Meet our Judges and Hosts for Playmates 2017

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PLAYMATES 2017
JUDGES AND HOSTS

7:30PM SATURDAY 2nd DECEMBER
PROJECT CENTRAL
130 Keira Street Wollongong
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW

Playmates Host: BRADLEY WARD – Black Box Theatre

13620218_10209790469789298_1311847038317889706_nBradley graduated from the University of Wollongong with a Bachelor of Performance (Acting) in 2013, and has acted in over 20 productions in the years since. While the majority of these roles have been in traditional plays and musicals, Bradley has tried whenever possible to do new and interesting things; he has twice represented Black Box Theatre at Short + Sweet Sydney, including their 2017 Gala Finalist play “Time Squad”; He has performed in the premiere shows of two different Improv Troupes – “The Improverts” by The Improverts, and “Attack of the 50ft Improv” by Room for Improvement; and he had the pleasure of writing, directing and acting in the verbatim piece “Beautiful Chaotic Nonsense” in 2016. Some of Bradley’s favourite past productions include: Our Country’s Good, The Seagull, The Hatpin, Oh! It’s A Lovely War, Godspell, Three Sisters and Woyzeck.

Playmates Timekeeper: Alex Perritt – Black Box Theatre

17760245_386605821722780_4573842077743211358_nAlex has been involved in theatre since the age of 8. Growing up in a family of actors, writers and directors, He has been creatively focused for most of his life, even putting on elaborate puppet shows in his backyard. Alex spent about 10 years doing theatre in Nowra and the Shoalhaven area then went on to study acting at the University of Wollongong. He recently spent 3 years living in Auckland, New Zealand where he got to do a bit of work in film. He is currently back at university repenting for a life of creativity by doing a ‘real’ degree, though he is discouraged from saying what it is.

PLAYMATES JUDGES 2017

MARK CLEARY  Founder / Creative Direcor Short+Sweet International

markcleary_webMark Cleary is a writer, director and producer. He is the founder and creative director of Short+Sweet, the hugely successful Australian homegrown 10 minute play festival that is rapidly expanding around the country and the world with programs in theatre, music and dance in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, New Zealand,  USA and beyond.

He was artistic director of Newtown Theatre for 17 years and the Founder and inaugural chairman of the Newtown Entertainment Precinct Association which owns and manages the Sydney Fringe Festival. Before his full-time involvement in the arts he was a journalist, editor and publisher for newspapers and magazines and, in another incarnation, copywriter, creative director and partner in a Sydney based advertising agency.

NICK BOLTON – Ten Alphas

nick-bolton_6183Nick Bolton is an actor, director and producer in film, video and theatre. His production company TEN ALPHAS creates content like TVC’s and branded content for Mission Australia, Telstra, Google, and more.

He recently produced and acted in the Australian feature film Rough Stuff, and has two documentaries out in the next 6months.

Nick has acted on most of the stages in Sydney, in over a dozen TVC’s, too many corporate pieces to mention, and on TV shows like The Killing Ground, Deadly Women.

He made his Illawarra stage debut in Luke Berman’s ‘Our Country’s Good‘ for Roo Theatre earlier this year and promises not to be biased towards his fellow cast members performing in tonight’s Playmates. Word.

MICHELLE RAKOS – The Improverts

IMG_4131From the age of 16, Michelle has been involved in improvised theatre. First as part of a national championship winning team in Canada, and later as a team member, host, developer and director of over 40 improv shows.

She has appeared in many theatre productions over the years, written and directed many plays, taught drama to high school students for 5 years, taught drama at a specialty school, was a developer of a mobile children’s theatre troop and has appeared in a few movies. She now moonlights as an inventor and hopes to make ‘Squirrel Underpants’ (patent pending) the new way that people connect with nature.

*Note that ‘Squirrel Underpants’ are not to be misconstrued as underpants for squirrels, that is Michelle’s next big invention, and will be called ‘Underpants for Squirrels.’ the overwhelming response to the Go Fund Me campaign has indicated that they will be the next Fidget Spinners. Also coming, Fidget Spinners for squirrels (still in the development stage).

TOM PEACH – Writer, Director

image1Tom Peach is one of the area’s leading playwrights, and an experienced director and actor. His most recent play “The Old Viaduct Hotel” was performed in Kings Cross to great reviews and his most recent directorial work, “The Importance of Being Earnest“, played to a sold out run in Stanwell Park. Tom’s next play “Badda Bing Badda Bang” is on in the Short and Sweet Sydney Wildcards season, and he is directing a play in the Top 80.

Tom has a notorious inability to write comedy, although he appreciates it in other people.

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Meet the SPAT Team | Playmates 2017

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BERNADETTE LE MESURIER – Team Captain

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Bernadette Le Mesurier | SPAT

Bernadette is an actor, playwright and director. She has acted professionally on the big screen, but has also performed on stage for SPAT, Arcadians and Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre project. She has nine years’ experience at SPAT playing everything from chorus member to titular character Puss in Boots and has had four of her written plays performed at SPAT and two at Wollongong Workshop Theatre’s Workshorts. Her 2017 Workshorts play won audience favourite.

This year is Bernadette’s third appearance on the Playmates stage, all with SPAT and is still gloating over SPAT’s first Playmates triumph on the ten year anniversary stage. Bernadette is a peace loving human, whose love for her fellow team members outweighs any competitiveness…

“I’m looking forward to smashing those other teams until their teeth are ground to paste and their limbs are hanging… I mean a fair and fun competition with everyone being treated equally. If some people from the extreme Northern Illawarra are treated more equal than others, well, who knew, right?”

Bernadette’s passion and commitment is always a joy to watch on stage, her vibrant energy and sense of fun is always a wonderful addition to our annual showcase.

JUSTIN JAMES CLAYDEN

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Justin James Clayden | SPAT

Justin is an Illawarra actor who has worked on several productions with TheatreMax, Wollongong Workshop Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre. His credits include Secrets of St Just (actor/writer), SignAL, and two plays in Tales From the Wasteland – All Nuked Up, and Practicing Medicine

In his first crack at improvisation, Justin impressed many by his support of his team members, dedication, professionalism and bravery. He states being 80% excited and 20% nervous and is looking forward to all the ‘unexpected magic’ that is about to present itself on Saturday night.

Berman: What game are you hoping your team will play this year?

Justin:  Slow Motion Commentary, Slideshow, Song, Party Quirks, Murder Endowments, Opera, Show Stopping Number, Play in the Style of…

Berman: That’s most of the games. Is there any games you hope you don’t get?

Justin: Not really.

Berman: I like you.

 

LISA MURRAY

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Lisa Murray | SPAT

Lisa will be bravely going where she has never gone before, under stage lights in one of the hardest gigs imaginable – improvised comedy. In 2014 she performed her own monologue script for the Out of Time student showcase at UOW, which has led her to create other incidences in the public domain which includes looking as spectacular as a jilted bride, or wearing a lunch bag painted with ruby red lips over her head and ride about on public transport as she goes about daily tasks.

Lisa was labelled a poet at birth and recently installed a sequence of text within a reservoir for Randwick Council’s 2017 NOX Night Sculpture Walk where she posed as an artist for the entire event.

When asked what she is looking forward to in Playmates this year, Lisa answers in true poetic style:

A death
and a rebirth
A loose screw
and an impossible conclusion
A downward spiral
and an upbeat song
EVERYTHING, except my own body parts poking me in the eye.

Lisa is quickly catching on to the fun rivalry that the teams have been enjoying in the lead up to Playmates, and like others, has her eyes firmly on defending champions University.

“ALL the teams look fabulously hellish… I’d say Alexander Cuffs team will be in the grand final round mostly because he appears to be very aggressive about bribing the judges.”

When asked what she would do if given a large elephant, Lisa shows us how wonderfully creative and imaginative she is.

“I’d deflate it and pop it in a archival box with fragile written on the side and one day when there are no more elephants left for monkeys to sit on I’d reinflate it and we’d share a pot of tea while watching the sun go down.”

Berman: Why did you want to participate in Playmates?

Lisa: An email fell in my lap, I had no idea what Playmates was, but when I learned what it was all about I thought WOW! An opportunity to make fun of myself with others, I’m not up to much at the moment, I wonder if I can do this kind of a gig, let’s go see.

 

KATY LOADER

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Katy Loader | SPAT

Katy has been involved with Stanwell Park Arts Theatre for 5 years and counting. She is a regular performer in the annual pantomimes held every year around Christmas time. She has also performed at other theatres, such as the Blood Moon Theatre in Kings Cross, and the Wollongong Workshop Theatre.

Katy is a much loved performer with the SPAT group, and is very excited at being welcomed within the Playmates family. Her fun loving nature and her natural ability to perform is always a joy to watch. Out of all the games, Katy is hoping for any game where she can sing her heart out, although is somewhat apprehensive about getting the game Moving Bodies.

She is currently busy getting ready to perform in SPAT’s annual Pantomime – Miss Lily’s Holiday Home and The Stealing of Christmas.

“I’ll be playing a minor role, but I get to sing at least. It will open the Saturday after Playmates, so get tickets now!”

Meet the ROO THEATRE team | Playmates 2017

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DYLAN HORVAT  (Team Captain)

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Dylan Horvat – Roo Theatre team captain Playmates 2017

Dylan returns for his third successive Playmates as Roo Theatre’s team captain. Dylan who was Playmate’s most enthusiastic and fanatical audience member has fast become a crowd favourite. This will be Dylan’s 5th overall improv comedy show having also performed with local improv groups The Improverts and The Gullibles (2009). He’s mostly an actor, performing with Phoenix, Workshop, IYAP and mostly Roo over the past 11 years, in shows such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Red vs Blue, Get Smart and The Wedding Singer. He’s directed SignAL, assistant directed Peter Pan and written for the shows Virus, Lost Along the Way and Tales From the Wasteland. He’s performed as a stand-up comedian many times since 2008.

“I am really looking forward to working with a team with this much chemistry and receiving much completely fair and unbribed praise from each judge. Playmates is the only way I’ll ever have mates to play with.”

When asked about which other team he is worried about, Dylan says latecomers Black Box pose a particular threat.

“Black Box. Definitely Black Box. I hear the judges have to give them the most points cause they’re running the show.”

Dylan is currently writing a one act play called Teacher Strike which will be performed at Roo Theatre in September 2018, alongside Safe written by University team member David Rienits. Both plays make up the show called Wild.

 

JAMES TURNBALL 

James returns for his second crack at Playmates, returning yet again on the Roo Theatre team.

“They said you should learn from your mistakes but evidently I haven’t listened. But this time we’re back funnier, stronger and handsomer.”

James has been in the theatre scene for almost ten years now and he has enjoyed every minute of it. He is a frequent crew member / actor at many theatres throughout the Illawarra, and the stage is a big part of his life. But he is very excited to return to the Playmates arena for another crack at the title.

“Playmates feels like going on a first date, but instead of a cute girl, it’s a large group of people, and instead of a nice candlelit dinner it’s a stunning arrangement of some of the Illawarra’s most talented comedians, actors and theatre professionals. But at least with Playmates this year, I an equally talented and funny team to c̶a̶r̶r̶y̶ support through the wild process. So yeah, I’m pretty keen.”

When asked if there are any improv games he hopes Roo doesn’t have to play, he replies:

“My Slow Brain™ makes Show Stopping Number a real hassle, as both coming up with comedy and coherent lyrics that rhyme requires a level of mental finesse that I’m not sure I’m capable of. I just hope we don’t have to go up against the University team.  We all know those uni boys and girls absorb the comedic talents of all the great comedians just before the show like the guys in Space Jam, that’s how they’re so consistently funny 24/7. But other than that it’s fair game. We’ve got some exciting new talent and some amazing Playmates regulars coming back for more.”

Berman: You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

James: Challenge it in a fight to the death, if I die, so be it, if it dies I claim my dominance over the animal kingdom.

James is currently rehearsing for his Sydney acting debut, with Black Box Theatre’s Wildcard submission to Short+Sweet Sydney 2018 in Tom Peach’s Badda Bing Badda Bang directed by young emerging director, and Roo Theatre team member Jarrod Sleiman.

 

ALEX GROOMBRIDGE

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Alex Groombridge | Roo Theatre Team

Alex has been performing since she was 11, starting out as a musician. In 2014 she, on an impulse, signed up to do Jesus Christ Superstar in Campbelltown, and fell in love with theatre.
Since then she has been consistently acting in theatre (and an Australian film) when I can and, this year, performed in the Gala Finals of Short +Sweet in the play Time Squad written by fellow play-mate Alexander Cuff and directed by Luke Berman for Black Box Theatre. She has also been a regular actor for Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra.

This will be Alex’s first ever Playmates, and admits to feeling both excited and a little nervous.

“I’m working alongside some hilarious people, which can be a bit intimidating, but I’m proud of the team I’m in and I know we’re going to have a great time. 2017 has been the year I’ve really been able to challenge myself as a performer, and Playmates seemed like the next logical step. Every year I’ve seen it, I’ve wanted to be a part of it and this year it felt right to go ahead and put my hand up to participate.”

Alex had her first taste of the Playmates games that are played at the recent training day, and has taken a liking to a couple of games in particular, but admits to having nightmares about getting others…

“I hope we get Slideshow because it will really test how well our team knows each other, and I love how absurd some of the scenes can get. Also Emotional Rollercoaster, because I absolutely revel in having to change and justify how my character is reacting, at the drop of a hat (that one is easily my favourite). But I’ll murder our captain Dylan if he chooses any game that requires singing. Despite being a musician, I’ve always been garbage at coming up with lyrics.”

Berman: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Alex: I’m never growing up! But if I do, I want to rule over my own micronation, like a principality or something. I’ll sell noble titles, wear a crown, the national animal will be the graceful pigeon, and I’ll only communicate with people via parchment and fountain pen. People far and wide will come to the principality to see the mysterious and eccentric Alex Groombridge, and I will say to the people “Oh man! What’s the haps?”

Alex is soon to be a special guest star violinist on Devil Went Down to Georgia, with the School of Rock band, playing at Campbelltown Theatre on December 9th and 10th.


JARROD SLEIMAN

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Jarrod Sleiman | Roo Theatre 

Jarrod has been an actor for pretty much his entire life, and has made many positive impressions on those who have worked with him, showing glimpses of brilliance rarely seen in other eighteen year-old theatre makers. Some of his stage credits include The King & I, The Pirates of Penzance, Macbeth, Red Vs Blue, Peter Pan, Cannibal! The Musical, 13, and Shrek. Earlier this year Jarrod directed his first show Tales from the Wasteland, a show written by 7 local writers, including himself.

Jarrod returns to Playmates after making his debut on the Roo Theatre team last year.

“I had a great time last year, I learnt a lot and I think our team are a chance this year. It’s going to be a good night, I get to be around some of my closest friends, and make some new ones. I’m a little nervous, but that’s just because Berman threatened to whip me if i’m not funny.”

Jarrod was recently selected to direct a ten minute play in Short+Sweet Sydney under Black Box Theatre as recognition for his ambitious directing debut, and is being mentored by the hardened Black Box Artistic Director. He has a electric cast at his disposal and a wonderful script written by Tom Peach. He is also currently writing a sequel to Hamlet which he hopes will be his Magnum Opus.

Playmates Illawarra Cast Announcement

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PLAYMATES 2017
CAST LIST

Our teams of improvisers have been finalised and we are looking at yet another strong year. This year, The Drama Studio will be cheering on the sidelines, and will return in 2018. For this year only, Black Box Theatre will field a team in The Drama Studios place.

Returning again in 2017 are the defending champions from University, Wollongong Workshop Theatre, Roo Theatre, Stanwell Park Arts Theatre, and Wollongong Comedy.

UNIVERSITY: Alexander Cuff (captain), David Rienits, Lisa Omodei and Sam Sweeting

WORKSHOP THEATRE: Sam Lovell (captain), Kelly Nicholson, Bryson Grenfell and Jarrod Riesinger

ROO THEATRE: Dylan Horvat (captain), James Turnball, Alex Groombridge and Jarrod Sleiman

STANWELL PARK ARTS THEATRE (SPAT): Bernadette Le Mesurier (captain), Justin Clayden, Lisa Murray and Katy Loader

WOLLONGONG COMEDY: Adam Armit (captain), Wayne Peoples, Sally Lopez and Jen Jackson

BLACK BOX THEATRE: Honora Jenkins (captain), Brenton Amies, Irene Nicola and Charlotte Cuff

Hosted by Bradley Ward and Alex Perritt

 

We strongly recommend pre-purchasing tickets now! Limited tickets available at the door.

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE

Or email your booking details to bookings@blackboxtheatre.org and state your booking name, contact phone number and the amount of tickets you would like to reserve. You can pay in cash at the Box Office on the night.

Plays Selected for Short+Sweet Sydney – 24 Hour Theatre

Black Box Theatre is pleased to announce the plays that have been chosen to form its Top 80 and Wildcard submission to Short+Sweet Sydney 2018. The strength of writing from all seven of our talented writers was well noted by our live audience at 24 Hour Theatre. Upon completion of the show, our writers were given just one week to edit, rework and condense their scripts to the ten minutes, and submit their reworked scripts for consideration to have a second life.

All of our writers out-did themselves and each managed to encapsulate the essence of their play, and all had beautifully reworked dialogue. Each of them now has in their portfolio, a strong play that is able to hold its own with any short play festival around the world.

It is a compliment also to some writers, whose original scripts were mostly in tact after little editing, including a clever and witty script from young writer Ace Povey-Robertson with his gangster comedy Hotel Aspen II: Janitorial Indescretion and David Rienit’s Balance & Friction.

Both selected plays will be submitted for performance, and director Luke Berman is excited about staging these contrasting and beautifully dynamic pieces of ten minute theatre.

The plays that Black Box Theatre will be submitting for Short+Sweet are:

TOP 80 – The Quality of Life by Sevgi Murphy

Cast: Sophie Bentley, Nat McConchie and Beth Fuller-McGoldrick
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WILDCARD – Badda Bing Badda Bang by Tom Peach

Cast: Bryson Grenfell, Sam Lovell, Sam Sweeting and Mathew Latham
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Black Box would also like to give honourable mentions to David Rienits’ moving and brave drama Balance and Friction, Alexander Cuff’s The Human Trap and a very impressive ten-minute adaption of Family Drama by Diana McLaren who were each strongly considered to tour.

Black Box is exploring other options for all our writers on how to further develop and promote their scripts to stages in Sydney, Canberra and in short play festivals around the world. We would like to thank everyone who was involved and everyone who supported 24 Hour Theatre in what was an electric evening.

Preview: 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2017

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LINE-UP FOR 24 HOUR THEATRE ILLAWARRA
7:30pm tonight for one night only
at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston

Last night our seven writers stayed awake and wrote an original short play from scratch. This morning, our actors received their scripts, and are now putting the finer touches on the plays they will perform for our audience tonight.

The Plays

FAMILY DRAMA by Diana McLaren

Starring
Inga Silfr, Ethan Gomez, Charmain Sharp, and Maxwell Tassell

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This​ short ​ play ​ looks ​ ​at ​ ​the ​dynamics ​of ​family ​with ​ a ​ ​sense ​of ​ fun. ​ When ​ Mum ​ and ​ ​Dad ​ ​are ​fighting ​the children​ intercede ​ to ​ ​stop ​the ​ argument ​ ​in ​ ​a ​very ​strange ​ way. ​ As ​ they ​ ​all ​discuss ​the ​best ​way ​to ​make everyone​ happy. ​ ​As ​ ​they ​slowly ​begin ​to ​realise ​that ​all ​their ​doing ​is ​making ​themselves ​unhappy ​they get​ more ​ and ​ more ​ ​desperate ​ ​till ​ ​there’s ​nothing ​left ​to ​try.

THE QUALITY OF LIFE by Sevgi Murphy

Starring
Sophie Bentley, Natalie McConchie, Beth McGoldrick-Fuller

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THE QUALITY OF LIFE follows the fictional story of Alice; a once exuberant teenager who is currently experiencing a Major Depressive Episode. It portrays the devastating feeling of isolation which many sufferers encounter as a consequence of stigma and lack of education surrounding mental illness. Furthermore, THE QUALITY OF LIFE attempts to highlight that Depression presents not just as sadness but rather as a range of moods and behaviours.

THE HUMAN TRAP by Alexander Cuff

Starring
Vu Moyo, Dylan Horvat, Jarrod Sleiman, James Turnball, and Alex Groombridge

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Martin​ ​Smith ​is ​ the ​ last ​ surviving ​ human ​ ​in ​the ​universe. ​So, ​ naturally, ​ poachers ​ ​want ​ him ​ dead. ​ The latest​ ​in ​a ​long ​line ​of ​bounty ​ ​hunters ​ ​trying ​to ​claim ​ ​his ​head ​are ​a ​ cold, ​ unfeeling ​ ​scientist ​and ​his emotional​ robot, ​ as ​ well ​ ​as ​an ​alien ​ and ​ his ​ ​imperfect ​clone. ​Will ​Martin ​survive…​ the ​ Human ​ Trap?

HOTEL ASPEN II: JANITORIAL INDESCRETION
by ACE A. POVEY-ROBERTSON

Starring
Bernadette Le Mesurier, Kim Hobbs, and Dave Tinelt

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Two washed-up assassins finish up their last jobs, and prepare to retire. However, a young driver crashes into the train station and delays their departure. The two assassins take refuge from the rain in a terrible bar with an even worse bartender. Surely the train station will be cleaned up soon, right? Surely those rumours are nothing, right? Surely the bartender is doing those things with some sort of self-aware sense of humour, right? Ugh. Should have gone to Maccas.

IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON by Bradley Ward

Starring
Lisa Omodei, Kirra McGoldrick, Jen Jackson and introducing Charlotte Cuff

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After explaining that their writer failed to write something worth staging, four actresses take to the stage to tell a simple noir story:

“Detective Charles Blaine is approached by an old flame to investigate a man who is blackmailing her. After a violent altercation with a wrongfully accused man, Charles finds himself in deep trouble…”

This simple story suffers at the hands of the actresses, who are unable to agree about anything, including who should be telling the story, or how it should be told. After getting distracted and derailed several times, the actors are able to find an ending that touches upon the nature of storytelling itself.

BALANCE AND FRICTION by David Rienits

Starring
Rebecca Wall, Monica Schwenke and Clara Staples

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Sofia’s traumatic childhood sexual assault experience is causing her to develop symptoms of PTSD whilst at university. When her friend Holly doesn’t accept this explanation for her odd behaviour, is escalates into a full-blown argument with her supportive friend Jade, who may have a similar story to tell…

BADDA BING BADDA BANG by Tom Peach

Starring
Bryson Grenfell, Sam Lovell, Matthew Latham and Sam Sweeting

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Tony has an arrangement with his best mate Peter.  If either one of them is incapacitated, or worse, then they will get round to the other’s apartment and ‘mop up’ – removing any incriminating evidence of wrongdoing before older relatives arrive.

Now Peter has passed away Tony has to convince his friends to help him, break into the apartment, find the stuff, and decide what to do with it.

24 HOUR THEATRE ILLAWARRA

Saturday 2nd September 2017
Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston

BOOK NOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Hour Theatre: 5 Team Captains Announced

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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!

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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…

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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

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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 OthelloMacBeth, Widow of Troy, Our Country’s Good, Sweeney Todd, Playmates and many others including 24 Hour Theatre.

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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.

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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.

Omodei Ward

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.

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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!

BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW

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PLAYMATES 2017 | SEASON DATE AND VENUE ANNOUNCEMENT

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Playmates will return for its twelfth annual improvised theatre showcase bringing together six theatre and performance groups from the Illawarra region.

Inspired from the TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Playmates is more than a night of improvised comedy, it is a celebration of the diversity of local talent, and a symbol of friendship and cooperation between all Illawarra Theatre Companies.

Playmates will perform for one night only, 7:30pm Saturday 2nd December 2017 and will have teams of actors representing last year’s champions University, runners up Wollongong Workshop Theatre, Roo Theatre, Stanwell Park Arts Theatre (SPAT), The Drama Studio, and crowd favourites Wollongong Comedy.

This year, our showcase will be held at Project Central – home of Illawarra Youth Arts Project (formerly the Project Art space, behind Amigos Wollongong). Our move from City Diggers Club is expected to be only for a year or two, while we work the annual date to earlier in the region’s theatre calendar.

Regular playmates host and Sydney improvisation expert Jim Fishwick returns as our charismatic host, who will guide our local actors through many improv games, and perform the scenes that the audience want to see! Playmates never fails to deliver a night of fun, laughs and lasting memories.

PLAYMATES ILLAWARRA 2017
7:30PM SATURDAY 2ND DECEMBER

Artistic Director | Luke Berman
Production Manager | Monica Kickert
Host | Jim Fishwick
Music Man | David Wassink

24 Hour Theatre: First Round Writers and Actors

Black Box Theatre would like congratulate the first round of writers and actors who will be taking part of this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. We had a record 13 writers apply to participate all of which are of very high standard.

We have selected six writers to take part in the production, and we also have several writers on stand-by, and will be brought into the mix when more actors register over the next couple of weeks. These actors will join the 14 actors already locked in ready to take on the 24 Hour Theatre challenge.

If you are an actor and you want to join in, our second round of actor registrations are now open. Register here.

Congratulations to our writers for 24 Hour Theatre

  • Tom Peach
  • David Rienits
  • Alexander Cuff
  • Rebecca Ellis
  • Bradley Ward
  • Sevgi Murphy

Congratulations to our round one cast:

  • Adam Armitt
  • Alex Groombridge
  • Bernadette Le Mesurier
  • Beth McGoldrick-Fuller
  • Bryson Grenfell
  • Charmaine Sharp
  • Inga Silfr
  • Jarrod Sleiman
  • Kirra McGoldrick
  • Lisa Omodei
  • Mathew Latham
  • Natalie McConchie
  • Robert Bruce
  • Sophie Bentley