Standing ovations are a playwright’s GOLD. You know you’ve probably hit the sweet spot when a bunch of possibly jaded theatre-goers could be bothered getting up out of their chairs to give your show their appreciation and applause. And what’s especially nice is when an audience comes into a theatre completely cold —they do not know you, or your work, or the actors or not a single thing about the story about to be told—and within the space of a 115 minute performance they are warmed through with joy enough to bring them onto their feet with wild stomping and carry on.

From Campfire to Stage Light is off on its Queensland tour, pulling in at 11 theatre centres across the state. Already they have played three gigs to Queensland audiences who do not have a clue who this random Aboriginal Australian performer is or what his story might be. All three performances have been given standing ovations.

You see it is one thing to have a local audience who knows David, perhaps have worked with him or known him (Cairns is a small town full of personalities who are celebrated and David is celebrated as no other son of Cairns) to give a standing ovation. Such an audience will almost surely rise to their feet to shout and clap at the end of his warm and tender show about his life experiences. But the big test was to see what an audience in the Sunshine Coast might think of it.

Apparently they thought a lot of it.

One of the audience members wrote to us in an email today:

“OH MY GOODNESS! I just got back from ‘From Campfire to Stage Light’ and I am elated! What a show, what a story, what an experience! It was truly transformative! Work like this – that celebrates First Nations languages and stories – is a MUST! Five stars!”

And sure, sure, David is a very special performer. He is personable and endearing. But the script I shaped to describe his life journey, is clearly also hitting the target. It’s so gratifying.

David and the From Campfire to Stage Light touring Team have been on the road for just under a week. For those who don’t understand what a tour of the state of Queensland might mean, please consider that our state is a geographical behemoth. Queensland is nearly five times the size of Japan, seven times the size of Great Britain, and two and a half times the size of the US state of Texas. It is even slightly bigger than the two other neighbouring states of the Australian Eastern seaboard, New South Wales and Victoria, combined. It’s mega. Touring Queensland is like undertaking a Marco Polo expedition.

The From Campfire to Stage Light touring cast and crew: (from left) Pip Haupt (Stage Manager) Eben Love (LX /AV Operator), Nigel Pegrum (Sound Designer, Composer, Musician), David Hudson (Performer, Musician, Composer), Nereace Howes (Composer, Musician) and Tyson Godden (Sound Operator)

This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland

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