Ipswich Musical Theatre Company will be presenting their latest production, Ladies in Black, from April 26 to May 5.
Ipswich Musical Theatre Company will be presenting their latest production, Ladies in Black, from April 26 to May 5. Contributed

Nostalgic 1950s storyline brought to the stage

AS the curtain goes up at the Old Courthouse for Ipswich Musical Theatre Company's new show in April, they will be the first amateur theatre group in Queensland to present the much-loved true story, Ladies in Black.

After delighting audiences on the big screen, and the professional performance being shown at QPAC in 2018, an array of local talented theatre enthusiasts are excited to bring the musical to Ipswich audiences for the first time.

Director Tammy Sarah Linde said it was a honour to lead the way for small theatre groups to bring classic tales to the stage.

"The professional premiere of the play was held in Brisbane, so to have the professional amateur premier here in Ipswich, I think that's a really nice legacy to have," she said.

Ladies in Black is a tender-hearted comedy which follows the story of a group of department store employees in Sydney, 1959.

The main character Lisa joins Goodes Department Store after finishing high school. As she anxiously waits to hear back about the results of her final exams so she can go to university, she works closely with a group of women called the Ladies in Black. They help her open her eyes to a world she never knew existed.

Rehearsals for the Ipswich production began in January, with Ms Linde determined to bring a sense of nostalgia to the show.

"Ladies in Black is such a great story, and what's great about this show is it is a living memory in so many people's minds," she said,

"Many people would remember working during that period at department stores like David Jones in the late 50s, so we want to make sure it triggers happy memories of that day.

"Many people in that age bracket say the storyline is just how they remembered it."

Ms Linde is no stranger to the directors role, having made her directing debut with the group in 2016.

"Back in 2015 I did my first project with the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company as Alice in the Vicar of Dibley, and then I directed in 2016 with the show Sunday in the park with George. That was my debut, so I'm back here doing it again," she said.

"I get a lot of joy out of directing. I particularly like taking people on a journey of what they can do on stage and teach them something new that they might not have known before. I love seeing them blossom into the actors they are becoming.

"I'm incredibly blessed with the amount of talent we have here in Ipswich. I've seen it first hand. I was born and bred here in Ipswich, and I am happy to work with local actors and show off their skills.

"I'm also really happy to lead the charge here in my home town."

Actress Lauren Roche, who has starred in many productions with Ipswich Musical Theatre Company such as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Wicked, Les Miserables and Strictly Ballroom, will be taking to the stage as one of the main characters.

"My character is Patty, a staff member of Goodes Department Store. In her personal life, Patty's becomes quite vulnerable and unhappy as she struggles with an uncommunicative husband and failing to fall pregnant even after 10 years of marriage," she said.

After starring in a number of plays which have been focused overseas, Ms Roche said working on an Australian storyline was a delight.

"I love that Ladies in Black is an Australian story, it's rare to find, and that alone is a standout feature of the show," she said.

"There are phrases or songs that completely embody Australia's culture in the late 1950s - it's refreshing to see on a local musical theatre stage."

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