We guarantee you won’t have seen this version of Beauty and the Beast

A tale as old as time is set to receive the Qtop treatment when ‘Beauty and the Beast’ comes to Queensland Theatre of Puppetry in early July.

For those not in the know, Queeensland Theatre of Puppetry has been operating  at MacIntosh Island for about 40 years. Started by Gerda Pinter, who the theatre is named after, it has presented shows to children in all forms of Puppetry for the last four decades, and has raised large sums for the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation. We spoke to Qtop’s Phil Bell about the theatre.

“Currently myself and June Bassett our costume maker and Treasurer run the shows, using the aid of about 15 school children each school holidays in Jan, Easter and June,” he explains.

With a dramatic improvement in the show quality over the years, Qtop now attracts an eager crowd every holiday for a presentation, including classics such as ‘Snow White’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Charlotte’s Web’, ‘Jack and The Beanstalk’, and many others. Qtop attempts to reproduce the stories as close to the original as possible, so that the children see the full meanings of the stories, and why they were originally told.

“What we do use is a lot of current music and songs that fit into the stories,” continues Phil. “We make elaborate sets and scenery, use amazing sound and lighting to aid the puppeteers, and we make a lot of the puppets ourselves, as they are impossible to buy.

“I think for the Mums and Dads that bring their children, they are pleasantly surprised at how engaged the children become in the stories. Our cast of children learn how to puppeteer and become incredibly good at it, some of our girls having done 16 productions.”

Qtop is a full charity, and everyone involved donates their time to present at the end a healthy donation of money which they distribute to the GCH foundation, for specialised equipment in the Children’s Emergency Ward. So far they have raised over $150,000, a whopping amount.

“Our children puppeteers then get to go and present the equipment, which allows them to see the fruit of their efforts for the Community,” says Phil.

You can support this worthy cause and be treated to a unique re-telling of a classic from 2 to 13 July at Gerda Pinter Pavilion on Macintosh Island Park, Surfers Paradise. Shows runs at 9.30am and 11.00am daily and tickets are a mere $6.00.

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