Artist Trevor Spohr with James O’Grady and Jarrod Laycock from Instant Access at the inception of his caged creation for Z-Pac.
Artist Trevor Spohr with James O’Grady and Jarrod Laycock from Instant Access at the inception of his caged creation for Z-Pac. Alistair Brightman

Trevors talent shines

THE MODEST type, Trevor Spohr is not one to shove his name into the spotlight. His work does that for him.

Audience members at Z-Pac Theatre’s productions of The Crucible, Hamlet and Abstract Nude have got a taste for his talent during the past two years.

His involvement with the Bay theatre stretches back to his early days on the Fraser Coast around 2000 when he left Brisbane to teach at Wide Bay TAFE.

The Importance of Being Earnest marked the first connection and such is the resounding quality of the theatre sets he creates, the relationship between theatre and artist has only strengthened.

When first-time director Cait McGann got the go-ahead to bring Reg Cribb’s tense train drama The Return to a Hervey Bay stage, she turned to him.

“First I tried to consolidate the idea of the play with the functionality and the budget. Budgets are always challenging,” the Maryborough resident says of the creative process.

“Those actors are trapped within that space so I thought about using scaffolding as a sort of cage.

“And by using perspective the audience feels as if it’s on the same carriage. They’re sitting at the other end of the carriage.”

He went cap-in-hand to local scaffolding business Instant Access whose support for the community theatre project was especially positive, given the theft of some of its equipment on the previous night.

Mr Spohr was also challenged with creating a second, emphatically separate setting on the same set. Period drama Where the Cross is Made is the first half of a one-act double bill opening this month.

Audiences at the six coming shows will get to see how a ship’s cabin can be incorporated into a train carriage.

It is a busy time for Mr Spohr. Last weekend brought the opening of Grid II: Contemporary Craft in the Worldwide Grid, a challenging new exhibition curated by Mr Spohr and featuring the work of 27 artists.

He describes the curator’s role as coming up with an idea, delivering the idea to the artist and making the idea accessible to the public. The Fraser Coast council’s art and cultural development officer, he is also at the artistic coalface in Maryborough where the $1.5 million refurbishment of the Gatakers Artspace is fast taking shape.

Rescheduled to open on March 27, the space will include four main exhibition areas and an outdoor space linking Kent Street to Wharf Street.

It is the water feature at the heart of this space that has occupied the busy and creative Spohr gene.

His desire to keep the city’s rich history in touch with modern Maryborough took him on tours of Maryborough Sugar Factory, Downer EDi Rail and Hyne Timber in search of the manufacturing tools that put the city on the map more than 100 years ago.

The result is a 2.7-metre blacksmith’s bench that will be the centrepiece of a water feature to be surrounded by glass mosaic.

“The area was in a really dire state when we started,” he says.

“It’s been a couple of years coming but with some Q150 funding the Fraser Coast Regional Council was able to kick-start the renewal of this key space.”



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