Some of the actors for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. (Clockwise from L) Bernadette Le Mesurier, Vu Moyo, Maxwell Tassell, Beth Fuller, Lisa Omodei, Sophie Bentley
The preparation for this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra is heating up, and for the first time we have announced the seven team captains prior to the night of the briefing. Our writers now know one of their ingredients, however will have to wait patiently until Friday 1st September to learn the final make up of their team!
Four writers for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2017. L to R Alexander Cuff, Bradley Ward, Sevgi Murphy and Ace Povey-Robertson
On Tuesday 22nd August five of our seven writers met their new actors, with the other two plays to meet in the coming days. This is our first look at how our plays are taking shape ready for the biggest challenge in the Illawarra theatre calendar – making an original short play from page to stage all in just twenty-four hours!
We have a record number of actors participating, with 30 actors locked in to our seven writers. But let’s have a look at our first 5 pairings of writers and their actors…
Actor Rebecca Wall with her writer Davit Rienits
Actress Rebecca Wall who completed her Bachelor of Creative Arts in theatre performance returns to the stage after travelling the world to act in writer David Rienit’s play. Rebecca has a long line of Fringe productions that she has been involved with, as well as local productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Anniversary with the Wollongong Workshop Theatre. She has a deep-routed passion for drama, and hopes to find something meaningful to perform in 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra, a passion mirrored from her writer.
“I would really love a role that makes people feel something. Something to make the audience walk out of the theatre affected and asking questions.” – Rebecca Wall
Writer David Rienits has been in love with and focused on writing from a young age. He holds degrees in both Creative Writing and English Literature and (at the time of this year’s 24 hour theatre) is completing a placement for his training as a Secondary English Teacher. A fan of the dramatic over the comedic Dave has taught writing for stage all over the Illawarra and is looking forward to another high-octane writing evening. David has written for the previous two productions of 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra.
“Writing for me is like exploration. I was born in the wrong era for actual adventure, too late to explore Earth and too early to explore space, so instead I’m left to explore humanity and stories.” – David Rienits
Actor Vu Moyo with his writer Alexander Cuff
Last year, writer Alexander Cuff took on his first writing assignment for 24 Hour Theatre with his sci-fi time looping comedy Pieces of Time. That play was selected by director Luke Berman to be redeveloped and sent on the road to Sydney where it would achieve critical acclaim in the world’s largest short play festival: Short+Sweet Sydney 2017. The piece, renamed Time Squad was selected as best play of its heat in the Top-80, and went on to the Gala Finals where it was deemed one of the “funniest plays of the festival”.
Alexander has written over ten short plays that have been performed on stage in the last five years. The first play was a Mario parody as part of the Young Playwright’s Project at the Drama Studio. Cuff also wrote the panel favourite winning short play Roughing It as part of Workshorts at Wollongong Workshop Theatre,. He recently wrote a play in Bridgeworks and has written for the upcoming Phoenix Theatre production Tales From the Wasteland.
“I like the challenge of writing under more stressful conditions. There’s also something satisfying about taking the entire writing and rehearsing process and condensing it to 24 hours.” – Alexander Cuff
Cuff is no stranger to his actor and team leader Vu Moyo who since entering the Illawarra theatre scene has been in high demand – working with many Illawarra groups including the Phoenix Theatre, Roo Theatre, Wollongong Workshop Theatre, Stanwell Park Arts Theatre, Wollongong Comedy, The Dire Theatre, Black Box Theatre. Credits include Othello, MacBeth, Widow of Troy, Our Country’s Good, Sweeney Todd, Playmates and many others including 24 Hour Theatre.
The cast of Time Squad at the Short+Sweet Sydney Gala Finals 2017. L to R Alex Groombridge, Bradley Ward, Sam Sweeting and Sam Lovell.
Actor Sophie Bentley and her writer Sevgi Murphy
The relationship between writer Sevgi Murphy and her first announced actor Sophie Bentley was forged in the fire of Roo Theatre, with their recent production of Our Country’s Good, despite the two knowing each other from their days of primary school. Sevgi was a highly valued member of the production team in which Sophie starred and they are both excited at the prospect of extending both their friendship and they’re theatrical exploration of humanity.
Sevgi, who was the winner of the Charles Sturt University Short Story Competition is currently involved with the Following You project sponsored by Merrigong Theatre and Wollongong Council. This project requires Sevgi to write five monologues which she will later perform!
Sophie Bentley, who is studying acting full-time at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television recently received widespread acclaim for her role as Mary Brenham in Roo Theatre’s drama Our Country’s Good. Sophie also performed with the Wollongong Workshop Theatre in the Laramie Project and David Ives x5. Other acting credits include Alice in Wonderland, MacBeth, Bugsy Malone and Wizard of Oz.
Actor Lisa Omodei with her writer Bradley Ward
Bradley Ward returns for another taste of 24 Hour Theatre, having acted in previous years, as well as being part of both plays selected by director Luke Berman to take to Sydney in 2016 and 2017 (Tom Peach’s Doctor’s Orders and Alexander Cuff’s Time Squad). This time, Bradley has taken on the challenge of writing and looks forward to seeing his work brought to life by his cast. Bradley has an impressive performance and academic portfolio. He studied acting in his Bachelor of Performance at the University of Wollongong, and also studied a Bachelor of Arts (English) at the University of Sydney. Recent writing credits include writing (and directing) Beautiful Chaotic Nonsense, co-writer of Fracture and Hipster Apocalypse all with the Phoenix Theatre. He recently played the lead role of Ralph in Our Country’s Good.
“For the last two years 24 Hour Theatre has represented an important annual event to challenge myself as an actor. This year I would like to see myself challenged even further, by taking on the role of a writer; which will push me to work with utmost creativity and openness in order to complete the project in time.” – Bradley Ward
Actor Lisa Omodei has been a regular face in the Illawarra theatre scene, and what she lacks in height, she makes up for in ability, as well as her infectious spirited tenacity. Having tasted a love for improvised comedy throughout her regular appearance at Playmates Illawarra, Lisa continued her passion for improv with local troupe The Improverts – who recently performed to a sold out crowd at the Phoenix Theatre. This is Lisa’s second crack at 24 Hour Theatre, and has performed with local groups Roo Theatre, Phoenix Theatre as well as many productions at school and university.
Actor Bernadette Le Mesurier and writer Ace Povey-Robertson
24 Hour Theatre and Playmates regular Bernadette Le Mesurier returns for another year, and joins forces with writer Ace Povey-Robertson who is set to write his second play for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra.
Ace describes himself as a “lifetime hobby writer” of short fiction and poetry. He has written for Workshorts 2015-2016, the most recent of which his play was the panel favourite winner. This impressive young freelance writer impressed producer Luke Berman with his last 24 Hour Theatre project and we are excited to have him return.
Bernadette recently wrote, directed and acted in her piece Cityfail which was part of the Not That Far From Sydney production which took two 1-act plays (alongside 24 Hour Theatre writer Tom Peach) to perform at the Blood Moon Theatre in Kings Cross and in Stanwell Park Arts Theatre. She recently enjoyed her first performance with Arcadians in The Drowsy Chaperone and has taken part in almost all of the SPAT performances (acting, writing or directing) in the last nine years.
As 24 Hour Theatre is one night only, Black Box Theatre urges audience to prepurchase their tickets as limited seats may be available at the door. Do no miss our biggest and most exciting 24 Hour Theatre project to date!