Ballarat Lyric Theatre celebrates QUEEN in ‘We Will Rock You’ this July

Ballarat Lyric Theatre celebrates QUEEN in ‘We Will Rock You’ this July

Queen live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, 1974
Words by Riya Kiran

This show will rock you in a celebration of icons, with only hit after hit!

Musical, We Will Rock You, is a unique collaboration between the legends of rock ‘n’ roll Queen and Ben Elton a phenomenally successful writer, bringing to you pure musical entertainment.

Having been enjoyed by over 16 million theatregoers, and 19 million countries, around the world, the Ben Elton musical is now hitting the Ballarat Lyric Theatre, promising to be one of the greatest to date!

Despite planning for a different show, We Will Rock You director, Stephen Armati shared with us how the tumultuous past year brought about this special showcase.

“We had to rethink the environment and we decided after the shit 12 months that people have had, they just need a good night out.

“Nothing too heavy and we thought something like We Will Rock You will certainly provide that!”

First debuting in 2002, We Will Rock You twists a collection of Queen’s greatest hits into a grumpy old man’s idea of the future.

The multi-talented Ben Elton enjoyed a lifelong immersion in words, from best-selling novels to West End plays and musicals. However, for this hit musical, he envisioned a utopian setting portraying an increasingly digitised world with everyone in their own little lives of social networking.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, where all live rock music and musical instruments are banned, by the powerful Globalsoft Corporation who has taken control, insisting to hear only bland, synthesised pop!

“We’re bound pretty close to the script that Ben Elton wrote. He does give us a latitude to modernize, he appreciates that some jokes might not land as well as others because of the environment.

“Myself and the production team were fortunate to go over and meet him a few weeks ago. We spent half an hour with him and it was very exciting for the theatre.

“It’s not every day you get to be in the presence of a genius like that, and he was very giving with his time.”

The hilarious, eccentric and moving musical tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought and fashion, and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and acts the same.

Under pressure from the dastardly corporation, We Will Rock You follows two revolutionaries, Galileo and Scaramouche to bring back the almighty Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“It’s just relatable to what we’ve lost over the last 12 months – theatre, events, travel, and everything else. There’s sort of a bit of irony about it; a lot of people should be able to empathise with the story.

“Ultimately, the arts got everyone through COVID with most of us at home watching Netflix and streaming shows. Now, once again everyone has turned to the arts and now, we’re asking you to come back and support us.”

Ballarat Lyric Theatre’s We Will Rock You gives you the opportunity to groove along to all your favourites! From ‘We Are the Champions’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Somebody to Love’, and ‘Killer Queen’, to ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and, of course, ‘We Will Rock You’!

“If you’re a fan you’ve got 24 of Queen’s greatest hits throughout the show, even if you’re a fan of young lover’s type humour you’ve got the Ben Elton take to it as well and it’s very smartly written.

“It’s not a heavy musical like a Les Mis or a Phantom, I can guarantee that the audience will be up and clapping and singing all the way through the show. People love Queen and people love Ben Elton’s work.

“It’s simply a good, easy fun night out!”

The Ballarat Lyric Theatre has continued to put on the most awe-inspiring productions to date. The company is well-known for shows like CATS and Les Misérables, and now the best-selling jukebox musical, We Will Rock You

Stephen has been involved with Lyric for some time now: 15 years on stage as a performer before he had his first show there five years ago. Through his time at the Ballarat Lyric Theatre, Stephen has pursued his love of theatre, moving from performer to director in the past few years.

“I’m now 47 and I realised that the days of me playing the young love interest are behind me and it’s time for me to continue my passion in another realm!

“They were very supportive and willing to give me a crack at directing!”

Stephen directed Jesus Christ Superstar three years ago and then, Jekyll & Hyde and Les Misérables last year. Now, with We Will Rock You, Stephen is tapping further into his enthusiasm for directing.

The production company has continually pursued a goal of nurturing, developing, and promoting talent whilst cultivating an appreciation and enjoyment for theatrical art.

With a tight-knit and dedicated team at the helm, We Will Rock You has been choreographed by Stephen’s wife, Katherine Armati, alongside well-versed Musical Director Jane Nice and Kristiana Withers as the Choral Director.

“It’s all pretty close to the same team I had last year for Les Mis, with a few small changes.

“I think the attraction of Ballarat Lyric is that people want to keep coming back, and when they come back and do two or three shows, it’s a testament to the company.”

With approximately 120 incredible people involved in the show, 46 of them constitute a line-up of exceptional local stage talent, with the We Will Rock You production bringing in several new Australian names and faces on stage.

“We pride ourselves on supporting local talent, so we’re predominately local.”

Montgomery Wilson, a local talent who has ties in Ballarat, but had been based in London for the last three years will be playing the lead role of Galileo, while Vanessa Belsar, “a stalwart in Ballarat theatre” will also be leading the show as Scaramouche, guaranteeing a phenomenal show to see.

“We’ve got a very keen cast and lots of first-timers. I’m looking forward to when they walk into Her Majesty’s for the first time, lit up eyes.

“They’re going to be like kids in a lolly shop on Christmas day!

“Australia’s always had a bit of a love affair with Queen, so people just want to get involved and I’m absolutely blown away by what we’ve seen so far!”

With not only an incredible production team but also some of the best musicians in Ballarat forming the incredible band, We Will Rock You is gearing up to be a ‘must-not miss’ production!

“We do it because we love it. We’re not here for the money because there is none, we’re just here for the sheer love and joy of performing.

“It’s going to be amazing to watch that, it’s part of the joy of it all!”

Break free into the world of Queen, as We Will Rock You runs at Her Majesty’s Ballarat from July 15-25! Be sure to check out their website for more information. You can purchase tickets to the show here.