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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.


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


Actor Registrations OPEN: 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2017

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Are you up for the ultimate challenge? Registrations are now open to be one of our actors in this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. Actors will be given an original short play, written overnight and will have just ten hours to learn their lines, create their characters and perform their short play in front of a live audience.

For more information and to register as an actor click here!

24 Hour Theatre Illawarra – Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Briefing 7:30pm Friday 1st September | Performance 7:30pm Saturday 2nd September 2017

Produced by Luke Berman, Black Box Theatre


Writer Registrations Open: 24 HOUR THEATRE 2017

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Registrations are now open for writers to take on the challenge of writing an original short play in one evening – and watch it transformed to stage the very next day, scripts down!

24 Hour Theatre Illawarra – Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Briefing Friday 1st September | Performance Saturday 2nd September 2017
Produced by Luke Berman, Black Box Theatre

To register as a writer for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2017 Click Here

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

Your team of actors will be kept secret until the night before and you will need to include stimulus topics given to you to use in your play.

In 2016, we saw another wonderful showcase of local plays. Alexander Cuff’s sci- fi comedy Pieces of Time was selected, and redeveloped to take to Short+Sweet Sydney. The newly titled and adrenaline charged ten-minute piece Time Squad went on to be selected as the best play of its week, and performed in the prestigious Short+Sweet Sydney Gala Finals starring Bradley Ward, Alex Groombridge, Sam Sweeting and Sam Lovell.

“One of the best comedies of the Festival.” – Sydney Arts Guide on Time Squad,  Short+Sweet Sydney Gala Finals 2017

This year, plays may also be chosen to be redeveloped to progress to Short+Sweet Sydney as well as the inaugural Short+Sweet Illawarra festival launching October 2018.

To register as a writer for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2017 click here.

Actor and Director registrations will be opening soon.

For more information contact producer Luke Berman at



Playmates Cast Announcement

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7:30pm Friday 16th December | City Diggers Club Wollongong

We are proud to announce another electric cast for Playmates this Friday night 7:30pm at City Diggers Club in Wollongong.

Stanwell Park Arts Theatre are looking to defend their very first trophy against a fired-up University team out to avenge their narrow defeat to SPAT in last year’s Grand Final round.

Crowd favourites from Wollongong Comedy are fielding a team made up completely of Stand Up Comedians, while 2-time winners The Drama Studio are putting forward an incredibly strong team of graduates from their acting school operating out of the IPAC.

Playmates foundation groups Wollongong Workshop Theatre and Roo Theatre complete our teams for the night, with both community theatre groups raising the trophy twice in previous years.


The cast for Playmates XI

Roo Theatre: Dylan Horvatt (captain), James Turnball, Damian Ryan and Jarrod Sleiman

Wollongong Workshop Theatre: Glenn Wanstall (captain), Luke Reeves, Debbie Neilson and Erin Bubb

University: Alexander Cuff (captain), Bradley Ward, Sam Sweeting and Lisa Omodei

SPAT: Vu Moyo (captain), Diana McLaren and Courtney Moses

The Drama Studio: Mathew Latham (captain), Evan Kerr, Bec Ellis and Sam Lovell

Wollongong Comedy: Stu MacPherson (captain), Adam Armitt, Sally Lopez and Wayne Peoples

Tickets are available at the door, or you can secure your seat at All tickets $15 and tables on level 1 are $80 which admit 8 to Playmates.

Play Announcement – 24 Hour Theatre 2016

Rehearsals are well underway for Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre Project – tonight only at the Bridge Street Theatre.

Last night, six original short plays were written and handed to our team of brave actors who are currently blocking their pieces and learning their lines and are primed for the ultimate theatre-creation challenge.

We are pleased to announce an incredibly strong lineup of plays with an energetic and committed cast with the best scripts yet to be written in a Black Box 24 Hour Theatre production.



Written by Tom Peach
Cast: Erin Mascord and Inga Silfr

The Desire of the Soul

Inga Silfr, Tom Peach (writer) and Erin Mascord in “The Desire of the Soul” 

Inga is home to see her mother Erin.  For the first time in Inga’s adult life she needs her mother to really see her and listen to her. Over the course of one evening old arguments are reheated, truth is spoken, and a relationship is rebuilt.



Written by Alexander Cuff
Cast: Bradley Ward, Sam Sweeting, Sam Lovell and Alexandra Groombridge

Pieces of Time

Alexandra Groombridge, Bradley Ward, Alexander Cuff (writer), Sam Lovell and Sam Sweeting in “Pieces of Time”

Pieces of Time is the sexy, yet relevant story of two young Time Patrollers who come across future versions of themselves. Hijinks ensue. Let’s hope they don’t run out of… time.



Written by Bec Ellis
Directed by Niki Robertson
Cast: Kirra McGoldrick, Monica Kickert, Izzy Fredericks and Lisa Omodei


Niki Robertson (Director), Lisa Omodei, Monica Kickert (hidden), Kirra McGoldrick, Izzy Fredericks and Bec Ellis (Writer) in “Hanson Vs HSP”

Two of the most talked about players in the recent Australian election go head to head in the legal battle of the century. Pauline Hanson attempts to get Halal Snack Packs banned on the basis that they go against the Constitution.



Written by David Rienits
Cast: Matthew Latham, Vu Moyo and Claire Champman


Matthew Latham, David Rienits (Writer), Claire Chapman and Vu Muyo in “In the Path of Hate”

The glamour of television and sponsored worship to private prayer. What is the place of religion and when does it go wrong? In the Path of Hate explores a fake religious order that seems to have elements of the horrifically familiar.



Written by Georgia Moon
Directed by Bruce Polinis
Cast: Dylan Horvat, Jarrod Sleiman, Brandon Fairlie and Josh Chicharo


Josh Chicharo, Bruce Polonis (Director), Dylat Horvat, Georgia Moon (Writer), Jarrod Sleiman & Brandon Fairlie in “The Reality Paradigm”

Four men sit together and discuss the latest news. Upon paying scrupulous attention to the fine-print, they begin to question the integrity of more than just the paper.



Written by Steen
Cast: Hayley Reynolds, Jen Jackson, Sevgi Murphy and Stephen Wales


Sevgi Murphy, Hayley Reynolds, Steen (Writer foreground), Stephen Wales and Jen Jackson in “Vanishing Point”

Four flatmates discover something is not quite right and sometimes you just need to pick up the phone to make someone feel cared for.

Pre-purchase tickets and reservations are still available, and tickets are available at the door. All tickets are just $15 each.

The show starts at 7:30pm tonight only – don’t miss out.


Meet the Writers – 24 Hour Theatre Wollongong 2016

Black Box Theatre is proud to announce its writers for the 24 Hour Theatre Project  this  Saturday 3rd September at the Bridge St Theatre, Coniston. Our writers will have only one night to write an original short play each which will be staged by teams of actors – scripts down in less than 24 hours.

Our writers this year are David Rienits, Rebecca Ellis, Tom Peach, Georgia Moon, Alexander Cuff and Steen.

Tom Peach

Tom Peach WR 24 Hour Theatre 2016

Tom returns for his 2nd 24 Hour Theatre project after writing Doctor’s Orders which producer Luke Berman hand selected to take to Short+Sweet Sydney earlier this year which was very well received by audience and judges.

Tom was born in the UK where he lived for some time. He has also lived in Canada, the USA, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia. He has been writing plays for about three years and has studied an open studio course in writing for performance at NIDA. He has had plays staged in Wollongong, Stanwell Park, and in Sydney village.

“When I write I try to be very open, which can lead to my plays being dark, and hopefully funny and thought provoking.”

When asked how he is planning on staying up all night, Tom says he will be drinking wine and binging in episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful.


Bec Ellis

Bec Ellis WR 24 Hour Theatre 2016

Bec has been an active member of the Wollongong Theatre scene for some time. Last year, Bec took on the challenge of writing for Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre Project with Coffeegate. She has also written for Final Draft  with The Drama Studio and for Wollongong Workshop Theatre’s Workshorts.

Apart from writing, she directed her first full length show with Workshop Theatre, taking on Dario Fo’s comedy Accidental Death of Anarchist.. She has also directed at  Short+Sweet Festival and a have been a technician for several shows as well. She also acted in the ten year anniversary of Playmates Illawarra (2015).

“24 Hour Theatre is a super fun challenge. It’s high stress but I enjoy it because it makes you just pick an idea and run with it.”


Alexander Cuff

Alexander Cuff WR 24 Hour Theatre 2016Alexander took part in last year’s 24 Hour Theatre Project in Wollongong as an actor in Tom Peach’s Doctor’s Orders which also ran for a week at Sydney’s Short+Sweet short play festival. This year he returns seeking a new challenge, this time as a writer.

Alexander has been writing short plays for 4 years. His first few attempts were part of the IPAC’s ‘Young Playwright’s Project’, with Mari-Oh, No!, When All of a Sudden, and Trial and Error. In 2014, he started taking writing electives at UOW, and it helped immensely. Last year, his short script Roughing It went on to win Panel Favourite at Workshop Theatre’s Workshorts, and this year he returned to his roots to again write for IPAC’s Final Draft with a piece entitled Red Planet with a Caramel Center.

To see through the night, Alexander plans on delving into his playlist of the most amazing video game soundtracks ever, which, according to Alexander, includes tracks that one cannot listen to without head-banging. His biggest problem will be selecting the most stimulating tracks out of his 22+ hour theme music collection.

Georgia Moon

Georgia Moon WR 24 Hour Theatre 2016

Our youngest writer, Port Macquarie product Georgia Moon has already made impressive in-roads to the Illawarra theatre scene over the last few years since moving to the South Coast. Georgia has only recently finished year 12 and has been accepted to the University of Wollongong for study in theatre and philosophy.

She has performed in Merlin Live’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and their feature film The Girl Who Lived. She has been involved in several productions at her high-school including playing “mum” in Hating Alison Ashley and has written and directed plays for classmates with special needs. She has sung competitively in eisteddfods since the age of 13 and is currently undertaking two other writing projects with Merrigong Theatre Company and the Illawarra Youth Arts Project.

“I thought the 24 hour writing project provided a unique opportunity to challenge my skills as a writer. The task is a lofty one; to have strong, dynamic characters and an eloquent script created in under 24 hours but this pressure is precisely what attracted me to the project in the first place. I find my best writing ensues under these conditions and in the spirit of creating good work, I thought I owe it to myself, to my characters and to my audience to take part.”


David Rienits

David Rienits WR 24 Hour Theatre 2016

David Rienits returns to 24 Hour Theatre after writing the moving piece Listen in last year’s production. A creative writing graduate at the University of Wollongong, David also has an extensive theatre resume which includes writing or acting with Roo Theatre Company (Shellharbour), Arcadians Theatre Group, Wollongong Workshop Theatre, Dire Theatre, IYAP and Black Box Theatre. David has also worked with the IPAC as a writing teacher, mentor and playwright for various programs.

“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. To explore what makes people react and emote, to explore why people might act the way they do. Whether to depict the ideal or to depict the real, whether to make a point or allow the audience to explore themselves. That’s why I’ll always come back to 24 Hour Theatre. Staying up overnight won’t be a hassle. I have had multiple 12-hour writing, assessment doing and D&D playing nights, so my body is well-trained in the art of  burning the candle at both ends.”


Steen WR 24 Hour Theatre 2016

A gifted writer, director, designer, and also the owner of the Phoenix Theatre – Steen has started building a talented group of emerging artists many of which are currently training, or have graduated through the highly regarded School of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. Steen also has strong ties with established professional artists and theatre groups in Australia and abroad. His vision of opening up his space to independent theatre groups, including Black Box Theatre, is setting up the Phoenix Theatre as a potential hub not only for Phoenix productions, but for the many independent groups making a name for themselves in the Illawarra.

At the age of 10 he was introduced to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and he has had a love affair with the Bard ever since – recently directing his fourth Macbeth production at the Phoenix in 2015.

Steen has a passion for fine teas and quality food, evident from the successful opening of his café on Crown Street Wollongong – Ziggy’s House of Nomms.

24 Hour Theatre Project – Registrations are open for Wollongong season

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Registrations Open for Writers and Actors
2nd-3rd September 2016
at the Phoenix Theatre, Coniston

Registrations are now open for Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre Project in the Illawarra. This is the ultimate challenge for actors and writers, who will write and perform an original short play all in just 24 hours.

Click here to register your interest

For more information contact producer Luke Berman at



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City Diggers Club Wollongong
Friday 11th December

University Team: Alexander Cuff (captain), Arthur Tamer, Sam Sweeting and Dave Barranquero

The team of current students from University of Wollongong’s School of Creative Arts are fielding possibly the strongest team in University’s Playmates history. University has fielded a team in all ten Playmates to date and despite a Grand Final appearance in 2013 and leading the way for most of last year’s showcase, University are still chasing their first Playmates trophy. But with three returning cast members and the addition of the very talented Dave Barranquero, the University team are the team that may be the bookies’ favourite to take the Golden Gong trophy from The Drama Studio.

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Alexander Cuff – University team

Returning for his second Playmates as University team captain is Alexander Cuff, who specialises as a comedic actor and has been expanding himself of recent times in more dramatic pieces of theatre. His first main role was Basil Fawlty, which Alexander claims that wasn’t just because he had the right body type for John Cleese. He recently starred in Doctor’s Orders in Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre Project (along with SPAT team member Bradley Ward and last year’s Grand Final winner Mathew Latham) which was selected out of a strong selection of productions to form Black Box Theatre’s submission into Short+Sweet Sydney which will be performed mid-January. Alexander is also an experienced playwright and theatre director.

Having performed in last year’s Playmates, Alexander can confidently say that he is looking forward to the entire process of Playmates and can’t wait to perform in front of a healthy crowd on Friday night.

“You get such a rush when you’re on stage and you don’t have a clue what to do, but you just do what comes naturally and it works. It’s the best feeling ever. I have spent the entire year watching clips from last year’s Playmates in anticipation for this year!”

When probed who he think has a chance on taking out the Playmates trophy this year, Alexander finds it difficult to pick any of the teams as a clear favourite.

“Mathematically, every team has some chance of winning. What it all comes down to in the end is which team gives the biggest ‘donation’ to the judges.”

DaveBarranquero - University team

DaveBarranquero – University team

Making his Playmates debut is the very talented Dave Barranquero who has had a passion for acting since he was a little boy. Since then it has developed into a hunger to perform. Training wise, Dave attended classes at the Thirroul Academy for Music Dance and Drama throughout primary school as well as 2 years of classes at The Drama Studio at the IPAC (2010 – 2012). He has currently finished his second year at the University of Wollongong doing a Bachelor of Performance (2014 – present).

Dave has performed in many productions in the Illawarra community theatre scene, including The Phantom of the Opera (2014) with the Arcadians and, most recently, Macbeth (2015) at the Phoenix Theatre.

 “I love getting up on stage and giving my all no matter the task at hand. I am thoroughly pumped and honestly a little nervous for my first Playmates. In saying that, I am very confident in the strong team that the university has created. I watched from the audience last year and I said to myself “Right, I have to try this!”. And so this year I am fulfilling that dream.”

After showing no fear in the Playmates Training Day, Dave has taken a liking to the music and singing games that Playmates has to offer.

“We have all been drinking our egg whites and practising our scales. We’ve pretty much become a Barbershop Quartet. So although many teams struggle with musical improv, we will be harmoniously strong.”

“With improvisation you never know what to expect, but you can guarantee hilarious results no matter what the actors come up with.”

Sam Sweeting - University team

Sam Sweeting – University team

Returning for his second Playmates is young actor Sam Sweeting – currently studying theatre performance at University. Sam played one of the lead roles in Dire Theatre’s Our Neighbourhood at Wollongong Workshop Theatre, then again at Sydney Fringe.
Most recently he was in the Phoenix’s Alice Through a Looking Glass Darkly.

Sam is a young man of few words, but does not struggle at all to get his message across. Sam’s confidence in his University team is clear.

“We will crush all opposition and grind them into the dirt.”

Playmates producer Luke Berman who interviewed Sam attempted to get the young actor to talk.
Luke: Are you excited? Nervous?

Sam: Nervouscited.

Luke: Haha, love it. So, what are you looking forward to in Playmates?

Sam: Laughing at just about everything that happens.

Luke: Are there any games you hope you don’t get?

Sam: No, we’ll make the best of what we get.

Luke: Did you enjoy Playmates last year?

Sam: Yeah, it was great fun.

Luke: So, if your life were a book, what it would it be called?

Sam: “Lower Your Standards”

Luke: Haha that’s a good one.

Sam: ……

Luke: Thanks Sam.


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Arthur Tamer – University team

Also returning to Playmates after a strong contribution to last year’s University team is shot-gun talent Arthur Tamer, who has, surprisingly, only recently starting pursuing his dreams as an actor and has burst on to the Illawarra theatre scene and has been in very high demand. A current student at UOW’s School of Creative Arts, Arthur has also been nine other productions including playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus in Reefer Madness, Macbeth in… well, Macbeth, and just recently the Cheshire Cat in Alice at the Pheonix Theatre.

Arthur has done a lot of community theatre and has also worked professionally with a strong preference towards physicality and focus’ strongly on fully embracing the “embodiment of text”. He is also in “Lukedad’s fabulous Black Box Devised Ensemble, so watch this space next year. Ya hear?”

Arthur is looking forward to all the random things that happen on stage in Playmates.

“You think a scene is going to go one way, but then you get a completely different offer from your team-mate, and then all of a sudden you’re a cartel dealing alligator. But most of all I’m looking forward to working with the entire group this year – across all teams really feels like we’re just one big team. There’s no sense of competing against each-other (despite what Adam Armitt may say), rather we’re just performing with each-other, and I love that atmosphere.”

When asked who he think will take the Playmates Trophy to their home theatre foyer, Arthur thinks the time has come for the Stand-Up comedians to take home the gold.

“I think Wollongong Comedy has a decent run for it this year, so I’d be watching out for them. Although I think Roo Theatre is the dark horse and might surprise us pleasantly.”

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Video: Relive Memories from Playmates Past

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Relive classic moments from Playmates of the past before making new memories at Playmates X – 10 years of Improvised madness in the Illawarra region.

Moonburn Productions 2013 – OPERA – “The Train Driver”


Roo Theatre 2012 – SONG – “My Heart Is Like Soup”


Roo Theatre  2012 – OPERA – “Dezziare & the Battle of Asparagus”