Her Majesty’s Ballarat was buzzing on Monday night as theatregoers gathered in the foyer with glasses of champagne ready for a taste of the upcoming season.
The 2017 season launch offered sneak peek performances and teasers as theatre manger Graeme Russell led the audience through a range of productions, following an address from Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh.
Bangarra Dance Theatre will open the season in February after a decade since it last performed in Ballarat.
The contemporary dance company will deliver its Helpmann-award winning production Terrain, which has been described as a hymn to country.
“I specifically went to them and asked them to come to Ballarat,” Mr Russell said. “As it happened, they were planning a Victorian tour for 2017 so it fitted in nicely.
“I personally think it’s a crime that they haven’t been here for 10 years, but it just means we’ve built up an appetite and it’s so exciting to have them back.”
Another show set to capture attention and imaginations in July comes from Finucane and Smith, the award-winning creators of smash-hit spectacle Caravan Burlesque.
The world premiere of The Exotic Lives of Lola Montez tells the story of a notoriously wild showgirl from the nineteenth century.
“It’s such a Ballarat story,” Mr Russell said.
“Here is where she really created her mystique and her notoriety… she horsewhipped the editor of the paper (The Ballarat Times) because he dared to give her a bad review.”
Circus Oz returns with a visually and emotionally charged, high energy performance, while unpacking the myths of modern Australia.
Bell Shakespeare will follow the success of last season’s Othello with a gripping performance of The Merchant of Venice.
Musicals will showcase the breadth of local talent as the Ballarat Lyric Theatre brings the hit musical Cats to the stage, while BLOC Music Theatre presents Wicked.
There will also be pantomimes, singers, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, stand-up comedy and five shows for families and schools including stage adaptations of bestselling books We’re Going On A Bear Hunt and Diary of a Wombat.
“We want to make sure there is something for everyone,” Mr Russell said. “You don’t have to drive to Melbourne, it’s all right here in Ballarat.”