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    What does paradise mean to you?

    A Cairns professional theatre company is taking to the streets of Cairns to pose the question “What does Paradise mean to you?” The response is often hilarious.

    JUTE Theatre company has taken to the streets of Cairns to promote their latest and final production for 2016, Paradise is Singing. The campaign aims to leverage social media by engaging Cairns locals and tourists alike by posing the question “What does paradise mean to you?”

    The vox populi style campaign devised by JUTE marketing co-ordinator Peta Cooke, uses photographs and video footage collected on the streets of Cairns of people peering through a mocked up Instagram frame and being asked the question, “What does paradise mean to you?”

    “Overwhelmingly the response to the question is Cairns,” Mrs Cooke said. “People are really happy to be involved even though it's a little confronting having 3 complete strangers in orange flower petal wigs coming up to you with a camera and asking you this question. It just shows people are here to have fun and are really happy to participate.”

    Paradise is Singing is a locally developed theatre production written by Kathryn Ash, Mark Gaal and Michael Gow. The characters may be fictional however each will feel very familiar as they are typical of the eclectic mix that gather on the Cairns Esplanade. “Paradise is singing is about Cairns, for Cairns and showcases the talent of Cairns,” Mrs Cooke said.

    Being the final JUTE production of 2016, JUTE is excited to be putting up a work that is fun, comical and extremely entertaining. This is an ebullient look at Cairns and its colourful characters and includes snappy dialogue, good times and some great live music performed by Roz Pappalardo.

    The Arts sector is in a transitional phase in Australia with funding cuts at both Federal and State Government level. Further, funding bodies are requiring that each organisation assess its business model and devise innovative ways to generate non-Government funding either through philanthropy, crowdfunding, membership or profit based activities. Cairns is not immune to such cuts with the recent decision by Arts QLD not to fund KickArts at CoCA and the Australia Council decision to not fund JUTE Theatre Company. JUTE was recently successful in its application for funding from Arts QLD.

    CEO and Artistic Director of JUTE Suellen Maunder says, “JUTE is one of only a handful of regional theatre companies in Australia that develops new work and employs artists from its immediate region to showcase that new work. We (JUTE) are constantly looking at innovative ways to fund the making of extraordinary stories through theatre that speak of our unique location, being Tropical North Queensland - in fact JUTE is about to launch our first digital online program which we are sending to the world, so look out for that one”.

    We recommend you rehearse your answer to the question “What does paradise mean to you?” as the crew at JUTE intend to step up the campaign over the coming week with more vox pop sessions on The Esplanade and streets of Cairns CBD. Paradise is Singing is at JUTE, Centre of Contemporary Arts from 7-22 October.