The contemporary pop-rock musical Bare is set to make its Brisbane debut at the upcoming queer arts festival MELT.
The production tells the story of a group of high school students grappling with their sexuality at a Catholic boarding school in the early 2000s.
While they’re being taught to repress their feelings, Peter and Jason (pictured) have fallen in love. Peter prepares to come out to his mother but Jason fights to keep their relationship a secret for fear of losing his status as a popular athlete.
As the students rehearse for a production of Romeo and Juliet, parallels are drawn between the play’s star crossed lovers and students Peter and Jason.
Producer Alex Woodward said the staging at the upcoming MELT Festival was the first time Brisbane audiences will have seen the show and it was more relevant to local audiences than ever.
“After witnessing the emotional struggle the LGBTIQ community went through during the recent postal survey, it’s clear how relevant this piece still is,” he said.
“Bare embodies a lot of the mental health issues in the LGBTIQ community. During the postal survey I saw so many of my friends suffer needlessly because their rights were questioned across Australia.
“Their validity was questioned and I saw some horrible things. Friends had pride flags outside their houses vandalised and [they] had offensive letters written and stuck on their cars.
“This show discusses the difficulty some people face in coming out. I think it’s going to be really magic and I think it’s going to hit a lot of people emotionally.”
Joining Bare‘s cast of more than twenty performers is Alex’s mother, veteran ABC weather presenter Jenny Woodward (pictured below), who will play Peter’s mother Claire in the show.
“It’s so exciting to get to work with my mum in a professional setting,” Alex said.
“Before working on television, she studied drama and toured the state acting in youth development theatre programs.”
Jenny said that Bare is “a poignant and heartbreaking story that will make you laugh and cry.”
“It may even shock you a little as you’re confronted by the honest stories of these young people dealing with the challenges of growing up,” she said.
Bare runs from May 24 to June 2 and is just one of the more than 20 productions and events on the MELT queer arts and culture festival’s 2018 program.
The 2018 lineup features an eclectic range of international artists, home-grown heroes and MELT favourites over 11 days spanning diverse genres including comedy, dance, circus, burlesque, visual arts and more.
MELT will kick off with free special events on May 17 to mark IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Two of the festival’s signature events, the MELT Portrait Prize and the MELT Beauty Pageant, are returning to this year’s festival.
“MELT is an annual celebration of Queensland’s vibrant queer community, providing an opportunity for our LGBTIQ+ friends and allies to come together for two weeks of revelry,” festival director James Lees said.
For tickets to Bare and the rest of the MELT Festival’s lineup, visit the Brisbane Powerhouse website here.
(Photos by Joel Devereux)