FAMOUS PLAY: Jacquie McCalman, Elyse Knowles, Jenny DowelL, Sinead Fell, Lisa Walmsley and Sharon Brodie are part of the production of Steel Magnolias by Lismore Theatre Company.
FAMOUS PLAY: Jacquie McCalman, Elyse Knowles, Jenny DowelL, Sinead Fell, Lisa Walmsley and Sharon Brodie are part of the production of Steel Magnolias by Lismore Theatre Company. Contributed.

Steel Magnolia's cast is ready to bloom on stage

LISMORE Theatre Company's next production, Steel Magnolias, opens July 5.

The play is a bittersweet award-winning work written by Robert Harling that chronicles the lives of six women who frequent Truvy's Beauty Spot in Chinquapin, Louisiana.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 film of the same name, made famous by Hollywood icons Dolly Parton, Sally Fields, Daryl Hannah, Julia Roberts, Shirley Maclaine and Olympia Dukakis.

The characters show they are as delicate as magnolias but as strong as steel, as they deal with the joys and sorrows which occur during two years of their lives.

The story is based on Robert Harling's real life experience of the death of his sister, Susan Harling Robinson, in 1985 due to complications from Type 1 diabetes.

He changed his sister's name in the story from Susan to Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie.

A writer friend continuously encouraged Harling to write the story down in order to come to terms with the experience.

He did, but originally as a short story for his nephew, to get an understanding of his late mother. It evolved in 10 days into a play.

The show embodies sass, style and sisterhood from the big-haired 1980s, and is awash with memorable one liners such as Maclaine's: "I'm not crazy. I've just been in a bad mood for 40 years.”

Lismore Theatre Company's production of Steel Magnolias is directed by Sylvia Clarke (director of Last of the Red Hot Lovers and Lipstick Dreams).

Ms Clarke said the cast included Jacquie McCalman, Elyse Knowles, Jenny Dowell, Sinead Fell, Lisa Walmsley and Sharon Brodie.

"It`s been great to see the cast blossom into their roles in this show. It has something for everyone who loves to laugh, cry, or eat Southern food,” she said.

  • At the Rochdale Theatre, 603 Ballina Road, Goonellabah, from July 5-20. Show Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30pm, Sundays at 2pm. Visit lismoretheatrecompany.org.au.