The Brisbane French Theatre: past success, future plans and the art of subtitles
The Brisbane French Theatre was birthed following two years collaboration with Growl Theatre, presenting: ‘Life x 3’ (2014) and ‘The God of Carnage’ (2015). The theatre, still in its infancy, officially became a not-for-profit association this year and has already opened to sold out shows with its first production, ‘The Student and Mr Henri’.
We sat down with BFT President, Celine Kaissaris, to speak about Brisbane’s latest French gem and the future plans of the theatre company.
Brisbane, known to many as a ‘big country town’ is not a place where one would expect to find a French theatre. What was the deciding factor that caused your team to officially open here in Queensland?
After two successful years producing plays in French with Growl Theatre, it became apparent that Australian’s had a massive interest in French culture. Our plays also gave French expats the opportunity to feel ‘at home’ for an evening. We saw the potential of a French theatre company in Brisbane.
How do you choose which plays to put on?
We’re careful to choose plays that are fun and accessible for everyone, especially our Australian audience. We also desire to be creative and we look forward to writing our own plays in the near future.
Would your team consider putting on French versions of Australian or other non-French plays?
We’re a young association, full of potential no doubt. Our primary focus so far has been to offer an immersion of French culture via theatre. We currently promote plays from France, Canada and Belgium. Broadening our range could be worth considering in the future.
Is your audience made up of mostly French natives or do you find your demographic is rather eclectic?
It’s about 50/50. We were surprised to see that our audiences have included a balanced amount of Francophones and Australians. Our past audiences have also included a broad number of students studying French in various Brisbane schools.
English subtitles are projected during performances – have you received feedback on this method of interaction?
Yes we have and it has been very positive! Australian’s have found it practical and easy to read. Subtitling is an art in itself and we work hard to provide accurate and reliable subtitles for our audience.
Are speakers of all levels of French encouraged to audition and/or volunteer to be part of the company?
Yes, they definitely are. Brisbane French Theatre is a friendly environment and we really encourage everyone to be part of it. We welcome all levels of French speakers, Francophones or Australians. Certain roles, such as acting and subtitling, require fluency in French, but there are always other suitable roles.
Ideally where would you like to see the Brisbane French Theatre in 5 years?
We hope to grow in terms of audience, number of annual shows produced and by expanding our member’s base. We would also love to spawn side projects such as teaching French through theatre workshops or opening a small café dedicated to theatre and French culture.
BFT’s second production is just around the corner.
‘Simone Says’ will be playing from the 27th November – 6th December.
For more details and to book your tickets, click here.
To read this in French, click here.