Emily comes out of shell to take centre stage

Centacare’s inclusive theatre ensemble on the Sunshine Coast, Passage, wowed audiences this month with their debut stage production, Sunshine on Terri.

The show followed the story of a young Caloundra woman, Terri, in search of her identity amid the confusing world of social media. It was a reinterpretation of the seminal Wizard of Oz, complete with quintessential Sunshine Coast locations such as The Big Pineapple.

Passage is part of Centacare’s social and life skills offering, which supports people with disability to meet new people, learn new skills and build confidence in the areas that matter to them most. The 11 performers worked hard for many months in the lead-up, developing their characters, learning lines and perfecting their performances.

Audiences will have been hard pressed to believe that lead actress, Emily, wasn’t always playing the role of Terri. Centacare Service Delivery Manager, Jill Ziegler, said the 25-year-old from Little Mountain has ‘absolutely owned’ the role. “Witnessing the change in Emily as she grew in confidence was just wonderful,” said Jill.

Emily has a passion for music and rattles off a list of concerts she has attended this year. Keith Urban, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles are all on the list. It makes the opportunity to perform live on stage herself that much sweeter.

“I love Centacare,” said Emily. “I just finished at school and I did not know where my life would end up, and then Iluka [Social and Life Skills Hub] popped up so I just jumped at the opportunity. I have made friendships and every time I feel lost or unsure a support worker is right there.

Speaking to us before opening night Emily told us, “My mum and dad will be coming to watch the show and my nanna is coming up from Victoria,” said Emily. “It will be a surprise for my grandfather – he knows I’m performing but he doesn’t know about my solo.” Emily sang 18 by one Direction.

Emily perfected her performance over many hours with the help of Centacare support worker, Grace. Grace recorded Emily in rehearsal and they watched the videos back toegther. This also helped her to learn her lines.

Sunshine on Terri saw the famous Yellow Brick Road become a bus journey and Emerald City become the Big Pineapple Festival as Dorothy (renamed Dot) searches for Toto the dog (renamed Gogo).

“The cast should be super proud of this production,” said Jill. “The story was completely conceived of and developed by them. It’s heartwarming and it’s funny – it’s a unique story and it taps into their abilities and strengths as individuals, which is really beautiful.”

Sunshine on Terri was performed in collaboration with leading Sunshine Coast artists and musicians. Passage gives special thanks to its supporters – The Events Centre, Currimundi Special School and Bunnings Caloundra.


Are you looking to build confidence, learn new skills and make new friends?

Whether you see yourself up on stage dancing, acting or singing, or playing a role behind the scenes, our comprehensive range of creative arts workshops and performance groups across South East Queensland can help you get there. For more information about our inclusive creative arts and performance groups, contact us on 1300 236 822.