All posts by David Kary

David Kary completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA) at Wollongong University between 1990 and 1992 majoring in Arts Journalism and Theatre Studies. Since completing his degree in 1992 he has been writing continuously about the performing arts. He has contributed to a number of publications including Stage Whispers (16 years), The Messenger, South Sydney Bulletin, Tharunka, Sydney Observer, Latte Life Double Bay, and the Australian Jewish News. Since 2005, he has been the publisher and editor of the online Arts magazine Sydney Arts Guide:- He is a member of the Australian Journalists Association (AJA) of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts (AACTA), the Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA), and is a member of the Helpmann Awards Voting Collegiate.



At the heart of this classic Michael Gow play AWAY sit the stories of three troubled, vulnerable wives/mothers.

Natasha Herbert plays Coral. Coral, along with her husband Roy, tragically lost their son in the Vietnam war. (The play is set in Australia in 1968). Since the loss, she has slid deeply into depression, which has put great pressure on her marriage to school headmaster, Roy.

Coral is an eerie, dark role. I have seen the part over-played in productions; Herbert’s performance is measured and well conveyed. Continue reading MICHAEL GOW’S ‘AWAY’ : AN AUSTRALIAN CLASSIC IS REVISITED



Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning feature film, THE SALESMAN, tells the story of Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), actors playing the roles of husband and wife in a Tehran production of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

They are also husband and wife off-stage, sharing an apartment that is devastated by an earthquake.

Forced to move, a tragic incident changes their lives in ways they could never have predicted.

THE SALESMAN has been described as a powerful social critique that touches on themes of family, gender, and the chilling psychology of vengeance.

The film will be released nationally on March 9.

Sydney Arts Guide has ten in season double passes to give away. Be one of the first to email

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More laughs than you can poke a shtick at…more colours than you can put in a rainbow…more clowning than you will see at a circus…yes, it was all happening folks last night when Kosher Theatresports 2017, with the umbrella title Surfin’ Safari On The Chai Seas,played to a near capacity house, including a few Rabbis, at the Bondi Pav.

Five teams with hip names competed for the trophy, cleverly named the Kiddush Cup,each bearing a quirky name – SURFIN’ SEPHARDI – Jon Williams, Dave Bloustien and Joel Goodman, NIPPERS MIT KIPPERS – Dave Callan, Mack Callan and Liz Hovey, SLIP SLOP SHLEP – Adaya Turkia, Dave Borowski and Oliver Burton, THE BEACH GOYS – John Knowles, Matthew Friedman, Philip Feinstein and Scott Brown, JUDAH MACCABEACH – Michael Gregory, Jordan Gregory, Liora Baram and Paul Baram.

Three judges, each well versed in all things theatrical, Lyn Pierse, known as the Godmother of Australian Theatresports, cabaret artist and performer Joanne Weinberg and actor and director Tanya Goldberg, held up their scorecards- marking the performances from one to five with five being funtastic,

Overseeing all the frivolity was the zany emcee Ewan Campbell and an ebullient Geoff Sirmai was the all important timekeeper.

The skits ran fast,furious and funny and before you could say ‘Find Your Ending’, the show’s had indeed come to a close. The winner of the coveted Kiddush trophy were Surfin’ Sephardi, decided after a hilarious tiebreak.

In the other award categories,David Callan won Best and Fairest, Adaya Turkia was Rookie Of The Year, and Moment of the Match was won by the Judah Maccabeach group’s skit ‘Death and Resurrection by Meds’.

Actually, on the night, everybody was a star, from the zany performers, to keyboardist Benny Davis’ wonderful musical accompaniment, to Daniel and Clem running back and forth across the stage throwing missile lollies and chocolates into the audience, and to the lighting man working hard up the back, Daniel O’Shea.

Kosher Theatresports, you were absent too long – some three years- make sure that you come back again next year.

All photos by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


I am a romantic at heart. It was the case that I was always going to go and see this new production. It was made even more appealing  when it was announced that the play would open on Valentine’s Day,

This was a play, appropriately, with a big heart. American playwright Bathsheba Doran has a lot of love for her four characters, their foibles, confusions, adventures.

First we meet Charlotte and Jonny. They have been best friends since they were nine, and now are in their early twenties. Charlotte is white and Jewish, Jonny is black and Baptist.

The playwright, interestingly, catches their friendship on the cusp of change. After so many years it now has to find a different form for it to survive. Continue reading THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE DARLINGHURST


American playwright Lillian Hellman’s THE LITTLE FOXES is set in the early 20th Century in the deep south of America. Rapid industrialisation is sweeping the country.

The little foxes of the title are the members of the Hubbard family. They are offered a business deal of a lifetime, rapid industrialisation is taking place and the family has the opportunity to ‘industrialise’ their large cotton plantation and reap the profits. The family need to fund the deal and do so by both legal and illegal means. Bitter in-fighting takes place as the pressure builds and the family begins to implode.

It is a cold, difficult world that Hellman depicts. Interestingly, Hellman had the idea for the play from observing the tough business practices that took place within her own family! Continue reading LILLIAN HELLMAN’S ‘THE LITTLE FOXES’ @ THE GUILD THEATRE ROCKDALE




I was born and grew up in São Paulo, an extremely busy city, full of contrasts. I have always loved to wander around the old downtown, amongst high rises, noisy traffic and people from all walks of life.

Bossa Nova is forever the rhythm that calms me down; and samba is in my blood. Maybe in a past life I lived in Africa. Drums hypnotise me, and Carnival is a sublime elation.

I wish Brazil did not have the major social inequality it does. There´s a lot of suffering around, but funnily enough through suffering huge creativity flourishes. Natural beauty and an aura of excitement: even in its dull moments, Brazil is a party place, where you can have fun and find love.

Speaking about love! I met my Aussie husband on the Amazon, and yes, it was true love! I moved to Sydney, which quickly turned into another passion.

Aboriginal art and culture became an inspiration as much as Indigenous and African culture were inspirations in Brazil.

My soul is forever divided by my original and new roots, however through painting I feel complete, I´m able to connect my two beloved countries, or indeed all the amazing places I have visited around this planet, and the ones I hope to see in the future.

When I can´t travel physically, I travel through my art.

On this particular trip, I couldn´t go anywhere else but deep into Brazil. It´s a combination of art, design, nature, culture, music, people, the spiritual, the raw and the mundane. It´s Brazilian Dreaming.

.Flavia is extending an invitation to readers to see her exhibition on display at the Penny Farthing Design House, 51 Darling Street, East Balmain from the 3-11 March.

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Featured image – Brazilian/Australian artist Flavia Julius at work.


Mark Langham’s new play BIG CROW flies into the intimate Actors Pulse Theatre next Tuesday night for a short season.

Langham’s play, loosely based on a true story, is set in the early 1930’s and sees two young Londoners ground down by poverty, Tommy and Albie, being offered a spur of the moment trip to Australia.

No sooner had they landed that they are taken to work as virtual slaves on a huge station, completely at the mercy of the station owner Roy, a man who’s life has been a stream of disappointments.

Tommy is a weasel; swift, cunning and potentially fatal. Albie could crush you with his kindness, but only if Tommy told him to… and their desperation has led them to a decision – they’re going to kill Roy. Roy’s wife and daughter disturb the murder but are far more interested in watching than saving him. The murder is put on hold and a dialogue begins. Continue reading MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTOR’S PULSE THEATRE, REDFERN


Darling Harbour is always a colourful, multi-cultural melting pot on any given weekend. This was very much the case when we visited one lovely Sunday afternoon in early February.

Ben had plenty of opportunities to use his camera with two events taking place on a lovely Sunday afternoon-  the RTX fans convention and the annual Serbian Festival, now in its 5th year.

The Cosplayers at the RTX fans convention

The RTX fans convention, held at one of Darling Harbour’s main convention centres, was a time for Cosplayers to get together and do their  thing. Their shtick is to get dressed up and act as characters from a range of video games, cartoons, movies, and television shows.

This was very much a young person’s scene, and my God did the kids really get into it. The costumes, the make-up, the expressions were all wonderfully over the top.

We moved on from this bright world of fantasy to soon find ourselves immersed in the fascinating and proud Serbian culture.

The Serbian Cultural Festival 2017

A large stage/bandstand area was set up and there were a host of musicians entertaining audiences through the day and into the evening. The highlight was the folk dancing, as young women, dressed up in traditional garb, danced together.

There were plenty of stalls set up around the Festival grounds, a  large marque for people to mingle and relax and have a break from the sun, and there was even a mini tennis court which proved very popular with families. This was definitely a nod to the most famous Serbian tennis player of all, one Novak Djokovic.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).



MUSIC FOR THE SILVER SCREEN is a concert which will showcase some of the most beautiful numbers written over decades for the silver screen.

The  concert will be performed by the voices of the Mosman Musical Society accompanied by  the orchestra of the Mosman Music Club.

There will be two concerts, both on Sunday March 12. First concert is at 2 pm and the second concert at 4.30 pm.

Light refreshments will be served after each concert with a chance to meet the performers.

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The Discover masterclasses in 2017 will take place at the legendary choir’s rehearsal space in Millers Point. Please see below for dates, themes and to register. Discover is held on Sunday mornings, 10am-12pm.

Registration is $40 per person.

Register for all Discover masterclasses and receive a 10% discount!

Why join the workshops?

Gain a deeper understanding of the times in which the music was written and uncover the stories around the work
Actively engage in the music, singing sections of the work
Learn about your voice and the ways it is used to sing these great choral works

Dates in 2017:
26 February – The music of Brahms with Sam Allchurch
2 April – The Bach Passions with Brett Weymark.
14 May – Elijah, a taster of what you can expect at ChorusOz.
9 July – French Choral Music.
13 August – English Choral music with Brett Weymark.
8 October – The Music of Elgar.
3 December – The Music of Handel, Messiah.

26th February, 2nd April, 14th May, 9th July, 13th August, 8th October, 3rd December

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All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c). Featured image of Matt Day receiving his award. Among the onlookers are Rose Byrne and Will Gluck.

TROPFEST, in its 25th year, survived the heatwave that spread over the Sydney region on the weekend.

Matt Day was announced as this year’s winner with the Festival taking place at its new venue at Parramatta Park.

The winning film was  The Mother Situation  which tells the comedic story of three adult siblings who assist their terminally ill mother to commit suicide.

The 16 finalist films went head to head to take out the top prize, chosen by the impressive lineup of judges, which included Head of Jury, Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, X-Men: Apocolypse, upcoming Peter Rabbit), George Miller (Academy Award Winner, Mad Max: Fury Road), Sam Neill (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Jurassic Park, upcoming Peter Rabbit), Rachel Perkins (Bran New Dau,upcoming Jasper Jones), Bruna Papandrea (Gone Girl, Wild, TV’s upcoming Big Little Lies) and Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits, upcoming Peter Rabbit). Continue reading TROPFEST 2017 : 25 YEARS STRONG


Featured image – Jeffrey Smart ”Second study for Margaret Olley’ (1994) – oil on canvas on hardboard. Images below  by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

The Gallery’s  exhibition MARGARET OLLEY : PAINTER, PEER, MENTOR, MUSE  features the work of the ‘grand woman of Australian art’ whose career spanned a period of more than sixty years.

A wonderful exhibition, curated by guest curator Renee Porter, it features over 80 works from across the country. Margaret Olley’s work features alongside some of the works of her closest teachers and friends including Caroline Barker, Robert Barnes, Jean Bellette, Mitty Lee-Brown, Criss Canning, Cressida Campbell, Margaret Cilento, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Moya Dyring, Donald Friend, Nicholas Harding, Fred Jessup, Ben Quilty, Jeffrey Smart, David Strachan and Anne Wienholt.

Of the exhibition Jane Watters, Director of the S.H. Ervin said, 

Margaret was a frequent visitor and supporter of the Gallery and in this show we wanted to present the spirit and vigour of this grand woman in Australian art. In many ways the show completes the circle of her championing the talents of her peers and friends which she undertook with such vivacity throughout her life.”

Philip Bacon, Executor of the Margaret Olley Trust added: 

“Margaret Olley was first introduced to visual arts at Somerville House school in 1937 and this in turn led to a dedicated and prolific artistic career that she pursued right through to the time of her death in 2011.  Throughout her life, Olley worked within various artistic circles that in turn developed into lifelong friendships. This exhibition illustrates these connections and her relationships with many other artists as mentor, contemporary or muse. Olley certainly left her mark, not only on paper, canvas and board, but through her connections with artists – her teachers and peers and those that continue to create today.”

The current exhibition  is the first in a set of three exhibitions under the umbrella title the Margaret Olley Art Series to be presented by the S.H. Ervin Gallery over the next three years and has been made possible by the support of the Trustees of the Margaret Olley Art Trust.

The Gallery has recently announced that it is hosting a series of free Sunday afternoon talks with artists and friends through February and March to further enlighten art lovers.

Sunday 19 February at 3 pm

Renée Porter, guest curator of the exhibition talks about Margaret Olley as painter, peer, mentor, muse.

Sunday 26 February 3 pm

Christine France, arts writer, historian, curator & long-time friend of Margaret Olley, shares her memories of the artist and her friendships with other artists.

Sunday 5 March 3 pm

Artists Nicholas Harding and Cressida Campbell discuss their friendship with Margaret Olley and her legacy. They will be joined by painter Laura Jones who continues the tradition that Margaret Olley dedicated her life, in capturing the essence of still life subjects.

Sunday 12 March 3 pm

Meg Stewart, author of the Olley biography, ‘Far from a Still Life’, discusses the life of the artist.

Sunday 19 March 3 pm

Steven Alderton, Director & CEO National Art School discusses his photographic documentation of Margaret Olley’s hat factory home/ studio and his friendship with the artist.

Adding to the allure of attending this current exhibition, you can also enjoy browsing the cards and books in the Gallery’s quaint bookstore as well as enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake at the adjoining tearoom.

The current exhibition is on display at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, located within the National Trust Centre until Sunday 26 March 2017.  The S.H. Ervin Gallery is located at  Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney.  Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm (closed Monday) Enquiries: (02) 9258 0173.  Cost: $10/ $7 Concession.




The world that Australian playwright Ross Mueller portrays in his new play A STRATEGIC PLAN, directed by Chris Mead, comes as little  surprise. It is, in fact, depressingly familiar.

We see management writing on endless whiteboard and going off on their own merry tangents and caring very little about what their staff think or feel. Mueller’s scenario sees a man hired for a big project, and then fired before he can actually bring it to fruition. The case ends up in court.

What makes this play even bleaker is the particular project that gets pulled was arts related. The said Company’s strategic plan was to give young, disadvantaged people a greater opportunity to make it in the music business.

So, there was not much to smile about with this show, it’s too close to nerve. Mueller tries to swing his play into an upbeat ending, but I wasn’t all that convinced.

I do recommend going to see the show for two main reasons. One, Mueller writes great dialogue, and there are plenty of witty, cutting lines to enjoy. Two, the performances. They are uniformly appealing.

Matt Day plays the erratic, manipulative suit Simon, Briallen Clarke is his co-operative HR lady, Justin Smith plays Andrew, the admin muso who wanted to make a difference, and Emele Ugavule is a young staffer who gets inspired by Andrew and sets out on her own path.

Ross Mueller’s A STRATEGIC PLAN is playing the SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross until March 11.




The Sutherland Theatre Company is proudly presenting Andrew Morton’s heart-warming play, Bloom, at the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts from March 3-12.

Following the death of his father, 15-year-old Daniel and his mother Lisa are forced to move to an unfamiliar town. After a violent outburst at his new school, Daniel’s social worker Michelle suggests that he spend a week working with her father, Bobby, an urban gardener of several abandoned lots in the middle in the city.

A week soon turns into a few months and, as the two men spend the summer tending the gardens, they begin planting some much-needed hope in a neighbourhood plagued by blight and help each other heal old wounds.

A finalist at the Write Now festival and a winner of the Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award, Bloom is a coming-of-age story about grief, growth and gardening.

Director Christiane Brawley chose the play because of its simple and relatable story about the power of human connection.

“The media is so full of material telling us of our cruelty and indifference to each other, but this story is about the positive ways that human interaction can enrich and revitalise us. I don’t think we can ever have too many reminders about the importance of kindness and family and friendship.”

The heart-warming story at the centre of the show has broad appeal.

“It is gently humorous and reminds us why it is good to be alive. It has characters and situations that everyone will recognise and a story which will make the audience smile and feel good.”

The multi-generational cast of talented local performers includes Graham Yates, Ben Moss, Mel Day, Grace Fabris and Emma Dalton.


Friday 3rd March @ 8pm Saturday 4th March @ 2pm Sunday 5th March @ 2pm Thursday 9th March @ 8pm Friday 10th March @ 8pm Saturday 11th March @ 8pm Sunday 12th March @ 2pm

Tickets are available from or by calling (02) 9150 7574.

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There is nothing that quite matches the feeling of elation that arises after one has published one’s first novel. Especially when the book has been some twenty four years in the making.

It was over two decades ago that Kathryn Berryman read The Book Of Kells at the Trinity College Library in Dublin. The sweeping nature and wonder of the book has always stayed with her, and it stirred within her the wish to create her own work of fantasy.

After a fulfilling working career Kathryn settled down to raise a family. Once her children had finished school and began their adult lives, Kathryn began to focus on putting together her own work of fiction. The result is the fantasy novel, ERINLAND. Continue reading ERINLAND : WHERE FANTASY MEETS VIRTUAL REALITY

Opening Exhibition “Shift from within” by the artist Haruyo Morita

Le Petit Bateau art collective is pleased to invite readers to the opening exhibition of the talented artist HARUYO MORITA on Saturday 11th February, between 7 pm and 10 pm at the Vincent and Dupree’ Salon 248 Bronte Road, Waverley.

The title of the exhibition is Haruyo Morita : Shift From Within.

Whatever word or label we use to describe the oneness of our universe, we are all inescapably participating in it. Haruyo Morita’s works explore the connected nature of this existence, recalibrating our perception of ourselves by focusing on our spiritual similarities, whilst accepting our man-made differences.

“Just because people believe in different things, they are no better or less – we are just made differently to keep the balance in this universe.”

Haruyo’s paintings reflect this understanding by stripping away our human forms and figures to reveal the shared essence of what it actually means to be a human being below the surface.

Haruyo seeks to replace judgement, malice and confusion with a gentle understanding and calm observation. Her planetary orbs of human experience sit suspended in ethereal whiteness; peaceful, egoless and beautiful.

In a world where many resolve themselves to negative energy and the perceived drudgery of existence, Haruyo reaches for more by focusing on acceptance and embracing the poetry in everything around her.

There is no instruction on how to feel, only an effort to inspire by showing us one possibility and prompting us to make our own decision, to create the changes we desire for ourselves, from within.

Haruyo Morita is a Japanese artist who began her study of visual arts at Tajimi Technical High school (Japan) in 1994.

Morita’s passion for art soon took her around the world to further refine her style at the National Art School (Sydney) and at the ‘Villa Bastille’ Art School (Paris).

Morita is currently based in Parramatta working with Sumi (calligraphy ink) ‚ traditional mineral pigments‚ gold leaf‚ shell powder‚ acrylic and oil paints.


2017 -Group show ‘Palingenesia’ (Surry Hills Sydney)

2016 – Parallax art fair( London)

2016- Group Show ‘Resonance’ Blacktown hospital, Nepean Hospital

2015- Group show ‘Vision’ M2 Gallery (Surry Hills Sydney)

2015 – Group show ‘Transcend’ Japan Foundation Gallery (Chippendale Sydney)

2015 – Group show Quarrymans Hotel (Pyrmont Sydney)

2015- Solo Exhibition Soul Portraits (Shh centre 4 Hybrid Art-Parramatta)

2015- Group Exhibition Do what you love (Soma Studio-SurryHills)

2014- Group Exhibition Ritratto dell’anima-Soul Portrait (Rome)

2013 – Group exhibition 4A Center for Contemporary Asian art(Sydney)

2013 – ‘Origin of O’ – Performance Art: Zen-Circle Calligraphy

2012 – Solo Exhibition at MarsHill Cafe‚ -Magnolia therapy(Parramatta)

2011 – Group Exhibition at MarsHill Cafe (Parramatta) 2009 – Solo Exhibition at MarsHill cafe -Flowers(Parramatta).

Haruyo Morita’s website is

Entry to the exhibition is free. Food and drinks are provided by donation. There will be live music by Billsbry. The exhibition will be open to the public until the 17th March.

For more about Opening Exhibition “Shift from within” by the artist Haruyo Morita, visit

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This is quite the experience seeing one of the great Broadway musicals performed in the tiny, boutique venue that is the Hayes Theatre.

CABARET begins with naive young American writer Clifford Bradshaw arriving in jazz-age Berlin, determined to live life to the full. Bradshaw gets much more than he bargained for during his time in the German capital, and he leaves the city as the scourge of Nazism takes hold, a very different and much more worldly man.

From all vantage points Nicholas Christo’s production is impressive. First to the principal cast:

Jason Kos gives a warm, winning performance as the sensitive young writer.

Paul Capsis is mesmerising as the Cabaret’s cutting emcee, forever ‘telegraphing’ the fate that is soon to befall Germany.

Chelsea Gibbs grabs the role of Sally Bowles, one of the great parts in musical theatre, and makes it her own. Her version of the title song is incandescent and deserved the strong audience reaction that it received.

So good to see this production entice three veterans of the Australian theatre back to the stage.

Kate Fitzpatrick plays the tough and money hungry German Fraulein Schneider who runs a salubrious boarding house in which Herr Bradshaw takes lodgings.

John O’May is terrific as her shy, charming long time Jewish beau, the perfect gentlemen, forever buying her gifts.

Markus Graham plays the part of Ernst Ludwig, a local who befriends Bradshaw when he arrive in Berlin and shows him the nightlife of Berlin, and ends up being a very sinister figure.

Debora Krizak is just right as Fraulein Schneider’s wild natured scallywag boarder Fraulein Kost who always a sailor or two in her boudoir.

Christo’s set and staging, and Kelley Abbey’s choreography work well. A crack Kit Kat Club band led by pianist Lindsay Partridge, situated behind luscious satin curtains (and sometimes a scrim), play in a rousing fashion all the way through, with a particular highlight a red hot trumpet player.

James Browne’s production design was very effective. A few small cabaret dining tables were set up at the front of the stage to add to add ambience, with a few lucky patrons getting the best seats in the house.

A constant refrain through the play was the use of Kit Kat club performers, eerily looking on at the seedy action from either side of the stage.

Costumes (unattributed in the program), make-up by Mariel McClorey, wig and hair design by Drew-Elizabeth Johnstone and atmospheric, smokey lighting by Rob Sowinski were outstanding.

Recommended, CABARET is playing the Kit Kat Club, no I mean the Hayes Theatre until March 5. The production is then set to go to Melbourne, at the Athenaeum Theatre, at the beginning of May.

Danny Eastwood Photography Exhibition @ Black Eye Gallery

Liquēre – Latin verb meaning – to be fluid

Photography is often a literal transposition of reality, but it can also blur boundaries.

The images in this exhibition aim to confound the viewer.

Submerged, reflected & refracted; figures are presented in an almost abstract way. The pared back form becomes sculptural with the subtle modulations of light and motion.

These are transitory moments of movement – the figure and the water perfectly meeting each other in a moment of flux.

Danny Eastwood is a fine art and commercial photographer sought after for his attention to detail and creative vision.

Eastwood has been recognised internationally at D&AD, the New York Advertising Festival and features in Luerzer’s Archive Top 200 Advertising Photographers.

Eastwood is a member of The POOL COLLECTIVE, a creative cooperative comprising of seven artists working in the mediums of motion and still imagery.

Opening Night: Thursday 16 February 6pm – 8pm / Exhibition runs: 14 February – 5 March

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At a star-studded ceremony held on Monday, the winners of the 2016 Sydney Theatre Awards were announced, with 35 Awards presented, shared between 15 productions, which played in Sydney during the calendar year of 2016. Over 450 members of the Sydney theatre community packed the York Theatre at the Seymour Centre to celebrate the best of Sydney theatre – the first time the awards have been held there.

Best Mainstage Production was awarded to Belvoir’s The Drover’s Wife, which also won Mainstage awards for Best Director (Leticia Caceres), Best Score or Sound Design (The Sweats) and Best New Australian Work (Leah Purcell). Best Independent Production went to Sport for Jove’s Antigone, which also took Independent gongs for Best Director (Damien Ryan and Terry Karabelas), Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Andrea Demetriades), Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (William Zappa), Best Stage Design and Best Costume Design (Melanie Liertz), and Best Lighting Design (Matt Cox).

Belvoir’s Faith Healer took out three acting awards in the Mainstage categories, Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Friels), Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Alison Whyte) and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Pip Miller), while Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Mainstage Production went to Marta Dusseldorp for Griffin’s Gloria.

In the Musical categories, Hayes Theatre Co’s Little Shop of Horrors scooped the pool, winning Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Dean Bryant), Best Choreography (Andrew Hallsworth), Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Esther Hannaford) and Best Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Brent Hill). In an unusual decision, the critics voted Working Class Boy: An Evening of Stories and Songs, Jimmy Barnes’ very personal show about his life which played at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, as Best Cabaret.

The Sydney Theatre Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to actor Judi Farr. From her early roles with the Old Tote Theatre Company, to her legendary performance as Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman for Nimrod opposite Warren Mitchell and Mel Gibson, and on to roles with the Sydney Theatre Company (Angels In America, Beauty Queen of Leenane), Belvoir (Cloudstreet, Buried Child) and all major Australian theatre companies, as well as an extensive body of work in film and television, Judi Farr has been at the top of her profession for more than 40 years.

Presenters at the Awards ceremony were Damien Bermingham, Adam Cook, Mel Dyer, Danielle Ironside, Madeleine Jones, Angharad Lindley, Luke McGettigan, Pacharo Mzembe, Tyran Parke, Anthony Phelan, Rebecca Poulter, Ellen Simpson, Minka Stevens, Ben Wood, Vanessa Wright and Meyne Wyatt; and there were performances from Robyn Archer, Ben Hall and David Campbell (Only Heaven Knows), and David Whitney and Kurt Phelan with a song and dance ensemble.

The Sydney Theatre Awards are run by a group of leading theatre critics to celebrate the strength, quality and diversity of theatre in Sydney. The Sydney Theatre Reviewers are Elissa Blake (Fairfax), Jason Blake (Fairfax), Dee Jefferson (Time Out), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Jo Litson (Sunday Telegraph/ Limelight), John McCallum (The Australian), Ben Neutze (Daily Review), Diana Simmonds (, Polly Simons (Daily Telegraph) and Cassie Tongue (AussieTheatre).

The Sydney Theatre Awards gratefully thanks its sponsors: The Seaborn, Broughton and Walford Foundation, Industrie, William Fletcher Foundation, Showcast, Currency Press, Ticketmaster, Hayes Theatre Co, Bellbird Cottages, ACMN and JPJ Audio.

Featured image – William Zappa. All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


Cementa17 – contemporary arts festival in Kandos

The contemporary arts festival Cementa is back for 2017, offering an entirely FREE four-day showcase of independent and experimental arts spread across the New South Wales post industrial town of Kandos from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 April.

Cementa17 will present the work of over 60 artists at the vanguard of Australia’s creative community and artist collectives. Since its debut in 2013, Cementa has grown to become a popular destination event with its total focus on arts, community and the environment.

Cementa is an independent not-for-profit Australian cultural festival event that takes place in Kandos, a small regional town located on the side of Coombermelon Mountain between Lithgow and Mudgee in Central West NSW. The region provides the backdrop to which artists make, exhibit and perform work relating to the social, historical, or environmental context of the town and its surrounds.

A unique festival experience, Cementa17 will offer four days and nights of performance, sound, cabaret, interactive and electronic arts, video, installation, painting, photograpy and ceramics spread across more than twenty venues. Artworks will pop-up in Kandos’ shopfronts, cafes, on the streets, in the local museum & nursery, at parks, garages, cars, backyards, the tennis courts, a golf club, community halls, church yards and for the first time beyond the town perimeter to include two new satellite sites – the natural arena of Ganguddy, (Dunns Swamp picnic grounds and nearby Bird’s Hut) and a local farming property, Marloo.

Building on the success of the previous two festivals, Cementa celebrates the state of Australian contemporary art across the spectrum of practice, from emerging to established, from urban to regional.

Highlights include: A performance by ‘Dauntless Movement Crew’, a Fairfield Parkour, hip-hop and tricking team that will adapt their technique to the unique pagoda rock formations at the stunning landscape at Ganguddy (Dunn’s Swamp).

‘Super Critical Mass’ – a large-scale found object orchestra composed of regional choristers with up to 40 participants performing in The Kandos Community Hall.

‘Correspondence of Imaginary Places’ – an exchange of work between seven Australian artists with seven New York artists, (with the Australian work being installed in Manhattan and the New York artist’s work being installed in an historical hut outside of Kandos).

Artist John A. Douglas remaking scenes from sci-fi classic, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, adapted to the local landscape.

Installations from acclaimed Aboriginal artist Tony Albert and a portrait series by legendary documentary photographer, Mervyn Bishop, plus much much more.

Cementa17 is a celebration of contemporary art in Australia and of the small town that hosts it – developed and fostered by three creative directors who live and work in the region: Ann Finegan, Christine McMillan and Alex Wisser.

6th – 9th April 2017

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Over the years Sydney Arts Guide has keenly followed the progress of this eclectic group. Next Sunday, The Marais Project begins its 2017 season with the concert IT TAKES TWO : A VIOL SPECTACULAR, the first of three very diverse events in its 18th year of fine, distinctive  musicianship.

Since its founding by Jennifer Eriksson in 2000, The Marais Project has released 5 CDs, three of which have been selected as “CD of the Week” on ABC Classic FM.  A 6th CD will appear in 2017.  The group regularly features in national and local studio broadcasts and radio interviews.  They have performed across Eastern Australia and as guest artists in New Zealand.

In an Australian first, IT TAKES TWO will see Erikkson perform  on both the acoustic and electric viola da gambas. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT STARTS OFF THE YEAR FOR THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE


Days Like This is a one-day boutique electronic music festival set to vivify Sydney. Immersive, yet subtle, loose, yet sophisticated, Days Like This has a sharp taste for discerning electronic music, and a penchant for glorious food and arts. With a forward-looking music policy, the four main stages will present a fresh perspective of the very best in electronic music, whilst the event precinct will offer a creative hub featuring bars, market stalls and premium food options: A tasteful menu of glorious food and amazing arts await those who enter. Immersed within the plush surroundings of Royal Randwick prepare for a day and night of musical exploration.

11 March 2017 @ Randwick Racecourse

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Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Sassy Best Friend @ the Enmore Theatre

Sassy best friend (sas-ee best frend)
1. A sidekick to the main character in a romantic comedy;
2. not conventionally attractive, quirky, hard to love;
3. sometimes not white, often gay.

New Zealand  comedian Rose Matafeo makes her Sydney Comedy Festival debut an hour of sketch and stand up inspired by her long time obsession with romantic comedies and her favourite female film heroes. Sassy Best Friend is a show about friendship, finding confidence as a young woman and then ultimately giving up on your dreams.

2016 NOMINEE Best Newcomer Melbourne International Comedy Festival ★★★★★ – Telegraph

“a stellar debut: silly, charismatic, and packed with great gags” – The Guardian

11 – 14 May, 2017 / 7:00pm  at the Enmore Theatre, Newtown

For more about Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Sassy Best Friend, visit
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Ichabod loses his sister, and on the journey to find her, Faces his biggest fear – water.

Assisted by an senile knight who refuses to take off his armour, an all knowing barge captain and a bucket-wielding water-thief, Ichabod traverses swamps, ravines and crosses bridges and cities in his quest for his sister. The tale follows Ichabod’s journey to find what he’s really looking for – love, hope and above all, courage. Continue reading THE TALE OF ICHABOD SCRUBB @ THE BLOOD MOON THEATRE


Climbing up the small flight of stairs to the Stables theatre I was more than a little curious as to what kind of experience we were about to get with this first Stables (independent) show for the year.

As scenarios go this was pretty left field. A ballet performance of Swan Lake begins. A dancer pirouettes across the stage unaware that a vampire lurks in the front row. Like a bolt of lightning the vampire jumps out of the front row and attacks the dancer, pouncing on him and administering a fatal bite….

Folks, the show, needless to say, does not die along with the dancer. Our vampire is a frustrated dancer and for that matter romantic, and he decides that it is the perfect time for him to act, to dance and to take over the show. Continue reading NOSFERATUTU @ THE STABLES THEATRE