 1982 and settled into the Nerang Community hall where shows were regularly staged for several years. (Click the program image to enlarge.) Eventually, the impetus behind the artists and sculptors ran out, leaving only the performing arm, now a legally incorporated association, Javeenbah Theatre Company Inc.

Within the company a small team was drawn together to pursue the ultimate goal of establishing our own theatre building. With a lot of effort and the support of the local community and Gold Coast City Council, the theatre eventually relocated to the corner of Ferry and Stevens Street, where it remains today.

It started as little more than a rehearsal space until two demountable buildings were coupled together to make a stage, auditorium and foyer. It had a warm, inviting and intimate atmosphere that was a hit with many visitors. Over the years, alterations and additions were made to the original building that saw a large foyer and bar area added, along with a permanent dressing room for the actors.

In the early hours of 20 June 2002, vandals set fire to the theatre and what had taken more than 20 years to build was gutted in a mere 18 minutes. The entire original section of the building was totally destroyed along with all theatrical props, building materials, costumes, lights – everything.

It was the scheduled closing night of the company's production of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. In typical Javeenbah style and spirit, the entire company, with the help of the local community, relocated the whole production a hundred metres up Ferry Street to the Senior Citizens Hall and the show went on.

Exactly 12 months to the day of the fire, Javeenbah had rebuilt its premises and the cast of Ian Austin's And So say All of Us were standing on a stage, with a set and under lights. A magnificent effort by the management and members resulted in an even better and bigger building being created out of the ashes.

Javeenbah now mounts six productions a year that include comedy, drama and musicals and aims to produce at least one cutting-edge play per year. A One Act play season, with plays written and directed by local playwrights, is also often on the year's playbill.

The company strives to maintain the warm, inviting and intimate atmosphere that its pioneers created and to uphold the ideal of modern, up to date and confronting productions to offer audiences a truly satisfying theatrical experience.

It also cherishes its heritage. Natalie Fitz-Patrick, the widow of founder Dr Fitz-Patrick, and the theatre's first director Shaun Thorburn are honoured Life members of the theatre.


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