A season of surprises

LOCAL Theatre-lovers will enjoy a tasty sampler of coming productions at The Q on Monday at the official launch of the 2013 subscription series.

Program director Stephen Pike was tight-lipped about what shows to expect next year, although he did say the program would feature shows from a range of genres, including a one-woman performance from actress Amanda Muggleton of Prisoner fame, who'll make a star appearance at Monday's launch.

"She's probably Australia's leading stage actress, and she'll be speaking and performing at the launch. She's also doing a one-woman show here next year, and there'll be several other performances and different snippets from the various shows next year. So it's like a little taste test of what's to come," he said.

The coming season is the sixth subscription series of theatre and performing arts at the new Queanbeyan venue, and follows a strong year of sales, up 17 per cent on last year.

The Q also posted its first ever profit in October, ahead around $80,000 for the financial year.Strong subscription sales were a large part of that financial success, Mr Pike said, but they also offered a cost saving to regular theatre-goers.

"Basically if people purchase a minimum of four of the twelve [subscription series] shows, then they get discounts on their tickets, and so it provides people with an opportunity to put together a little package of theatre for themselves and save a considerable amount of money," he said.

The 2012 series featured successful runs of The Mousetrap and Hair among others, with those two productions taking out the top two spots on The Q's all-time highest selling productions.

Mr Pike, who selects the shows in the program and directs one of them himself, said the idea was to entertain crowds first and foremost.

"As a venue, we don't see ourselves as being the venue who's responsibility it is to be putting on confronting theatre," Mr Pike said.

"That's very well catered for by the Street Theatre and other venues in Canberra, and there's only so much market for that.

"So we've really tried to find our own niche, and as our major demographic is over 50, those people have had all the confrontation they need in their lives I think, and they just want to sit back and be entertained and have a good time. So that's what our major focus is on," he said.

He's also responded to the topical events of next year in framing this program, which include the Centenary of Canberra celebrations and Queanbeyan's 175th Birthday.

"We've had to keep that in mind when we've been looking at the type of product we want to present next year. So a lot of the stuff is quite different and very varied," he said.

The Q 2013 season launch will be held on Monday. There's a choice of the morning session at 11am or evening session at 8pm. Tickets are free but you must book through the box office on 6285 6290.

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