Whimsical play focuses on city’s boom and bust history

GET excited Gladstone. A musical spectacular the scale of which our regional city has never seen before will entertain crowds in just two weeks.

Boomtown is an Alice in Wonderland-style story of a young boy who comes to Gladstone and has trouble finding his path.

It is strongly developed around Gladstone's history of boom and bust, and therefore the backdrop and set is heavily influenced by the city's strong resources industry.

Josh McIntosh is the Queensland Musical Festival designer who has been in charge of creating the sets.

"It's industrial romantic," he said. "The set covers a footprint of over 500sq m, and at its highest point it is 12m."

The Gladstone Marina stage is not big enough for the production, which will incorporate a 300-strong cast, so the musical body is building its own set.

"We'll use the barbecue shelters in the playground, so the stage will run basically perpendicular to the waterway," McIntosh said.

"It also means we can project onto the treeline of Spinnaker Park, across the water. We're getting two powerful projectors."

Eight structures are being built, which will be illuminated and mounted on boats to float on the Gladstone Harbour.

One is a large pink kookaburra.

"When they were building the marina there were tiny, tiny little shells which were kind of in the shape of little kookaburras," McIntosh said.

"So it's an icon. They say anyone from that era has a matchbox of little kookaburra shells.

"So that's a key icon in the show about belonging and sense of ownership of the place, but also the impact of man and industry."

Finally, what's old has found a new life with industrial junk utilised from industry stalwart Queensland Alumina Limited.

"It's a big deal," McIntosh said. "We're getting huge big (conveyor wheels) to transport it."


  • Goes for about 80-90 minutes
  • $500,000 cost ($100,000 from the Gladstone Regional Council, $400,000 from QMF and corporate partners)
  • Free event over four nights, July 18-21, 6.30pm

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