Bronwyn Fullerton worked as an actress and singer for over 20 years after training with Hayes Gordon at The Ensemble Theatre Studios in Sydney in the 70s. She has worked for The Ensemble Theatre, Stables Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Festival, Theatre-in-Education touring, Rocks Theatre at The Sailor’s Home, Balmain Loft, North Coast Theatre Co., Giniby Theatre Co., Bondi Pavilion Theatre and two years with the Marionette Theatre of Australia, including a tour from Alice Springs to Arnhem Land. As well as Film and Television (Chopper Squad) and Voice Overs, Bronwyn worked for the Gate Theatre Club in London and studied mime in Paris. She now teaches ESL English to foreign students and completed a Post-Grad in Film & Video at UTS in 2009/10.
With great anticipation from his doting audience, David Williamson sat down to watch his final play ‘CRUNCH TIME’. After 50 successful years as a playwright, he is retiring.
It’s strangely fitting that his final play should be about the grim reality of death. Not only about dying with dignity, but family and sibling rivalry, a favourite theme of Williamson’s.
Director, Mark Kilmurry, writes in the program notes, “The main theme stems from within the family nucleus so ‘CRUNCH TIME’ is also about parents and children, husbands and wives, betrayal and ultimately love. It also happens to be very funny.”Continue reading CRUNCH TIME @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE→
Italian playwright Dario Fo, 1997 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is essentially a writer of farce. His wit and humour successfully both cloud and enhance his deep political undertones.
‘NO PAY? NO WAY!’ (“Sotto Paga! Non Si Paga!”), written in 1974, is regarded as Fo’s second best known play internationally (after “Accidental Death Of An Anarchist”), and was performed in 35 countries by 1990.
“I’ve loved to put people in the same room who are obliged to be together, but shouldn’t be together and don’t want to be together”, wrote David Williamson in his program notes for ‘FAMILY VALUES’, adding, “Humans being humans, this inevitably results in drama and comedy.”
This has been Williamson’s recipe for success over 50 years as a playwright, ‘FAMILY VALUES’ being one of his most enjoyable. This play, Williamson says, will be his last, along with, ‘Crunch Time’, which will play at the Ensemble Theatre in February.
Compliant and conservative retired judge, Roger (Andrew McFarlane), is turning 70. He and wife Sue (Belinda Giblin), have decided to throw a party and invite immediate family members. Roger grapples with his party balloons blowing and tying them up in nervous anticipation of the chaos about to unfold. All he wants is to reminisce. Sue keeps him in line, totally in control. She has spent time as a social worker, thus experiencing a very different view of the world than her husband. A more empathetic one.Continue reading FAMILY VALUES @ THE STABLES THEATRE→
From around the globe, near 3,600 short film entries were watched and reviewed, with just over 100 officially screened in competition and a further 100 in showcase programmes.
The Bondi Pavilion has been a fabulous venue to enjoy these exciting short films for decades, with its outdoor amphitheatre and upstairs theatre and balcony overlooking Bondi Beach.
After ten days of 23 different short film programmes, last Sunday’s closing night brought a full house to enjoy the Awards ceremony, a selection of winning films and after-party. The world’s most exciting and innovative emerging filmmakers will also compete for Academy*Awards and BAFTA recognised Awards.
Writer/Director Lorin Terezi’s film, THE NEWS (Albania/Spain) won the Flickerfest Award for Best International Short Film (Academy Accredited).
The amazing French animation, MEMORABLE, written and directed by Bruno Collet, won the Yoram Gross Award for Best International Short Animation (also Academy Accredited).
The Flickerfest Australia Award for Best Australian Short Film (also Academy Accredited), was THE DIVER, written, directed and produced by Michael Leonard and Jamie Helmer.
All the Awards given last Sunday can be found on the Flickerfest website: FLICKERFEST.COM.AU
The Flickerfest Short Film Festival will begin its national Australian tour to 50 venues in January and tour until May 2020. See it if you can.
The venues and dates can be found on the Flickerfest website above.
London-based Australian playwright, Rita Kalnejais, presented her first production of ‘FIRST LOVE IS THE REVOLUTION’ at the Soho Theatre, London, in 2015. She has handed the play to Griffin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Lee Lewis, for its first Australian premiere.
Lewis has assembled a fabulous cast of six, four of whom play multiple characters. The other two actors play the star crossed lovers, ‘Rdeca’ (Sarah Meacham), and ‘Basti’ (Bardiya McKinnon), under highly unusual circumstances.
Kalnejais loves foxes and is fascinated how these wild animals wander unchecked around London. She says, “they have no natural enemies in the cities so they’re not scared – they haven’t been scared of people for generations.” She’s also read that “there are an estimated 7,000 foxes in the southern Sydney area…and they’ve already been responsible for wiping out 10 native species.”…”Dusk and dawn you’ll find yourself being watched, sometimes followed.”Continue reading FIRST LOVE IS THE REVOLUTION : FULL OF SURPRISES AND OPTIMISM→
Actor and playwright, Arinze Kene, began to write his monologue ‘GOOD DOG’ during the London Riots of 2011, which began in Tottenham and spread through England, resulting in looting, arson, mugging, assault and murder over 6 days. The play was first produced in the UK in 2017 and is set in the decade leading up to the London Riots.
We meet 13 year old Boy, (Justin Amankwah), a sensitive and kind teenager who lives with his mum in a council flat in Tottenham, North London. His father has left them, but, ever optimistic, he treasures his dad’s advice, ‘Good things come to good people’.
He starts his neighbourhood story looking down from his balcony at the familiar characters he has found affection for – even though he is mocked and bullied by the “smoking boys” and the shoplifting teenagers he calls the “what-what girls”, as “what” is their only word of choice. Although he sees a landscape scarred by violence and poverty, his sense of humour is endearing and Amankwah throws Boy’s comic lines away with a natural indifference that works for him.Continue reading GOOD DOG @ KINGS CROSS THEATRE→
Tennessee Williams’ original 1955 play, “27 Wagons Full Of Cotton”, was re-written by Williams as a screenplay in 1956, and, in collaboration with director Elia Kazan, re-named “Baby Doll”. It starred the wonderful Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach.
Undoubtedly, the worst thing that could happen to any parent is to have their 4 year-old-child kidnapped from their bed during the night.
Hilary Bell’s play ‘SPLINTER’ begins with a happy ending, the return by the police of their now five-year-old daughter, Laura, after a nine month disappearance. They are understandably over-joyed. The kind of elation that is so extreme they seem fragile, over-compensating and emotionally lost.
As they try to re-connect with Laura, not knowing what has happened to her or where she’s been, they both feel they should take her to their happiest place, their holiday beach house.
Unlike the first production of ‘SPLINTER’ at the Sydney Theatre Co. in 2012, where Laura was a puppet, the second production at the Griffin, directed by Lee Lewis, has an invisible Laura, who’s presence is mimed by her mother (Lucy Bell) and father (Simon Gleeson) – known in the program notes as simply ‘woman’ and ‘man’. Imagining Laura is harder work for the actors and audience, but adds an interesting dynamic which has us focusing more on her parents and their anxiety.Continue reading SPLINTER : A TENSE DRAMA @ THE STABLES→
The era of ‘The Tudors’, King Henry VIII and his six wives, has, for centuries, been a fascination for historians and storytellers.
Canadian playwright and actor, Kate Hennig, has produced a fresh, modernist take on the relationship between the King and his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, in her play, ‘THE LAST WIFE’. The play premiered in 2015 in Ontario, Canada, and has been performed extensively in her country and the United States. Mark Kilmurry has directed the first Australian production with his usual contagious enthusiasm and subtle humour.
The charismatic but dangerous Henry VIII (Ben Wood), famous for his “politically-motivated executions”, his scholarly and artistically innovative court and glamorous excess, finds his match in Catherine Parr (Nikki Shiels).
Set in contemporary times with historical accuracy, he comes across as the grizzly Australian larrikin with dangerous undercurrents. His new wife, a wealthy widow, is smart enough to know that she has to make her own rules to survive, unlike his ill-fated previous five wives.Continue reading THE LAST WIFE @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE→
80 year-old Dawn, (Maggie Blinco), is a remarkable woman, the kind who should be awarded an OA for her services to the homeless and destitute. She volunteers at St Vincents Hospital by day and shelters and fosters destitute teenagers by night. She gradually convinces the reluctant Omar, (Antony Makhlouf), a street boy alienated by his Lebanese family for being gay, to be placed with her and learn some practical, life-affirming skills from Dawn’s mechanic brother, Darren, (Lex Marinos), who works from a garage at their house.
Omar is hard work, but Maggie is persistent..and tough. She temporarily holds back her house keys from Omar, who is fond of swearing and far from respectful, and imposes a curfew on him. Darren is not happy with his sister’s domestic arrangements and, although there is love between them, he keeps suggesting she move into a retirement home. Of course she refuses and we find out later that Darren has other motives.Continue reading OMAR AND DAWN @ THE KINGS X THEATRE→
Having spent my earliest years eagerly absorbing the deep sound of my grandmother’s grand old stand-up radio and those at my family home, I have, along with generations before me, a deep and lasting fondness for its impact on the imagination.
Mark Kilmurry, writer, actor and Artistic Director of the Ensemble Theatre, has brought to the stage the wondrous magic of a 1959 radio studio with two short plays that he has written. The first, adapted from an Arthur Conan Doyle story, “The Solitary Cyclist”, and the second, another detective story, “The Dead(ly) Wives Club”. (Kilmurry has also directed the show with his landmark style and humour).
These work beautifully as plays within a radio play. The three actors at the microphones with scripts in hand are the very talented Mark Kilmurry, Daniel Mitchell and Georgie Parker. Behind them, as the mesmerising foley artist, responsible for the ambient sound effects delightfully recreated in this production, is actor Katie Fitchett. Stage Manager, Stephanie Lindwall sits in a control booth at the back of the stage running the show.Continue reading MURDER ON THE WIRELESS @ THE ENSEMBLE→
FOLK by English playwright Tom Wells, is a simple story of faith, loneliness, unlikely friendships and the healing power of music.
Delightfully irreverent and fun-loving Irish nun, Sister Winnie, (Genevieve Lemon), has befriended 50 year old Stephen, (Gerard Carroll), a reclusive, withdrawn guitarist and folk singer who is too shy to sing in public. Winnie loves a Guinness and a good time so each Friday night, she has Stephen over for some raucous slapstick and singing.
Genevieve Lemon as Winnie fills the stage with her excellent delivery of one-liners, compassion and infectious energy. After another Guinness and quick cigarette at the window, she quips to Stephen, “Sing me something holy – something wholly inappropriate”. Continue reading FOLK @ THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE→
“I thought a lot about love. About how it can happen out of the blue, about how it can change everything when it does. How it can give direction when you feel lost.”, writes Irish playwright, John O’Donovan, about his first full-length play, ‘IF WE GOT SOME MORE COCAINE I COULD SHOW YOU HOW I LOVE YOU’. It is set in Ennis, County Clare, where he spent much of his childhood.
The Ensemble Theatre’s latest play, the intriguing and powerful LUNA GALE, opens with two meth addicts, Karlie and Peter, who are contained in a waiting room while their baby Luna is receiving medical attention for dehydration. Husband Peter is slumped on a chair, coming down from the drug, whilst Karlie is pacing the room, trying to wake him up by force-feeding him ‘Skittles’. Her bag is full of junk food.
In 1958, Reg Livermore became a founding member of Hayes Gordon’s Ensemble Theatre, alongside Lorraine Bayly, Don Reid, Jon Ewing and Clarissa Kaye. This year, during the 60th anniversary of the Ensemble, Livermore has returned to the boards with his latest one-man show, THE WIDOW UNPLUGGED (OR AN ACTOR DEPLOYS). His triumphant entrance on opening night inspired a well-deserved round of applause !
Since his early shows, ‘Hair’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, his amazing Dr Frank’n’furter in ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ and the fabulous ‘Betty Blokk Buster Follies’ one-man show series in the 70s, Livermore has won many distinguished accolades, including the Sydney Critics Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and an AO in 1996! Continue reading REG LIVERMORE RETURNS TO THE ENSEMBLE WITH THE WIDOW UNPLUGGED→
ATYP (Australian Theatre For Young People) has been operating for decades. It is recognised as one of the most innovative youth theatre programs in the world. They have been residing underneath the Sydney Theatre Company for many years, but as the wharves are under reconstruction, they are performing at the Stables Theatre alongside the Grifﬁn Theatre Company. Soon they will have a brand new 200-seat theatre at Pier 2/3 in Walsh Bay.
Today, as we look into the future, we are sharing the increasingly sophisticated technologies involving artificial intelligence and robots.Could they be therapeutic?Are they truly capable of equaling or out-smarting human intelligence?Will they ever comprehend human emotion?
Talented American playwright, Jordan Harrison, wrote his play MARJORIE PRIME to question these ideas of artificial intelligence.First produced in LA in 2014, it was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.The film adaptation premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, starring John Hamm, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins.Harrison also wrote three seasons of the Netflix drama, ‘Orange Is The New Black’.Continue reading MARJORIE PRIME AT ENSEMBLE: HOW WE COPE WITH FEAR AND LOSS→
Monkey Baa Theatre Company was established in 1997 by its Creative Directors, Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry.Their first tour was an adaptation of Tim Winton’s ‘The Bugalugs Bum Thief’.In 2017, at the Sydney Theatre Awards, they won a Special Award for 20 years of Outstanding Achievement.
The GREATER SUNRISE is a fictional dramatisation inspired by the real events of Australia’s involvement in East Timor in 2004. Playwright Zoe Hogan has drawn on her own experiences living and working in Timor-Leste, as well as conversations, interviews and research.
The play coincides with the current landmark agreement being signed at the United Nations, by Australia and East Timor, to share revenue from the $50 billion Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea. Recommendations by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, who are overseeing negotiations between the neighbouring countries, should be released in mid April, 2018.Continue reading ‘GREATER SUNRISE’: INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS→
Featured image- John Bell and John Gaden in DIPLOMACY at the Ensemble Theatre. Pic Prudence Upton.
Paris, August 25th, 1944.As the Allied Forces move closer to the city, Hitler has decided, in his ever-increasing delusional state, that if Germany can’t have Paris, then no-one will.He has ordered the complete destruction of the city, so famous for its centuries of unique cultural history and beauty.
From this historical fact, French playwright, Cyril Gely, has created in DIPLOMACY, a fictional reason for Paris’ survival, a beautifully rich, philosophical and persuasive dialogue between two men – quite different by nature, but both very powerful in stature and personality.
Gely’s play was first performed in 2011 at Theatre de la Madeleine in Paris. It was skilfully adapted and translated into English for John Bell’s Australian premiere by Julie Rose. Gely also wrote the screenplay for the French movie based on his stage play, ‘Diplomatie’, which was shown at our 2015 French Film Festival.
In 1979, award-winning British playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, wrote TAKING STEPS, which he describes as “the only true farce I’ve ever written”. In a decade where English humour was making huge waves, particularly in Australia, with ‘Monty Python’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’, TAKING STEPS has the same impact, offering eccentric, flawed characters and tantalising dialogue.
The play is set in an old, dilapidated Victorian mansion called The Pines. It is reputedly a former bordello and said to be haunted by a deceased prostitute. Enhancing the play’s farcical humour, the three storeys of the run-down house become one storey on stage. Two sets of banisters mark two imaginary staircases on which the actors frantically or cautiously prance up and down. It’s a wonderful theatrical technique by Ayckbourn and works beautifully.Continue reading TAKING STEPS @ THE ENSEMBLE→
Featured photo – Peter Paltos, Jennifer Vuletic, Charles Purcell. Production photography by Sarah Walker.
Since its inception in Melbourne in 2012, Little Ones Theatre, formed by director Stephen Nicolazzo and designers Eugyeene Teh and Katie Sfetkidis, has worked with the major theatre companies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin Festival, establishing its growing reputation along the way.
The Company’s productions have been described as “a theatrical pastiche of cinematic, literary and cult references that are colourful, camp, wild and visually striking”. Its latest show from Melbourne, MERCILESS GODS, playing in Sydney at the Stables Theatre, is bold, thoughtful, confronting and, above all, vibrant and entertaining.
The Bondi Pavilion is alive and kicking for its 5th year of the popular BONDI FEAST festival.
This year the Festival is bigger than ever, stretching over ten nights with 90+ performances and 150+ artists. The festival runs from the 18 – 29th of July.
Festival Directors Rachel Chant and Phil Spencer have filled all possible spaces in the Pavilion with 40 vibrant shows to choose from. You can visit: The Big Theatre, The Mini Theatre, The Little Theatre, The Ballroom, The Gallery and even one of the toilet blocks will be a temporary theatre – The Changeroom. For shakers and movers, there is also a Walking Tour into the back streets of Bondi, at 6.45pm from Tuesday 25th July until Saturday the 29th.Continue reading BONDI FEAST FESTIVAL : 18 – 29 JULY @ THE BONDI PAVILION→
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