Updated: Oct 9
TheatreiNQ is fundamentally about theatre (it’s in the name). But as a company, it’s so much more than that. It’s about quality, opportunity, fairness, and right at its core, family. Be that through blood, the bond shared within the local TheatreiNQ ensemble, or the nation-wide Bridgee family. And nobody embodies that aspect of the company quite like Anne-Marie Smith, TheatreiNQ’s office all rounder, sister of the company's artistic director Terri Brabon, and mother of familiar face, company actor Emma Smith.
Anne-Marie with her daughter Emma and her sister Terri - behind the scenes of ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2018)
Growing up rurally on a cane farm just outside of Ayr, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for a young Anne-Marie to explore the arts, however she would eventually follow younger sister Terri into dance, marking her performing arts debut. While performing was never a passion of hers, Anne-Marie still thoroughly enjoyed it as a hobby, and particularly loved the friends and people she found herself surrounded with; a value she still carries today, which everyone who knows her can attest to. In grade 12, Anne-Marie would find herself in the lead role of the high school musical, the ‘pinnacle of drama’ in her school. She describes that event as ‘a fun experience’, but not necessarily something she took seriously. Dancing followed Anne-Marie to Townsville, when she moved for university, however she would soon leave that practice behind, remarking that it ‘was fun, but not for [her]’. Despite this however, Anne-Marie continues to enjoy being involved in the arts and immersing herself into the technical running of shows, even if not necessarily for the performing. This was made evident when she once more followed Terri into the performing arts industry, helping her take on the mantle of Townsville’s annual Shakespeare Under the Stars, and later assisting in the formation of TheatreiNQ.
Terri, Anne-Marie and Phil Lambert in TheatreiNQ's first "office" (2010)
The birth of TheatreiNQ was a family endeavour through and through, with Anne-Marie being among those assembled by Terri to carry the torch of Townsville’s annual Shakespeare Under the Stars. This was initially a small operation run from Anne-Marie’s own kitchen with everybody available doing what they could to get the shows running. Anne-Marie drew on her background in business to run the financial side of things, and would take on a new role as the company’s graphic designer. She would also go on to undertake various stage management and sound operating jobs as they were required, before such roles would go on to be filled by the Bridge Project.
Anne-Marie behind the scenes operating AV for SYLVIA (2014)
Family has always been core to Anne-Marie, beginning on the cane farm where she grew up with her parents and 5 siblings. From a young age, she forged a particularly close bond with younger sister Terri and older brother Jim who she grew up with, them being the three youngest born children. Anne-Marie feels incredibly lucky to have such a supportive family who all help each other, and to have been able to in a way recreate her childhood for her own children, having had a boy and two girls herself.
Anne-Marie & Terri in rehearsals for TWELFH NIGHT (2015)
Speaking on what she loves most about her job at TheatreiNQ, it’s clear that nothing comes close to the value she places on family.
‘I get to come in and just work with Terri everyday. I mean, we’re sisters, we’re very close. It’s a dream for us. One of the reasons Terri came home is because I started having children and she wanted to be in their lives, and it just all fell in our laps really well’.
Anne-Marie's children Emma, Taylah & Joshua as the Witches in MACBETH (2013)
When asked about her passions in life, Anne-Marie indicated that unlike her siblings ‘who are very passionate about different things’, she felt she had no such drive, believing that ‘there’s people who in life just don’t have that, and that’s okay, and that’s how [she’s] been [her] whole life’, however she did concede that once she had her own children, they filled her life the way any other passion would, and she is happy with that.
Anne-Marie is incredibly proud of the work that was put into establishing TheatreiNQ and the fact that a team of family and friends with no budget to stretch has become the company that exists today. In particular she ‘loves being able to provide money to the actors’ and ‘the small amount of jobs’ the company makes possible. She adores the Bridge Project and the opportunities that TheatreiNQ has provided her own children and to the local community. We are so lucky to have such a devoted and caring familial force as Anne-Marie in the company.