What's On: The Ballad of Rosie Quinn (Republic of Song)



Where? Holy Trinity Church Hall, Church St, Fortitude Valley.
When? August 31 – September 1 (7pm & 8.30pm) and September 2 (7pm only).

Following a sold out run at Anywhere Theatre Festival earlier this year (you can read my full review of that performance here), Republic of Song brings their haunting tale of a convict girl to life again for Valley Fiesta with The Ballad of Rosie Quinn.

The audience will be blindfolded and scattered around the heritage-listed Holy Trinity Hall, with actors and musicians weaving the fictional tale of a young convict amongst the audience. The cast of six use household objects and their own voices to create the sounds, scents and sensations that make this a uniquely vivid, chilling and lingering experience.

A Brisbane-based production company create primarily for opera performance, Republic of Song has created a truly unique work in The Ballad of Rosie Quinn. A work of fiction, the performance considers the forgotten women of the penal colonies – some of them not criminals themselves but transported with their husbands or born in the colonies like Rosie Quinn.

Creator and producer Jo Willans became interested in the stories and experiences of women convicts in Moreton Bay after reading about the infamous exploits of convicts housed in the Women’s Factory, which was located at the site of the Queen Street Post Office in the CBD. Men and women were segregated in the settlement; however, men frequently gained access to the factory, despite its perimeter fence. 

“I’m fascinated by the lives of the women convicts in Moreton Bay,” Willans says. “Their existence was very harsh, and I think that there was considerable exploitation. As a modern woman in Brisbane, I am interested in the women who lived here before me and the conditions they experienced.”

Tickets are available through Anywhere Presents or at the door, but keep in mind that there is limited seating. The performance is recommended for ages 15+ due to themes of violence, extreme misogyny, and sexual abuse.