Pull on your blindfold and come into the dark of Queensland's convict past

Pull on your blindfold, and come on a journey to the hellish Moreton Bay Penal Colony, where young convict Rosie Quinn struggles to make a life for herself. Rosie becomes a part of Commandant Patrick Logan’s household, the father of Brisbane, and a man known for brutality. A romance with an officer leads Rosie to the shocking truth of a place where women had little value and whose survival was completely dependent on men.

The Ballad of Rosie Quinn is based on several historical events in colonial Brisbane, completely immersing the audience in a world of sound, scent and sensation that brings them into the heart of the Moreton Bay Penal Colony. The play explores themes of friendship, betrayal, exploitation and survival. Rosie Quinn creates a visceral, immersive experience of convict life told through drama, music and dance for a boutique audience of between 30 -120 people in the round. It is blindfolded throughout and lasts 55 mins.

Winner of 2018 Reviewer's pick at Brisbane's Anywhere Theatre Festival.

Venue Format
Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
D, The production can be modified to suit most venues
Touring Party

• Contains explicit content, with scenes suggesting sexual violence and murder

• Contains moments of interaction with the audience that may surprise and startle blindfolded patrons

• Patrons do not have to be blindfolded but it is recommended

• Contains scents that could be offensive or allergic for audience members

• As the show is totally immersive, we recommend a venue with seating for 70, in the round

• Seats in the centre of the round are high-impact and can make for attractive marketing

• The show is mostly acoustic. A venue with a big echo (very live) would not be suitable.

• Best presented in the round, with seating organised in the shape of a cross, with a central playing area and space between sections for actors. Suggested seating plan available.

• Ability to present in a low-light state preferred, with dressing area available for actors

• Touring party travels with and operates all sound equipment for the show

Republic of Song is an independent Brisbane-based company with a passion for creating site-specific immersive events that use innovative storytelling, combining artforms such as theatre, circus and opera. Artistic Director Jo Willans is passionate about creating experiences for audiences that are experiential and draw on her twin passions, music and history. Her blindfolded play, The Ballad of Rosie Quinn won a Reviewer’s Pick Award from Anywhere Theatre Festival.

Republic of Song is an emerging independent, with three major productions for Anywhere Festival, The National Heritage Festival and Valley Fiesta, including The Medium (2016), The Ballad of Rosie Quinn (2018), and Skyward (2019).

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

• It is a non-visual immersive experience in a visual world

• Intimate and unique experience, engaging senses of sound, scent and touch

• Immersive theatre drawn from true events

• Engaging storytelling using narration, character dialogue, live Irish violin music, singing and dancing

• Blindfolds are an engaging a novel experience for both seasoned theatre-goers and new audiences

• Flexible presentation in non-traditional spaces like halls, galleries, historical buildings, blackbox

• Bump in and out in a day

Marketing Materials

• Example promo videos for social media

• Example poster and postcard/pamphlet designs

• Hi-res images

• Example media release

For more details, please see the Marketing Kit in the Presenter Pack.

Community Engagement

• Audiences will be offered a tour of Convict Brisbane with a series of posters displayed in the venue that educate the audience on life in Moreton Bay, with images and excerpts from primary sources taken from the archives at the State Library of Queensland and the Royal Historical Society. This will deepen their experience of the show with geographical and visual cues that relate to the sounds, scents and sensations of the show. This creates a visceral experience that is very memorable.

• A free print programme outlining the major incidents at the Penal Colony that underpin the events of the play that may spark private research.

• A 20min Q and A session is available with the writer and creator of the show and cast, which provides the audience with insight into the historical background of the piece as well as creative processes for those interested in writing and acting. Aimed at aspiring and practicing artists and writers and history buffs.

• A meet and greet after the show is an informal way for the audience to connect with the performers and the writer and ask shorter questions and share their experience.