Tag Archives: Vanessa Bates

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

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


Simon Corfield, Julie Ohannessian, Glen Hazeldine and Georgina Symes. Pic Louis Dillon Savage
Simon Corfield, Julie Ohannessian, Glen Hazeldine and Georgina Symes. Pic Louis Dillon Savage

Infertility leads to infidelity in the infinitely engaging EVERY SECOND, the new play by Vanessa Bates now playing at the Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst.

This spry, wry, and fly production is all about breeding, and the lengths modern couples go to achieve conception. Whether it’s blokes shooting blanks or sheilas shackled with wombs wherein seed can find no purchase, the need to breed takes up every second that ticktock the biological clock.

Four friends, bound by barrenness, Bill and Jen, Tim and Meg, share the frustrations of non fecundity, and the plethora of reproductive panacea, from praying to fertility gods to the latest scientific espousals.

Continue reading EVERY SECOND


Ursula Yovich and her glove puppets

The wonderful collaboration between writer Vanessa Bates, director Chris Bendall and performer Ursula Yovich sees the stars in alignment for this delightful production.

Ursula tells a series of stories, based on fairy tales but with a veneer of modernity and edginess. The old fairy tales are tweaked a little so that Cinderella story is told from the perspective of an ugly sister who is in awe of her wild and attractive sister. The fact that the Cinderella character has been in juvenile detention and is harangued by her mother for the provocative way she dresses is indicative of Bates’s approach to storytelling.

Continue reading THE MAGIC HOUR



Paddle from England to Canada, down to South America, around the bottom of Australia, over to South Africa and back up to England. All on a Sunday afternoon, in a canoe, at Newcastle Ocean Baths. Eat an ice block then go home with blistering sunburn and sea lice. Perfect.

A giant map of the world at the paddling pool next door to the Newcastle Ocean Baths once provided just that experience.

Built during the 1930s, the continents that made up the ‘‘Young Mariners Pool’’ was a Depression Era initiative to provide employment for the jobless and entertainment for families. A local geography teacher was consulted and the map of the world was created out of concrete and installed in the pool.