Last Friday night I attended the premiere of Cooee Cabaret in the Mercury Theatre in Mildura (north-west Victoria). The ABC regional radio station in Mildura publicised the performance, interviewing Brendan Smith and the cast, promoting the Sounds of Australia registry and encouraging residents in Mildura and surrounds to make their nominations.
About 220 people attended the performance – from the very young to senior citizens – and the show was a huge success, with many audience members describing it as excellent. Brendan introduced the performance and the audience was delighted that they were the first to see the show. The show was funded through the government’s National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program.
The cast – Nigel Ubrihien, Lisa Maza and Nielsen Gordon – was fantastic and a big congratulations for creating a very successful production. Clearly a lot of hard work had gone into rehearsals. Two local performances from the Silverwater Women in Harmony and the Strumming Swaggies were also very popular with the audience. The cast and the local performers engaged well with the audience and we all sang along to particular songs and enjoyed being part of the show.
I must also thank the crew – Brendan Smith (producer/production coordinator – and keeper of the props), Jane Cruickshank (executive producer), Declan Cooney (technical director and operator) and Geoffrey Murray (technical and audiovisual operator) – as well as a number of staff who contributed and assisted the production (Graham McDonald, Matthew Davies, Vincent Plush, Jane Healy, Michelle Stanton, Maryanne Doyle and the online team of the NFSA). The show was also well supported by the Mildura Rural City Council and St Joseph’s College in Mildura.
The show was recorded and hopefully a copy can be included in the collection. It will be interesting to know how many nominations we receive from Mildura for inclusion in the Sounds of Australia registry.
So again a big congratulations and thank you to everyone involved – those on stage and behind the scenes as well as our fantastic Mildura audience – for making the show so successful.