OPENING NIGHT: Annabelle Harbison and Brendan Dieckmann from Strictly Ballroom.
OPENING NIGHT: Annabelle Harbison and Brendan Dieckmann from Strictly Ballroom. Cordell Richardson

Ipswich first as Strictly Ballroom goes on show

AFTER three months of rehearsing four nights a week, working on costumes, music, dancing, hair, make-up and sets, Strictly Ballroom is set to open in Ipswich tonight.

On now for a limited season, the production is the latest from the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company (IMTC) who in the past few years have packed out the venue with shows like Wicked, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and The Producers.

The show has never been performed in Ipswich, and is based on the smash 1992 movie written and directed by Baz Luhrmann.

Fresh from her stint working on Broadway in Wicked, Ipswich student Annabelle Harbison is returning to the local stage as Tina Sparkle, along with veteran of several IMTC shows, Brendan Dieckmann as Merv.

After playing the lead in IMTC's production of Wicked, Annabelle found herself working on Broadway through contacts from that show's musical director Robert Clark.

"Working in New York was a real eye opener," said the 21 year old.

 

Ipswich Musical Theatre will be presenting Strictly Ballroom on stage. Annabelle Harbison and Brendan Dieckmann.
Ipswich Musical Theatre will be presenting Strictly Ballroom on stage. Annabelle Harbison and Brendan Dieckmann. Cordell Richardson

"I have always put Broadway on a pedestal but after working there you realise that it's just another theatre production. You have good nights, you have bad nights and you spend lots of time backstage."

This year's production once again drew singers, dancers and actors from all over South East Queensland, such is the demand for the high standards of the shows put on each year in Ipswich.

"I'm fine with it, as I love the idea of networking," Mr Dieckmann said.

As part of the audition process, the Strictly Ballroom's lead actor Paul Mercurio was on hand to offer advice and tips.

While the show hasn't been seen in Queensland since 2015, it joins other stage shows like Muriel's Wedding and Priscilla Queen of the Desert to make the transition to the stage.

"These shows based on movies are appreciated by Australians because they are so uniquely Aussie," Annabelle said.

There are five performances of Strictly Ballroom left.

For tickets visit www.ipswichciviccentre.com.au