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

WILDCARD – Badda Bing Badda Bang by Tom Peach

Cast: Bryson Grenfell, Sam Lovell, Sam Sweeting and Mathew Latham

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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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

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


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.


Sophie Bentley, Natalie McConchie, Beth McGoldrick-Fuller


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

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


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?


Bernadette Le Mesurier, Kim Hobbs, and Dave Tinelt


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

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


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.


Rebecca Wall, Monica Schwenke and Clara Staples


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…


Bryson Grenfell, Sam Lovell, Matthew Latham and Sam Sweeting


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.


Saturday 2nd September 2017
Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston






















24 Hour Theatre: 5 Team Captains Announced


Some of the actors for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra. (Clockwise from L) Bernadette Le Mesurier, Vu Moyo, Maxwell Tassell, Beth Fuller, Lisa Omodei, Sophie Bentley

The preparation for this year’s 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra is heating up, and for the first time we have announced the seven team captains prior to the night of the briefing. Our writers now know one of their ingredients, however will have to wait patiently until Friday 1st September to learn the final make up of their team!


Four writers for 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra 2017. L to R Alexander Cuff, Bradley Ward, Sevgi Murphy and Ace Povey-Robertson

On Tuesday 22nd August five of our seven writers met their new actors, with the other two plays to meet in the coming days. This is our first look at how our plays are taking shape ready for the biggest challenge in the Illawarra theatre calendar – making an original short play from page to stage all in just twenty-four hours!

We have a record number of actors participating, with 30 actors locked in to our seven writers. But let’s have a look at our first 5 pairings of writers and their actors…

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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!


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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.