All posts by Michelle Gosper

When Michelle’s mum took her to see a travelling production of The Importance of Being Earnest at Taree High School hall, she was so smitten that she spent the next couple of weeks pretending to the Lady Bracknell to the cows in the milking shed. When the great god, Gough Whitlam gave her an English/History teaching scholarship for Newcastle University she signed up for the brand new Drama course instead and made it her major and performed in university productions and theatre restaurant shows. Teaching followed and Michelle was there for the introduction of the School Certificate in Drama in 1985 and HSC Drama in 1993. She wrote and directed countless productions, acted in a few, created site and theme specific theatre for various events and community groups, became Star Struck Drama Director and created Hunter Youth Drama Ensembles, putting on productions of HSC Drama text. She also produced 3 daughters and completed a Master of Theatre Arts Degree, taught HSC Drama 18 times and became an examiner for HSC Drama. Now retired, Michelle is still involved in Star Struck and is also one of 5 City of Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA) judges, viewing approximately 60 -70 shows per year produced by the thriving theatrical community in Newcastle. Michelle is proud to be part of this passionate and dynamic community and is grateful to be able to share some of her experiences on this website.


Tom Rodgers and Savannah Geddes

Newcastle – it’s just up the road, folks – has a thriving theatre scene and every year new companies spring forth with youthful energy, vigour and exciting new works.

Bearfoot Theatre is a another new theatre company in association with Eclectic Productions that has a focus on producing original works. Riley McLean, creator of the CONDA nominated original play Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? has written a new dark twist on the tale of Peter and the Lost Boys, featuring Tom Rodgers as Peter and Savannah Geddes as Wendy. Continue reading TAKE ME TO NEVERLAND: BEARFOOT THEATRE

COCK by Mike Bartlett presented by Stooged Theatre Newcastle

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story …

I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest…” Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

From time to time major decisions have to be made, ones that will irrevocably change the rest of our life.  Sometimes for some lucky appealing people it can be between different potential partners and that is a perennial winning formula for dramatic tension. Who is going to be the chosen one and who is going to lose the object of love? Or lust.

COCK, written by Mick Bartlett dives into that formula with a contemporary nod to the LGBTI community of attempting to pigeonhole people according to their sexuality.

John, the only character in the play with a proper name, breaks up with his live in stockbroker male partner, M, meets female divorced teacher’s assistant, W, has fabulous heterosexual sex for the first time then decides that he wants M back but is still besotted by W and all she has to offer. Continue reading COCK by Mike Bartlett presented by Stooged Theatre Newcastle


Bohemian Rhapsody, the single from Queen’s fourth studio album A Night at the Opera was a groundbreaking work of art in 1975.

Everyone remembers the innovative and stunning video and the weird, operatic, clever, hybrid song that catapulted Queen into everyone’s consciousness. It is still considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time.

They were marvellous times too. The Vietnam War was put to bed and the future looked fabulous: everything was big. Big hair, big flares, shoes, sounds, personality. Money.

The 80’s were even better. People wore white jeans and flashy fake gold jewellery and the whole thing was enormous fun. The nasty Grim Reaper started hanging about with dire warnings but otherwise all was grand for the happening people of the day.

Those “happening people” are now in their 50’s and 60’s, the dreadful Baby Boomers who are hogging the property market and leaving a financial black hole for everyone else. And there they were at Wests City, Newcastle for the QUEEN IT’S A KINDA MAGIC show, performed on Friday 21st July, a sea of blonde bobs, grey or balding heads and some ears with obvious earplugs in. Gosh, when did everyone become so sensible and start wearing earplugs to a music concert? Continue reading QUEEN IT’S A KINDA MAGIC


“It was a school anti-bullying program that became a lightning rod for culture warriors and conservative MP’s – Safe Schools was either protecting gay kids from bullies or trying to sell Marxism in the playground, depending on who was talking”
Michael Koziol – Artists Push PM for Diluted Safe Schools SMH 2/5/2017

The Safe Schools program was a “tinder box” so Australian artists like Missy Higgins, Guy Pearce and Joel Creasey are pushing the government for a modified version that promotes a simple, benign message – tolerance.

It’s gratifying when we see well-known artists stepping up to put their status and integrity behind worthy causes and public debate and seeing these stories and experiences become material for their own work.

No doubt Joel Creasey, who is originally from Newcastle incidentally, has some wonderful biting satirical reflections on how being “different” from others impacted on his time at school.

For that is part of what artists do. They observe, reflect on and respond to the social and political world around them and hold the mirror up to society in a manner that is engaging, entertaining and thought provoking. Frequently their own personal experiences are part of that reflection.

It’s an important job! Don’t let any Science, Engineering or Mathematics Degree wielding pedagogue tell you otherwise.

Ecelctic Productions DO YOUR PARENTS KNOW YOU’RE STRAIGHT writer and director Riley McLean openly admits “…so much of me has ended up on the page” even naming one of the main characters Riley. Assistant Director, Cassie Hamilton, presumably brings the same level of personal experience to the production.

Further developed from a class exercise during Riley’s studies at the Regional Institute of Performing Arts Diploma in Acting course whereby the students had to write a ten minute play, this two act full length production firmly takes the DYPKYS debate by the horns and gives it a good shake in a way that is complex, challenging and dramatically clever. Continue reading DO YOUR PARENTS KNOW YOU’RE STRAIGHT @ THE CIVIC PLAYHOUSE


Eclectic- seconde

Production photography by Waygood Photography.

Religion and beliefs. Some of the most magnificent buildings are monuments of worship and some of the most epic wars have been over differing belief systems.

Every culture has or had their mythology/religion, a belief system that is integral to the explanation of the world and their own existence in it.

In RUMOURS OF POLAR BEARS, presented by Eclectic Productions at the Black Box Theatre, Ancient Roman, Greek, Christian, Hindu and Inuit deities and beings are given representation in this post apocalyptic dystopian work written specifically for young people by American playwright Jonathan Dorf.

It’s not necessary to know about these various deities and beings to appreciate the production but it does add an extra level and nuance of understanding of the intentions and themes behind the work.

The Black Box Theatre at the Community Arts Centre in Newcastle West has been transformed into something that is a cross between someone’s country shed and Mad Max. Atmospheric smoke and lighting creates a haze through which we peer at an old car, 44-gallon drums containing fake fire and graffiti covered corrugated iron walls. It’s a good look.

Set in America, there have been oil and water wars in the recent past, destroying the natural environment and civilization and a rag tag bunch of surviving children, now teenagers, eke out a substandard existence with canned produce as currency. They have a Friday night party pool ritual whereby a small amount of precious water is poured into an old tyre and they dance.

It’s suitably dystopian and establishes the human need to party and hold some type of ceremony. Or ritual.

The biblical Matthew, Luke, John and Peter all left or died and the predominantly female group, led by Deme (Samantha Lambert) have settled into their life. However, Deme is fixated on the notion of polar bears and going north to find them so when a sickness arrives Deme convinces her brother Romulus (Conagh Punch) to roundup the crew that includes Adam and Eve to commence their epic journey.

Along the way they lose some and acquire or meet others. In a dying paradise they encounter Cassie (Jasmine Travers) who has visions and sees somewhere else that’s green so she joins them and forms an attachment with Romulus while the foundling Scrubs (Parisse Lattimore) buzzes about them all with irrepressible survival determination.

Adam and Eve (Jack Twelvetree and Genevieve Lawson) and others drop off after encountering a place with a party spa and the whole journey becomes an extended metaphor for the existential nature of human existence complete with pointed references to a copy of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot that is missing the last three pages and the classic phrase, “Nothing to be done” from that play.

Simple things acquire enormous significance – a watch, a picture of The World’s Greatest Ball of Yarn, a colouring in book, memories of parents and the beauty of a world lost. This is best encapsulated in the scene when they encounter Noah (Alastair Anderberg).

The end of life as he knew it came for Noah when he was 7 years old and playing Mozart for his parents on his piano. The holocaust came and the wall caved in, killing his parents and beloved music teacher and destroying Middle C on the piano.

He became the pseudo guardian of a group of school children who had been surviving on the stale pretzels from a vending machine and for a while there were apples and deer until the trees died and the deer disappeared. Another Paradise Lost.

Now, he and the children perform The Pageant, whereby all the children play animal characters and the world before the Fire in the Sky and marauding motorcycle gangs.

By the time we encounter a female PAN (Beth Traynor) and the duplicitous Kali (Joanna Gorton) it is very clear that this play is deliberately and systematically trawling through cultures, myths, legends to illustrate the theme. We are fatally flawed in being paradoxically doomed to fight and fear others, yet still be mortally united.

But, as the Beckett references highlight, there is still hope and love and joy in living and a co-dependent need for human company, warmth and rules or rituals to give shape to our lives.

Directors Chloe McLean and Joel Mews have extracted some strong performances from their ensemble. Samantha Lambert and Conagh Punch as Deme and Romulus both inhabit the space confidently and keep the pace moving and Joanna Gorton as the Lara Croft style anti-hero Kali oozed action panache.

The most delightful acting surprises though were two young members, Parisse Lattimore as Scrubs and Jack Andrew in the double roles of Echo and Ugalik. These two brought exuberance to their scenes and interaction with the rest of the ensemble.

The technical and design team, presumably led by the experienced and incredibly reliable Lyndon Buckley created a highly functional and detailed multi purpose space and atmosphere that allowed for a seamless epic journey from post apocalyptic New San Francisco to Canada. Look for the references in the graffiti on the corrugated iron.

RUMOURS OF POLAR BEARS is a very suitable script for Eclectic Productions. This company emerged out a desire by several young adult graduates of youth theatre groups to continue to work together and create theatre and their niche is theatre pertinent to their age group and they are doing that with skill, flair and integrity

The final performances of RUMOURS OF POLAR BEARS are today at 2 pm and 7 pm.




My eldest daughter’s first word was ‘Don’t’.

I was changing her nappy and happily singing away when this little emphatic one syllable contraction was directed at me. I ignored it, thinking that couldn’t be an intentional word, let alone the very first proper one coming out of my little Cabbage Patch look alike child and continued to sing as I pinned – we used cloth nappies back then.

When she repeated the word, looking straight at me I was certain; even my 6 month-old was telling me; I am vocally challenged, meaning I can’t sing very well at all.

Apart from the recognition that ‘Don’t’ was a word I must have used regularly with her, my now 29year old daughter is still blunt and forthcoming, but that is another story.

Being vocally challenged means I totally appreciate anyone who can sing and someone who takes me on an instructional theatrical journey about singers and songs has me hooked from the start, particularly when said very talented singer expresses an insecurity about their voice from the get go and had been told by his high school choir master to be an accountant!

Seth Drury is a baritone. Apparently no one cares about the workhorse baritones of the singing world while the tenors get all the glory.  He learnt he was a baritone when asked to sing “Tonight, Tonight” a tone higher and cracked on the final high note.

Fortunately, Seth ignored his high school teacher and as for being a baritone he is in good company with others like Hugh Jackman, Michael Buble, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jnr to name a few.

BRING BACK THE BARITONE is a self devised work with Seth, accompanied by his brother Anyerin Drury on guitar and backing vocals and Callum Close on keyboard, taking us through a bit of a history of the baritone, peppering the narrative with extracts from and complete songs. It’s fun and informative.

For example, I learnt that The Golden Age of Broadway was when the baritone was celebrated and he won the ladies hearts. Gilbert and Sullivan and Rogers and Hammerstein made good use of the baritone and one of the greatest baritone anthems is Old man River from Showboat.

The 60’s and Frankie Valle was the nemesis of the baritone, but Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, both deep lovers of gospel, kept the flag flying.

He continues his 65 minute tour up to the present, alternating between humour and caricature and deep, soulful engagement with the songs. Seth’s stripped back and pure rendition of How Great Thou Art is beautiful.

He also establishes an easy relationship with the audience and welcomes us into his journey. It is a very pleasant, informative and entertaining interlude.

Future performances of BRING BACK THE BARITONE are yet to be scheduled but Seth’s other work, UNMASKING PRINCE CHARMING will be presented as part of The Sydney Fringe 15th-17th of Sept at The Knox Street Bar. Tickets  may be booked through the fringe website.

As for my musical prowess, I am now learning piano. I have no talent for that either, but just because you are no good at something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.

Seth Drury’s concert BRING BACK THE BARITONE played the Civic Theatre, Newcastle on Sunday 29th May, 2016.




Georgia Hicks-Jones, Jerry Ray, Paul Predny, Charlotte De Wit Photo Glen Waterhouse
Georgia Hicks-Jones, Jerry Ray, Paul Predny, Charlotte De Wit Photo Glen Waterhouse

When you were at school where did you fit? Were you one of the nerds, a jock, an insecure loner, a leader, badass, bully, bullied, teachers pet or just disinterested and desperate to leave. I used to call them Tribes of the Playground – all the sets and sub sets of the weird societies that the school system throws together in an adolescent survival of the fittest.

The 7 main characters of Simon Stephen’s PUNK ROCK initially appear to represent some of the stereotypes of teenagers on the cusp of final exams and ultimate adulthood. Set in a Grammar school near Manchester in England, it could easily have followed down the path of the The Breakfast Club with a message of acceptance and understanding of difference and unlikely friendships between the brainiac, the tough natural leader, the insecure girl, the hot chick, sweet but troubled boy, the jock and the new girl. Continue reading STOOGED THEATRE PRESENTS PUNK ROCK BY SIMON STEPHENS @ CIVIC PLAYHOUSE NEWCASTLE


Hello, Stranger

Back in the day a friend and I were travelling in Mexico and had arrived at the top of the Baja Peninsula, accompanied by another young Aussie who had attached himself to us on the boat over from the mainland. We stuck out our thumbs and a big, black 4WD pulled over, driven by a middle aged Mexican doctor. He was just travelling to pick up some supplies a bit further south, but was keen to practise his English and find out about Australia, from our viewpoint.

After a while he pulled over at a general store to make a phone call – this was well and truly before mobile phones – and when he hopped back in the car he announced that it was all sorted and that he was taking us all the way to our destination – the southernmost tip of the Baja and a two day drive.

What followed was a wonderful 2 days and a night of beer, tequila, singing, an improvised fire and camping on a scorpion infested beach sleeping under upturned fishing boats and a lasting question in my mind as to why this kindly bear of a man who was a husband, father and professional chose to take two days off to drive 3 strangers from a foreign land to their next place of adventure. Continue reading PAPER CUT COLLECTIVE PRESENTS HELLO, STRANGER


MEOW MEOW'S LITTLE MERMAID, another great show playing the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent
MEOW MEOW’S LITTLE MERMAID, another great show playing the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent

If you’re a sucker for a good collection of original songs, daahlings, sweetie, one that takes you on a journey through different styles and moods, telling stories, plucking at your emotions and showcasing the virtuoso skills of the musicians and singer, then MEOW MEOW’S LITTLE MERMAID is the show for you.

If you’re also a fan of eclectic, hybrid blending of styles, ideas and form that mixes a classic children’s fairytale with cabaret satire creating a decent platform for allowing all manner of mayhem and moments of meaning to bubble to the surface, then definitely line up early for a good seat.

Stir that into the repertoire of an accomplished performer waxing on the most explored and adored topic of all – love; or more specifically, trying to find the damn thing. ‘Love – do we have to hunt it down and kill it?’ Continue reading MEOW MEOW’S LITTLE MERMAID @ MAGIC MIRRORS SPEIGELTENT

City Of Newcastle Drama Awards :The CONDAs – Celebrating 37 years

Winners Best Ensemble - My Fair Lady by St Phillip's Christian College. Photo Dan McCririk
Winners Best Ensemble – My Fair Lady by St Phillip’s Christian College. Photo Dan McCririk

I have never won a trophy! Not one. Not even a plasticky tacky “Most Improved” or anything.

Loads of certificates and stuff, but no real, honest to goodness “I won” hold aloft bit of pleasure. So I take great joy in watching other people win and being part of the team that awards them.

There is a beautiful hand blown glass winged trophy that is unique to the City of Newcastle Drama Awardsthe CONDAs. A lovely gentleman named Julio makes each one in his home workshop at Medowie and at this years 37th CONDA ceremony, held at Wests Leagues Club, some beautiful footage of Julio making a CONDA trophy made them look even more desirable. Continue reading City Of Newcastle Drama Awards :The CONDAs – Celebrating 37 years


Theatre Door
A door of the derelict Victoria Theatre which is soon coming up for auction.

In a side street in Newcastle’s CBD sits Australia’s oldest surviving theatre, the grand old Victoria Theatre. It also still contains the first fly tower in Australia. It’s in a sorry state now, full of junk and detritus from years of being used as a shop until it fell into complete disuse a few decades ago. I remember buying a pair of brown jeans there in 1978 when it housed a jeans store. Pigeons have had a lovely time as well although they have now gone since the roof has been replaced.

In its time it rivaled the biggest and best theatres in the country. Originally opened in 1876, it was a cutting edge prestigious venue during the era of vaudeville, theatre and cinema, rivaling Sydney theatres with its gold leaf terracottas, 12 dressing rooms, 66 by 40 foot stage, a labyrinth of property and storage rooms and most significantly, a three level fly tower.

The best vaudeville acts came to The Victoria. There are even rumours of some nude dancing girls; that must have been burlesque. Continue reading P.A.N MOUNTS CAMPAIGN TO REVIVE THE VICTORIA THEATRE NEWCASTLE

Unmasking Prince Charming @ Press Book House Newcastle

Seth Drury and his Disney Prince Doll
Inset pic- Seth Drury and his Disney Prince Doll. Featured pic- Seth Drury and the truth about the Prince Myth

Disneyland! I couldn’t wait for the Sunday night castle with its arc of stars, the theme music and welcome into the wonderful world of Disney. Fantasia, Mary Poppins, Jungle Book. The Love Bug! And of course, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty. All magical. When my children were small taking them to the latest holiday Disney film was a joy. The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas….

Now my children are adults, I have to take myself on sneaky little trips. My private excursion to see Frozen was like a dirty secret that I didn’t share for weeks, and Up was the best 3D fun I’d ever had.

The World of Disney is like that– beautifully appealing no matter how old you are. We all love a good fairy story with a happy ending. Because real life is nothing like that. Continue reading Unmasking Prince Charming @ Press Book House Newcastle

No One Cares About Your Cat Coming To ATYP

L to R James Chapman, Sam De Lyall, Tamara Gazzard, Zoe Anderson, Jemima Webber
L to R James Chapman, Sam De Lyall, Tamara Gazzard, Zoe Anderson, Jemima Webber

Back in the early 90’s anyone seen walking down a street chatting into a small brick sized device held to an ear, was seen as a ‘poser’. I remember some friends being concerned that the overnight charging of the said small brick was a potential fire hazard. My friends also had fire blankets, a bucket of sand and fire extinguisher in every room of their house so that they were well prepared if the said brick did catch fire.

Fast-forward two decades and to not have a mobile phone welded to your hand and an online profile is now to be the weird one, labelling you a veritable Luddite.

A quick glance at statistics shows that mobile phone ownership took off around 2004, the same year Facebook was founded. So much has happened in ten years and we are going to see so much more in the next ten. Continue reading No One Cares About Your Cat Coming To ATYP

The Anzac Project- Helping Us Remember @ The Ensemble Theatre

Inset- The Anzac Project
Inset pic- Eric Beecroft and David Terry in Dear Mum and Dad. Featured pic- Anita Hegh and David Terry. Production pics by Clare Hawley

As part of this year’s 100th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand troops landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in an offensive against the Turkish Army during World War 1, the Ensemble Theatre  has developed and is now presenting its production, THE ANZAC PROJECT- HELPING US REMEMBER.

As we all know only too painfully, the campaign was a disastrous one. The troops were largely cannon fodder but the camaraderie, sardonic humour and bravery of the Australian and New Zealand forces launched a legend, henceforth known as the ANZACS that continues to be recognised every 25th April since 1916.

The two new works, commissioned by the Ensemble Theatre for their 2015 season, and written by experienced playwrights Geoffrey Atherton and Vanessa Bates, have many overlaps and similarities in style and content. With them being presented by the same quartet of actors playing quite similar characters, and both directed by Mark Kilmurry, using the same set, there tends to be a blurring of stories and images into one whole. Continue reading The Anzac Project- Helping Us Remember @ The Ensemble Theatre

EQUUS @ The Civic Playhouse


Two questions:-

1. Who has ridden a horse, bareback, smelt it, felt its muscles and sweat and looked into its large brown eyes?

2. What is “normal”?

Once our relationship with animals was integral to survival and transport and a strong connection with animals was normal. We now all hurtle around in various forms of mechanised metal boxes and cylinders, quite removed from the amazing animals that were once essential to daily life. Now an encounter with a horse, with any beast of burden really, has gone. They are quite exotic for most people and in many cases, objects of fear.

Peter Shaffer wrote EQUUS after reading a newspaper report about a 17 year old boy who blinded six horses with a hoof pick, using it to create a fictional account of what might have caused the incident and along the way explore the opposing forces of rational thought and ecstasy or passion.

Continue reading EQUUS @ The Civic Playhouse


The team, cast and crew, behind AMADEUS. Pics Mark Banks
The team, cast and crew, behind the Genesian’s current revival of AMADEUS. Pics Mark Banks

“I don’t believe it” are the gossiping words declared ironically and repeatedly by the court ‘whims’ Venticello and Venticella as bookends to the opening and closing of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play, AMADEUS. Hapsburg Court musician and composer for Emperor Joseph ll, Antonio Salieri has declared on his death bed that he murdered Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart via poisoning and the Viennese court of the early 19th century is buzzing with the news.

Whether it’s true or not (and there’s significant debate that suggests it’s a greatly exaggerated antipathy), it’s a ripping tale and far more interesting than a bit of petty jealousy. In Shaffer’s hands, Salieri becomes a full blown tortured protagonist, possessed by the demon of jealousy, causing him to renounce his faith, break his marriage vows and rail against a God who gave a divine gift to an essentially childish, giggling and foolish man – Mozart. Salieri’s duplicity in appearing to befriend Mozart, while blocking and destroying any opportunities for Mozart’s advancement or even financial stability is the basis of this tale of spiraling envy and despair. Continue reading Amadeus

Checklist for an Armed Robber – Stooged Theatre

Angie Diaz and Callan Purcell in Checklist for an Armed Robber - Stooged Theatre
Angie Diaz and Callan Purcell in  CHECKLIST FOR AN ARMED ROBBERY- Stooged Theatre

Terrorism – the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. This highly emotive noun evokes strong responses in our current political climate and Stooged Theatre’s production of Vanessa Bates CHECKLIST FOR AN ARMED ROBBER resonates with the passions and desperate thinking that hurtles individuals and groups into extreme acts of aggression. What does it take to motivate individuals and groups to perform acts of terror involving innocent and unwilling victims?

Set in October 2002, the script was inspired by newspaper stories: one, known as the Nord-Orst siege, where an Islamist Chechen group took over 800 theatre patrons at the Debrovka theatre in Moscow for 3 days, demanding Russian troops leave Chechnya and end the war. The other was an attempted robbery of a single young female shop assistant in a bookshop in Newcastle. Continue reading Checklist for an Armed Robber – Stooged Theatre

Through These Lines

Second Image

As we lead into the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC tradition, established in Gallipoli through the fierce bravery and camaraderie displayed by the Australian and New Zealand troops under the most appalling conditions, we welcome the opportunity to be reminded of the stories of these soldiers and their sacrifice. However, there were also Australian and New Zealand women who endured hardship and experienced great trauma during WW1, – the nurses. It is heartening to see their stories are being told as well, without gloss or glamour.

THROUGH THESE LINES writer and ensemble member, Cheryl Ward (she plays the fair but strict Matron Ada Watson) demonstrates extensive research and effective manipulation of techniques and emotions to bring to life the story of Sister Florence Whiting, (Kate Skinner). Continue reading Through These Lines

Lachlan Philpott’s THE CHOSEN

The Chosen - TANTRUM Youth Theatre

To be chosen by others always makes one feel special. To be the soloist, on the team, a friend, a girlfriend or boyfriend, a representative. Being singled out is a gift of self-worth that even the most bashful or shy enjoys.But what if your special chosen status is beyond the realms of belief by others? Your best friend, chosen by you, has a strong spiritual faith and belief in God but struggles with believing your stories of alien abduction and the theory that your father was taken as well.

Lachlan Philpott’s latest play, THE CHOSEN, is a multi-layered and deceptively complex work that focuses on the isolated Freya, played by a perfectly cast Belinda Hodgson. Recently relocated with her mum (Chloe McKinnon) and younger brother, Tiddy (Kelty O’Shea) to Grove Grammar in Brisbane from a list of other places, including Andromeda, Freya has become very used to her status as the bullied outcast at school. Her raging skin condition, which she attempts to hide by wearing jumpers in summer, makes her an instant target for the ubiquitous bullying tribe. Continue reading Lachlan Philpott’s THE CHOSEN

Sean Morahan in 1 LINER

Comedian Sean Morahan at the Hive
Comedian Sean Morahan at the Hive Bar

The Hive Bar in Erskinville is a lounge room type venue with a lounge, bench seats and chairs with cushions and delivered pizza from the kitchen downstairs. Just the type of room one would want for some intimate comic entertainment. With back to the window, warm up comedian, CJ Delling and main act, Sean Morahan stand behind a microphone that is a metre away from many of the audience. Given Sean’s impressive height, one could easily be intimidated, but the down the front seats were the best. Some chose to hang further back, but were warned that playing the video game during the routine would be considered a “heckle”. Continue reading Sean Morahan in 1 LINER

HAIRSPRAY: The Broadway Musical

Caught in the Spotlight. Pics Rob Eyre
Caught in the Spotlight. Pics Rob Eyre

Those of us old enough to remember responded to the reference to the TV test pattern colours on the 6 rear lit TV type screens rising from floor to ceiling both sides of the stage on the set of Metropolitan Players production of HAIRSPRAY. The colours of these screens changed with different scenes, complimenting and supporting settings for lounge rooms, school, the set of the Corny Collins Show, Motormouth Maybelle’s Record Shop, jail, Har-De-Har Hut and so many other spaces and places in a dizzy quick change magician wand type changeover of doors, glimmer curtains and cartoon places that one would have to see the show several times just to work it all out.

Continue reading HAIRSPRAY: The Broadway Musical


 Tim O'Donnell as Bassanio, Scott Eveleigh as Salanio and Glen Waterhouse as Antonio. Photo - Mat Lee
Tim O’Donnell as Bassanio, Scott Eveleigh as Salanio and Glen Waterhouse as Antonio. Photo – Mat Lee

The first recorded performance of The Merchant of Venice was 10th February 1605. The themes of racial and religious hatred, money, marriage and mercy all still reverberate as soundly today as they did in 1605.

The context has undoubtedly changed; the 17th century fission between Christianity and Judaism resonates far less today, but the cold war between two powerful men of money is as fresh and smelly as it has ever been.

STOOGED THEATRE has presented a production that breathes new life into this classic text. With a few theatrical tweaks and contemporary references, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE becomes a media savvy play about money and politics and taking down your political opponents using the law as your weapon. Random pen drops on a newspaper will supply any number of current examples to support that theme.



Tamara Gazzard, Lucy Shepherd and Sarah Coffee in SPENT
Tamara Gazzard, Lucy Shepherd and Sarah Coffee in Paper Cut Collective Theatre’s SPENT

Back in the 1950’s The Store Building at Newcastle West was one of the places to shop. Women dressed themselves in hats, gloves and coats for a special day out and shopping was an occasion, an activity for which one prepared.

Those glamour days are well and truly gone and now The Store building is barely occupied and has only been used intermittently for weekend markets. However, Paper Cut Collective has discovered a great open space there to present their self- devised work, SPENT.

Continue reading SPENT


Tim Walter and Rebecca Massey in PERPLEX. Pic Lisa Tomasetti
Tim Walter and Rebecca Massey in PERPLEX. Pic Lisa Tomasetti

My husband returned from his daily dog walk, drenched from a sudden downpour of rain. He had been stopped in the park by a man who wanted to know the time and who then proceeded to deliver a half hour diatribe about how messed up the world is and it’s all because of technology. Eventually he shook my husband’s hand, thanked him for the chat and left. The delay meant my husband was caught in the rain and when he arrived home he noticed that the reasonably new guttering was overflowing. Once inside he banged his shin on the coffee table that had been moved for vacuuming. He wasn’t happy.

The familiar routine, order and placement of our time and space become second nature and we travel through our days without questioning or thinking, until something disrupts us. We only really notice when things are not working or in their usual spot or people randomly attack or interrupt us. We believe that we can control our time, homes, interactions and things. They are part of the way we establish our identity and attempt to organize our time and our lives.

Continue reading PERPLEX



Whenever I see a show that involves the characters drinking alcohol I always want to join them and feel quite envious that they are having a grand ol’ time down there and I’m sitting and merely watching. It’s even worse when the set is a very fine rendition of a pub that is really the back room of Brendan’s family house on the family farm in Western Ireland, and is where a few locals meet to discuss their day.  The price of a pint and a whiskey is on the chalk board and when Jack, the local mechanic, opens the play by helping himself and putting the money in the till, I wanted to do the same. Whenever there was an offer of another round of a pint and a small one, I wanted to volunteer a shout.  Particularly when they had settled into an evening of storytelling and we were privy to it all.

Continue reading THE WEIR