AUDREY OF THE OUTBACK
Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre
Wednesday, October 1
Actor Juliet Scrine has plenty of experience to draw on in her latest on-stage challenge: playing a nine-year-old girl.
Scrine is performing the title role in Audrey of the Outback - a drama adaptation of the popular novel which tells the story of the adventures of young Audrey Barlow during the 1930s.
Scrine, who wears her hair in pig-tails to portray Audrey, says teaching children drama skills through The Eaton Gorge Theatre Company had kept her young at heart.
"I've worked a lot with children for many years now and nine-year-olds are probably my favourite age group because they are so full of hope, they are so positive and they ask the most amazing questions," she says.
"I approach the character of Audrey from that naivety, that innocence and the joy that young children of that age have in life because they have no burdens. That's where I look at that character from."
Eaton Gorge, of which Scrine is a director, is presenting the play - based on the Christine Harris novel - at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre on October 1.
Scrine says the play, largely adapted by Eaton Gorge co-director Ian McColm, was a timeless Australian tale of growing up.
"This charming story will be enjoyed by the whole family," she says.
"There's a lot of change occurring in the outside world and Audrey wonders about the really important things in life such as ... whether being a swaggie is lonelier than being a girl, and how many eggs can a chicken hold in its stomach at one time?"
Scrine says she and McColm had worked with Australian actor/director/writer Richard Tulloch in the development of the script.
Scrine and McColm are excited to see the play hit the boards and the fact the production has come together with some of the best in the industry.
"Using a professional space has given us a fantastic opportunity to tell the story of Audrey using modern technology in a comfortable environment for our audience," Scrine says.
"Many of our productions, including Shakespeare In The Gardens, have been outside so it has been wonderful to work somewhere where we have total control of the show."
The production features a host of Illawarra talent. Imogen Ross is the designer, Toby Knyvett is the lighting designer and David Thomas built the set.
"Eaton Gorge Theatre Company's ethos is to employ local Illawarra performers and industry professionals," says Scrine.
Directed by David Sharpe, the cast includes Scrine and McColm, as well as Susan Kennedy (Audrey's mum) and Ben Verdon (Audrey's brother Pryce).
Scrine says the production was assisted by the Upper Kangaroo River Progress Association Inc Artist in Residency Program and the Merrigong Make It@Merrigong Program.
Capturing the period of the 1930s was also an entertaining experience for Scrine and McColm.
"Ian and I had a lot of fun," she says. "We went up to the antique shop Grandpa's Shed at Fitzroy Falls and bought lots of period things that we are using as props in the play."