MEET THE CREATIVES – 24 HOUR THEATRE – Gabriel, James and Carli!



All Tickets just $15 each


and pay at the door

Meet James Balian (Director), Carli Carey (Writer/Director) and Gabriel McCarthy (Actor) – Three of the many participants in the thrilling project 24 HOUR THEATRE

46249_112766805445117_6846707_nJames Balian
is a well loved and respected Sydney writer and director specialising in both short and full length plays. He has done a great deal of work with the Sydney Fringe and Short+Sweet Sydney. James lives north of the bridge, which he loves, except the regular rhetoric from friends who claim they can’t visit as they need a VISA for the crossing.

_BPS3001_8x12Gabriel McCarthy is a multi-award winning actor and graduate of the Actor’s College of Theatre & Television (2011). In 2007 Gabe started Gabatwa Studios in which he writes, acts in and directs his own theatre and films. Gabriel’s skills excel in improvisation, mime, acrobatic, grotesque, and he has been a gymnast for nearly 20 years. Gabe resides in the sunny part of Marrickville and works as the Artistic Director for Sydney Interactive Theatre in Sydney.

IMG_26245369244707Carli Carey marks hertheatrical writing and directing debut in 24 Hour Theatre Sydney and will be making the move to the big smoke next week. Carli owns two business – a photography business & an entertainment agency. Carli is also studying a Bachelor of Communication at GriffithUniversity and majoring in writing for stage & screen.

 Read their thoughts on 24 Hour Theatre…

Why do you want to be involved in the 24 Hour Theatre Project?

Gabe: I wanted to get involved with the 24 Hour Theatre Project because I always try to get involved in theatre industry events, especially for independent companies like Black Box. I know Luke Berman, who runs it, and many people involved as writers, actors and directors. They are all talented individuals, and I know we can all band together to form great things. 24 Hour Theatre allows that process to prosper!

James: It’s my first time and it sounds interesting. I’m working with an excellent writer Con Nats, so it will be very good and fun.

Carli: For me, I want to be involved in the 24 Hour Theatre Project because it is an opportunity to work on my craft in a challenging, fast paced environment! The concept that Luke Berman has brought to the table is both ambitious & exhilarating! As a writer & director I relish the chance to support local theatre, and more than that, to develop new & fresh works for stage. I am looking forward to working with an amazing team of incredibly talented actors & actresses who are passionate about what they do & can’t wait to ‘see what we’re all made of!


Are you nervous? Excited?

Gabe: I am very excited! I’ve been doing this a while now, so I’m not nervous – I’m just anxious to start!

James: I’m excited, especially given that we don’t know what really going to happen until 5pm on Day 1.

Carli: There is always an element of nervousness when taking a risk and putting something creative out there for people to enjoy / evaluate / critique. I’d like to think I have a lot of nervous excitement which seems to assist my creative process. Being nervous means I care about what I’m doing & that I’m giving the project my absolute best effort & energy. I am certainly excited to see what I write come to life in stage in Sunday night.


Tell us something funny or quirky about you.

Gabe: I’m quite a decent beat boxer.

James: I’m now the guy who tells dad jokes. Come to think of it, I always have.

Carli: Hmm… Something funny or quirky about me? I’m not sure. I just texted someone to ask their opinion and their response was, “most things”. I guess my response would be to come & chat with me and make your own mind up!


What can the audience expect to see when they see 24 Hour Theatre?

Gabe: When the audience cast their wonderful eyes upon 24 Hour Theatre, they’ll be seeing never before seen work, full of fresh material for them to really absorb and enjoy. Plus, I’m known for never taking anything too seriously – so I’m sure they’ll be a few chuckles out there!

James: Our aim is to put on an excellent and engaging show.

Carli: I hope the audience expects to see some inspired performances at 24 Hour Theatre, as I know there will be! The culmination of 24 adrenalin-filled hours will be seen on the Tap Gallery stage on Sunday night, and I think the audience may be surprised at what can be accomplished in a day when people are passionate about what they do.



Meet the Hosts of Playmates! Jim Fishwick and Sarah Knight


Jim Fishwick and Sarah Knight (Timekeeper)


Jim Fishwick is an award-winning performer and director and professional Improvisation champion. As part of the Winning Musical Theatre Act of the Sydney Fringe Festival 2012, entertainer Jim Fishwick has already captivated audiences with his unusual and strange mix of entertainment along with his passion for the dinky ukulele (Jim is the current president of Sydney University’s Ukulele Society.)

Taking inspiration from some of the more quirky comedians such as Eddie Izzard, Paul Merton and Bill Bailey, Jim Fishwick entered the comedy scene at a relatively young age.

“I started doing comedy when I was 17 and I sucked for about three years,” said Fishwick with a big dose of honesty. Since that time, Fishwick has refined his chosen art form, achieving greater recognition for his role as a producer and the host of Alexander Vanderboom’s Acts of Derring-Do.

Jim has long since thrived on the experience of being in the centre of the spotlight.

“At a very conceptual level, I enjoy the idea of communicating with people and making them think. Then on another level I enjoy the entertainment idea of it, like people can take an hour out of their life and go and just be made to laugh for an hour.”


Sarah Knight – Timekeeper

A graduate of the New Zealand School of Music and one of Australia’s leading music schools, the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University under the careful tutelage of Professor Jan Delpratt, this classically trained singer is highly regarded for her virtuosity and stunning performances across many genres including pop, folk, classical, jazz and music theatre.

Recent credits include Handle with Care, Up the Tiber without a Toga. She has performed for the Brisbane Cabaret Festival, The Brisbane Festival, Queensland Government, Woodford Folk Festival Productions, Queensland State Library,Channel Nine, Brisbane EKKA, Fete De La Musique, Channel Seven & the Sunshine Coast Council

Sarah also works in arts marketing for Joymas Creative. This classically trained singer has technique to be flexible across pop, folk, classical, jazz and onto music theatre. Sarah seeks to push her own musical and stage boundaries by challenging herself in her roles and musicality. Sarah Knight is a polished performer who is constantly evolving. Sarah continues to take up new challenges in her theatrical roles and musicality.

Production Roles Needed – Playmates 2013


Playmates Illawarra has been running for seven years bringing together different theatre groups on the South Coast. To date, it has promoted over nine theatre groups since its inception and given over 100 local actors the challenge of performing improvised scenes in the playmates arena.

 The production is a promotional vehicle for participating theatre groups, with all proceeds of Box Office going to local charity organisations. It is held at Wollongong City Diggers Club at the Owen Theatre and this year will take place on Saturday 9th of November for one night only.

Black Box Theatre is seeking looking for several roles to assist in staging this year’s production. If you are interested in being involved please email Luke Berman at

Production Crew

We are seeking several volunteers who wish to gain experience in the technical side of Playmates. As Playmates is a fund raiser for charity, all roles are voluntary.

We are looking to fill the following roles:

  • Production Manager / Front of House Manager
  • Stage Manager
  • Vision Operator (Projector Operator)
  • Lighting Operator
  • Follow Spot Operator
  • Runners
  • Front of House / Box Office


Production Manager

Production Manager will work closely alongside producer Luke Berman in staging this year’s Playmates Illawarra. The production manager position is a volunteer training position with a view of becoming a regular member of Black Box Theatre Illawarra/Sydney.

 Production Manager will provide administration assistance in the lead up to the production and will gain experience in program publication, booking procedures, liaise/network with several independent theatre companies/cast/crew, marketing/promotion and assist in the running of the production and leading front of house.

We are seeking an enthusiastic, open minded individual who is looking to gain experience in event management, theatre production, or arts administration. Production Manager will receive a detailed individual evaluation in post production as well as a professional reference. Strong written and oral communication skills are needed, as well as a friendly and professional attitude.

Stage Manager

The Stage Manager of Playmates is a very fun role suitable for someone who is looking for their first crack at stage management. Primarily, the Stage Manager will be responsible for supervising the actors, giving call times, and will be on-call during the show to assist hosts in carrying out rules of the game. For example, several games require a selected actor to leave the stage while the audience provides their team the improvisation challenge. The Stage Manager will escort and ensure that the actor can not hear. Stage Manager may also need to provide assistance with microphones during the show.

This role is very easy and should be a great deal of fun. However, good presentation and friendly supportive “can do” attitude is essential. Actors will need to be treated as VIP’s.

Vision Operator

This is an important role which requires an operator confident in the use of Microsoft Powerpoint as well as good concentration and anticipation of on stage events.

The City Diggers projector will be used with the on stage projector screen and will be used as the games board. This will enable the actors and the audience to see which games are able to be played at any point in time as well as serve as a visual promotion of the theatre companies preshow, interval and after the production.

The Vision Operator will work alongside the Producer and Production Manager in the creation of the power point presentation prior to the production

Box Office/Front of House Volunteers

We require several trustworthy and bubbly individuals to meet & greet audience members and man the Playmates Box Office. Good money handling skills are needed as well as professional presentation. Box Office and Front of House volunteers will report to the Production Manager and will need to ensure that the correct takings are accounted for. Once the show has started, Box Office staff will be able to enjoy the show!


Please don’t hesitate to forward any questions to Luke, or if you think you would like to contribute in any other way we would love to hear from you!


Luke Berman
Producer – Playmates Illawarra


‘The Commuter’ impresses at Short+Sweet Sydney

The Commuter_3263

Geoff Sirmai, Adam O’Brien, Charlotte Connor and Nik Nikitenko (front) star in Trevar Chilver’s ‘The Commuter’ directed by Luke Berman

The Commuter – written by Canberra playwright Trevar Chilver impressed audience and judges at week four of Sydney’s Short+Sweet – the world’s largest short play festival at the King Street Theatre, Newtown.

Directed by Black Box Theatre’s Luke Berman, The Commuter starred Adam O’Brien, Geoff Sirmai, Charlotte Connor (assistant director) and the very talented and adorable Nik Nikitenko who turned 9 years old during rehearsals.

The Commuter received recognition at the week’s presentation evening, being awarded runner up best production behind the incredible The Sum of Your Experience and third most popular play as voted by the audience. Congratulations to all!

Review from Sydney Arts Guide Review by Bronwyn Fullerton

” “The Commuter”, cleverly written by Trevar Chilver and directed with energy and humour by Luke Berman, involves a chance meeting between a commuter on his way home, a mysterious young boy, his mother and an annoying American tourist.  The commuter (played with warm honesty by Adam O’Brien) confides wholeheartedly in the audience about his conflicting thoughts, fears and racism, whilst juggling with his intruders, the lost young boy (played by the talented Nik Nikitenko), and the funny, camera hugging tourist (played hilariously by Geoff Sirmai).  ”

Click here to read the full review on week 4, Short+Sweet Sydney Top 80

Click here to check out Short+Sweet Sydney’s website

Congratulations, Players!

A huge congratulations to the cast and crew of the hugely successful production of Playmates Illawarra 2012. A great turn-out of audience enjoyed watching the five groups do themselves proud in the annual improvisation battle of the companies.
2011 Champions Roo Theatre have backed up their inaugural win by again taking out the Grand Final playoffs against The Drama Studio – who along with  Wollongong Comedy enjoyed their first Playmates involvement.
Stanwell Park Arts Theatre showed great passion, skill and teamwork and will be a force to watch out for in 2013, and university’s as always showed what they are capable of with an all round great performance.

Thank you to our wonderful hosts Jim Fishwick and Sam Jenkins who were simply incredible, and also huge thanks to judges Olav Lehman, Deb Mulhall and Rupert Degas.

With all proceeds being donated to The Denny Foundation, playmates has again played its part in both celebrating and promoting the strength and versatility of the Illawarra performing arts, and doing their part for the general community. Congrats all!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome Players!

Playmates Welcome the Next Generation of Local Talent

A warm welcome to our Playmates new comers who will be joining 2011 champions Roo Theatre Co, as well as SPAT and Uni in this year’s Playmates.

We are very excited to welcome NSW’s oldest running community theatre group, the Nowra Players into the mix, as well as The Drama Studio (IPAC) and also the Illawarra’s comedy sensation Wollongong Comedy (also known as Craichouse Comedy).

The Nowra Players are a non-profit community organisation and have been bringing live theatre to the Illawarra/Shoalhaven community since 1951.  The 142 seat Players Theatre is located in Meroo Street, Bomaderry. They incorporate a wide variety of styles from the classics, to children’s pantomimes, to musicals, right through to contemporary Australian dramatic pieces.

Wollongong Comedy  is Wollongong’s longest running and most successful comedy club, operating out of The Illawarra Master Builders Club. The Craichouse is on the last Thursday of each month and feature top quality headline acts from the Illawarra, all over Australia and some international acts as well, including comedy superstars such as Tommy Dean, Claire Hooper and Tom Ballard.

The Drama Studio is a dynamic drama school established in 1988 run by Fiona Finley at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. We are pleased to see this new generation of talent fielding a team of their own, after helping teams out in previous years!

We are excited to have you all on board this year, which is again looking like a great night of improvised comedy!

Stay tuned for more information about our newcomers, and more about our returning theatre groups.

Expressions of Interest: THINK TANK Guest Speakers

Seeking Expressions of Interest: ThInK TaNk – Black Box Productions (Live online stream)

Do you have a unique perspective on the world around you? Are you able to think on your feet? Are you an Illawarra based creative artist?

We would like to hear your crazy ideas! BBP is looking for brave & enthusiastic thinkers with a flare for the dramatic to be our guest speakers in our Think Tank trial broadcast. The Think Tank team will be given a series of issues from the local press and be given only four minutes to do whatever it takes to solve each issue.

Forward your expression of interest to or via the Black Box website – feel free to include your solution to a topical issue. Remember, no issue is too big or small for the Black Box Think Tank.