An innovative take on playwriting created by Capricorn playwright Jessica Lamb which features characters contributed from members of the public through a role playing game system that Ms Lamb created for her Masters of Applied Theatre Studies. The game itself is a mixture of a dystopian mystery and town planning simulator, and asks players to consider the conditions that would make their city unlivable, and work together to make sure that doesn’t happen. By running the game a number of times the team was able to come up with a range of different responses to the question “If everyone left Rockhampton tomorrow, why would they leave?” These different answers were then used to create a single narrative, which was then explored in the play “RockPocalypse”. The story of the play continues to raise questions of place, belonging, and sustainability through the lens of the post-exodus, dystopian Rockhampton.
Ms Lamb said in an interview with Arts Central Queensland that she wanted to use theatre as a tool to allow communication and connection amongst the community. The team took immense care to ensure that the script was of a high quality, and was polished at all stages to bring this goal to life. This level of care was extended to all aspects of the creative process, including a rigorous audition process drawing on 5 dedicated and talented locals, Catie Fry, Rose Stunzner, Mark Alston, Bryn Robertson and Megan Norris, to tell the story.
By drawing on both the immense talent of Ms Lamb and the RockPocalypse team, and input from the community, RockPocalypse was able to be a play that is truly, uniquely, Rockhampton.
Rockpocalypse by playwright and researcher Jessica Lamb, premiered at the Walter Reid Cultural Centre, Rockhampton, in November 2019.