A hunger for place: why local stories resonate with regional audiences

Instead of making works parochial, specificity makes them unique.

NORPA’s 2016 production of Dreamland. Photo credit: Kurt Petersen.

Rich and original works which speak directly to and about local experiences: that’s what audiences at Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) seem to crave, judging by their response to the company’s current production, Dreamland.

First staged in 2016, a remounted and re-worked version of the show – set in a small country hall and bringing stories of the region to life – opens this week in Bangalow, in the Byron hinterland. Even before opening night the new season was virtually sold out, resulting in five additional performances being added to the season.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts