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The Little Red Company that could - and did - stop Covid at the door

Culture

As the clouds of the past two years are beginning to part for the arts it seems innovation and resilience let the sunshine in for indie theatre makers The Little Red Company, who managed to grow during Covid and raise $100,000 for struggling artists in the process.

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Founded 12 years ago, The Little Red Company are known for their elaborate stage shows of cabaret and musical theatre.

Their productions, such as Rumour Has It and Skyfall, are a joyous ode to music and theatre so it comes as no surprise that their family-first ethos resulted in a remarkable journey through the pandemic.

Luke Kennedy, The Little Red Company’s vocal talent, said the team’s knee jerk reaction was to create, resulting in a surprise production that raised over $100,000 for struggling artists.

“The day theatres closed we had up to $250,000 worth of shows that were cancelled that day, it was a huge hit for us immediately and then postponements were money lost as well,” Kennedy told InQueensland.

“Everyone really in the office that we spoke to, a lot of our friends and colleagues, were completely decimated.

“Our response was to kind of look around and work out in what small way we could help,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said the company broadcast a live weekly variety show called The Iso-Late Late Show which saw them learn how to broadcast on the fly, streaming into locked-down living rooms via Facebook Live every Friday night for 10 weeks.

Luke Kennedy (left) performing in the live production of The Iso-Late Late Show (Image: The Little Red Company)

Each episode featured celebrity cameos and performances with Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Marcia Hines, Katie Noonan, and Sheppard.

“The first episode of the Iso-Late Late show raised $50,000 for the Actors’ and Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund, so it seemed like in the arts community, which is where a lot of our donations were coming from, we were there to support each other which was just a beautiful thing,” said Kennedy.

The Actors’ and Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund is a charity which supports performing arts professionals experiencing hardship or crisis, Kennedy said the profits raised by the Iso-Late Late Show went towards buying groceries, medicine, and daily necessities for artists doing it tough because of Covid.

“We ended up having nearly 30 artists crew working on that show full time to produce a 90 minute broadcast, featuring all sorts of live performance with pre-recorded elements that we would pull together with all our artists doing it from their own home, so it was a pretty massive hurdle to jump.

“In that 10 weeks, we raised just over $100,000 for the Actors’ and Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund,” he said.

“One of our major objectives is to keep people employed. First and foremost, we want to allow people the opportunity to continue to create work.”

There’s Something About Music (Image: The Little Red Company)

This ethos has allowed The Little Red Company to move from strength to strength, with bigger productions, more technical productions programmed, and tentative future plans being made.

“[Skyfall] was a technically a really big show for us. I was winched onto stage from the roof, Naomi arrived in an Aston Martin.

“One of the most memorable things we did this year was we did our first show at QPAC, we performed at the Concert Hall with Rumour Has It which was the original Little Red show,” said Kennedy.

Their rom-com cabaret There’s Something About Music is programmed for a return November season at Brisbane Powerhouse and their Love Actually spinoff show Christmas Actually arrives at La Boite in December.

The company has also been chosen to produce the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols from 2021 to 2024.

“It’s a huge undertaking for us and a big privilege,” said Kennedy.

“We’re getting these updates through day to day but we’re looking forward to creating new work in Brisbane, we have some shows to announce in the coming weeks, and to be able to tour again will be a great way to spend 2022.”

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