To beer or not to beer – that is the question.

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Our receptionist has, by now, learned not to question some of the odd packages that arrive at MTC (we get a few), so she didn’t bat an eyelid when a large case of Norwegian beer arrived at HQ recently – she just sent it on through to our production department.

Those of you who are right across our 2012 Season will know that the next play on our calendar is “Elling”:; a stage adaption of the Oscar-nominated Norwegian film. While the cast are busy rehearsing the play, our production team have the task of setting the scene. As you can imagine, one of the many challenges in staging a play that is set in a foreign country is capturing that place accurately. Our production teams use a variety of tricks and tools to depict a particular setting: everything from “bricks and mortar” to paint and photography, and even videos or projections – they can whip up almost anything you can think of. But sometimes the difficulty is in the detail: the props. How, for example, do you make 50 Norwegian beer cans from scratch?

The simple fact is – talented though our props team are – there are some things better left to the experts. So in the case of “Elling”:, our production team contacted Norway’s largest brewery company, Ringnes. They produce more than 400 million litres of beverages a year to the Norwegian population, so we figured there was a good chance that they might be able to send us a few spare beer cans. Happily for us they agreed, and wholeheartedly too: “Of course we want to contribute Elling his favourite beer!” was the response from their team.

As you can see in the image above, we weren’t actually able to sample any of the foreign brew for ourselves; the cans arrived empty. But only for the moment – our props department still has a little magic to work on these before they make their Australian stage debut. You can catch them, alongside Ronald Falk, Darren Gilshenan, Emily Goddard, Bert LaBonté and Hayden Spencer on stage very soon.

“Elling”: is playing at Southbank Theatre, the Sumner from 29 October to 8 December.

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