While most eyes have been on the Tasmanian government's efforts to secure the fifth Ashes Test in January over the past few weeks, the North's arts and cultural scene has been staging a quiet comeback with comparatively little fanfare.
Encore Theatre's recent production of Mamma Mia shattered previous box office records, demonstrating there is an appetite for well-crafted productions.
Yesterday's news that Launceston's Australian Musical Theatre Festival has secured some of the best in the biz to headline shows and workshops for its 2022 incarnation in May is just the latest in announcement that further proves the state's arts and cultural sectors are bouncing back.
Three-time Laurence Olivier Award-winning actor and singer Philip Quast, who has won acclaim in Australia and West End for his roles in Les Miserables, South Pacific and Sunday in the Park With George, will be among the stars to descend on Launceston.
Quast will be joined by the likes of Chloe Dallimore, who won a Helpmann Award for her scene-stealing portrayal of Ulla in The Producers, and Australian Idol alumnus Paulini, who has performed in stage productions including The Bodyguard Musical.
Far from solely being a series of spectator events, the Australian Musical Theatre Festival provides experience, knowledge, support and encouragement to those wanting to gain a foothold in the industry, and the fact stars of this calibre are making room in their diaries to attend speaks volumes about the city's burgeoning arts and cultural scene.
The Australian Musical Theatre Festival announcement follows last week's unveiling of the 2022 Mona Foma program and the announcement of the Red Hot Summer line-up, which will be making Launceston the only Tasmanian stop of its tour in February.
Much has rightfully been made of Tasmania's recent success in attracting top-tier sports competitions such as the WBBL, as well as the JackJumpers' fairytale NBL debut.
But equally, music and arts practitioners, organisers and stakeholders deserve kudos for helping to ensure the region looks set to emerge from the pandemic as a vibrant cultural hub for locals and tourists alike.
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