Theatre groups and ensemble players say “Let us entertain you”

Tamba Theatre Company’s Director, Kaiyai Doenau, says it’s now more important than ever to support local theatre.

CREATIVITY thrives in regional areas, and here in the Coffs Harbour region we see the evidence all around us with a flourishing cultural and arts scene that stamps the Coffs Coast as an exciting and growing creative hub.

Local performing arts in particular resound with a vibrant energy and sense of determination that fosters a willingness to undertake new or risky projects and sweeps audiences up in the excitement.

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So, while the Council’s Arts and Cultural Development Grants Program provides access to financial support between $1000 and $7000, it’s disappointing to learn that further progress on the promised entertainment venue in Coffs Harbour City Centre, expected to cater for audiences of up to 800 people, has been put on hold until City of Coffs Harbour’s General Fund is in surplus, which is expected to be in the 2027-2028 financial year.

Meanwhile, small and large theatre groups and ensemble players are saying “let us entertain you” and are lining up at the Jetty Theatre for the opportunity to show what they can do.

It’s hard work, it’s stressful and, no matter how much the audience loves your work, there’s no guarantee of making a profit, particularly when the seating capacity is just 250.

Sponsorships may be one way of keeping performing arts viable according to Tamba Theatre Company’s Director Kaiyai Doenau.

“We’d definitely welcome sponsorships with people looking to team up with creative projects,” he said.

Tamba’s next production is currently in the works, while its most recent show, ‘Firebringer The Musical’, ran for ten performances last month, and was a great success with audiences.

An all-singing and dancing spectacular, it featured a cast of twelve with Musical Director Brandon Swain and Choreographer Ash Ross.

Doenau’s time at the Actors College of Film and Television provided a good grounding in most facets of performing arts and experience has honed his multi-tasking skills.

For ‘Firebringer’, he negotiated the performance rights with StarKids (USA), built sets and props and coordinated every aspect of the production.

He even collected boxes from IGA Bellingen and carved them to look like stones to create the cave entrance for the set.

‘Firebringer’ was certainly much different from his production in October last year, the one-night cabaret and burlesque show ‘Queens of the Night’.

“I think I might be the only straight drag artist in Australia,” he laughs, “but I did look pretty good with make-up and all dressed up, and someone even asked my Mum if I was Kaiyai’s beautiful sister.”

Doenau’s exotic looks are a blending of his west-African father and his Aussie mother, but he’s lived most of his life in the village of Repton.

“I was flamboyant even as a child, singing and dancing since I was about three – and I did ballroom dancing at North Beach Bowling Club for about fifteen years,” he laughs.

“It takes years of learning lines, attending rehearsals and auditions and making the most of every part you win, even the smallest.”

There’s something very special about the theatre that allows an audience to react to the performance and the players to feed off the energy of the audience.

Not only does performance art support jobs and encourage business for local venues, it also develops skills, contributes to community spirit and adds joy to life.

As Kaiyai Doenau says, “It really is important that we support all local theatre in Coffs, so it’s sustainable to present great shows with both local and touring talent.”


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