Team Captains Interview | 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2019

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Black Box Theatre is pleased to announce its ten Team Captains for this Saturday’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. The excitement and intrigue is building, particularly surrounding which of these team captains will be given a monologue to learn and perform in a single day. Our writers will also be looking on with interest, they too will be waiting to see who their team will be, or which of them will be writing the monologue!

24 Hour Theatre Executive Producer Luke Berman recently announced to the cast that this year there will only be one monologue, and the monologue will be performed by a female actress – who will be one of the five female captains announced today.

This year’s team captains are Bradley Ward, Lisa Omodei, Rory Holloway, Sophie Bentley, Nick Lewis, Kaylee Ashton, Andrew Gobran, Stephanie McAuley, Julian Levanic and Kiah Sassall.

Producer Luke Berman interviewed our team captains about what they are looking forward to this weekend.

Why did you want to perform in 24 Hour Theatre?

Kaylee: It is a very unique environment to make theatre under time pressure as short as 24 hours. I believe it would be a beneficial experience to work closely with actors within a time constraint such as this. I also adore the Illawarra Theatre Scene and would love to continue with this awesome project.

Julian: It is a good opportunity to sharpen my wit and hone my skills as an actor. Also, I can tell there is some good fun to be had.

Michaela: I want to open my door again to acting and performing. I have not done in it in such a long time especially having moved interstate. I know many people in the theatre that I would love to reconnect with and I cannot wait to meet and work with new people in the Illawarra.

Sophie: It’s a highlight in my year, and the thrill of putting together a short performance in a day is always a blast.

Andrew: I love performing in the theatre! I love the concept and the excitement and anticipation that doing a play in 24 hours would have.

Rory: 24 Hour Theatre is an awesome opportunity to practice my skills of creating a performance as well as sticking to scripts and learning lines in such a tight time limit. I’m also super looking forward to working in a team that I might not have worked with before. To entertain an audience is always the best part for me.

Nick: I’m always looking for a new challenge, and 24 Hour Theatre is sure to be a wonderful challenge!

Stephanie: After doing it last year, I enjoyed it so much I want to do it again!


Kiah: Because I’m crazy enough to come back for more after participating in the challenge last year.

Brad: 24 Hour Theatre is a thrilling and unique experience, that pushes your skills as an actor in a way that is safe and enjoyable. You either get the opportunity to meet and work with new artists, or to experiment with new roles and forms surrounded by artists you trust.

What would say your greatest strengths are as an actor?

Kaylee: Movement or physical based comedy.

Michaela: I’m a loud, enthusiastic and motivated risk-taker!

Julian: Adaptable, in the sense that I experiment well with my roles. I also take advice and direction well to enhance the effect of my characterisation.

Sophie: Diversity, adaptability. I also can take direction well.

Andrew: I can react and cover on stage to my fellow cast members – which might come in handy if we forget lines for the show! I’m also versatile with the types roles I can play.

Rory: As an actor I hold a great amount of stage presence. Over the years I have developed a great vocal power and resonance and I believe I can hold my own with good comic timing.

Nick: I am driven to succeed and flexible with whatever needs doing.

Lisa: Comedic timing, strong stage presence. Commitment and passion for the work.

Kiah: Greatest strengths? Working with conflict within a scene. Drama, romance, sarcastic characters.

Bradley: I am very quick to learn lines, and am willing to give almost anything a try. I move easily between genres, and am equally comfortable in both drama and comedy. I have a strong voice and stage presence, and do not shy away from experimentation.

If you had a choice, what would you like your writer to write for you?

Kaylee: A religious satire!

Michaela: A play about a fairy who has amnesia.

Julian: I want to play an antagonist, like a psychopath. I’m not a psychopath I promise, but I’d love to give it a go.

Sophie: Something that people are going to remember past that night, and has depth to it.

Andrew: Oh that’s a very tough question! Possibly if it’s a short play one where I’m in a relationship and I have just landed a dream role in Hollywood and the decision of leaving my beautiful girlfriend to follow my dreams or stay with the status quo of a D-grade actor picking up minor roles and working a full-time job.

Nick: A crazy plot about mental health, something exploring gay themes or anything that is totally out there!

Lisa: Probably a comedy, but something with real meaning. Bitter-sweet endings or even something that just moves the audience. Fun but meaningful, ya feel?

Kiah: A meaty, tension filled dramatic role. Facing conflict, struggling to make a decision.

Bradley: Something with the powerful character dynamics of Angels in America; the existential dread and philosophical depth of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; the witty one liners of The Importance of Being Earnest; the dark avant garde poetry of 4.48 Pyschosis; the social awareness of The Caucasian Chalk Circle; the violent and bloody conclusion of Hamlet; and the killer soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Show.

How confident are you in being able to learn your lines in a day?

Michaela: Very confident. If I can learn all 29 children’s names, their routines, and they’re belongings in a day I believe I’d be very confident learning lines to a short play in a day.


Julian: The more time I spend with a script the better. I am usually good at paraphrasing after initial read but to nail it I need to consistently work at the lines with the group as well as by myself.

Kaylee: Very confident in monologues. Alright at conversational lines. I’m pretty confident either way.

Andrew: I am confident in learning lines quickly. I have done a number of acting workshops where they have given us short scripts to learn in an hour.

Kiah: I’m confident enough learning a substantial amount of lines in twelve hours. But give the twenty-page long Cuff script to someone else though please!

Rory: Even in a time limit of 4 months I always take a “close enough” mentality to my lines. I’ll know what they are trying to say and I will usually say something pretty close to that. But I think if I dedicate myself to it for the day I’ll be able to get them down pretty well.

Nick: I’m not too sure as this will be the first time doing it. Here’s hoping!

Stephanie: I’m very confident in learning lines.  I have a really good memory. (Touch wood)

Lisa: I will learn ALL OF THE LINES. Safe to say, I am pretty good.

Bradley: When I was a writer for a previous 24 Hour Theatre, I wrote a 35-minute long play that the actors had to learn. I’m expecting revenge and I’m ready to smash it!

Want to learn more about our captains and the rest of the cast? Catch up on our two cast announcements: Announcement #1 | Announcement #2

Want to learn more about our writers for 24 Hour Theatre? Read our two writer announcements: Announcement #1 | Announcement #2

Haven’t booked your tickets yet? Click here to secure your seat. Don’t delay as tickets are selling fast!


7:30pm Saturday 11th May
at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston

Tickets $22 Adult | $17 Student/Concession
$12 Pensioners & Carers

24 Hour Theatre is the ultimate theatre challenge for writers and actors. Writers are faced with the harshest of deadlines, a completed and completely original short play is written in the middle of the night which MUST be completed by the morning.

Our teams of actors will start rehearsals in the morning and will have only that day to learn their lines, interpret the vision of the writer, block their play and perform that same evening in front of a live audience.

This is short-form theatre at its frantic best.


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After announcing our first seventeen actors taking part in Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2019 – we are proud to announce the rest of our cast! Scroll down to meet the remaining twenty brave thespians who will be learning their plays in one day!

Need a refresher of our first round of announced actors? Click here
Want to know who is writing for 24 Hour Theatre? We announced our writers in two rounds: Round 1 Writers and Round 2 Writers.

Tickets are selling quickly so avoid disappointment and book your tickets now! This show only comes around one night a year and is one of the most exhilarating theatrical challenges in the Illawarra.

7:30pm Saturday 11th May (One Night Only)
at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Tickets: $22 Adult | $17 Concession | $12 Pension / Carer

Secure your seat securely via
24 Hour Theatre is a Black Box Theatre Production
Produced by Luke Berman |
Plays may contain coarse language and adult themes
and may not be suitable for children under the age of 14.


CAST: (Wave 2)


Bradley Ward CRBradley Ward graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2013 with a Bachelor of Performance (Acting). Since then he has travelled across the Illawarra and Greater Sydney areas, performing in whatever plays and musicals he can get his hands on. With a strong background in improvisational comedy and a passion for writing and directing, Bradley has taken to the stage in almost 40 productions ranging from Elizabethan Comedy to New Wave Australian, from Naturalism to Absurdism. He is currently one of the Artistic Directors of Rising Arts Productions, and their improv troupe Room for Improvment.


Lisa OmodeiLisa Omodei has been a part of Illawarra’s amateur theatre scene for a few years, mostly appearing in improvisational comedy theatre with The Improverts and Room For Improvment. Earlier this year Lisa played Romeo in an all-female production of Romeo & Juliet. She is also a regular performer in Black Box Theatre’s Playmates Illawarra, and this year marks her 4th consecutive year performing in 24 Hour Theatre.


Anna MurphyAndy has been acting since high school, participating in school plays and after-school classes. Since leaving secondary education, Andy has been involved in a handful of productions around the region including Verdict, The Death of Nightstick, Bonnie and Clyde and Finn McCool.  Andy is a new-comer to 24 Hour Theatre and eager to try a new style of theatre.


Julian LevanicJulian’s creative background has reached as far back as primary school with his pursuit of music. Since his departure from High School, he had sought to keep finding sources to continue practicing his musical based interests. In his pursuit, Julian was led to contacting the Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble where he then performed in the Australian Romantic-Comedy Daylight Savings as Jason Strutt: the ill-tempered, homeopathic, young and famous tennis star from Wollongong. Since then Julian has performed in both Illawarra and Sydney’s Short and Sweet festivals in the short comedic dualogue For Hire written by 24 Hour Theatre writer Alexander Cuff.
Though young in acting experience, Julian continues to develop his craft and passion for drama by working with Black box productions and Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble by aiming to play more diverse and challenging roles.


Freya JarrettFreya’s been into acting from a very young age, being a part of various drama groups through her life and finally getting onto the community theatre stage with the Roo Theatre’s production of 1984. Since then she’s stuck around, performing in the Roo’s production of original works, Short and Sweet Illawarra and most recently; in the Phoenix Theatre’s production of Finn McCool.


Gabriela GonzalezGabriela Gonzalez is currently in her second year of university at the University of Wollongong, studying Creative Arts (theatre) as well as Communication and Media. She has worked on projects through the university in a variety of theatrical roles such as acting, lighting, singing, directing and stage management. She is experienced with working on musical variety shows, and has been a part of the Cumberland Gang Show for seven years, from 2011 till 2018. She has also been an Ensemble cast member for Woods-Ray Theatricals’ musical production of Be More Chill, and is currently in the same company’s musical production of Anything Goes, where she plays Evangeline Harcourt.


Andrew GobranAndrew completed his acting study at Actors Center Australia and instantly grew his passion with Theatre. Performing in musicals such as Adams Family, Hair the Musical and Jekyll and Hyde with Arcadians Theatre Group he also has worked with Wollongong Workshop Theatre including playing the role of Musa in the acclaimed Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo, The Chief in Get Smart, and a minor role in Sweeney Todd. Recently Andrew performed in Short + Sweet Illawarra and Short + Sweet Sydney and is excited to be doing Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre for the first time. When not on stage you may see Andrew on the small screen advertising Cadbury Favourites as The Shaker or pushing people around as an orderly at Summer Bay Hospital in Home and Away.


Michelle Danic (1)Michelle Danic loves the art of embodying different characters and integrating them with her own personality. She has performed at the Point Artist run community theatre in Canada as a solo actress, studied at the Screenwise School of TV and film as well as several NIDA short courses. She has been an extra for short films, commercials and TV shows and her next upcoming theatre performance is Anvil, at Wollongong Workshop Theatre. She can dance, perform aerial silks and has a love of photography.

“I love spontaneous activity and an exciting atmosphere, that enhances the character within and brings out something fantastic to show and create new emotions with each character and audience.”


RorySince hitting the Wollongong scene, Rory has been a part of many works, ranging from student produced, up and coming works to fully fledged musical productions. He was a part of the Arcadians Theatre Group 2017 production of Wicked, as well as taking part for multiple years of the annual show Bridgeworks at Phoenix Theatre. More recently Rory played the role of Cobra in Magnum Opus in 2018 in between taking on the role of technical operator for more Phoenix shows such as Mac the Knife and Lysistrata. Rory has been involved in many aspects of theatre in the last year, however has recently taken a break from acting to focus on the technical side of productions. In this performance, Rory will be returning to the stage and go back to his roots.


Jarrod SleimanJarrod Sleiman is an actor/writer/director. His first production was Peter Pan at the Roo Theatre in 2015 and since then he has been in shows with just about every theatre company in the area. His first time directing was Tales from the Wasteland at the Phoenix Theatre in 2017. His next big production is Tales from the Metropolis, a “sort-of sequel” to Wasteland. On top of theatre you can also find Jarrod contributing the world of film with Ghost Hunters – a web series that he is an actor/writer for. Jarrod is  currently preparing to direct his first feature film, Classified, written by Alexander Cuff. This is Jarrod’s 4th time acting in 24 Hour Theatre and hopes that you enjoy it, and that he remembers his lines.


Andy EastAndy East is a film maker and screen and stage actor local to the Jervis Bay Area. Beginning his acting journey in 2015, Andy worked with several media productions groups in the Shoalhaven area working on several short film projects. In 2018 Andy had his first taste of the stage, performing in the 2018 Bridgeworks show. Since then Andy has continued acting and film production in and around the local Shoalhaven area.


Bryson Grenfell FBOn the 16th of December 1996: a strange event occurred. A large foreboding rainbow appeared on the horizon, which was then split asunder by a lightning bolt. That lightning bolt struck gold and gave birth to Bryson. The Blunderific Bryson-Man.



Andrew CourtneyAndrew is a highly eager and enthusiastic emerging actor residing from Campbelltown. He has appeared in local theatre in the past, his roles including ensemble for Jesus Christ Superstar, and a marine in Godzilla: The Musical, both in the WOFTAM theatre company. In addition, he appeared in 24 Hour Theatre in 2018 in The Rhythm of the Night.


Stephanie McAulayStephanie McAulay is a third-year Creative Arts student (Music Major, Theatre minor) at University of Wollongong. After participating in many musicals in high school, Steph began to broaden her horizons in the community theatre scene. In 2018, she acted in Bridgeworks 2018 (Date with a Doctor) and 24 Hour Theatre 2018 (Paper Dolls).



Rob Bruce FBRobert has been in theatre for over 20 years and has enjoyed numerous experiences in his time shared. He has been involved with community theatre through Roo Theatre Company, Black Box Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre Co. He has had formal singing training in opera and musical theatre. Performances he is most proud of are Godspell, Snow white and The Seven Dwarves and Cinderella where he got to be the most beautiful ugly stepsister ever.



Shayan MurrayShayan has been performing with Stanwell Park Arts Theatre (SPAT) group for 11 years where he has undertaken a variety of roles ranging from lead roles to chorus work. Some of Shayan’s notable roles were as Hugh ‘Bullshot’ Crummond in the spy comedy Bullshot Crummond in 2016; playboy Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest in 2017; and Demetrius in Midsummer Nights Dream in 2018. Performing every year in SPAT’s Christmas pantomime, Shayan has experienced a wide variety of roles including lead boy, a henchman, an anti-hero and chorus work. Shayan has recently become a member of the SPAT Singers making his debut performance at their 2018 Love and Other Frustrations Dinner Show. Shayan participated in Black Box’s improvisation event Playmates in 2018 and this is his first experience at their 24 Hour Theatre.


Byron FaulknerByron was a part of 24 Hour Theatre last year in the play All Locked Up, the rest of his experience has been with school drama classes, Black Box’s Playmates (2018) and he made his directorial debut in Timesavers for Short+Sweet Illawarra 2018.

“24 Hour Theatre is a nice mixture of fun and stress which is what I enjoy in Life, the balance of it all is just a rush.”



Joshua ChicharoJoshua has studied Theatre & Music at university of Wollongong and has since performed in a variety of theatrical shows within the Illawarra. Some of these performances include; The Tempest (Phoenix Theatre), Jekyll and Hyde – The Musical (Arcadians Theatre Company) & Miss Saigon (Roo Theatre company). Joshua has participated in 24 Hour Theatre in the past and enjoyed the challenge of learning and performing a play in only a day.

“24 Hour Theatre really pushes you as an actor to pull out every trick up your sleeve to not just help learn your lines and give a great performance but to also help your team to succeed.”


Taylor CobbTaylor made his acting debut with Miranda Musical Society’s The King and I in 2004 at the age of 12. Since then, Taylor performed in several more musicals with Miranda, and then Engadine Musical Society, with highlights including High School Musical and Beauty and the Beast. In 2013, Taylor started performing with Stanwell Park Arts Theatre, and has been dancing, singing and acting his way through various pantomimes, plays and musicals each year. His most recent and probably proudest performance with SPAT was Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Having moved to Sydney, it makes it hard to be involved in the Illawarra theatre scene but I love the acting vibe in the area. 24 Hour Theatre is the perfect way for me to stay connected with the region, and having seen several productions of it, I thought it looks too fun to resist!”


Sam BruceSam has been involved in theatre for five years. She has performed in eleven productions with The Gullibles drama group through Shellharbour Youth Services including Alice in Wonderland, Stories in the Dark, and The Twits. Sam also performed in Grimm Tales and Lysistrata with the Phoenix Theatre. She also participated in 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra last year and is looking forward to another epic challenge.


24 HOUR THEATRE ILLAWARRA | Black Box Productions
7:30pm Saturday 11th May | One Night Only
at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston | Home of the Phoenix Theatre Company
Produced by Luke Berman, Black Box Productions |

Tickets: Adult $22 | Concession $17 | Pensioners / Carers $12
Book Tickets Here

Plays in 24 Hour Theatre may contain strong adult content.

24 Hour Theatre: Full Cast List (Alphabetical Order)

Kaylee Ashton
Michaela Barnett
Sophie Bentley
Sam Bruce
Robert Bruce
Grace Callaghan
Joshua Chicharo
Taylor Cobb
Andrew Courtney
Tyler Cox
Jordan Cunningham
Michelle Danic
Andy East
Brandon Fairley
Byron Faulkner
Arthur Gallagher
Molly Garry
Teihana Gardener-Greentree
Andrew Gobran
Gabriela Gonzalez
Bryson K. Grenfell
Rory Holloway
Maddison Huisman
Freya Jarrett
Ihaka Jones
Julian Levanic
Nick Lewis
Stephanie McAulay
Florence Moss
Andy Murphy
Shayan Murra
Lisa Omodei
Georgina Rose Reed
Kiah Sassall
Jarrod Sleiman
Bradley Ward
Amy Wearing


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Black Box Theatre is proud to announce the first wave of actors that will be taking part in this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. These brave thespians will be truly sailing into the unknown – they have put their hands up to perform in plays that will not be written until 24 Hours prior to when they are to be performed. They will not know who they will be performing with, or which of our ten writers will be writing their script!

We have 37 actors locked in, we will be announcing the second wave of performers in the next week.

Missed our writers announcements? Read all about them here:
Writers Announcements: Round 1 | Round 2

But here are the first 17 actors that you will see perform original plays – scripts down – on Saturday 11th May 2019 at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston.

7:30pm Saturday 11th May (One Night Only)
at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Tickets: $22 Adult | $17 Concession | $12 Pension / Carer
Secure your seat securely via
24 Hour Theatre is a Black Box Theatre Production
Produced by Luke Berman |
Plays may contain coarse language and adult themes
and may not be suitable for children under the age of 14.


CAST (Wave 1):


Kaylee AshtonKaylee has been onstage dancing and acting for more than 15 years. Her acting studies include musical theatre at McDonald College of Performing Arts and a three-year intensive acting course at Ann Peters in South Australia. She has trained and competed in multiple dance styles and in Theatre Sports/Improv Teams. She moved to Wollongong this year to undertake a Creative Arts (Theatre) Degree at UOW.

Kaylee has performed in the Short+Sweet Festival of Illawarra (2018) and Sydney (2019). Whilst also being involved in productions of the Phoenix Theatre and Rising Arts Productions.


Arthur GallagherAfter falling into theatre during high school where Arthur played iconic roles such as Frankenstein and Richard iii, he set his sights on studying to be an Actor at the University Of Wollongong. Since moving to Wollongong in 2018 Arthur has been involved in over ten productions and projects, including Boris in Magnum Opus, Lane in the Importance of Being Ernest, Simonides in Lystestra, and directed and acted to two award winning short and sweet Illawarra Plays (2018), as well as countless improvisational performances with Rising Arts Productions.



Sophie BentleySophie Bentley is a young actress who is very excited to be participating in 24 Hour Theatre for the third year in a row. She completed her Diploma in Acting at AFTT last year, and learnt a lot from amazing tutors and wonderful actors. She has been in a few shows over the couple of years she has been involved in local theatre, including Sleighed to Death and The Laramie Project at Wollongong Workshop Theatre, 1984 and Our Country’s Good at The Roo Theatre, and Magnum Opus at the Phoenix Theatre. Last year she has the honour of performing Quality of Life, a 24 Hour Theatre piece written by Sevgi Murphy at Short and Sweet Sydney – which ended up winning Judges Vote and People’s vote in its week, and making it to the high profile gala finals. Sophie loves performing in 24 Hour Theatre each year, and is excited to see what everyone can create in this experience.


Tyler CoxTyler has been in love with the theatre for many years and has acted in multiple performances including the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee playing Olive Ostrovsky, one of the witches in Macbeth at the IPAC and various characters in a stage adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems. Tyler is currently studying acting at The Academy of Film Theatre and Television where she has had the opportunity to act in plays such as Sam Shepard’s Savage Love, and was recently involved in Sydney’s 2019 Short and Sweet Festival, where her play made it to the Wildcard finals. She has also trained under Fiona Findley at The Drama Studio at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. During her spare time she also loves to be involved in the odd short film and various student projects. Tyler is very excited to be a part of this year’s 24 Hour Theatre.


Kiah Sassall CRKiah is back for a second go at 24 Hour Theatre after successfully surviving the challenge last year. She has been involved in the Illawarra theatre scene since 2016, appearing in shows such as Travelling North with Roo Theatre Company in 2016, Carrie the Musical with IYAP in 2017 and most recently in 2018 in Bridgeworks at the Phoenix Theatre. She also starred in the very first Short and Sweet Illawarra last year. She can also be found behind the scenes working as both a Stage Manager and Stage Hand for IYAP in their productions of Rock of Ages and Aladdin Jnr respectively as well as Stage Managing Woods-Ray Theatricals debut musical The Wizard of Oz. She is beyond ready to take on whatever the writers can throw at her this year and blow last year’s challenge out of the water.


Jordan CunninghamJordan has played many roles on and off stage over a number of years now. Playing the role of Dracula has always been his favourite role. As well as Brad in Hairspray and being a lead dancer in multiple productions including Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Boy from Oz. He has also choreographed multiple shows including Peter Pan, Pirates of Penzance and currently choreographing Charlotte’s Web at Roo Theatre. He helps with drama classes at Roo under the guidance of Josif Jovanoski and loves the opportunities he has been given at Roo.



Michaela BarnettMichaela performed with Arcadians as a child/ young teen and was always given the goofy parts, which Michaela feels suits her personality. She also performed for 2 years with the South Coast and Tablelands Scouts which she describes as “raw and very entertaining for the scout mob”.

During high school, she did drama as an elective and was very proud of achieving a band 5 for her individual performance.

Michaela has been limited in her ability to act as she has been working in the Terri in Arnhem Land teaching at a preschool but has recently moved back to the Illawarra.


Ihaka JonesIhaka Jones is a Bachelor of Creative Arts student majoring in Theatre at the University of Wollongong, with experience writing, acting, devising and directing for the stage. Over the past 12 months, Ihaka has been involved in seven productions in the Illawarra, beginning with his first ever show, Bridgeworks 2018 followed by his first musical Mack the Knife, both at the Phoenix. He performed in both shows of the short season of original works at the Roo Theatre – Verdict and Wild. Ihaka performed a sold-out season of an ensemble-devised graduate show with the University called One Hit Wonders. He then made his directorial debut with Bonnie & Clyde the Musical with the Arcadian’s Theatre in early 2019. His latest show was the Irish tale of Finn McCool at the Phoenix, and he is currently readying himself for his second musical with the Phoenix – Man of La Mancha.


Brandon Fairley FBBrandon is 22 years old and thoroughly enjoys singing and acting. In the past 3 years, he’s performed at Roo Theatre, Workshop Theatre, Phoenix Theatre as well as the Illawarra Youth Arts Theatre Project. Some shows you may have seen him in include The Buddy Holly Story as Murray Deutch, The Wedding Singer as a Mr T impersonator, Miss Saigon, Cannibal The Musical as James Humphrey, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest as Aide Warren, The Witches Of Eastwick as Joe Marino, 1984 as Noori, Magnum Opus as Knight of Templar, Verdict as Ryan Turner, various roles in Angels in America, People Die as Kyle Drakon and Bonnie & Clyde the Musical as Buck Barrow.


Molly GarryMolly Garry trained in Wagga Wagga under Jill Tucker at ‘Speaking Out Speech and Drama’, fostering her skills as a performer by competing in regional drama eisteddfods since the age of seven. This experience eventually earning her Certificate of Communications through the Australian Speech Communication Association in 2017.

Molly was also been heavily involved in school productions, such as musicals Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2013, High School Musical in 2015, and All Shook Up in 2017. Molly also hosted variety shows ‘Shine!’ (2016), Share the Love (2018) and starred in student-run Shakespeare performances. She debuted as Maria in Twelfth Night (2016) and Beatrice in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (2017). She is currently completing a Bachelor of Performance at the University of Wollongong.


teihana graceTeihana has previously been in musicals ever since year 6 and she has recently left year 12 to partake in a cert IV in community services at TAFE. Teihana has been a major part of many musicals, including taking on the lead role in the original musical Out Of The Darkness. The most recent musical she has been involved in was Beauty and the Beast at Shellharbour Anglican College where she was the understudy to the lead character ‘Belle’. Teihana has previously sung in the Kiama carols 2 years in a row with a solo as well as a group performance. She is looking forward to what opportunities the future can bring in theatre.


Georgina ReedGeorgina hasn’t always been involved in the theatre, but drama has always seemed to find her. Performing and acting was always an interest, whether it was short plays at school, adding character into her dancing eisteddfods and performances, or trying to avoid getting in trouble. Her first formal role was as a singer/dancer/extra in a high school performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at age 12. It wasn’t until year 11 and 12 that she started studying drama at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, through which she received grade A results and opportunities to perform her group devised piece in numerous competitions. Since school, Georgina has done some small performances under the stage name “Tommy Stardust” and recently has been part of an all-female performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, playing the roles of Balthasar, lady Montague and Paris.


Nick LewisNick has been involved in over 26 productions which include acting in six musicals, a play and providing technical and backstage support such as Stage Management, Producing, Technical Direction/Operation, Photography and as a director. In 2016 he played Nikos/Prof. Lowell/Ens. in AMTC’s Legally Blonde & in 2017 he was an ensemble member for The Little Mermaid. Nick performed with the Illawarra Youth Arts Project as Ja’Keith/Ensemble in Rock of Ages. Nick is a regular face around Shellharbour’s Roo Theatre Company, taking on the roles such as Mr Teavee in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Baracuda/Dance Ensemble in Saturday Night Fever, Brian Henderson/Dance Ensemble in Boy From Oz and most recently as The Duchess in Alice.


Amy WEARINGAmy is a young actress ready to take on new experiences in the acting industry. She has been a student of The Drama Studio at IPAC since age 8, is an active member of the Southern Stars Performing Company, and is heavily involved in Drama at school. She is in an experienced improviser with a passion for Theatre Sports and takes part in the Tournament of Minds. She has performed in several musicals, most notably Legally Blonde as well as other school plays. She recently appeared in the Mark Drama in Wollongong and is excited to take on the challenge of Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre.



Florence MossFlorence has been performing since 2016, where she performed in with Hair with the Arcadians. Since then, she has enjoyed working with more Arcadians’ shows, such as Seussical, Jekyll and Hyde most recently Bonnie and Clyde.  Florence has also performed with as well as with the IYAP in Taming of the Shrew and with the Phoenix Theatre Company in Mack the Knife, Lysistrata as well as a monologue in Phoenix’s inaugural monologue variety showcase, One. Florence is currently training at the University of Wollongong, currently completing her second year in the performance course.


Grace CallaghanGrace has always loved theatre. Her mum would put on The Sound of Music or Phantom of the Opera and she would put on her best acting voice to play along. So she decided to take up drama and music in high school and she has been involved with theatre both inside and outside of university since. She has worked with The Phoenix Theatre and has enjoyed devising theatre pieces at uni. Last year, Grace got the opportunity to study drama at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (USA) where she was able to perform in a production of Bonnie and Clyde as well as in a performance troupe. She still loves to sing and act, and even Dance. Theatre never fails to put or smile on her face and loves the feelings and emotions that it inspires in her.


Maddison HuismanMaddison has just started acting hobby, making her one of the bravest members of this year’s 24 Hour Theatre. Her first show was in 2018 when she performed in the ensemble for Be More Chill with independent theatre company Wood-Ray Theatricals. Maddison recently performed in Nelumbonecea written and directed by Inga Silfr Jon with the Phoenix Theatre Company. Maddison has now returned to Wood-Ray Theatricals to take part in the ensemble for Anything Goes. Maddison loved acting and hopes to be in more shows in the future, she would like to learn more and mature as an actor and is sure to impress in this year’s 24 Hour Theatre.


24 HOUR THEATRE ILLAWARRA | Black Box Productions
7:30pm Saturday 11th May | One Night Only
at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston | Home of the Phoenix Theatre Company
Produced by Luke Berman, Black Box Productions |

Tickets: Adult $22 | Concession $17 | Pensioners / Carers $12
Book Tickets Here

Plays in 24 Hour Theatre may contain strong adult content.

WRITERS ANNOUNCEMENT: Our Final Four | 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2019

24 Hr Theatre Banner_nodate

7:30pm Saturday 11th May (One Night Only)
at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston

Tickets: $22 Adult | $17 Concession | $12 Pension / Carer
Secure your seat securely via
24 Hour Theatre is a Black Box Theatre Production
Produced by Luke Berman |

Plays may contain coarse language and adult themes
and may not be suitable for children under the age of 14.


After a record number of writer submissions, and over thirty actors registered to take part in this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra, we are pleased to announce our final four successful writers who will be deprived of their sleep on Friday 10th May to write an original short play which will be performed from 7:30pm Saturday 11th May.

Joining round one writers Diana McLaren, Tom Peach, David Rienits, Dylan Gee and brother-and-sister writing duo Alexander and Charlotte Cuff – are Malika Elizabeth, James Turnbull, Brendan Bate and Inga Silfr Jon.

Read about our round 1 writers here

Register as an actor here (positions almost full)



Malika HSMalika Reese was born in California in the ’70s, to White and Black writers. Words, and a love for them, helped shape her. Moving to Australia at a young age Malika travelled between the two countries, also spending time living in Europe and Asia. Wollongong has been home for the longest and best parts. With a creative flair for telling tales, Malika has been writing stories and scripts from a young age. She graduated from the University of Wollongong, with a BCA in Writing and a BA in English. This is where she first starting writing and directing short films and theatre pieces. Malika worked at Foxtel for nearly a decade in a variety of production roles. She has written short film and feature film scripts, and a biographical novel. Moving into performance, Malika has made music video clips; and is co-directing a documentary about her great aunt, a 1950’s songwriter. Malika has also co-written and directed dozens of shows for her local community. She currently co-runs and organises the monthly show, She’ll Be Right at the Servo Food Truck Bar and is also taking part in Merrigong Playwrights 2019.


James Turnbull

James Turnbull is a film school graduate whose love for community theatre always keeps bringing him back for one last job. His first 24 Hour Theatre piece, All Locked Up, was performed last year, and although its illustrious career ended the night it began, it was generally considered “a good time” by everyone. Despite his writing career not being quite as seasoned and illustrious as some of his 24-hour alumni, this will no longer be his first rodeo, and writing alongside such greats is truly an honour. Eager to get back on the proverbial horse this year, James hopes to create a piece that the cast has fun performing and the audience has fun watching because at his heart he believes that having fun is at the heart of community theatre.


Inga Silfr HSInga Silfr Jon has been involved in the performing arts since she was young onstage and behind the scenes. Inga started off with dance training and now holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and a Master’s of Education degree. Inga has been focusing on contemporary literacies and has been channelling these into creating new works that challenge the audience to think, with two plays staged since 2016 in Wollongong. Having worked on 24 Hour Theatre as a performer already, this will be her first foray into writing short scripts. Her latest work, ‘Nelumbonecea’ finished last night at the Phoenix Theatre after a successful season.


Brendan Bate HSLike a typical Gemini, there are too many ideas floating around in Brendan’s brain; so much so that he has to write them down. And the idea of expanding on them came to him one day and voila, he was a writer. His debut theatrical work, a dark police thriller called ”Broken Lane”, was greeted with strong applause for its gritty, real life content. Showing versatility in his writing, his next submission was a clever, mindless comedy for the 2018 Short & Sweet festival. Since then, Brendan has numerous works in his back pocket waiting for the right avenue to drive them onto.


24 HOUR THEATRE ILLAWARRA | Black Box Productions
7:30pm Saturday 11th May | One Night Only
at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston | Home of the Phoenix Theatre Company
Produced by Luke Berman, Black Box Productions |

Tickets: Adult $22 | Concession $17 | Pensioners / Carers $12
Book Tickets Here

Plays in 24 Hour Theatre may contain strong adult content.


24 Hr Theatre Banner_nodate

7:30pm Saturday 11th May (One Night Only)
at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
(home of the Phoenix Theatre Company)

24 Hour Theatre is a Black Box Theatre Production
Executive Producer | Luke Berman

Tickets are now available
$22 Adult, $17 Concession/Student, $12 Pensioner/Carers
Plays may contain coarse language and adult themes
and may not be suitable for children under the age of 14.
Click Here to book tickets

Black Box Theatre is proud to announce its first batch of writers for this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra.

We will be adding at least another two writers into the mix over the next week or two as more actor registrations come through in the lead-up to the show.

If you are an actor, and you’d like to take part in the production, click here for more information and to register your interest.

Our 24 Hour Theatre writers will be taking on the challenge of writing an original short play (8-15 minutes) over the course of one night (7 hours) and will watch as their play is rehearsed and performed all within 24 hours. This year we had a record number of writer submissions, with eighteen Illawarra playwrights applying. This is a strong testimony to the depth of our region’s creative writing pool, and the appeal of writing to the strictest of deadlines.

So here are our first six writers for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2019. Four writers are returning to take on the challenge again, while Charlotte Cuff and Dylan Gee are taking on their first rapid-fire writing experience with Black Box Theatre.


Diana McLaren WR 24HR19Diana McLaren is an Australian with an American accent. She studied Acting and Television at Charles Sturt University which is when she first began writing scripts. She has been a part of the theatre for most of her life and has been writing and performing since she was 8 years old. She took a break from the world of theatre briefly after university to work in the corporate world but quickly learned you can take the girl out of the theatre but you can’t take the theatre out of the girl. Now at the age of 27, she mainly works as a stand-up comedian but still loves to stretch her writing fingers and applying them to the theatre.


Tom PeachTom first became involved with the theatre at SPAT (Stanwell Park Arts Theatre) in 2012.  He had never done anything artistic before but was dragged along by his daughter to audition for the role of “British villain”.  Since then Tom has been heavily involved with both writing, directing and acting in various productions in Stanwell Park, Wollongong, and Sydney.  He has also trained in Writing for Performance at the Open Studio course at NIDA and has founded his own theatre company, DuGarde, to showcase new writing.

His writing and directing experience includes:

·       Shakespeare’s Playlist, Actor and Director
·       NIDA, Open Studio, Writing for Performance
·       Robespierre’s Shoes, Writer and Director
·       Doctors’ Orders, Writer
·       Desire of the Soul, Writer
·       Old Viaduct Hotel, Writer and Director
·       Badda Bing Badda Bang, Writer and Director
·       The Goddess, Writer and Director

david rienits WR 24HR19DAVID RIENITS

David is an English/Geography/History/Drama Highschool Teacher who holds degrees in English Literature, Creative Writing and Teaching. He has taught writing for the stage at both the IPAC and Roo Theatre and has had plays he has written performed at both. He has performed in productions for most community theatre companies in the Illawarra and has represented them all like a strange mercenary in the Playmates Improvisation Competition. Known as a beardy, tall glass of water who wears tweed occasionally, he has participated in three previous 24hr Theatre productions and is keen to return for a fourth.



Alexander Cuff WR 24HR19Since 2015, Alexander has written over 10 short plays for various productions and companies across the Illawarra and Sydney. His first 24-Hour Theatre piece, Time Squad, advances to the Gala Finals of Short+Sweet Sydney 2017. Two of his other short plays, The Human Trap and For Hire, were performed in Short+Sweet Sydney 2018 and 2019 respectively, with For Hire also being staged at the inaugural Short+Sweet Illawarra festival last year. Alexander’s first full-length play, Verdict, was performed at the Roo Theatre Company and was well received by audiences.




Charlotte CuffCharlotte has written in various creative writing competitions including earning a high distinction for a NAPLAN examination and getting shortlisted for the WhatMatters NSW competition in 2018. She has written short plays that have been put on for public viewing such as ‘My Faults Are Yours’ in Bridgeworks 2018 and ‘Piece of Cake’ for Ipac’s Young Playwrights Project. Charlotte also has an upcoming project for Phoenix Theatre’s ‘Tale From the Metropolis’ and has been touted by 24 Hour Theatre producer Luke Berman as one of the most promising emerging performance artists in the Illawarra both as an actor and as a writer.



Dylan Gee WR 24HR19 croppedDylan has loved writing since he was a ‘wee lad of six’, who loved the narrative section of kindergarten When he was ten years old he asserted to his family that he would be a famous author. Since then he has finished a Creative Writing degree at UOW and has had a go at many prose competitions, decided aggressively against poetry and put on his first short play two years ago, called Locust, in Bridge Works 2017. Dylan’s first full length play Finn McCool was performed at the Phoenix Theatre. Much to the dismay of many of Dylan’s writing friends, his novel sits at a solid 5000 words whilst his word building notes have reach over three hundred pages.

Stay Tuned for our Round 2 writer offers and Cast Announcements

Playmates 2018 Judges Announcement & Interviews (part 2)

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7:30PM Friday 9th November 2018
Tickets $22 Adult, $17 Concession and $10 Children under 14
Tickets available at the door (cash only) or prepurchase your tickets here.

We are please to announce our judges for Playmates Illawarra XIII! We will be welcoming back Michelle Rakos from The Improverts, Tom Peach from duGarde, Nick Bolton from Ten Alphas and Black Box Theatre Life-Member Grahame Best.

We interviewed three of our judges, as well as cast members, as well as Playmates founder and Executive Producer Luke Berman (Black Box Theatre).


NICK BOLTON | Managing Director, Ten Alphas

Nick is Managing Director of content creation agency TEN ALPHAS making content for Australia’s top corporate companies, including the social content for Disney’s Back of the Net feature film produced in Wollongong earlier this year. He also acted in that film, and you may have seen him as Winston in 1984 at the Roo earlier this year.

Nick obtained his Masters in Screen Arts and Business from AFTRS in 2015 and now teaches at the school.

His latest short film The Road to Vagator, made with his wife Jess Milne, on their honeymoon, in 5 countries, is tearing up the festival circuit globally, and can be seen at Viva La Gong this Saturday and Wollongong Film Festival on Friday 16th November.

Nick would like to publicly state that Roo Theatre captain Dylan Horvat has already tried to bribe him, by promising to attend the Viva la Gong festival and support Nick, in return for high scores.

TOM PEACH | Director, duGarde

Tom Peach is one of the area’s leading playwrights, and an experienced director and actor.  His plays have been performed in Australia and the UK.  His most recent work was directing a run of a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, during which the Northern Illawarra also got to see his Bottom. Tom has his own theatre company, duGarde, named for his ancestor Lawrence duGarde Peach, a war hero, playwright, actor, and founder of one of England’s leading independent theatres. duGarde is presenting two plays at S&S Sydney, and is also producing its first full length play in May next year in Sydney.

What do you find funny:

My favourite comedians are Stu Goldsmith (check out the Comedians Comedian Podcast – best podcast about comedy ever), Hannah Gadsby, from an earlier era John Belushi, and of course the classics like Monty Python / Blackadder.  I like slapstick, I love puns and wordplay, and I think improv is amazing as the jokes can just keep topping each other until you end up somewhere you never expected.

What do the actors need to do to impress you?

Not over-rehearse bits.  Sometimes in improv you can see the performers thinking – ‘now we can shoe-horn our piece on car parks / Trump / tinder into this sketch on cheese.’ Don’t do it, keep it improv. Oh and no Trump jokes, I’m over it, Trump jokes will score zero, you have been warned.

Are you open to bribes?

That depends on the size of the bribe.  Everyone has a price…. I like port.  I’m English, I’m a stereotype, I really, really, like port.  Tell you what, the team that gets me the finest port will get a head start. As Homer said.  Hmmmmmm, Port.

MICHELLE RAKOS | Founder, The Improverts

Michelle has been involved in theatre since she was a zygote, which is long time. She comes from Canada, where the term ‘improv’ can mean anything from ‘improvised theatre’ to ‘wolf pelt.’ She has been involved in many improv theatre productions and has also earned a fair few wolf pelts of her own. She is known best for inventing the 12-step program and for walking only 12 steps at a time.

What do the actors need to do to impress you?

To impress me, I would like to see actors use the term ‘Schrodinger’s cat’ used correctly in a contextually relevant setting.

Are you open to bribes?

Yes, bribes are acceptable and I will only take Bitcoin.


Which team poses the biggest threat to your group?

In improv, University. In a bar fight, Roo. In pure sex appeal no one can touch us.
– Adam Armitt, Wollongong Comedy

No team, UNIVERSITY for the WIN again!!
– Charmaine Sharp, University.

Well. The team of judges, let’s be honest. I’m recently married so with my new Italian surname, perhaps I’ll add some diversity to our crew and the judges will value this. Uni aren’t a threat, but based on their back to back wins, it’s clear they’re very good at bribes.
– Jen Guerrieri-Cortesi, Wollongong Comedy

Describe your life using film titles.

Sleeping beauty, hot fuzz, die hard.
– Charmaine Sharp, University.

Hot Fuzz
– Jen Guerrieri-Cortesi, Wollongong Comedy

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Honey I blew up the baby.
– Adam Armitt, Wollongong Comedy

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I shall never grow up, I am doomed to remain a half adult forever.
– Charmaine Sharp, University.

I wish I was going to grow any taller than I am now. But a short improv comedian is all I’ll ever be.
– Dylan Horvat, Roo Theatre

A playmates winner. Also rich. And thin.
– Jen Guerrieri-Cortesi, Wollongong Comedy

Geddy Lee; lead singer/bass player of the popular Canadian prog-rock band, Rush
– Alex Groombridge, Roo Theatre

A real boy.
– Charlotte Cuff, University

A more attractive version of Berman.
– Byron Faulkner, SPAT

Luke Berman | Executive Producer, Playmates

Luke Berman is Artistic Director of Black Box Theatre, and is one of the Illawarra’s leading live theatre producers, particularly in the short-form style. Luke is the founder of Playmates Illawarra and is currently the Executive Producer of Short+Sweet Illawarra which launched October this year.

What was the inspiration in creating Playmates?

Not long after coming out of Uni, I got involved in local theatre through Wollongong Workshop Theatre. Something I picked up almost immediately was the amount of talent we had in this region and was amazed by how many theatre companies were operating out of the Illawarra.

There seemed to be a fair amount of competitiveness between the groups, though most actors roamed around the different companies so there was already a lot of cooperation. I realised that we needed a way of encouraging cooperation and mutual support, there was no reason I could see that everyone couldn’t get along. Especially since most groups had very different niches when it comes to their styles of theatre.

I was watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? and I thought ‘eureka’ – improvisation is the perfect way for the groups to have fun together without a long drawn-out rehearsal schedule. It needed to be simple, it needed to be fun.

How many companies has Playmates represented?

I think about a dozen. It’s a busy theatre calendar and sometimes it’s hard for companies to return year-after-year and that’s perfectly fine. Other than the five groups we’re seeing this year, we’ve also had teams from The Drama Studio, Arcadians, Altogether Drama, Moonburn Productions, Eton Gorge Theatre Company and we’ve had close partnerships behind the scenes with Phoenix Theatre, Rising Arts Productions and many many more.

What do you love seeing the most.

Everything about Playmates I love, most of which isn’t what happens on the stage. I love the loving atmosphere in the room, and looking at the faces of all the actors who are watching whatever scene is being played. Look at any of our photos from past shows and you can see how happy everyone is to be a part of the show.

But mostly, I LOVE it when actors from other teams jump into the scene to help out their fellow team members get through their scene. This personifies what Playmates represents.

Which team should we be looking out for this year?

It’s impossible to know, improv is impossible to predict. You can never rule out University lately and Wollongong Comedy are a real chance – they were Grand Finalists last year and there is a Playmates trend of Grand Finalists taking it out the following year. They’re also hungry for their first trophy!

All the teams are strong but I love how balanced the team from Workshop Theatre looks to me. While they don’t have a lot of improv experience, I’d say they’re the dark horse for 2019.

It seems however that some teams have worked out who a couple of our judges are and are already busy offering bribes, and as our past audience know, bribes are perfectly legal in Playmates.

Why should people come to watch Playmates?

Because you’ll walk out the door from the show happy.


Playmates Cast Announcement & Interview with the Players

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Playmates 2018 Team Announcement
&  Interview with the players

Performance – One Night Only
at the City Diggers Club | Burelli St Wollongong
Tickets $22 Adult, $17 Concession/Student, $10 Children under 14
To Purchase your ticket now, click here.

Illawarra’s annual improvisation ‘battle-of-the-companies’ returns for its 13th year bringing five theatre and comedy groups together to celebrate yet another wonderful year of home-grown live entertainment in our region.

Each of our groups are represented by four actors who will use suggestions from the audience to play out scenes to win the favour of our judges. They will play much-loved improvisation games such as Opera, Show-Stopping Number, Mime, Song, Scenes From A Hat, Moving Bodies, Emotional Rollercoaster and Party Quirks.

Can team University take out a third consecutive Playmates title? Will last year’s runner-up Wollongong Comedy go one better and take out their first trophy? Can People’s Choice favourites Workshop Theatre take back the trophy they won in the first-ever Playmates? Will the ‘big bois’ from Roo Theatre reclaim their past Playmates Glory? Or will SPAT storm the castle and return to their home in the escarpment with their second title? All will be answered this Friday Night, 7:30pm – back at our home at City Diggers Club Wollongong.

Hosted by Bradley Ward (Rising Arts Productions) and Alex Perritt


UNIVERSITY (defending champions 2016-2017)
Alexander Cuff (captain), Lisa Omodei, Sam Sweeting and Charmaine Sharp

WOLLONGONG COMEDY (runners up 2017)
Adam Armitt (captain), Madeleine Stewart, Jen Guerrieri-Cortesi, Sally Lopez

Dylan Horvat (captain), James Turnbull, Alex Groombridge and Charlotte Cuff

Feargus Manning (captain), Dayle Raftery, Bryson Grenell and Izzy Fredericks

Wayne Turner (captain), Katy Loader, Shayan Murray and Byron Faulkner


Interview with THE PLAYERS


Which team poses the biggest threat to your group?

“Uni, as they always do, take the role of Cobra Kai to the Roo team’s humble Daniel-san. They’re going right into the bin though because we’re taking that trophy home this year. This time for sure.”
– James “Big Man” Turnbull, Roo Theatre

“None of them, SPAT FOR THE WIN”
Byron Faulkner, not surprisingly from team SPAT.

“Uni has won two years in a row and they seem keen to kill again- I mean, win again.”
Dylan Horvatttt, Roo Theatre

“This implies any team poses a threat. That’s funny. Keep being funny.”
– Alexander Cuff, University

Charlotte Cuff, Roo Theatre

Describe your life using film titles.

“Home Alone. Alone in the Dark. Funny People. Envy. Trainwreck. Gone in 60 Seconds.”
Dylan Horvat, Roo Theatre

“A Series of Unfortunate Events, The 40-Year Old Virgin, The Martian, Captain America: The First Avenger”
Alexander Cuff, University

“That’s too many film titles, mate.”
– Charlotte Cuff, Roo Theatre

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”
Alex Groombridge, Roo Theatre

 What are you looking forward to in this year’s Playmates?

“To be back on the City Diggers stage and laugh more at my co-stars than anyone will laugh at me.”
Dylan Horvat, Roo Theatre

“Uni team winning again.”
James Turnbull, University infiltrator on the Roo team.

“There are a few new faces this year and I’m looking forward to seeing their style of comedy, new people keep it fresh! Mind you I also love the people returning, theres just some people that will always get a good laugh out of me.”
Alex Groombridge, Roo Theatre

“Overcoming my terrors, getting the creative juices flowing like they have never flowed before, and generating some laughs in the audience. Playmates is an Illawarra theatre event that has impressed me for many years.”
Feargus Manning, Workshop Theatre

“This is always one of my favourite nights of the year and it’ll provide some much needed stress relief.”
Alexander Cuff, University

“Winning. Duh!”
Charlotte Cuff, Roo Theatre

A six-year-old child asks you if Santa Claus is real…. What do you say?

“Hell yeah buddy! If people can break into your house to take stuff, I’m sure one guy could break in and leave stuff.”
James Turnbull, Roo Theatre

“If improv has taught me anything, it’s to always say yes. Santa exists in that game.”
Dylan Horvat, Roo Theatre

“Kid, when I was your age I was looking forward to the world ending, step up!”
Alex Groombridge, Roo Theatre

“Let me tell you about capitalism my friend, and how much it enjoys Christmas time.”
Byron Faulkner, SPAT

“Let’s be honest. I’m the six-year-old in this situation, so why don’t you tell me.”
Charlotte Cuff, Roo Theatre

“Yes, he is.”
– Alexander Cuff, University

Results+Review: Week 2 | Short+Sweet Illawarra

Bridge St Theatre Coniston


Our second and final week of short plays has come to a close at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston. Congratulations to all our actors, directors, writers and production team on a hugely successful inaugural season of short plays.

Judges Choice:
1st Place: OH NO A GHOST
2nd Place: SLOW DATING
3rd Place: CONTEXT
Oh No A Ghost advances to Short+Sweet Sydney 2019

People’s Choice:
1st Place: OH NO A GHOST
2nd Place: SLOW DATING
3rd Place: CONTEXT
As the script for Slow Dating has already been produced in Short+Sweet Sydney, Context advances to Short+Sweet Sydney 2019 along with Oh No A Ghost.


October 24, 2018

Review by Dylan Horvat

Photos by Yobriggityphotography

 After the success of the first 8 plays that started Short + Sweet Illawarra at the Harbour Theatre Shellharbour, the Bridge Street Theatre hosts a second helping of 10 short plays to finish off this year. With a diverse range of plays, such as absurdist comedy to monologue to relationship drama to paranormal farce. The prestigious short play festival is further proven to have found a comfy new home in this area that thrives on its local talent.

(1) – Waiting for Masterchef

Written and Directed by Will Worthington
presented by Eat Will’s Shorts

Cast: Arthur Gallagher, Sophie Bentley and Bradley Ward

A high energy absurdist comedy about three young people who try to find meaning while waiting for Masterchef to come on television and debate what to with their time, such as play Nintendo Wii, insult each other or gossip about the word “yeet”. Filled with laugh-out-loud moments from the great delivery and intensity of the three talented actors. Gallagher and Ward play off each other outrageously while Bentley owns the stage in her pivotal moment. Inspired writing and clever lighting/sound also help this piece make it to 4th place for audiences and judges.

(2) – Sign of the Times

Written by Crystal Jane (Sydney) / Directed by Andrew Cremen
Presented by the University of Wollongong Dramatic Society

Cast: Raisa Ryma, Rylie Vaccaro, Elise Vohradsky, Bobby Le, Jai Szwec and Andrew Cremen

Six people reflect on an incident on the train the day before where a tradie (Szwec) called an Islamic girl (Ryma) a terrorist. Told mostly in monologue, the piece starts with a charming, likeable performance by Ryma. The witnesses played by Vaccaro, Vohradsky and Le all turn in good solid performances while Szwec finishes off with a strong charismatic end.

(3) – A Womb with a View

Written by Rich Orloff / Directed by Karen Beavis

Cast: Samantha Brownlee-Knight, Lily Christine Daly, Isabella Whitcher, Mel Ringer and Abbey McDonald

Set in a woman’s womb, a fetus, about to be born, has second thoughts about leaving the comfort of her current home. This piece mixes its comedy and poignancy in this interesting surreal concept in which nurses treat the unborn sentient child and tell her what to expect in her upcoming life.

(4) – Fifteen Seconds

Written by Ken Levine / Directed by Inga Silfr Jon

Cast: Zac Chadwick and Naoise Champion

This play begins as a young woman (Champion) and a young man (Chadwick) check each other out at a nightclub before he makes a move. This romantic comedy has them debate the meaning behind actions such as eye contact and where it’ll lead to. Chadwick and Champion utilise their solid, charming performances in this entertaining piece as their conflict and eventual chemistry wanders the stage

(5) – Counterpoints

Written by Nicholas Fitzpatrick-Fuller / Directed by Jarrod Sleiman
presented by The Phoenix Theatre Co.

Cast: Oscar Baker, Kiah Sassall and Cameron Johnstone

Mike (Baker) is nervous about hosting a dinner in which he’ll be introducing his girlfriend Terri (Sassall) to his brother Jack (Johnstone). Great nuanced performances by all three while they all conflict with each other over religion, political differences and their history with Mike. This drama brings three interesting characters to the table and it provides a solid short play, thriving on how it deals with the relationships of its well-written roles with plenty of funny moments too.

(6) – Slow Dating

Written by Adam Szudrich / Directed by Lis Shelley
presented by Footprint Theatre Co.

Cast: Penelope Hunt

The first solo monologue piece of the night, Slow Dating stars Hunt as Ester, a happily married woman in her seventies who stumbles onto a speed dating event which aroused her curiosity. Hunt tells Ester’s story quite pleasantly as she wins the audience over immediately with a dementia joke and ventures on into other racy humour before getting to the more emotional side. Audiences were interested in this piece from beginning to end, with one even saying it was the best monologue he’d ever seen. Very easy to see why it was 2nd place in both the audience and judge’s vote.

(7) – Oh No A Ghost

Written by James Turnbull / Directed by Arthur Gallagher
Asst Director Graeme Downey

Cast: Bryson Grenfell, Cara Severino, Kaylee Ashton and Sam Lovell

Witty script, fast-paced action, creative concept and brilliantly performed comedy dominates the evening in this story about paranormal activity. A real estate agent named Alex (Grenfell) tries to sell a house where the ghost of a murder victim named Jessie (Severino) stays to haunt. Both of them shine hilariously in their roles and play off each other excellently, while Ashton hysterically moves around the stage covered in black, carrying the objects that Jessie uses her ghost powers on. Sam Lovell plays a psychotic murderer named Sam whose delivery was side-splitting, from the simplest of sentences to the craziest of rants. A no-brainer for winning 1st place amongst judges and audiences and very deserving of its opportunity to be performed again in Sydney.

(8) – Reality Check by Elizabeth

Written and directed by Annisa Belonogoff
Presented by Warrior Princess Productions

Cast: Annisa Belonogoff

The second and final monologue of the night is a comedy by a stand-up comedian. Belonogoff hilariously ponders her future love-life while dealing with tinder, ordering Chinese food and drunkenly hallucinating a theatre audience. She revels in her own cringe-worthy mannerisms with great energy and calculated comic timing. Hardly a standard monologue, she also utilises some audience interaction, responding to a voice-over and gets shot down while wearing a bra on her head. Interestingly showcases a blend of stand-up comedy, short theatre and monologue.

(9) – Context

Written by John C. Davenport / Directed by Laryssa Sutherton

Cast: Bradley Ward, Olivia Harris, Gillian Meers and Zac Chadwick

A uniquely innovative piece that thrives on it’s gimmick, Context tells a standard break-up story but it’s how the story is told that’s the hook. All four characters only speak in their thoughts and descriptors, such as “answering my phone in an annoying sing-song voice” and how they’re feeling about what they’re actually saying. Ward gives his second brilliant performance of the night in the lead role, being completely sympathetic while finding the right balance between naturalism and surrealism in his lines. Harris plays his ex-girlfriend with an impressive emotional depth, while Meers and Chadwick provide great comedic relief as Ward’s mother and best mate respectively. This is a gimmick done right as it never stops being insightful and is full of laughs and subtle emotions.

(10) – The Death of Nightstick

Co-written by Alexander Cuff, Sam Lovell and Jarrod Sleiman / Directed by Sam Sweeting
Presented by Cerberus Theatre Company

Cast: Justin James Clayden, Alex Groombridge, Freya Jarrett, Anna Murphy and Sam Sweeting.

Phil (Clayden/Sweeting) is an actor portraying the world’s greatest superhero Nightstick on a film set and he’s gone a little too method. This hysterical play mixes juvenile penis jokes with quick-paced slapstick and awfully suggestive superhero costumes. Clayden’s energy and intensity are remarkable and his co-star Casey (Jarrett) as his sidekick Red Rocket matches him hilariously. Groombridge and Murphy perfectly round off this cast as the film’s director and Nightstick’s arch nemesis / ex-lover The Battered Beaver respectively, with very funny moments of their own.

Overall, the first Short + Sweet Illawarra was a wonderful success with plenty of interesting scripts, sophisticated direction, talented actors, great theatres and an audience full of laughing and moved audience members. Lots of accolades, surefire hits for Sydney next year and a pool of talent with eager anticipation to be involved in S+S Illawarra next year. What a fantastic success.

Preview: Week 2 | Short+Sweet Illawarra 2018

SS Illawarra Logo


18th to 21st October 2018
at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Home of the Phoenix Theatre Company

Click Here to read the results and review of Week 1!
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Performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday 5:30pm
The official Presentation Ceremony and announcement of People’s Choice and Judges Choice winners will take place following the final Sunday Performance.

Short+Sweet – the world’s largest little play festival – launched in the Illawarra for the very first time 4 – 7 October in Shellharbour, and will complete its Top-20 Season in Coniston with eleven brand new pieces of ten-minute theatre.

20181015_175019 Opening week two is WAITING FOR MASTERCHEF written and directed by one of the Illawarra’s most loved and respected artists, Will Worthington and is presented by ITC group Eat Will’s Shorts. Our opening piece features an all-star Illawarra cast, all having tasted success in Short+Sweet Sydney over the last few years – with Bradley Ward (Doctors Orders, and Sydney 2017 Gala Finalist in Time Squad), Sophie Bentley (2018 Sydney Gala Finalist in The Quality of Life) and Arthur Gallagher (2018 Sydney Wildcards Finalist Badda Bing Badda Bang). Together, this dynamic trio play three protagonists absorbed in their digital detritus who try to find meaning.

20181015_181730Our second play of week two is written by one of the Illawarra’s most respected and experienced writers, especially in the ten-minute theatre form. Writer Tom Peach has written in every one of Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre Project since its Wollongong launch five years ago and has had multiple stagings of his play in Short+Sweet Sydney including (Doctor’s Orders and 2018 Wildcard Finalist Badda Bing Badda Bang). THE GODDESS is presented by ITC group duGarde and is Directed by prolific playwright and SPAT director Bernadette Le Mesurier.

This ‘two-hander’ piece stars Kaylee Ashton and Sevgi Murphy who play Thalia and Sharon. The two characters were BFFs (‘best friends forever for those wondering’) at school, then Sharon married Thalia’s father. Now he’s dead and they must write his epitaph together.

20181015_192755Third on the lineup is SIGN OF THE TIMES written by Sydney playwright Crystal Jane as is directed by Andrew Cremen from Wollongong University Dramatic Society. Starring Raisa Ryma, Rylie Vaccaro, Elise Vohradsky, Bobby Le and Jai Szwec, the cast play six people who reflect on an incident on the train the day before where a tradie called an Islamic girl a terrorist.

20181015_204134USA playwright Rich Orloff’s play A WOMB WITH A VIEW is next up, directed by Karen Beavis and starring a talented all-female ensemble, including Week 1 actors Isabella Whitcher, Abbey Mcdonald and Lily Christie Daly (director of People’s Choice winner Is This A Dream) along with the very talented Melanie Ringer, and Samantha Brownlee-Knight. A young girl, minutes away from being born, has a team doing a final check when she starts having second thoughts about leaving the comfort of her current home. Then the contractions begin…

20181015_211821Adding a taste of Hollywood to our Illawarra festival is FIFTEEN SECONDS written by American writer and Emmy Award winner (outstanding comedy series) Ken Levine, who has worked on a number of television series including M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings, Everyone Loves Raymond, Becker and Dharma and Greg.

Stepping in to the directors chair for her debut is the talented Inga Silfr Jon, who has thrived working with her talented cast, Zac Chadwick and Naoise Champion (actress in People’s Choice winning production Is This A Dream). A young couple make eye contact for the first time and it could change both of their lives.

20181015_215229Closing our first half of week 2 is COUNTERPOINTS written by Nicholas Fitzpatrick-Fuller, and directed by Jarrod Sleiman who returns to the director’s chair after directing the Short+Sweet Sydney 2018 Wildcard Finalist play Badda Bing Badda Bang. Counterpoints is presented by our week-2 host theatre company Phoenix Theatre and stars Oscar Baker, Kiah Sassall and Cameron Johnston. Our ‘hero’, Mike introduces his Commie-Atheist brother, Jack to his girlfriend over dinner-with messy results!

20181016_175647If six plays in the first half haven’t satisfied your appetite, we still have five cracker plays in the second half, starting with SLOW DATING who have made the epic road trip from the far south coast (Lochiel/Pambula near the Victorian border) to perform with us at Short+Sweet Illawarra. Footprint Theatre Company presents Sydney writer Adam Szudrich’s monologue which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Actor Penelope Hunt plays 70-something happily married Ester, who drops in to a ‘speed dating’ event for seniors that leads her to making a difficult decision.


20181016_183422Following his acting performance in Waiting For Masterchef, the versatile Arthur Gallagher steps into the director’s chair, taking the helm of OH NO A GHOST written by our festival Stage Manager James Turnbull and starring Cara Severino (who directed week-1 director’s choice winning play Threatened Panda Fights Back), Short+Sweet Sydney Wildcard winning actor Bryson Grenfell (Badda Bing Badda Bang) and Short+Sweet Sydney regular Sam Lovell (Doctor’s Orders, Badda Bing Badda Bang, Time Squad). Being a real estate agent is hard, especially when the house you’re trying to sell is haunted by the vengeful ghost of a murder victim.

Making the trek down the M1 from Sydney is the vibrant and hilarious comedy monologue REALITY CHECK BY ELIZABETH written, directed and starring the hugely talented Annisa Belonogoff who plays a single girl trying to navigate her way through the online dating world from home.


20181016_204212Our tenth play for week-2 is the thought-provoking CONTEXT written by American writer John C. Davenport. Context is directed by one of our most promising director debutants Laryssa Sutherton and boasts an impressive cast including Bradley Ward and Zac Chadwick who both back-up from their previous week-2 plays (Waiting For Masterchef and Fifteen Seconds), Phoenix Theatre favourite actress Gillian Meers and Olivia Harris who returns from her triumphant performance in week-1 People’s Choice winning production Is This A Dream. These characters, involved in a break-up, say what’s on their minds – but not to each other.

20181016_212212Our final play for Short+Sweet Illawarra will be the supercharged comedy THE DEATH OF NIGHTSTICK which is co-written by award-winning playwright Alexander Cuff, Sam Lovell and Jarrod Sleiman, is presented by ITC group Cerberus Theatre Company and directed by Sam Sweeting – who is making his Short+Sweet directing debut after working as an actor in our Sydney festival over the last few years (Time Squad, Badda Bing Badda Bing, Doctor’s Orders). Starring Justin Clayden, Anna Murphy, Freya Jarrett and Short+Sweet Sydney experienced actor Alex Groombridge (Time Squad, The Human Trap) who returns from her highly-acclaimed performance in week-1 play For Hire.

Tickets for week 2 are available through and are $27 Adult, $22 Concession and $17 for Children requiring a seat. Our week 2 plays may contain coarse language, sexual references, simulated combat and drug references. Parental supervision recommended for children under fifteen years of age.


Produced by Black Box Productions
in association with the Roo Theatre Company and the Phoenix Theatre

WEEK 2 (11 Plays)
18-21 OCTOBER 2018
Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Home of the Phoenix Theatre


$27 Adult, $22 Concession, $17 Child

Executive Producer | Festival Director

Review+Results: Week 1 Short+Sweet Illawarra

SS Illawarra Logo

Harbour Theatre Shellharbour


The results are in, and we are proud to announce the first two plays which have won a spot in our Sydney festival February-March next year.

Judges Choice:
2nd Place: IS THIS A DREAM?
3rd Place: FOR HIRE
Threatened Panda Fights Back advances to Short+Sweet Syndey 2019

People’s Choice:
1st Place: IS THIS A DREAM?
3rd Place: CRY FOR ME
Is This A Dream advances to Short+Sweet Sydney 2019


October 9, 2018

Review by Dylan Horvat

Photos by Yobriggityphotography

The bustling theatre scene of the Illawarra has finally gotten its own Short + Sweet scene after many years with 8 short plays debuting it. With a diverse range of plays, such as relationship comedy to monologue drama to zombie satire to children singing, the prestigious short play festival is safe to find a comfy new home in this area that thrives on its local talent.

(1) – His Mother’s Curtains

Written by Diana McLaren / Directed by Sophie Bentley

Cast: Nelson Blattman and Annie May Roberts


Natural, light-hearted and warm comedy about a couple’s issues with their in-laws, taxidermied cats watching them pee, misgendering her mother because of her haircut and her mother’s taste in curtains as well as their wedding ring. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments from the witty script and the charming actors.

(2) – Dare

Written and directed by Honora Jenkins

Cast: Mitchell Fahey, Rachel Cairncross, Emily Cairncross and Minna Lehman-Kurt


A reality game show in which the host (Fahey) challenges his contestants to be as true to themselves as they can be. An interesting concept that gets by on the appeal of the adorableness of it’s bright, eager cast, all of which are about nine years old. Bound to be enjoyed by anyone who likes seeing child actors at their cutest, bravest and most talented.

(3) – Threatened Panda Strikes Back

Written by Rex McGregor / Directed by Cara Severino

Cast: Patrick Harrison, Kaylee Ashton, Flynn Mapplebeck and Isabella Whitcher


A panda named Ling (Harrison) is the poster boy for endangered animals until science brings two dodos (Mapplebeck & Whitcher) back to life. A humorous and creative piece with plenty of funny sex-based humour and winning comedic performances, aided by panda make-up and great dodo costumes, by all four. Understandable why it won first place with the judges.

(4) – Brains

Written by Bernadette Le Mesurier / Directed by Robert Bruce

Cast: Jon Meakin, Andrew Gobran, Ricky Gamble and Inga Silfr Jon


Two zombies (Meakin and Gobran) find themselves at a human shortage as they argue about their image and how they became the walking dead. Providing a satirical and original look on the fictitious afterlife-beings proves an interesting concept, mixing biting jokes with comedically placed sound effects. Meakin and Gobran are able to utilise entertaining comedic charismas and hilarious voices while covered in great gory make-up while playing these larger than death characters.

(5) – For Hire

Written by Alexander Cuff / Directed by Sevgi Murphy

Cast: Alex Groombridge and Julian Levanic


Harry (Groombridge) is an assassin who’s been hired by an anonymous client to kill his former workmate and friend Vincent (Julian Levanic), thus ensuing hilarity and surprising character depth. Precise comedic timing engulfs this play from the constant sexual innuendo to the reluctant bloodlust by Harry’s trigger finger. Perhaps the most consistently funny play of the night, For Hire also features an interesting plot twist, making it perhaps the most compelling narrative too.

(6) – Cry For Me

Written and directed by Pete Malicki

Cast: Cris Bocchi


A melodramatic tragedy monologue piece written and directed by Malicki, Cry For Me stars Bocchi as Alicia, an Argentinian woman who works as a cryer at funerals to get the sadness rolling. Alicia recounts the toll that this job took on her personal emotions just when she needed them most as she faced personal tragedy. Bocchi showcases her charm and storytelling ability in what is the only play of the night that can’t be classified as a comedy.

(7) – Timesavers

Written by Barry Wood / Directed by Byron Faulkner

Cast: Jon Meakin and Abbey McDonald


Quirky, creative and well-performed comedy shines in this story about time travel. Meakin once again showcases his comedic acting chops as a man who claims to have invented a time machine out of a lawn chair. Meakin and McDonald make a fine duo in this British sitcom-styled piece, written by a UK playwright. McDonald plays his first customer ever who falls for his scam and supposedly goes back in time 5 minutes multiple times and has to give him money each time to prevent seeing her future self and tearing a hole in the space-time continuum.

(8) – Is This a Dream?

Written by Katrina Samaras / Directed by Lily Christie Daly

Cast: Olivia Harris, Naoise Champion, Lillian Woods and Annie May Roberts


The final play of the evening tackles the sensitive yet popular theme of depression. It takes a surreal, melodramatic and also charmingly comedic approach to the experience. The heroine dreams of meeting female icons Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale. The relatable subject matter intertwined with surrealist comedy is sure to charm over audiences, which makes sense as it won first place in the audience vote. Perfectly cast, beautifully and hilariously acted, and intelligently written; “Is This a Dream?” puts an absurd twist on familiar subject matter.

Don’t miss Week 2 of Short+Sweet Illawarra – our final instalment of ten-minute theatre.

WEEK 2 | 18-21 OCTOBER 2018
at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston
Home of the Phoenix Theatre Co.

Tickets $27 Adult | $22 Concession

Performances Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 7:30 PM
and Sunday @ 5:30pm (Followed by Presentation Ceremony)