Project Description

Project Brief

Create, produce and tour three new plays based on playwrights’ residencies held in three ex gold mining towns in Central Queensland.


The commissioning of three new plays about the social impacts of mining began through the Regional Stages initiative in 2011. Three playwrights took up residencies for three weeks in three ex-gold mining boom towns with the brief of investigating how the social impact of mining was relevant to those places. Victoria Carless was resident in Mt Perry, Angela Betzien in Mt Morgan and Rod Ainsworth in Cracow.

Three plays were written and presented:

The Showman, The Goat and The Girl with the Sea in her Eyes by Victoria Carless
Tall Man by Angela Betzien
The Extraordinary Fall of Wheezer Hennessy by Rod Ainsworth
The show played to an industry audience in Brisbane then opened in Bundaberg and hit the road on a short tour to Mt Perry, Theodore, Taroom, Mt Morgan and Rockhampton – a Central Queensland circuit.

This took the shows back to the three communities that inspired the stories as well as surrounding towns.

Partnership between four Regional Councils was established through the residency and touring phases. Funding was received through the Regional Arts Development Fund from:

  • Rockhampton Regional Council
  • Banana Shire Council
  • North Burnett Regional Council

Bundaberg Regional Council had invested through the Regional Stages project.

The project had readings at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s World Theatre Festival in 2012 and attracted over $100,000 funding from sources including:

  • Regional Arts Fund
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
  • Playwriting Australia

The work was rehearsed in Brisbane with the assistance of the Judith Wright Centre of Performing Arts.

A Brisbane industry show was held before the tour began with 53 attendees.

460 people attended 6 shows in Bundaberg, Mt Perry, Theodore, Taroom, Mt Morgan and Rockhampton

The critical thing that was raised in this small six-pack tour was that there is a real hunger for live theatre in small regional communities. Following a standing ovation for the show in Mt Perry, one older member of the community said,  “We have never had a professional theatre show in this hall in my lifetime.”

It is very rare that regional theatre-goers can see their local voices in their own communities. To have that happen is amazing, to have it done with the levels of professionalism in this program is more than astonishing.


Congratulations to Creative Regions for their wonderful, wonderful work in ‘Tales of the Underground’. I came home with a spring in my step for quality quality theatre work ready to tour regional Queensland.

– LEWIS JONES, Program Manager of the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Art

This project was funded through the Regional Stages Project (Bundaberg), an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland and Bundaberg Regional Council.

  • Creative Regions
  • Australia Council
  • Qld Government
  • Bundaberg Regional Council
  • North Burnett Regional Council
  • Rockhampton Regional Council
  • Banana Shire Council
  • Brisbane Powerhouse
  • Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art
  • Playwriting Australia
  • Artslink Queensland
  • Australian Government