Playmates 2018 Judges Announcement & Interviews (part 2)

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PLAYMATES ILLAWARRA XIII

7:30PM Friday 9th November 2018
CITY DIGGERS CLUB WOLLONGONG
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).

THE JUDGES

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.

INTERVIEWS (part 2)

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.

 

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Playmates Cast Announcement & Interview with the Players

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Playmates 2018 Team Announcement
&  Interview with the players

Performance – One Night Only
7:30PM FRIDAY 9TH NOVEMBER 2018
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

THE PLAYERS

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

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

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

STANWELL PARK ARTS THEATRE (SPAT)
Wayne Turner (captain), Katy Loader, Shayan Murray and Byron Faulkner

 

Interview with THE PLAYERS

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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

“NASA.”
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

RESULTS+REVIEW: WEEK 2
SHORT+SWEET ILLAWARRA
Bridge St Theatre Coniston

RESULTS

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
4th Place: WAITING FOR MASTERCHEF
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
4th Place: WAITING FOR MASTERCHEF
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.

REVIEW

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

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WEEK 2 PREVIEW
SHORT+SWEET THEATRE ILLAWARRA 2018

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

BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW TO WEEK 2
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.

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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 Trybooking.com 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.

 

SHORT+SWEET ILLAWARRA
Produced by Black Box Productions
in association with the Roo Theatre Company and the Phoenix Theatre

https://shortandsweet.org/festivals/shortsweet-illawarra-2018

WEEK 2 (11 Plays)
18-21 OCTOBER 2018
Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
Home of the Phoenix Theatre
Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/XUJE


TICKETS

$27 Adult, $22 Concession, $17 Child

FESTIVAL CONTACT
LUKE BERMAN
Executive Producer | Festival Director
luke.berman@shortandsweet.org

Review+Results: Week 1 Short+Sweet Illawarra

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RESULTS+REVIEW: WEEK 1
SHORT+SWEET ILLAWARRA
Harbour Theatre Shellharbour

RESULTS

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:
1st Place: THREATENED PANDA FIGHTS BACK
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?
2nd Place: THREATENED PANDA FIGHTS BACK
3rd Place: CRY FOR ME
Is This A Dream advances to Short+Sweet Sydney 2019

REVIEW

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW
Tickets $27 Adult | $22 Concession

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

 

Preview: 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2018

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Our writers for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra have all completed their scripts, and we are very excited with what lies ahead, with a great standard of writing across the board. It is truly amazing what our writers were able to achieve in less than 6 hours, in the middle of the night.

Now the pressure turns to our actors, the brave warriors whose job it is now to learn, interpret and perform these original works this evening at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston.

We are pleased to announce the cast, writers and the plays that we will be performing at 7:30pm for one night only. Tickets are still available, book now to secure your seat!

 

Goddesses written by Tom Peach

Starring Sophie Bentley, Tahlia Crinis, Cara Severino and Charlotte Cuff

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Frank, as part of this last wishes, has asked his family to compose an epitaph to be used on his gravestone. As they struggle to come up with a few lines that express their frustration with the old man, old jealousies, slights, and frustrations re-surface.

 

It’s Only Me written by Alexander Cuff

Starring Bradley Ward, Jarrod Riesinger, Arthur Gallagher and Bryson Grenfell

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Harold is stopped from boarding his bus by a version of him from an alternate reality, who tells him that all of the other alternate Harolds in the multiverse are being hunted to extinction. Now, the last surviving Harolds have united to discuss a course of action, but what is the real problem here?

 

Paper Dolls written by Billie Acosta

Starring Charmaine Sharp, Brandon Fairley, Kiah Sassall, Stephanie McAulay and Carina Louise

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Are we really as one dimensional as the script suggests? Maybe the status quo has its place in society – maybe that’s what holds us together, binds us, makes us feel accepted and necessary. And maybe it’s our biggest problem. Maybe we don’t fit into boxes after all?

 

Dreams by Matthew Latham

A monologue starring Nat McConchie

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When a young girl who only ever wanted to make shoes, is dragged into a world of sorcery and violence when she heads out alone one day to chop wood. She uses her wits to survive and enact a brutal revenge plot, but battle not with monsters, let ye become a monster. For when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

 

The Star written by Charlotte Smee

A monologue performed by Dylan Horvat.

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Clement Harrington III is a professional auditioner, without a driver’s licence or any concept of constructive criticism. He’s been trying to get his big break for years, but no producer seems to want his big, bold ideas or his dashing features and impeccable dress. He can even cry on cue! So why doesn’t he ever get the part?

 

All Locked Up written by James Turnbull

Starring Sam Sweeting, Lisa Omodei, Jarrod Sleiman, Cameron Johnstone and Byron Faulkner

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Five inmates attempt to break out of the notorious Gold Hole International Prison, but their Boss is hiding a secret that will shake the very foundations of their gang. Can they hold it together long enough to make it out, or will lies, deceit and treachery reign supreme?

 

The Rhythm of the Night written by Sevgi Murphy

Starring Alex Groombridge, Andrew Courtney, Bernadette Le Mesurier and Robert Bruce

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Follows the story of John’s family who are learning to re-create their lives after an accident which has left John immobilised for life. Concealed feelings of resent, anger, frustration and guilt seem to be constantly rising to the surface as the mystery of what really happened on the night of the accident is revealed. Will this family ever truly live peacefully again and successfully leave the rhythm of that horrendous night in the past?

 

Mystic Nights written by Mary Stanley

Starring Jen Jackson, Chloe Brock, Nathan Edwards, Clara Saddi and Sam Bruce

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Reporters Tracey and Richard interview three of the most renowned psychics in Mount Druitt to find answers that will lead to the whereabouts of missing boy Brodie Decker.

Devised Piece – Phoenix Theatre

Facilitated by Steen. Starring Aviva Sheb’a, Linda Campbell, Rory Holloway and Dylan Gee

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The Phoenix Theatre, eager to trial some fresh methods of creating devised theatre in Australia are joining Black Box in the challenge of 24 Hour Theatre – devising, not writing an original play in 24 Hours. Stay tuned for more information about this unique piece as it is created during the day…

 

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Team Captains: 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2018

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One Night to Write, One Day To Play

The teams have been locked in for Black Box Theatre’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra – 7:30pm this Saturday night at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston, home of the Phoenix Theatre. Nine original short plays will be created all within just one day!

Team lists are kept top secret until 24 hours from showtime, meaning actors and writers remain guessing as to who they will be working with for the one night only performance. We would, however, like to introduce the team captains for our nine short plays.

Rumour has it the cast have been busy trying to predict the makeup of the teams, including which actors will be given one of the two first ever Monologues in 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. Their list for who is getting the monologues can now be narrowed down to two of the captains announced today – no doubt forcing them to go back to the drawing board with their predictions.

This year, we will also be keeping which writers our captains have been allocated to under lock and key until Friday night’s briefing.

TEAM CAPTAINS

Bradley Ward

16904585_1249168675178720_5385533647264944431_oBradley graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2013 with a Bachelor of Performance (Acting). He has spent the years since experimenting with every style of theatre he can get his hands on, including Musicals, Radio Plays, Short Plays, Dinner Theatre and Improvisation. Performing mostly in the Illawarra, Macarthur and Sydney areas, he has somehow also found the time to write and direct several productions. This is his fourth time participating in 24 Hour Theatre, including being in two that progressed to Short+Sweet Sydney .

“There is no experience quite like it. You fly through the day on an extended adrenaline rush, kept on track by dedication to your team and writer, taking the stage to perform a script written specifically with you in mind. The trauma bonding you undertake with your fellow actors is unbreakable, turning to each other years later to reminisce on that insane, blur of a day.”

Aviva Sheb’a

164989_10151749997510312_603092705_nAviva Sheb’a graduated from full-time dance school in 1968. Studies included classical ballet (Cecchetti Method), jazz dance, various types of national dance, some tap, and her favourite, Classical Spanish and Flamenco dance, as well as singing.  Aviva developed Vocal Dance as a way to express her innermost feelings when words failed, and taught her method in many countries.  At seventeen, she toured the Vietnam War as a flamenco dancer — with a Rhythm and Blues band. Throughout Vietnam, she heard, “This is a war zone, Baby — improvise!” That became her motto for life, and eventually the title of her one-woman show. Currently Aviva is developing her War Zone sequel, Apuckerlips Now.

“I can hardly wait to rise to whatever challenges 24 Hour Theatre brings! How will I move and give voice? Will it be hilarious, deadly serious? Something I’ve never done before? Who will I perform with? I cannot wait to find out.”


Jen Jackson

560154_10200446607876595_1523830413_nJen has a strong comedic and improvised theatre performance background and returns again for her fourth 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. She is a current member of The Improverts and has been a team anchor for the Wollongong Comedy team in Playmates since 2013. Jen has also worked on Sydney shows, such as Crash Test Drama and Short+Sweet Sydney. Jen spent over a decade working with the Brook Theatre based in the Blue Mountains and worked with Sydney Interactive Theatre for three years. She has also done several short courses and a six month program at NIDA and has become an Illawarra favourite, especially at 24 Hour Theatre.

“What I love most about 24 Hour Theatre is easily the people – for sure! It involves all the people I love, people I get to see and perform with, and celebrate making great theatre with! I love the amazing adrenaline of smashing out a script in a day – call me crazy but I love it. I wonder though, if I can learn Bradley Wards 45 minute 2017 play in 9 hours rehearsal, what’s next!”

 

Sophie Bentley

12112282_10200939605528332_7585349470089655399_nSophie currently studies Acting at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television. She has performed with the IPAC Drama Studio for over a decade, and has done shows including Macbeth, Silent Laughter, Alice in Wonderland and more. Last year she Played Mary in Roo Theatre’s Our Country’s Good and is about to go into production for Roo’s highly anticipated staging of 1984. Sophie is also lead actress in Black Box’s short play The Quality of Life which has advanced to the Short+Sweet Sydney Gala Finals in two weeks after winning best play by both audience and judges. The Quality of Life was written by Sevgi Murphy at last year’s 24 Hour Theatre and adapted to the ten minute form.

 “24 Hour Theatre is such a challenging and rewarding experience. Your adrenaline and excitement for the project pushes you to do things that you never thought you would be able to do, and by the end of it, you are so proud of everything that was achieved. The whole experience is a blast, and I’m excited to see what happens this year!”


Sam Sweeting

13615294_1014067828711889_2044506814816248382_nSam Sweeting has been on stage in multiple local Wollongong productions, including Red vs Blue, Alice Through a Looking Glass Darkly, Grimm Tales, Tempest, and Cannibal the Musical. He has also  directed in both Bridgeworks productions held at the Phoenix Theatre. Sam was also Co-Director and Artistic Director for Red vs Blue, also at the Phoenix Theatre.

He has also been in Our Neighbourhood: A Play with Songs, and Albert and Jameson: A Play with Vampires, at Wollongong Workshop Theatre, and followed both of those shows to Sydney at the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Sam has been a regular with Black Box Theatre, participating in the last 4 years of Playmates. He currently holds the Playmates Trophy The Golden Gong after his University team won their second grand final victory. He is looking forward to his third 24 Hour Theatre having participated the previous two years. He has participated in several plays selected to be restaged at Short+Sweet Sydney under the Black Box Theatre banner, including 2017 Gala Finalist Time Squad as well as next week’s Wildcards Finals entry Badda Bing Badda Bang – advancing to the Wildcards Finals to compete to enter the Gala Finals!

“Every year has been a good time and I’m excited to see what the new writers and performers will bring to the table.”

Dylan Horvat

26000987_1764096960269016_7708360017011127313_nDylan is an actor, director, writer, stand-up comedian and improv comedian who has acted for 24 Hour Theatre every year since 2015. Notable roles include Barry Hollis in “Hating Alison Ashley“, Tim Allgood in “Noises Off“, Vinnie in “The Odd Couple“, Alan Roderick in “Othello“, Hipockets Duncan in “The Buddy Holly Story“, and Aide Williams in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at Roo Theatre.

Dylan also played Sarge in “Red vs Blue” and Israel Swan in “Cannibal the Musical” at Phoenix Theatre; and Mr Big / Agent 44 in “Get Smart” at Workshop Theatre. Dylan  directed “SignAL” at Wollongong Workshop Theatre, assistant directed “Peter Pan” at Roo Theatre and written for Phoenix’s “Tales from the Wasteland” as well as IYAP’s “Virus” and “Lost Along the Way“.

Dylan recently made his Sydney acting debut, appearing in Black Box’s ten minute sci-fi comedy The Human Trap written and directed by Alexander Cuff in the Short+Sweet Sydney Wildcards.

“I’m addicted. 24 Hour Theatre is my heroin. I need it. Just one more time then I’ll quit, I swear …. (I totally won’t quit)”

Alex Groombridge

10322795_10153879842257577_3512600692864919776_nAlex acted in the last two years of 24 hour theatre and returns to take on team captaincy for the first time. Last year, Alex’s piece Pieces of Time was selected to perform in Short+Sweet Sydney with a revamped version of the 24 Hour Theatre piece (2016) later named Time Squad, written by Alexander Cuff. Time Squad won best play by judges of its week in the Top 80 and performed in last year’s Short+Sweet Sydney Gala Finals.

A few weeks ago, Alex’s 2017 24 Hour Theatre play The Human Trap was sent to the Short+Sweet Wildcards. It finished its season runner up in people’s choice voting, with sister Black Box entry Badda Bing Badda Bang finishing first in audience voting.

Alex has also acted in short plays Ichabod Undead, For Hire (Bridgeworks), and Wasteland Doctor (Tales From The Wasteland) at the Phoenix Theatre. She played Polly Pry in Cannibal the Musical and has acted in many other productions, including musicals since 2014.

“I love the adrenaline rush you get from having to put a play together in such a small amount of time, and the teamwork it requires to do that. You really get to learn your strengths and weaknesses.”

 

Nat McConchie

29104348_1449514338491969_925895700913324032_nAfter having spent a decade studying dance, Nat has looked to other performance crafts to add to her creative repertoire including acting where she now finds herself in her third year at the University of Wollongong studying Theatre.

Nat recently performed in Black Box Theatre’s Short+Sweet Sydney Top 80 winning production of The Quality of Life alongside fellow team captain Sophie Bentley and Beth Fuller, and she is very much looking to staging it one last time at the Short+Sweet Sydney Gala Finals in two weeks time.

“I love 24 Hour Theatre, mainly because it’s fun and tricky. This time around, I really hope I get to perform in something like Freud the musical but with food fights and dance numbers. And pipes. And bagels…”

Charmaine Sharp

12717383_1031226083566643_7867140448668715162_nCharmaine is currently studying Bachelor of Performance at the University of Wollongong and is in her second year. Outside her studies, she has performed in most Phoenix Theatre shows last year, notably Slacky Flat and Jadore Lemore. She enjoyed her first 24 Hour Experience and is excited to return for another challenge! Her performance and team work was particularly noted by the producer and the Black Box production team, and is excited to see her leadership skills develop as Team Captain.

“I want to be challenged and really show what I can do. 24 Hour Theatre is a really good opportunity to put your skills to the test and that’s what I want to do, and after my experience last year I feel pretty confident that it’s going to be another thrilling experience.”

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24 HOUR THEATRE ILLAWARRA

7:30PM SATURDAY 24TH MARCH 2018
BRIDGE STREET THEATRE | CONISTON
produced by Black Box Theatre
blackboxtheatre.org | #24HourTheatreIllawarra | bookings@blackboxtheatre.org

Plays in 24 Hour Theatre may contain coarse language and adult themes.

Black Box cannot guarantee there will be tickets available for sale at the door. We strongly urge audience to pre-purchase their tickets now to avoid disappointment as seats are strictly limited.

Don’t have a credit card? You can email us and tell us how many tickets you need (how many Adults/Concessions) and we will reserve your seats and just pay in cash at Box Office*. Simply email bookings@blackboxtheatre.org

*Please note these tickets need to be collected before 7:15pm Saturday night or they will be released for door sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing our new Cast Members for S+S Finals

The excitement of two of our three short plays submitted to Short+Sweet Sydney progressing to the finals series has grown considerably with two new family members. There’s a new face to both Gala Finalist The Quality of Life and Wildcards Finalist Badda Bing Badda Bang.

Unfortunately, the dates of the return season clash for two of our family members, Beth Fuller (Quality of Life) and Bryson Grenfell (Badda Bing Badda Bang). To these actors, we are saddened not being able share the stage with you in the finals, and from everyone at Black Box, as well as your entire fellow cast and creative team, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without each of you along the journey we could not have staged the wonderful pieces of ten-minute theatre that we did.

bronte_hsTalented actress Bronte Pearce, who first bonded with the cast from Quality of Life back in week 4, steps in to play Dr Simpson. Bronte is an actor from Queensland but is currently based in Sydney where she graduated from The Actor’s Workshop and has since performed in various independent theatre productions. Bronte boasts an impressive professional resume including several US feature films shot on the Gold Coast including Pirates of the Caribbean: dead men tell no tales, San Andreas and Thor: Ragnorok. Bronte is currently in production on an Australian Television series and has recently been cast in a lead role in a new Australian feature film.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to play this piece with such a strong team. I first saw Quality Of Life, performed by Sophie, Natalie and Beth during short and sweet week 4 run. I was so touched by the writing, the artistic direction and the performances, and couldn’t help but express to the whole team how moved I was. After having the joy of getting to know this talented bunch back stage it feels so wonderful to get to work with them so soon!” – Bronte Pearce

Black Box would like to also like to welcome Arthur Gallagher to our Wildcard piece Badda Bing Badda Bang. Stepping in to the lead role on short notice in an adrenalin-injected comedy is no easy task, however director Jarrod Sleiman and producer Luke Berman were blown away by the audition of Arthur, and feel relieved that we have someone of his caliber to fill some big shoes left by Bryson.

arthur_cropArthur has been involved with a variety of film and stage productions, taking on countless amateur productions with roles including Richard III, Lady Bracknell, Dr Frankenstien, Hamlet, Estragon, Pumba, Doug from Cosi and Biff from Death of a Salesman. Arthur showed an amazing stage presence and ability to commit to his character with the abilities of an actor far beyond his years, and Black Box is excited to have him as our front-man in the Wildcard Finals, as well as in the up-coming 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra.

Welcome to the Black Box family Bronte and Arthur! We are looking forward to working with you both!

Don’t miss our new-look plays in the finals at the Tom Mann Theatre Sydney!

BADDA BING BADDA BANG – WILDCARDS FINAL
Saturday 31st March – Sunday 1st April
Written by Tom Peach, Directed by Jarrod Sleiman, Asst Directed by Monica Kickert and Luke Berman. Starring Arthur Gallagher, Sam Lovell, Sam Sweeting and James Turnbull.

THE QUALITY OF LIFE – GALA FINALS
Thursday 5th – Saturday 7th April
Written by Sevgi Murphy, directed by Luke Berman. Starring Sophie Bentley, Bronte Pearson and Nat McConchie.

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Short+Sweet Sydney Success!

Congratulations to all three of our short plays which performed in week four of Short+Sweet Sydney 2018. All three plays impressed, with both The Quality of Life and Badda Bing Badda Bang being chosen to advance to the finals series!

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In the Top 80, Sevgi Murphy’s The Quality of Life won best production by both Judges and People’s Choice voting, and has been invited to advance straight to the high profile GALA FINALS 5th – 7th April 2018 at the Tom Mann Theatre. They will perform alongside the best plays of the festival. Congratulations to the cast (Sophie Bentley, Nat McConchie and Beth Fuller), our writer Sevgi Murphy and director Luke Berman.

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In our Wildcards, Tom Peach’s Badda Bing Badda Bang advanced to the WILDCARDS FINALS after winning People’s Choice and was also runner up best production as voted by the Judges. It will be fighting to join the cast of Quality of Life in the Gala Finals.
Wildcards run 31st March – 1st April. Congratulations to writer Tom Peach, director Jarrod Sleiman and cast Bryson Grenfell, Sam Lovell, Sam Sweeting and the very brave James Turnbull, who finished their play (and curtain call) with a split lip requiring 6 stitches!

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The Human Trap written and directed by Alexander Cuff was also hugely successful, finishing 2nd place in People’s Choice voting in what was a very strong Wildcard line-up. Congratulations to Alexander Cuff for his wonderful leadership and direction, and to his cast Dylan Horvat, James Turnbull, Alex Groombridge, Jarrod Sleiman and Vu Moyo.

Black Box Theatre would like to extend a massive THANK YOU to fellow actor James Coates who kindly drove James to hospital immediately after the final Wildcard performance – James made it back just in time to learn that his Wildcard piece won best play in judges voting and will join Badda Bing Badda Bang in the Wildcards final. Your victory was well deserved with a beautiful piece about love and separation, and we look forward to seeing you in a few weeks!

A huge thanks also goes to audience member and Black Box member Glenn Wanstall for his support at hospital, and getting James back to the theatre following his stitches. This goes to show what wonderful love and support is generated by the festival, and Black Box Theatre is indebted to both James and Glenn, thank you to both these wonderful human beings.

We had a huge amount of support also from Wollongong audience who made the trek up to the city to support our shows, and we hope to see you again for our finals charge!

GALA FINALS
Featuring THE QUALITY OF LIFE
7:30pm Thursday 5th April – Saturday 7th April 2018 
 at the Tom Mann Theatre | Chalmers Street Surrey Hills

WILDCARD FINALS
Featuring BADDA BING BADDA BANG
3:30pm Saturday 31st March
2:30pm Sunday 1st April at the Tom Mann Theatre | Chalmers Street Surrey Hills

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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.