It was a game that changed the nation and ignited a sporting rivalry between a blue and maroon jersey wearer. It was a game that began an annual hype for, as we now know it, The State of Origin. And now the controversial 1980 game will be transformed into a Queensland standout musical, Home Ground.
Conceived by literary legend Mr Hugh Lunn, Home Ground tells the story of that famous rugby league game in 1980 where Queensland finally beat the Blues after 21 years of defeat. It’s a spine-tingling story about coming of age, beating the odds and forging a spirit, and the passionate and hype around an event that takes over the country every year.
“My dream is to capture for all Queenslanders – for all time – how Ron McAuliffe brought our champions back to their Home Ground – and what it means to all of us,” said Hugh Lunn.
They are mighty shoes to fill, those of the great Artie Beetson, a name synonymous with State of Origin and rugby league. However, when acclaimed Queensland’s own stage artist, singer, community activity and rugby league fan Michael Tuahine was approached to lace up those boots for the world premiere season, he didn’t hesitate.
“I met Artie as a young boy, and then worked with him at the ARTIE Program (Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education), plus, as a football fan, I was in awe of his skill, his passion, his commitment to his heritage and his ability to lead,” said Michael.
A young Wally Lewis will be played by rising Australian talent, Queenslander Chris White. Playing Kerry Boustead is Matthew Dear, Jackson McGovern will play Brad Backer and Lachlan Hewson takes up the Chris Close jersey. Scott Muller from The Ten Tenors fame has been cast as celebrated Australian player and coach Ross Strudwick and Astin Blaik as Penny Prentice, his netball coach girlfriend. Stephanie Long, Penny Farrow and Hannah Grondin have all been cast. Key roles to be announced in the coming weeks include Ron McAuliffe, Sir Joh, Doc, Mal Meninga and Jock Ryan.
Already current and past stars of State of Origin football have put their hands up to support the production.
Wally ‘The King’ Lewis said, "Hugh Lunn is a guy that's been there since the creation of State of Origin footy, so he's certainly very well educated on the subject. It will be entertaining, there's no doubt about that."
Petero Civoniceva agreed. "I think it's a great idea. As Queenslanders we love our Origin and this puts a different spin on it. Our passion for State of Origin will extend into the theatre and I'm sure it will get plenty of support. I will be interesting to see how it all unfolds."
Featuring the original signature anthem, We Bleed Maroon, HOME GROUND will open on June 23 at the 1,500-seat Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre (ERPAC) in South Brisbane.
WHO’S PLAYING: Home Ground, The State of Origin Musical
THE SEASON: KICK OFF Friday 23 June 2017
THE STADIUM: ERPAC (Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre) adjacent to Southbank
TICKETING: Tickets start from $50.00 per person
Purchase at http://brisbanepowerhouse.org/ or call 07 3358 8600