Girl’s guide to success

By Sonia Isaacs

Funding boost takes show regional

FOLLOWING a 12-month strategic break, award winning musical ‘A Girl’s Guide to World War’ is set to tour regional Queensland ahead of a national tour, with clear ambitions by its creators to propel the production onto the world stage.
Written and composed by Maleny locals Katy Forde and Aleathea Monsour, this exceptional hinterland based production has been steadily gaining traction; attracting rave reviews and garnering high calibre interest since it was first performed in 2018.
A substantial funding boost from Arts Queensland of $155,000 will now see the production tour regional Queensland in March/April 2024, with national tour discussions already underway.
A quintessentially Australian and highly original conceived musical based on true events; ‘A Girl’s Guide to World War’ follows the untold adventures of ‘lady doctors’ during World War 1 and has performed to sell-out crowds in 2018, 2019 and 2022.
The production has been awarded two prestigious Matilda Awards which has opened up new funding opportunities and the show has been recognised as the first ever regional production to win ‘Best New Australian Work’.
Speaking with GC&M news, co-creator and director, Katy Forde, said while normally she would be working on a new creative piece by now, there was something instinctively special about this production that kept driving her to dream big.
She said that along with the small production team at Musical Theatre Australia, she had spent the last year utterly focused on taking the musical to the next level.
“All our focus and energy has been towards how we can take this show further,” Katy said.
“We’ve been applying for grants, redesigning the show and extending our set design – all towards totally elevating the production and experience for our audiences.”
Katy said she has been both humbled and excited about the consistently positive audience and critical acclaim and it was an honour to be able to raise the profile of these previously unheralded women that had made such a significant impact on history.
She said since her first serendipitous discovery 10 years ago of a small plaque on a Brisbane building referencing Dr. Lilian Cooper, she had became fascinated with the stories of several similarly exceptional women and the way they faced a multitude of societal challenges with grace, compassion and acceptance.
“I long to see these incredibly gutsy and accomplished women become household names, and I want to be part of the movement that brings them back into the Australian consciousness,” Katy said.
Another notable development over the last 12 months has been a push to create a licensable product which will see the production performed by other theatre companies. Queensland Conservatorium has already purchased the rights to perform the show at QPAC in Brisbane in May 2024,with numerous other theatre companies expressing interest. Plans to develop a 12-part television series and take the show to the Edinburgh Festival are the next steps on what will undoubtedly be an ongoing trajectory of success.
The Hinterland cast will be returning to Sunshine Coast next year with performances at the Events Centre in Caloundra on March 22 and 23, 2024.