Suzi Mould and Melissa Strong dressed for fun at the 50th anniversary of Hair at HOTA.
Suzi Mould and Melissa Strong dressed for fun at the 50th anniversary of Hair at HOTA. Alison Houston

HOTA looks to a colourful future after Hair style

SUZI Mould and Melissa Strong were among a large number of audience members who really got into the 1960s vibe to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hair at HOTA's outdoor stage.

There were flowers, psychedelic colours, tie-dyes, loud stripes, knee-high boots and flares galore.

Suzie and Melissa still have their parents' vinyl record of Hair, and remember listening to hits like Aquarius, Good Morning Starshine, Hair and Let the Sun Shine repeatedly growing up.

Other concert-goers discussed having seen the original production.

Some remembered the hype and protest which surrounded the show in 1969, with its confronting full-frontal nudity, anti-war messaging and celebration of hippy culture greeted.

Some spoke of the similarities between anti-Vietnam War protests and current climate protests led by youth.

Others, experiencing the unique outdoor stage for the first time - it opened in 2018 - marvelled at the venue, set among parkland with a backdrop of the Surfers Paradise skyline.

Executive producer Mik Auckland was just pleased the rain didn't affect the seminal show and, as he put it, cleared to "let the sunshine in".

"This was the first time we've had such a large-scale theatrical production on our outdoor stage and we hope it's the first of many!" he said.

Since opening, he said the outdoor stage had been "the centre point of some fantastic and diverse events" from opening with Tim Minchin to National Geographic's Symphony for our World, 1990s celebration Young Hearts Run Free to the interactive GLOW festival, this year attracting more than 17,000 visitors, and most recently rock legend Jimmy Barnes in his biggest tour of the 2000s.

Capable of seating 5000, Mik said the stage was also used regularly for community events such as tai chi and the free monthly social Dancing on the Green.

Coming up in December at HOTA is Home - 20 hugely varied events over 15 days - and HOTA has also just released its sneak peak of indoor events for 2020, including Noni Hazelhurst as Mother, Monty Python's Spamalot, Jonathan Biggins as Paul Keating in The Gospel According to Paul and Tosca by Opera Queensland.

Meanwhile, work continues on the $60.5 million, six-level, purpose-built HOTA gallery, which will be the largest outside of a major city in Australia when completed in late 2020, with its official opening expected in early 2021.

Go to hota.com.au for more, or phone (07) 5588 4000.


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