Kick off ya Boots 2022
“Kick off ya Boots” returns in 2022 with a new season of the highly acclaimed dinner theatre Town production which took the Riverland by storm in 2021. Once again audiences will treated to a wonderful production led by amazing local talent with lots of laughs and great music as they celebrate what it means to live and work in a rural community. And all while sharing a hearty country meal with friends, family and neighbours.
We will once again receive an insight into the Conner family as they tackle the tough topics of succession, drought, financial security and unspoken truths as they go about their farming lives – which is turned on its head with the visit of city journo Willow, who ensures many uncomfortable conversations and decisions are brought to a head.
In 2022 there will be four Kick off ya Boots dinner theatre performances in the Lutheran Peace Hall in Loxton:
Fri Sept 16th Sat Sept 17th
Fri Sept 23rd Sat Sept 24th
Tickets will be available through this website from 8pm on Fri 5th August 2022 for $50 pp.
Kick off ya Boots has been created in partnership with www.ifarmwell.com.au as a mental health and wellbeing initiative.
Little Town Productions have been producing Christmas and Easter productions at Loxton, in the Riverland region of South Australia since 1999, with over 125 performances seen by approximately 40,000 people. John Gladigau, who is the founder and playwright of Little Town, is also a local farmer with a passion for telling positive stories about agriculture and celebrating rural communities. He is also a director of Grain Producers SA, and founder and partner in the well known Bulla Burra Farms, which is widely acknowledged as a successful collaborative family farming model.
In 2008, John organised a local dinner themed “If Farmers ruled the World”, which was hugely successful and received a lot of positive feedback. It has always been a dream of John’s to take this concept to another level by producing a specially written Little Town production focussed on what it means to be part of a farming family and celebrating living in a rural community.
The result was “Kick off ya Boots” – a unique dinner theatre event, which incorporated the inaugural production of “Living the Dream”. Written by John, and produced by the acclaimed Little Town team, the production used humour, music and at times confronting and tense dialogue to touch on subjects often unspoken of within farming families, including drought, financial pressures, succession and family communications. It was performed in three parts while a hearty 3 course country meal was served, and included parodies of popular songs rewritten to fit the theme and messaging of the production. The eight piece band which provided the music for the production had the audience tapping their toes and clapping along, and was supported by professional theatrical sound and lighting. The entire building was themed as ‘Kick off ya Boots’, from the entrance displays and table decorations, to the opportunity to have your boots shined as you entered. There was also positive messaging on the tables, in the restrooms and in the care packs which each participant took home with them.
It would be fair to say that the events were a resounding success, and the 3 x 170 seat dinners were sold out in 10 days, 4 weeks prior to opening night. Attendees included SA Premier, Steven Marshall, Senator Anne Ruston, Federal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin and State Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone. Senator Ruston made a public statement after the opening night that she would do all she could to ensure the production would reach every rural region in Australia as the concept and messaging was so important.
But it was not all about fun, as there was a strong mental health focus which impacted most of those who attended with a storyline which was at times raw and challenging. Little Town worked together with Dr Kate Gunn of UniSA (and the founder of www.IFarmwell.com.au ) to create the messaging and themes for the night. After the production was over, Kate briefly spoke to the audience about Ifarmwell, and invited everyone to scan a QR code challenging them to commit to doing something different to manage their own wellness journey within the next two weeks.
Reactions from those attending has been overwhelmingly positive, with many saying it was their best night out in years, but more importantly most saying they identified with characters in the play and felt challenged to assess their own businesses, family communications, mental health and wellbeing as a result.
The events were all about kicking off your boots and have a good time. Leaving your worries at the door and enjoying the company of others. Realising what a great industry and community we live in.
The Conner’s are a typical farming family in rural Australia. Hardworking parents Jack and Jenna are passionate about what they do – and are continuing to build the heritage and legacy of several generations of Conner’s on the family farm. They have a son, Charlie – who in the eyes of his parents is the heir apparent to the farm. Their daughter Zoey has a love for the land – but seemingly no pathway to fulfil her farming dreams.
It is seemingly the perfect farming family. Except for Zoey’s frustrations, Charlie’s restlessness, Jack’s narrow mindedness and Jenna just wanting everyone to always be happy.
And then Willow turns up. She is a city-based journalist with little exposure to life on the land. Her arrival turns the Conner’s world upside down, creating unexpected tensions and exposing the masks we wear and the unspoken discussions which don’t often occur.