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JUTE Theatre Company dives into digital

After calling an immediate stop to productions and workshops at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre in response to COVID-19, JUTE Theatre Company’s team is using their time wisely, working very hard behind the scenes to digitally develop new scripts and revise dates for programs in order to be set and ready for an instant re-boot once the risk period had passed.

Artistic Director and CEO, Suellen Maunder said the safety of JUTE’s team and artists and our community is a priority and included in that, is a commitment to keep everyone employed and productive.

“While this experience is unprecedented, it has been a period in which JUTE’s longevity and resilience has played an important role and is inspiring innovative ways of doing things using our digital platforms,” Ms Maunder said.

“We have been working through how we might be able to undertake some of our development programs digitally, including a creative development day of a new script where actors from WA, SA and Cairns will read the script together via a digital meeting program.

"While we are used to digitally connecting for meetings, this is new for us.

"We’ll let you know how it goes!

“Business to business interactions are very important to JUTE and in this time we have navigated our way around the need to meet in person through video conferencing, and basically, using the benefits of technology to keep all balls in the air.”

From Ms Maunder’s perspective, one of the hardest days in the history of JUTE was March 17 when she had to call stop on the production, To Kill A Cassowary, after only three performances in its season.

To make it even harder social distancing restrictions meant no hugs.

The tears in the eyes of veteran actor Steven Tandy said it all.

“Everyone was just so invested in this play and the audiences were loving it, lapping up its message and having a good laugh at the same time thanks to the funny nuances and comedic underpinnings of  playwright Laure Trott’s script,” Ms Maunders said.

“That said, we are very much looking on the bright side and with no public programming in Bulmba-ja Arts Centre for the foreseeable future, the set and the staging will remain in place – ready for a quick remount of the play once it is safe to do so.

“Let’s just say, we are planning to bring it back for a second season – To Kill A Cassowary 1.2.”

For audience members who didn’t have the opportunity to see the play, all tickets have been refunded but can be re-purchased when the show remounts.


Ticket holders may like to donate their refund back to support JUTE who has committed to remunerating its artists for the entire season.

This would be a wonderful show of support to JUTE, the artists and Cairns’ creative community and is a tax deductible donation through the Give Now website.

To donate: visit here.