We are pleased to announce our judging panel for Playmates Illawarra IX. With a wealth of professional experience (over 100 years between them), our judges this year know what makes a great scene, and will be demanding only the best improvised comedy scenes this year!
Our judges this year are Michael Sheridan, Geoffrey Sykes and Lou Belancic.
Mark’s professional career began in 1970 at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in the U.K., following two years at Guildford School of Acting. A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has worked extensively in theatre, film, television and radio in a career spanning more than forty years.
His recent credits include “Noah’s Ark” with John Voight and Mary Steeburgen, “Deadly Women” for Channel Television, “Skylight” at the Theatre Centre, Canberra, a five week Sydney season of “The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell, and local appearances in “Proof” at WWT, “Art”, “Pippin” and “The Merchant of Venice” at the Phoenix Theatre.
He is currently rehearsing the title role of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” for local audiences next year, and has just completed filming a guest appearance in the new Indo-Australian film “Unindian”, starring Brett Lee, which will have an international release in 2015.
“If I had one super power, it’d be the ability to Fly. I hate walking.”
Lou has had an extensive career in the professional music industry, appearing in about a dozen professional bands as drummer from 1967 to 1990 including well respected groups Freshwater, Tree, The Works, The Jet Johnson Band, The Great Bite and Anvil.
As well as performing in numerous venues throughout Sydney including the famous Chequers where his band performed alongside famous rock group ACDC. Lou’s band Tree won the Wollongong battle of the bands and earned great respect, becoming the first glam-rock band in the Illawarra.
After 1990, Lou moved into live production where he was in very high demand. His move from Rock’n’Roll to setting up corporate events further entrenching him in the music industry. He ran high profile events such as the 50th anniversary of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney and the opening of the IBIS Hotel Darling Harbour before installing and running several dance clubs in Sydney, including Players Nightclub – southern Sydney’s only hardcore dance club which he ran for ten years.
In 1995, Lou set up and ran The Back Room which operated out the The Illawarra Hotel until 2001, before launching his latest endeavour – The Vault Entertainment Venue Port Kembla which has been home to over fifty productions of The Vault Cabaret, several Jazz evenings, CD launches, functions and this year was the home of Black Box Theatre’s Illawarra premiere of Irvine Welsh’s TRAINSPOTTING.
“If I had one super power, it would be to possess the power of prestidigitation.”
Geoffrey Sykes has lived in the Illawarra, at Stanwell Tops, for over 25 years. During that time he has taught at a local boys’ secondary college, and at the University of Wollongong in the School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication, in the Faculty of Arts.
Geoffrey has maintained a longstanding commitment to theatre – as a writer and producer. He has had over 25 professional production credits, with commissions for the Art Gallery of New South Wales; the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Sydney; the National Gallery of Canberra; and the Powerhouse Museum. His stage credits include La Mama Melbourne; Theatre South Wollongong; Bridge Theatre; Old Fitzroy Theatre Sydney; Holden Street Theatre Adelaide; Riverside Theatre Sydney; Wollongong Art Gallery; Roo Theatre; and the Tap Gallery Sydney. He has had showcase productions or readings including Alliance Francaise, Parnassus Den, Sydney, Darwin Theatre Company; Canberra Youth Theatre; Hazlehurst Gallery, Gymea Sydney; Ensemble Theatre, Sydney; Crossroads Theatre, Sydney; and the National Gallery of Victoria.
In recent years he has managed a small studio performance venue (Bushland Chapel) in Helensburgh. In addition to his own work the venue has assisted over 30 local performers and hosted a number of independent productions. His mid year Sydney productions “Tales of Kabbarli” and “Walk in Beauty” received outstanding press reviews.
Geoffrey is also a producer of video, with broadcast credits including ABC, SBS and Foxtel. His most recent work “Black in Time” (2014) has received considerable acclaim in the Illawarra. A further full length documentary featuring an Illawarra narrative is ready for release in January. Geoffrey enjoys the possibilities for docu drama on video.
Geoffrey works under the Playscript banner, and is always interested to meet keen and talented theatre practitioners, in acting and production and marketing.