Higher Faster Louder to premiere in Cairns this August

AAR-JUTE-Marilyn-Marsh-BoothA fast and furiously funny new play based on one woman’s quest to become a commercial pilot, JUTE Theatre Company’s newest production, Higher Faster Louder by Cairns playwright Marilyn Marsh-Booth, will have its world premiere season at the Bulmba-ja Theatre from Friday 25 August 2023.

An alumnus of JUTE’s Write Sparks program for emerging playwrights, Higher Faster Louder is born from Marsh-Booth’s own remarkable story and determination to become one of the world’s first female commercial pilots during the transformative era of women’s liberation in the 1960s.

JUTE Theatre Company has assembled an experienced and talented cast for its latest production, including Julia Forsberg who plays ‘young Marilyn’. Known for her recent performance as Mish Diamond in Sue Chamberlain’s Queenslander, also produced by JUTE, Ms Forsberg brings the playwright’s story to life as a young Yorkshire woman with dreams of becoming a pilot.

In what is destined to provide a thrill for local audiences, JUTE’s own Artistic Director and CEO Suellen Maunder returns to the stage as an actor in this play while fellow actors Elizabeth Slattery and Kyle Walmsley will amuse and amaze as their turn their skills to multiple support characters.

Ms Maunder said Higher Faster Louder challenges the status quo and persistent gender barriers in today’s modern world. “Higher Faster Louder delivers a strong message that true change comes from being brave enough to embrace the unknown, and in so doing, push the boundaries of possibility,” she said.

“It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to be in this play and deliver a performance that shows the central figure’s true resilience and depth of character,” said Ms Maunder.

Ms Marsh-Booth said that while hindsight shows her to be a truly astonishing trailblazer, at the time she was just a woman with a clear, calm, and certain determination to fly.

“I wrote this play to encourage others, particularly, but not exclusively women, never to take no for an answer,” she said. “Luck is putting the work in. Achieving is being persistent.”

The play begins in England, in 1946, the year Ms Marsh-Booth was born – and continues until she was 26 years of age. “These were different times and different behaviours,” she said.

“There was no talk of gender, or sexual harassment, after all, it was the swinging 60s, and not too long after the second world war, and people were having fun.”

“JUTE, whom I’ve been involved with in various ways for many years, encouraged me to write this story, and have been with me on this four-year journey, through the writer-in-residence program. I feel very humbled that they had such faith in me,” said Ms Marsh-Booth

An inspiring and heart-warming story of chasing your dreams, Marsh-Booth’s play has been nurtured through JUTE’s writer-in-residence program since 2020.

Director: Matt Scholten | Featuring: Julia Forsberg, Suellen Maunder, Elizabeth Slattery, Kyle Walmsley | Dramaturg: Kathryn Ash | Production Manager & Lighting Designer: Sam Gibb | Sets, Props & Costume Design: Peter Keavy | Projection Design: Russell Milledge | Composer & Sound Designer: Wil Hughes | Interns: Adria Cunningham (Directing), Brennan Ridge (Sound Design) | Playwright: Marilyn Marsh-Booth

Higher Faster Louder
Bulmba-ja Theatre, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns
Season: 25 August – 2 September 2023
Information and Bookings: www.jute.com.au

Image: Marilyn Marsh-Booth – one of the world’s first female commercial pilots (supplied)