FRED gets the Tweed Theatre Company treatment in world premiere

Gold Coasters have the chance to be part of a world premiere audience when The Tweed Theatre Company premieres brand new stage musical ‘FRED’ at a Gala Opening Night on Friday 29 June at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre.

The book musical is the latest offering from Sydney based writer/composer Wendy Waters, formerly of Mt Tamborine. ‘FRED’ is set in an inner-city apartment block where three very different women all live next door to each other, but never develop relationships with one another until the power in the building fails and an electrician called FRED is sent to fix it.  We caught up with director Peter Gray about the piece.

“It does touch a bit on the theme of urban loneliness,” he tells us.

“I think it comes about from a personal experience [Wendy] had of talking to someone from Sydney where they live in a large block of units but they don’t know anyone. Each of these characters have some need to be connected with other people for various reasons they just don’t have that connection.”

Wendy Waters is an accomplished playwright, composer and author, receiving acclaim both from the London theatre and publishing industries, as well as back at home. For the music of ‘FRED’, she enlisted the help of co-composer Ian Camilleri.

“It was the standard of the music that made me really keen to do it,” explains Peter.

“There are some really lovely ballads in there and there’s some great uptempo tunes and it’s just at a very good standard you know, and I suppose there’s a little bit of variety of music too.”

For the small community-based Tweed Theatre Company, hosting a world premiere is incredibly exciting, even more so because it is the brainchild of an ex-local Gold Coaster who has gone on to international success.

“You can think of it as a little bit of a coup to have it,” says Peter.

“Some people might think it’s a little bit risky because it’s an unknown musical but at the same time the Tweed Theatre Company has a proud history of doing the big standard musicals that we all know and we think this is something a little different and we hope it’s well received.

“There’s so much talent out there with writers, composers, authors, and to be able to showcase that and showcase what you’re capable of doing as a small community theatre that’s what makes it exciting.

“Whatever we do with it sets the benchmark,” Peter continues, “because there’s nothing to compare it to!”

Ultimately, ‘FRED’ touches on messages that are accessible to a wide audience.

“We’d like to think the audience will come away from it having been entertained and heard a good story,” Peter explains. “And maybe with a better understanding of the importance of an individual’s own strengths, and the importance of family and community in supporting an individual and how we should all look for the positives in any situation.”

Catch ‘FRED’ when it hits the stage at Tweed Heads Civic Centre from 29 June to 15 July. Tickets are available at tweedtheatre.com.au.

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