Costume call for creative clients

With only a couple of weeks left before the curtain rises, Centacare’s Running Duck Theatre Ensemble return to HOTA for their third production – John Red Kelly. The one-hour show will run from 26 November to 1 December on the Gold Coast. 

Set in 1847 in the hull of a convict ship anchored in Moreton Bay, the show follows a cast of Irish convicts who will disembark and serve their punishment of hard labour in Queensland.

There is excitement in the air at the first dress rehearsal for the production. Centacare clients Myra and Messina (pictured) play two singing sisters Cara and Laoise and both girls are eager to don their makeup and costumes for the first time. 

Messina has been with Centacare for ten years and has been in all three of Running Duck’s stage shows. She names Swing as her favourite. She loves singing and acting, so it’s only fitting for her to play a singer.

Erika is one of seven Centacare support workers who walk alongside the cast to make their dreams a reality and to provide back up, helping out in the makeup and costume departments. 

She said Running Duck have had a six week break from rehearsing John Red Kelly due to a recent performance of their earlier production, Swing, at the Brisbane Jazz Club 


“It’s been difficult for the performers to get back into character for John Red Kelly but now that they can see themselves in their costumes, they can connect with the characters they are playing,” said Erika.  

The 20 Running Duck performers come together at Broadbeach Social and Life Skills Hub every Tuesday to rehearse under the watchful eye of creative director, Clark Crystal, but it is a collaborative effort. 

“It’s their show, and they take ownership of it. Everyone brings a different idea to the table and those ideas are workshopped and developed together,” said Erika. 

“Every idea goes through lots of chops and changes, but that makes every Running Duck show completely original. 

“They are all actors in their own right. They all deserve to be on a professional stage.” 

John Red Kelly is a must-see if you want to return to 1847 and enjoy some Irish shanty-sounding songs. 

Tickets are on sale now through HOTA.

The Running Duck Theatre Ensemble cast members preparing for John Red Kelly.

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