QUEANBEYAN Performing Arts Centre program manager Stephen Pike has a few surprises in store for audiences in the upcoming 2014 season.
Although sticking to the tried and true formula of light-hearted and comedic shows, Mr Pike has thrown in a few thrillers and serious performances to keep things interesting.
He admits it's a gamble but hopes it will be one that pays off for the local theatre's seventh season which was launched this week.
"We have a little bit of everything this year ... you have to mix it up, you don't want a repeat of the same things," he said.
"This year we have a few more challenging shows, we're asking people to see different things and that can be risky."
One of the shows outside the box is season opener and in-house production of A Tale of Two Cities. The show is set to be directed by former Canberran Adam Spreadbury-Maher and it will be its Australian premiere.
"It's quite an exciting and different piece of theatre," Mr Pike said. "There's nine people playing 30 different roles so it's quite a challenge."
The same can be said of the other in-house production Sunset Boulevard, drama/thriller George Orwell's 1984 and courtroom drama The Burning which Mr Pike said will have audience members "literally on the edge of their seat".
"This year we've also have a dance drama called Food which we hope will appeal to a younger audience and we're most pleased to present Sons and Mothers a production that touches and features people living with disabilities. We have had shows in the past that have looked at this topic but nothing quite like this," Mr Pike said.
"We also have some music with the Streeton Trio. It's a bit of gamble as this show is just music but we thought it was time we catered for this part of the audience."
The 2014 season, titled "Respond, Relax, Refresh, Return", will capitalise on the success of two of the venue's strongest performers in the Morning Melodies series as well as children's shows. The midday series will feature female vocal trio the Stilettos, Jamie Way in the Great Pizzarotti and A Surprise Morning Queenie van de Zandt. While younger audiences should enjoy productions of beloved children's novels Tashi and Pete the Sheep.
"[The 2014 season is] just like a menu in a restaurant, there's a lot of different things to appeal to varied tastes and theatre is the same," Mr Pike said. "But at the same time you want to choose things that appeal to a large number of people."
To book a subscription to The Q's 2014 season visit www.theq.net.au or phone 6285 6290.