YOUNG VIOLINIST SAM HOOPER WINS INAUGURAL EISTEDDFOD AWARD

Sam Hooper, Guest Performer at Sydney Eisteddfod NSW Drs Instrumental Scholarship Final 2022

At only 12 years old, Sam Hooper from Hobart, Tasmania, is the first recipient in Sydney Eisteddfod’s history to be awarded The Most Promising Young String Player Award. 

This inaugural award is open to entrants aged 8 to 20 in selected Sydney Eisteddfod String events. This award aims to discover a young string player with exceptional potential and aid their musical journey through fine-tuning their technique with additional resources.  

Sydney Eisteddfod created The Most Promising Young String Player Award through the valuable partnership with The Sydney String Centre.  Continue reading YOUNG VIOLINIST SAM HOOPER WINS INAUGURAL EISTEDDFOD AWARD

ONE MAN IN HIS TIME : JOHN BELL AND SHAKESPEARE

Following sell-out performances in Sydney and Canberra in 2021, Bell Shakespeare presents an intimate performance by company Founding Artistic Director John BellOne Man  In  His Time: John Bell and Shakespeare. Bell will perform in the company’s new theatre space, the Neilson Nutshell at Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct from 2-3 September, before performing the show in Melbourne for the first time from 9-10 September.

Referencing the “all the world’s a stage” speech from As You Like It (“one man in his time plays many parts”), this solo show puts Bell’s mastery of Shakespeare’s language and character work on full display. Bell reflects on works by Shakespeare that have left their mark on him throughout his life. Continue reading ONE MAN IN HIS TIME : JOHN BELL AND SHAKESPEARE

LET’S DANCE DOUBLE BILL @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES

From Left Chris Chua, Nasim Patel in BeatStorm Pic Heidrun Lohr

First, movies were silent. One of the hottest silent movie stars was Greta Garbo. Eventually, people worked out how to make talkies – movies in which the actors spoke and you could hear their voices. So, in 1930 the most anticipated film was Garbo’s first talkie. All the publicists had to do was bill it “Garbo speaks!” and the fans flocked in.

Twenty-five years later, the producers of Marlon Brando’s film, Guys and Dolls, knew all they had to do was bill the movie “Brando sings!” and, sure enough, the fans flocked in.

On 12th August last week, dancer Ryuichi Fujimura turned the tables and launched into his “talkie dance”. With verve, wit and aplomb, he came naked onto the stage. Not literally, but figuratively. Why does a dancer dance? To be utterly vulnerable, and through their art to bare their soul. And through sheer courage to meet and connect with the audience, unalloyed by a boundary distancing viewer, but to connect audience and performer by direct and intimate human contact. Continue reading LET’S DANCE DOUBLE BILL @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE: BLOOD AND CUTS

Is a live autopsy a contradiction in terms?

Whether yea or nay, it is a set piece in David Cronenberg’s latest body horror film, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE.

The film begins with a startling image. A little boys fossicks on the foreshore. A capsized ocean liner lies on its side behind him.

The boy will soon be suffocated by his mother and he will be the subject of a live autopsy.

The corpse of the creature you call your son!” says the mother to the distraught father. She murdered him because of his proclivity to eating plastic.

He is in fact a prototype sapien, spawned by his sperm donor, a dissident genetically engineering digestive tracts fast tracked to consume the waste created by our industrial world.

This is is an intriguing sidebar to the central story about performance artist, Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and his companion, Caprice (Lea Seydoux) She is an ex surgeon and now helps Tenser on and off stage in his public surgery act.

He sleeps in a sarcophagus and eats in a high chair that looks like a chiropractor’s display model. The upside down beetle hammock harks back to Cronenberg’s embedded entomology fetish, his arthropod fixation, so upfront in The Fly, and The Naked Lunch.

Tenser’s show is a blood and cuts extravaganza, where he is delivered of a tumor and cultivates extra organs and appendages to be excised. Talk about a growth industry.

In CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, surgery isn’t just the new art installation, it’s the new sex. Seduced by incision, aroused by suture, impassioned by implant.

 Such is his entrails displaying star power, he is invited to enter an Inner Beauty Pageant! 

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is neo Gothic with Mortensen sweeping through streets of decay dressed as a hooded monk and being propositioned by a cool ghoul in the form of Kristen Stewart.

A companion piece to Cronenberg’s earlier film, Crash, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE is back to the past with a view to the impending.

 

THROUGH THE CRACKS : PROMISES TO BE IMMERSIVE THEATRE

Playwright and actress Elaine Paton

Elaine Paton’s THROUGH THE CRACKS is a theatrical crime-style investigation that dives deep into issues of ageing, identity and homelessness, as Inspector Tilly leads an enquiry into the true-life disappearance of her alter ego, Elaine.

The audience enters the Incident Room to inspect Evidence Boards, pinned with various memorabilia of Elaine’s life, fragments connecting the archives of this Missing Person. Elaine Paton has disappeared and it’s Detective Myfwany Tilly’s job to find her. Evidence in a storage unit, including diaries going right back to childhood, reveal an inner narrative of Elaine’s life that doesn’t quite match the outer events – and give clues to what has happened.

With the help of her team (the audience) Tilly examines the twists and turns of Elaine’s life – linking film footage and projections with the diaries – to find her… and hopefully bring her back!  Both women are in their late sixties and Tilly, dragged out of obscurity to lead this investigation -and a bit out of shape – is a no-nonsense detective with a big Welsh heart. Continue reading THROUGH THE CRACKS : PROMISES TO BE IMMERSIVE THEATRE

HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: MARSHALLING THE ART

Liliana Padilla’s play, HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF begins with a brisk banter between Mexican spitfire, Diana, and her college campus colleague, the more demure, Mojdeh. These girls have signed up for a self defence course following a sexual assault on another student.

The course is run by Brandi, a Barbie doll cheerleader armed with affirmative acclamations and fervent catchphrases, aided by the more acerbic, Kara.

Latecomer, Nikki, completes the quintet as they spar both physically and vocally, the narrative adding surprising layers onto the concept and definition of self defence. Peer pressure, political correctness, passion and desire, pervasive patriarchy all come under the microscope of personal introspection and public debate.

Enter the males. Andy, charming, self-assured, overtly supportive of the women and Eggo, also seemingly supportive, but confused to the point of becoming an Incel, descending into disrespectful language at a perceived slight on his sexual performance.

HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF opens up discussion about rape culture, which is anything that chips away at female self respect and gives males permission to feel entitled, more important, to take without thinking, without conscience, without consent. Continue reading HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: MARSHALLING THE ART

GRIFFIN THEATRE COMPANY PURCHASES SBW STABLES THEATRE

In an enormous act of generosity, the Neilson Foundation has made a multi-million dollar gift to allow the Griffin Theatre Company to purchase the SBW Stables Theatre and the adjoining terrace—paving the way for a major redevelopment of the Stables.

It’s the largest philanthropic gift in the company’s history—and will give Griffin full agency and autonomy over its beloved little theatre.

On the back of the NSW Government’s support of $5 million for the redevelopment the gift from the Neilson Foundation represents a significant turning point for Griffin. Continue reading GRIFFIN THEATRE COMPANY PURCHASES SBW STABLES THEATRE

STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE : A KIND OF SORCERY

Matthew Backer and Ewen Leslie in the STC’s production of ‘Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. Pic Daniel Boud

There’s an old Carole Bayer Sager song ‘Don’t Wish Too Hard’  that starts, ‘Don’t wish too hard/or then you might get it/and then you might find/ that you didn’t want it at all.’

Bayer Sager’s maxim could definitely apply to Dr Jekyll the main character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE which Kip Williams has adapted for the stage. He is a respected scientist, well thought of in society. He knows that he has a dark side to his personality, and wants to explore it further. He comes up with serum that, he hopes, when he injects it, will let him experience his  dark side.

The experiment  succeeds beyond his expectations. With each injection he transforms into Mr Hyde, a dark natured, sinister man. He gets a high, a rush, after each transformation. Things start to go awry when one night he involuntarily turns into Mr Hyde.  He no longer has control of his creation, a bit Frankenstein like. His dark side is taking over. His goal then becomes to kill off Mr Hyde, so that he can become a decent, civilised man again. Continue reading STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE : A KIND OF SORCERY

NEGOTIATION TACTICS FOR THE WEAK WILLED : GENTLE, QUIRKY SATIRE

Each year Shopfront Theatre has one Members Show. Members between 18 and 26 years old are invited to pitch their show. All members then vote and the winning pitch then goes on to being produced. This year’s work is Kevin Tran’s short piece NEGOTIATION TACTICS FOR THE WEAK WILLED.
Tran’s piece is in the form of a self help seminar with the premise being  that  every situation in life is a negotiation.
Four panellists feature  in the seminar, Through a few different scenarios they teach us, the audience, the different steps that are involved in all negotiations.
This was a new one for me. I had heard of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s stages of dying but I wasn’t aware that there were certain steps involved in any negotiation.

Continue reading NEGOTIATION TACTICS FOR THE WEAK WILLED : GENTLE, QUIRKY SATIRE

BOTH SIDES NOW : PURE BLISS FOR JONI FANS

For Joni fan’s BOTH SIDES NOW : CELEBRATING THE SONGS OF JONI MITCHELL was pure bliss.  Five of Australia’s finest female singers – Katie Noonan, Ella Hooper, Wendy Matthews, Melinda Schneider and Kristin Berardi- took to the stage to perform their favourite Joni Mitchell songs supported by a great band which included a string quartet.

The concert took place in the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House, the first pop music concert to take place since its recent refurbishment, and with the acoustics sounding better than ever.song

There were many highlights. The two songs, Shadows and Light’ and ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, which saw the group sing in unison.

Melinda Schneider’s rueful rendition of ‘River’ in which Joni laments losing a lover which  she, at least in part, blames herself : ‘I lost the best baby I ever had..Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on’.

Wendy Matthews gave a soulful rendering of  Joni’s classic song ‘For Free’, perhaps the best song ever written about a busker. Joni wrote the song after being inspired by a New York sidewalk musician playing a clarinet on the corner of 6th and 8th Street who was playing ‘real good for free’. Matthews also performed an evocative version of the existential title song which took the audience to interval.

Melinda Schneider gave a superb version of the wistful  ‘Blue Motel Room’ which she considered to be a pop music standard – ‘Tell those girls that you’ve got Joni/ Joni’s coming back home.’

I can still remember the first time that I heard ‘Woodstock’. I was a student at Sydney University, having  lunch in the Union building, when from the jukebox I heard that magical piano intro and then the soaring vocals. I had never heard anything quite like it before. I was won over.  One of Australia’s finest jazz vocalists, Kristin Berardi’s version conveys the song’s majestic quality.

The wonderful, silky voiced Katie Noonan gave heartfelt versions of three songs from Joni’s classic ‘Blue’ album; ‘My Old Man’, her ballad to then lover Graham Nash, the tremulous title track – ‘Crown and anchor me or let me sail away, and ‘A Case Of You’- I drink a case of you whilst still staying on my feet;’), considered one of rock music’s greatest  love songs. I  remember reading somewhere that Kris Kristoffreson  reprimanded Joni at the time that she shouldn’t make albums that showed herself being so vulnerable, that she had to leave something for herself.

There were plenty of slow numbers but the concert also included some upbeat numbers which were gleefully performed. These included ‘Raised On Robbery’ (Ella Hooper), ‘Carey’ (Wendy Matthews), ‘Be Cool’ (Kristin Berardi) and ‘Free Man In Paris’ (Kristin Berardi).

This wonderfully talented group of five came together for the final two songs; a lovely version of  boppy ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ – ‘(they paved paradise/put up a parking lot) and for the encore, the wistful, poignant ‘Circle Game’.

This was a great night, so appropriately performed at the Sydney Opera House. Hopefully some recording of the concert took place, so that there would be a permanent record of it that people could enjoy.

Just a few weeks ago some good news came through for Joni fans. Back in 2015 Joni had a major stroke after which she was unable to speak or walk. It was believed that she would never be able to appear on stage again. True to her indomitable spirit, late in July, with the help of her friend, the singer Brandi Carlisle, she made a surprise appearance at the New Folk Jazz Festival, even at one point getting out of her and playing a guitar solo. There will only ever be one Joni Mitchell.

CHARKHA AND KARGHA OPENS TOMORROW @ THE POWERHOUSE

Textile length decorated with beetle wings, India. Powerhouse collection acquired 1883. Photo by Zan Wimberley

Powerhouse’s new exhibition Charkha and Kargha, which presents highlights from the museum’s expansive collection of Indian textiles, opens tomorrow Saturday 13 August.

Taking its title from Charkha (spinning wheel) and Kargha (loom), the exhibition features over 100 rare items that date back to the foundational collections of the Powerhouse acquired since the 1880s.

In addition to their beauty, many of the textiles featured in the exhibition incorporate spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidery techniques. Highlights include block-printed textiles, known as Fustat fragments, believed to be made in Gujarat in the 1400s. Continue reading CHARKHA AND KARGHA OPENS TOMORROW @ THE POWERHOUSE

MCA AUSTRALIA : ULTRA UNREAL : NEW MYTHS FOR NEW WORLDS

 

Lu Yang – Dokusho Dokushi
Club Ate
Saeborg
Saeborg – Slaughterhouse
Justin Shoulder of Club Ate
Saeborg Pootopia
Lawrence Lek – Geomancer
Lawrence Lek – Geomancer
Lawrence Lek – Geomancer
Saeborg
Korakrit Arunanondchai & Alex Grojic – A room filled with people with funny names

An unreal new exhibition  ULTRA UNREAL has just opened at the Museum Of Contemporary Art (MCA).

The exhibition features the works of six artists and collectives whose world building practices are connected to nightlife ecosystems across the globe. Club Ate (Sydney), Korakrit Arunanondchai and Alex Gvojic (Bangkok & New York), Lawrence Lek (London), Lu Yang (Shanghai), and Saeborg (Tokyo) create worlds that blend myth and reality, simulating more-than-human futures, evolving belief systems and fluid frameworks of being. 

Curated by MCA Australia Curator Anna Davis, the ULTRA UNREAL exhibition reflects on the relevance of mythmaking today and its role in navigating complex realities and creating new worlds. Drawing inspiration from Ning Ken’s theory of the ultra-unreal, it examines how mythologies can be used to reveal hidden histories and reorientate visions of the future.   Continue reading MCA AUSTRALIA : ULTRA UNREAL : NEW MYTHS FOR NEW WORLDS

TINA TURNER THE MUSICAL COMING TO SYDNEY IN 2023

Brian Walsh
Yvonne Weldon & Leah Howard
Stuart Ayres MP & The Press
Glenn A Baker
Myf Warhurst
Paul Dainty
Cessalee Stovall & Leah Howard

The smash hit TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is coming to Theatre Royal Sydney, Australia in May 2023!

The waitlist for information and tickets to TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is open now, visit https://www.tinathemusical.com.au/

Produced by TEG DAINTY in special collaboration with Stage EntertainmentTali Pelman and Tina Turner, the musical reveals a comeback story like no other, of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race to become the global Queen of Rock n’ Roll. TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is a celebration of resilience and an inspiration of triumph over adversity. Continue reading TINA TURNER THE MUSICAL COMING TO SYDNEY IN 2023

KOREAN FILM FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA: A FEAST OF 13

The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) returns into cinemas in 2022 with a fabulous line-up of excellent new Korean films, spanning across a range of exciting genres.

The Festival program features 13 of the finest films from Korea’s internationally recognised film industry.

Opening this year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia is the high octane, adrenaline pumping SPECIAL DELIVERY.

Reminiscent of Transporter, Park Dae-min’s crime action film sees a secret delivery clerk dragged into a crime caper that that develops into a gargantuan gallop in a long pursuit from Seoul to Busan. Think Train to Busan but in a car and the zombies are living, breathing coldhearted killers.

SPECIAL DELIVERY starts with full metal to the pedal action with vehicular stunts that used to be saved up for a film’s climax rather than its opening. The cunning stunt team work overtime in precision driving, careening chassis and burning rubber. Watch out for the masterclass in parallel parking!

Graceful gear shifts, breathtaking braking, and reverse parking procedures to die for, SPECIAL DELIVERY introduces a wily wheel woman, Eun-ha, sassily played by Parasite star, Park So-dam.

Her driving makes Bullit look like Steve McQueen on learner plates and why she’s considered the best in her field, a courier of special, urgent cargo, no questions asked.

Her latest gig involves a crooked police officer and his son, and the gang that needs the kid to extract vital information. Eun-ha lives for motion but eschews emotion, but close proximity to the kid starts to whittle away the wheel woman’s determination to remain detached.

Among the metal mayhem and the chrome crunching carnage, there’s hand to hand biffo and a satisfying build of character development with hand to heart pathos.

Continuing the crime spree part of the festival is THE POLICEMAN’S LINEAGE. Reminiscent of Infernal Affairs, which was remade by Scorsese as The Departed, The Policeman’s Lineage follows Min-jae (CHOI Woo-shik), whose family has been in the police force for generations, and has been ordered to investigate fellow cop, Kang-yoon (CHO Jin-woong).

Min-jae has been recruited because he ratted on a partner for using brutal tactics on a suspect, making him a pariah to some but perfect as an anti corruption investigator. Min-jae is of the belief that, “if the police do something illegal even if it has occurred during the process of investigation, he is also a criminal.”

Kang-yoon has come under suspicion because of his striking results and sartorial splendour, neither of which police pay or procedure could honestly sustain. Min-jae infiltrates Kang-yoon’s squad, and is adopted unabashedly by the head man who has the belief of, “the chase of crime should be justified even if it’s illegal.”

THE POLICEMAN’S LINEAGE is a highly entertaining crime drama none the less intriguing for the ethical dilemma faced by both principal characters. Experience and instinct clash with by-the-book bureaucracy, salted by office politics envy and personal historic ties. A cracker.

If you liked Argo, the you will relish ESCAPE FROM MOGADISHU.

Escape from Mogadishu is set in the late 1980s at the height of the Cold War, with a diplomatic skirmish taking place in Somalia’s capital which ultimately leaves both the South and North Korean diplomats in their respective embassies, trapped.

The only way out and a chance for survival is co-operation between the two opposing diplomatic missions. Suspicions must be overcome, a truce of trust must be established before a life and death escape can be negotiated.

Writer director Ryoo Seung-wan begins his film with a comedic tone which ghosts the film throughout, ratcheting up occasionally to the absurd, which pays off with the nail biting finale where DIY bullet proofed vehicles run a gauntlet of relentless pursuit and fire power. Wow!

Skewed romantic comedies dont come much better than PERHAPS LOVE. Akin to the best of Woody Allen, PERHAPS LOVE is a comedy pretzel, crisp, salty with plenty of satisfying sophisticated bite.

Kim Hyeon is the author of a best selling author who is suffering writer’s block. Instead of angling a new book which he has been paid a princely advance, he has been fishing, casting lines without having written a line.

His pal publisher, Kim Hee-won is not happy and is demanding pages.

His ex-wife, Mi-ae is not happy because their son, Seong-kyeong is proving troublesome and suicidal since his girlfriend left him after falling pregnant to another boy.

A ruse concerning the fake funeral of an old teacher finally brings him home to a confrontation with his grudge bearing brother to whom he innocently precipitates another axe to grind when the boyfriend professes his love for him.

This set of kindling ignites into a bonfire of vanities as his ex wife and publisher continue a secret affair, a sudden reconciliation with his ex wife is discovered by their son, his current wife arrives from overseas, and he and his brother’s ex lover embark on a working relationship fraught with unrequited love.

Seriously funny, PERHAPS LOVE is sophisticated comedy with sparkling dialogue, a tincture of pathos and a splash of slapstick. What fun!

The Festival boasts fantasy and mystery too, and on the strength of the four aforementioned films, the quality bar will be high.

Tickets to the Korean Film Festival in Australia are on sale now at www.koffia.com.au

2022 KOFFIA screening dates and locations:

  • Sydney: August 18 – 23 | Event Cinema George St

  • Melbourne: September 1 – 5 | ACMI, Fed Square

  • Canberra: September 1 – 3 | Palace Electric Cinema

  • Brisbane: September 8 – 11 | Elizabeth Picture Theatre

Stay up to date with KOFFIA:

Website:www.koffia.com.au
Facebook:www.facebook.com/koreanfilmfestival
Instagram:www.instagram.com/koreanfilmfestival
Twitter:www.twitter.com/koffiafilmfest

J.P.POMARE’S THE WRONG WOMAN : A COMPLEX MYSTERY THRILLER

It was a tragic accident – wasn’t it?

J.P. Pomare is an award winning writer who has had work published in journals including Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Takahe and Mascara Literary Review. He has hosted the On Writing podcast since 2015 featuring bestselling authors from around the globe. His first novel, Call Me Evie, was critically acclaimed and won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. In The Clearing, Pomare’s second novel, was also a critically acclaimed bestseller. He was born in New Zealand and resides in Melbourne with his wife.

THE WRONG WOMAN is J. P. Pomare’s fifth novel, that is in equal parts psychological thriller and small-town murder mystery, set in modern day rural America.( So think mobile phones, computers and USB sticks and bitcoin and where everyone knows everyone else and remembers what happened years ago).

Vince Reid left the small town of Manson ten years ago, promising his former Chief of Police boss he’d never return. He made a new life in the city, morphed into a P.I. and turned his back on his old life for good. Or so he thought. Continue reading J.P.POMARE’S THE WRONG WOMAN : A COMPLEX MYSTERY THRILLER

ON JAVA ROAD: A WORDROBE OF SARTORIAL PROSE

There’s a marvelous typo towards the end of ON JAVA ROAD, the sleekly satisfying new novel by Lawrence Osborne: “They’ll be hanging like ghosts in your wordrobe filling you with guilt”.

It’s fitting rather than a flaw and one can only surmise it could be deliberate. Being speech it may be legitimate mispronunciation. It is neither commented on nor corrected, but it made me think how appropriate the mistake; if it is a malapropism, it’s a cunning one.

ON JAVA ROAD is draped in sartorial sentences, elegant phrasing, a bespoke style exquisitely fashioned and tailored. Continue reading ON JAVA ROAD: A WORDROBE OF SARTORIAL PROSE

6 FESTIVALS: 4 STARS

Splendour in the Mud may have dampened some of the splendour at the recent music fest at Byron but a new film, 6 Festivals is sure to rekindle a vicarious enthusiasm for future events and a splendid nostalgia for past ones.

6 FESTIVALS follows Maxie, Summer and James who share a deep bond and love for music. James (Rory Potter) is the entrepreneur of the trio, his sights set on a career as a promoter. Summer (Yasmin Honeychurch) has an incredible singing voice. Maxie (Rasmus King) is the maestro of mischief. When James receives a devastating diagnosis, the friends hurl themselves into a whirlwind of festivals in an attempt to escape reality.

Shot at leading Australian music festivals and locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Canberra through 2020 and 2021, director and co-writer Macario De Souza was inspired to create 6 FESTIVALS from his own personal experience as a touring musician, music fan, surfer and the environment he grew up in. Continue reading 6 FESTIVALS: 4 STARS

BELL SHAKESPEARE’S ‘COMEDY OF ERRORS’ IN SYDNEY NEXT WEEK

Bell Shakespeare’s production of The Comedy of Errors will be presented at the Sydney Opera House from 17 August – 17 September as part of its major national tour to 20 cities and regional centres across Australia in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory.

Due to be presented in 2020 but disrupted due to COVID, the company revives this vibrant and hilarious production that at its core is a beautiful and timely story about family reunion.

The production will also tour across regional NSW at The Art House, Wyong on 21 September, Manning Entertainment Centre, Taree on 23 September, Civic Theatre Newcastle on 27 September and Griffith Regional Theatre on 11 October.

Directed by longtime Bell Shakespeare collaborator Janine Watson, the play is a comedic and heartfelt romp of swapped identities, misguided love, mistaken imprisonment, and chaotic mishap.

Set in the 1970s, a time in history when global tensions were sky high but was juxtaposed with social movements fighting for liberation and change, the production takes place over a 24-hour period in a colourful and hedonistic seaside land that feels as if anything can and will happen.

Two sets of twins who have been separated for decades strive to be brought back together, and as the dawn arises, all the threads come untangled, and the truth is revealed.

Director Janine Watson said: “The Comedy of Errors actually sets up incredibly high stakes from the very first moment with Egeon condemned to death. He’s searching for his two sets of twins and his wife, all torn apart in a terrible shipwreck three decades ago.

“The country he has come from and the country he lands in, in a last desperate attempt to find his family, are in deep conflict. He needs to raise a bond of $1000 for his life or perish. The scene is then set for a mad, desperate romp of mistaken identity, thwarted lovers and theatrical trickery.

“When the clock is set on Egeon’s life at the start of the play it sets a tone of urgency that propels the characters toward reunion as they race towards the resolution of the plot.

 “Make no mistake – this production will be a fast paced and rollicking comedy, full of verbal wit and physical high jinx. But the characters are desperate for freedom, reunion, love – and that’s what we’ll keep at the heart of our show.”

Gender fluidity has been explored amongst the characters, with the Dromio twins played by Julia Billington and Ella Prince, while the Antipholus twins will be portrayed by Felix Jozeps and Skyler Ellis. 

Joining them onstage will be Joseph Althouse, Giema Contini, Alex King, Leilani Loau, Lauren Richardson and Maitland Schnaars.

The creative team includes Set and Costume Designer Hugh O’Connor, Lighting Designer Kelsey Lee, Composer and Sound Designer Benjamin Pierpoint, Movement Director Samantha Chester, Voice and Text Coach Jess Chambers.

The Comedy of Errors will travel to 20 venues across Australia as listed below, find out more at https://www.bellshakespeare.com.au/the-comedy-of-errors

  • 1-2 July | Orange Civic Theatre, Orange NSW
  • 5 July | Dubbo Regional Theatre, Dubbo NSW
  • 7 July | Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst NSW
  • 9 July | Wagga Wagga Civic Centre, Wagga Wagga NSW
  • 13 – 23 July | Arts Centre Melbourne, VIC
  • 26 July | Horsham Town Hall, Horsham VIC
  • 28 July | The Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool VIC
  • 30 July | West Gippsland Arts Centre, Gippsland VIC
  • 3 – 7 August | State Theatre Centre of WA
  • 11 August | Albany Entertainment Centre, WA
  • 13 August | BREC, Bunbury WA
  • 17 August – 17 September | Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW
  • 21 September | The Art House, Wyong NSW
  • 23 September | Manning Entertainment Centre, Taree NSW
  • 27 September | Civic Theatre Newcastle NSW
  • 30 September – 8 October | Canberra Theatre Centre, ACT
  • 11 October | Griffith Regional Theatre, Griffith NSW
  • 19 October | Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin NT
  • 21 October | Araluen Arts Centre, NT
  • 26 – 29 October | Theatre Royal, Hobart TAS

http://www.bellshakespeare.com.au

Production photography Brett Boardman

BERNADETTE BRENNAN WINS 2022 BIOGRAPHY AWARD FOR ‘LEAPING INTO WATERFALLS’

Bernadette Brennan has won the 2022 National Biography Award for Leaping into Waterfalls: The enigmatic Gillian Mears (A&U).

Brennan receives $25,000, while the other shortlisted authors receive $2000 each.

Judges Suzanne Falkiner, Rick Morton and Mandy Sayer called Leaping into Waterfalls an ‘intimate portrayal’ of the complicated life and premature death of Australian writer Gillian Mears, and praised Brennan’s ‘graceful writing and sensitive approach to an enigmatic and often contradictory personality’.

‘This brilliant and balanced biography details her rural childhood and deep emotional enmeshment with her three sisters, her prodigious and restless love life, her spiritual journeys, her writing process, her appalling treatment of friends and publishers, her soaring talent, and her inexorable descent into illness. Continue reading BERNADETTE BRENNAN WINS 2022 BIOGRAPHY AWARD FOR ‘LEAPING INTO WATERFALLS’

FREEDMAN JAZZ FINALISTS COMPETE @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

After a competitive search for Australia’s most exciting young jazz talent, The Music Trust’s Freedman Jazz Fellowship finalists have been announced for 2022.

Tom Avgenicos, Flora Carbo and Holly Conner will go before esteemed judges, Virna Sanzone, Andrew Robson and Steve Barry in a live concert finale on September 3rd, at the iconic Sydney Opera House for the chance to take home to $21, 000 award.

The 2022 judges, Steve Barry, Virna Sanzone and Andrew Robson noted, “This year’s nominees demonstrate the continually expanding possibilities of contemporary jazz. In a climate still challenging for artists, the judges were thrilled to see an explosion of innovative music-making demonstrated in the distinctive creative voices of these three finalists.”

 Following a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the Freedman Jazz Final is back at The Studio in the Sydney Opera House, cementing its place as one of the premier jazz events of the year. As is now the tradition, a Freedman Jazz Fellow, leading saxophonist Julien Wilson (2006) with be the special guest artist, along with a former Freedman judge, legendary Australian jazz pianist Mike Nock. ABC’s James Valentine will MC the event and give insights into the three finalists’ projects. Continue reading FREEDMAN JAZZ FINALISTS COMPETE @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

JOE MATERA : BACKSTAGE PASS : THE GRIT AND GLAMOUR

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you”. Oprah Winfrey

Joe Matera’s book came through the post with an invitation to review. I took to the book easily because I identified a kindred spirit. Here was a person who followed his passion for writing about rock music in a similarly ‘excited’ way that I have written about theatre.  

Matera has written many hundreds of articles about rock music from the early nineteen nineties to the present.  

He has reviewed and interviewed bands like Rick Wakeman, Billy Corgan, Les McKeown of Bay City Rollers fame, Smashing Pumpkins, Sharon Osbourne, The Dirt, Hammer Of The Gods, Walk This Way, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Status Quo and Jackson Browne  and has been published in many music magazines such as Classic Rock.

A kind of memoir, the book takes us inside the articles and the world he is so fervently passionate about. The stories, the writing, just jumps off the page. There is an extra layer to his work, and that as well as being a spectator he is also a participant. He is an accomplished guitarist, having played in many bands over the years. Continue reading JOE MATERA : BACKSTAGE PASS : THE GRIT AND GLAMOUR

NORMAN SWAN AND HIS NEW BOOK : SO YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUNGER LONGER ?

At the most recent Dymocks Literary luncheon for his new book SO YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUNGER LONGER? Norman Swan did not discuss Covid19 but the topic was about health in a more general sense.

Of all the Sydney medical specialists that were trotted out for the media to discuss the pandemic, Norman Swan was the most effective communicator in conveying the seriousness and future ramifications of this disease that has tragically taken so many lives. 

This effective communication skills was manifested in the way that he spoke to his audience striding back and forth along  a slightly raised platform, making it hard for me to snap a photo of him as he whizzed from right to left which, at times, caused me to match his vigour by my efforts to cover the length of the Four Seasons hotel ballroom. Continue reading NORMAN SWAN AND HIS NEW BOOK : SO YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUNGER LONGER ?

ENSEMBLE THEATRE UNVEILS ITS PRODUCTIONS FOR SEASON 2023

John Gaden in Debra Oswald’s ‘Mr Bailey’s Minder’

Ensemble Theatre is proud to announce its sensational 2023 season, with everything from classics to new works, hilarious comedy, to touching drama. Next year sees another 10-play season take to the stage, featuring huge cast names and brilliant playwrights, with a focus on female writing and directing. 

Ensemble Artistic Director, Mark Kilmurry said, “Striking a balance between celebrating local talent and bringing the best overseas plays to Sydney, as well as reprising classics and staging world premieres, 2023 has it all. A packed season that will take you on a journey through the full range of the human experience, from the deeply personal to outbursts of joy and laughter and great comedies along the way”.

A BROADCAST COUP: 26 JANUARY – 4 MARCH 

A brilliant new comedy about a cut-throat journalist taking media stars down, one at a time. Cast includes Matt Backer, Amber McMahon and Sharon Millerchip, playwright Melanie Tait teams up with director Janine Watson to present this world premiere that will spark debate and have you laughing in the aisles.

By Melanie Tait 

Directed by Janine Watson 

With Matt Backer, Amber McMahon, Sharon Millerchip 

In association with Sydney Festival 

Continue reading ENSEMBLE THEATRE UNVEILS ITS PRODUCTIONS FOR SEASON 2023

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