Graeme Connors inspired musical receives funding

A local author, producer and music star are teaming up for Heading North.

This one-act musical theatre production will have its world premiere at the Mackay Festival of Arts.

The exciting project, produced by Joel Bow Productions, written by local author and playwright Sammy Munt and with music and lyrics by Graeme Connors, received a $8000 Regional Arts Development Fund grant today.

Heading North was one of 14 projects approved to share in $66,150 at today’s ordinary meeting of council.

Cr Fran Mann said Heading North was the story of two families that share a passion for life, love and the sea and would be a heart-warming and nostalgic experience for local audiences.

“This year, the Mackay Festival of Arts will premiere a short one-act performance of the work

inside the MECC’s Lynette Denny Space for up to 500 patrons at five shows,” Cr Mann said.

“Then, in 2021, the Festival will host the world premiere of a full stage production of Heading North in the auditorium at the MECC.”

Joel Bow said he was lucky to be in a packed house for the 30th anniversary concert of Graeme Connor’s North where Graeme mentioned he would love his songs to be featured in a musical one day.

“Immediately my mind began racing with ideas – when the iconic opening riff to Graeme's ‘A Little Further North Each Year’ played, the concept for Heading North appeared before my eyes,” Mr Bow said.

“I asked my good friend and local published author Sammy Munt to jump on board to craft a script,” he said.

“After some fun editing, we have come up with a ripper first edition of the show.

“I feel blessed that Graeme Connors has embraced this very special project.”

Also receiving a $5775 grant was Fallon Hudson’s The Just Saying Project: Seas the Day.

“This collection of powerful images taken at Mackay beaches will share the stories of men and women about their mental health, body image and wellbeing,” Cr Mann said.

“This will be a great project to promote mental health awareness.

“The committee was pleased to see 11 local photographers would be involved in featuring more than 100 men, women and families.”

Leo Scott also received a $7000 grant towards a story-telling exhibition celebrating the Mackay Sugartime Festival.

The following projects and people also received funding:

  • Glenda Hobdell’s new media environmentally-focus project (Re)action: states of change - $8000
  • Jonte Tupaea to produce original music in a studio - $4950
  • Creative Shots Camera Club to host the Photographic Society of QLD 2020 conference - $4000
  • Academy Award winning cinematographer Greg Huglin to host four one-day filmmaking workshops for Mackay youth and deliver community screenings - $3500
  • Mackay Woodturners Inc to hire two world-class wood turners and finishers to train members and visitors in various wood craft - $4000
  • Marie Williams to hand-knit red and purple poppies, to be mounted on canvas in the shape of Australia as a tribute to World War II veterans - $1755
  • Rotary Club of Sarina for the Sarina Debutante Ball - $2376
  • The Ideas Distillery for the CQ Shopfront project that will focus on visual artists producing commercially viable product ranges - $7000
  • Tiffany Vella to attend The Academy (an initiative of Country Music Association of Australia) - $3000
  • Trish Brooks for a series of short Gourd Art workshops where participants will learn to craft a gourd into a one-of-a-kind Art piece – $3194
  • Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival to publish the winning entries of the festival’s short story competition - $3600

The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Mackay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was proud to continue its RADF partnership with local governments with an investment of $2.08 million, through Arts Queensland, for the 2019-20 fund.

“This investment will support the delivery of hundreds of arts experiences and professional development opportunities across the state,” Ms Enoch said.

“Projects funded through RADF provide pathways for learning, contribute to the creation of jobs, foster creativity and boost cultural tourism.”