Author Archive for Xanthe Coward


Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 2014 Results


Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 2014

Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance

August 15 – 24 2014

The Lind Theatre






August 22 – 24 2014


Certificates of Distinction:


Primary Certificates of Distinction


Bella Wood

Alira Slyderink

Stefanie Cooper

Erica O’Brien


Secondary Certificates of Distinction


Mahana Currie (Bursary Winner 2013)

Ashleigh Cooper

Shearah-Rose Spears

Lucy Rockliff

Georgia Gleeson

Ayla Long

Liam Hartley

Matthew Bapty


Primary Section


Adjudicator’s Award

Anna McMahon

Hands in the Air…Bullies Beware (Talara Primary College)


Best Ensemble

Talara Primary College

Hands in the Air…Bullies Beware


Best Supporting Actor

Curtis Bock


Best Supporting Actress

Bella Wood


Best Actor

Jett McConochie


Best Actress

Anika Jocumsen


2nd Best Play

Hands in the Air…Bullies Beware (Talara Primary College)


Best Play

The Compass by Mem Thomas (MEM Productions)


Best Unpublished Script

The Compass by Mem Thomas (MEM Productions)


Secondary Section


Adjudicator’s Award

Paris Williment


Best Ensemble

Little Seed Theatre Company

War At Home


Best Supporting Actor

Valentino Koch


Best Supporting Actress

Ellie Manning


Best Actor

Caleb Holman


Best Actress

Brooke Masters


2nd Best Play

Love Awkwardly (Little Seed Theatre Company)


Best Play

War At Home (Little Seed Theatre Company)


Best Unpublished Script

One Idiot, Two Thugs and Cement by Louisea Snelling (Dramaworks)



Paris Williment (Little Seed Theatre Company)




Best Director Over 25

Michelle Allan

All My Love, Paul (Focus On Stage)


Best Director Under 25

Marina de Jager

Fairytale Frolics (Acting Up! Youth Theatre Academy)




August 15 – 17 2014


Adjudicator’s Award

Michelle Lamarca

The Devil’s Dance (Noosa Arts Theatre)


Best Supporting Actor (Comedy)

Shane Cassidy

The Rock in the Water (SRT)


Best Supporting Actress (Comedy)

Sue Sewell

Duplicitous (Miranda’s Dressing Room)


Best Supporting Actor (Drama)

Brett Klease

The Rock in the Water (SRT


Best Actor (Comedy)

Kyle Breese

Held (Downstage Theatre Co)


Best Actress (Comedy)

Not awarded


Best Actor (Drama)

James Patrick Reed

The Devil’s Dance (Noosa Arts Theatre)


Best Actress (Drama)

Michelle Lamarca

The Devil’s Dance (Noosa Arts Theatre)


Best Set Design

The Rock in the Water (SRT)


Best Unpublished Script

The Rock in the Water by Simon Denver (SRT)


Best Director

Simon Denver

The Rock in the Water (SRT)


3rd Best Play

Held (Downstage Theatre Co)


2nd Best Play

The Devil’s Dance (Noosa Arts Theatre)


Best Play

The Rock in the Water (SRT)


SCTF14 Margi&TheRockInTheWater

The Rock in the Water (SRT) Anna McMahon, Shane Cassidy, Brett Klease and (on behalf of Simon Denver), Joy Marshall with Adjudicator, Margi Brown Ash



Cabaret at Brisbane Writers Festival?! Yes indeed!


It’s a literary vaudeville show featuring Dave Eggers




A witty and dazzling literary cabaret featuring a sizzling international line-up of performers, including bestselling author Dave Eggers.



Packed with authors, poets, musicians and performers from the Brisbane Writers Festival program, the Literary Vaudeville Show is a fertile monument to the seductive nature of language.



The Literary Vaudeville Show will be awesome! And you know how much we love Brisbane Powerhouse! Be quick! BOOK ONLINE



Join us for a special evening with some of the world’s best literary raconteurs including Dave Eggers, Warsan Shire, Willy Vlautin, Hinemoana Baker, Simon Armitage, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Samuel Wagan Watson and a pop-up McSweeney’s bookstore. No applause, just throw money!


Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centers around the country and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible. He lives in Northern California with his family.


“Many writers, having written a first best-seller, might see it as a nice way to start a career. He started a movement instead.” — Time


If you haven’t taken the time since 2008 to listen to Dave’s TED prize wish (I know, I’ve been busy too), Once Upon A School, stop for 25 minutes now and watch this. No, really. Stop whatever it is you’re doing right now. Watch it.



I’ve just finished listening to Dion Graham read Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and I’m exhausted! This was truly an exhausting listen, over several weeks, in short spurts in between everything else happening in life. I love the lengthy sentences, the attention to some intricate detail, the disregard for some other detail, the lively dialogue, definitive statements about life, death and parenting, and the story itself, a memoir that topped national best-seller lists and has since become a staple for summer reading and book clubs. A compelling voice for Generation X, Eggers hererecounts his early 20s, caring for his younger brother after their parents’ unexpected deaths and his endeavors in a variety of media. I now feel like reading it for myself – there’s something about devouring words on a page rather than multi-tasking, taking in only so much, as you’re listening to an Audible book – but still, I need time to recover so I’m listening to Juliet Stevenson read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things. Needless to say, this is a welcome change of mood!


Now I’m curious. How do you keep up with your books? Do you like Audible, digital or the real thing with its pages?



I love this. In the lead up to Melbourne Writers FestivalDave Eggers told The Age,


“There are a lot of choices out there, a lot of ways to read, and if we in the print business want to survive, we have to make print an entirely different experience from reading digitally. So at McSweeney’s, after we spend a year or so working on a book, making the text as perfect as we can, then we try to invest in the craft of the book, the feel and heft and beauty of the object itself,” he says. “I really think people like beautiful things, and there’s nothing more beautiful than a well-written book printed and bound and covered with care.”


Image by Annie Tritt


Sadly, I’ll miss the Opening Address on Thursday September 4 (seriously, I’m sorry; I’m triple-booked, but I’ll be at #BWF14 from Friday – Sunday so make sure you’re following XS Entertainment as well as Brisbane Writers Festival on Twitter and Instagram). If you can get there on Thursday to hear Dave Eggers speak, or join us on Friday at the Literary Vaudeville Show you must!


Book for Dave Eggers at Brisbane Writers Festival


Opening Address Thursday September 4


Literary Vaudeville Show Friday September 5




Wrecking Ball comes to The Basement for one night only!


wreckingball_GC artscentre


Wrecking Ball

Brisbane Powerhouse

Visy Theatre

May 28 – 31 2014


Hannah Montana is dead.


The postmortem is inconclusive. Natural causes? Or hot-mess murder gone platinum?
Childhood friend Miley returns home to Nashville for the wake. Forget the funeral, it’s the party she’s come for.
In this open letter to you – her pouters and doubters – Miley takes a sledge hammer to Disney dreams, teen idols and tabloid fantasies.


This is one eulogy you’ll kill to see.


Wrecking Ball hails from the creators of the critically acclaimed Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele and is the ultimate coming of age party, starring Naomi Price.


We saw Wrecking Ball at Brisbane Powerhouse in May. This is the new show from brazen creative team, Adam Brunes and Naomi Price; the perfect precursor that night to Rhonda Burchmore’s Vinyl Viagra.


Wrecking Ball came at us hard and fast…gently, and left me feeling like I knew Miley – and Naomi – a little better.




Look, I’m no Smiler but I’m a big fan of our super talented friends, so when Adam Brunes and Naomi Price told us after the final Adele show last year that the subject of their next creative process was to be Miley Cyrus I tried to be optimistic. In truth, I was skeptical, and more than a little scared for them. Miley? Really? Was Brisbane ready to twerk? Was there even an hour’s worth of material to Miley’s story? Well of course there was, and there’s more – much more – to this show than the token twerk. It’s quite an unexpected result.


In the hands of less intelligent, less compassionate creatives we might suffer through a cheap, crass parody. Instead, we’re treated to deeper insight into the imagined world of Miley, and what we can only imagine might be a very real part of Price’s world.


Wrecking Ball somehow avoids delivering an over simplified slut and strut success story, opting instead for a sensitive exploration of what makes Miley tick. And twerk. A rather unorthodox premise establishes that Hannah Montana is dead and we’re all in attendance at her wake in a barn with a band dressed in denim and cowboy boots. Brilliant! And we love the band! (Mik Easterman, Andrew Johnson, Michael Manikus, Jason McGregor and Rachel Everett-Jones. In Rachel’s absence this weekend, Georgie Prestipino will be appearing).




But what actually is it about Naomi Price? Her voice is perfection, her booty is hot, and her allure is electric to say the least, letting us in on a whole new level of energy and sophistication, regardless of the role. And she’s a master of mimicry without losing anything of herself. I’m not sure how she does it. And I don’t think it can be taught. However, what Price offers is a masterclass in what I’ve been hashtagging #neocabaret. No, it’s not the dark, gypsy, gothic Diabolical Streaks style (it doesn’t need to be); it’s a brand new and bold cabaret, which sets its own ground rules and then sets out to break them.




So many moments are suggestive of this intuitive new approach to “cabaret”, its traditional shape, form and feeling, but let’s use just one. Achy Breaky Heart, rather than being the pinnacle comical moment, is presented as the moment of Miley’s father’s heartbreak. We know the opening to the song and I feel the full house collectively cringe, but we feel compassion rather than pity, and we’re struck with sympathy rather than hilarity. It’s a magical moment, a mood changer, and Brunes and Price do it every time. (In Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele it was most noticeable in Daydreamer).


This show is an unusual expression of celebrity, challenging us to accept and forgive the quirks rather than judging and condemning them.


Wrecking Ball will return, it will tour, and already, in its debut, this show has reinforced Naomi Price’s place at the top of the Australian cabaret tree. At the same time, we’ve found new respect for Miley Cyrus along the way. Hannah Montana not so much.


For one night only, catch Naomi Price as Miley Cyrus inWrecking Ball at The Basement, The Arts Centre Gold Coast 8pm TONIGHT!




Why saying no is hard and when to say yes


I thought I would have a little break, slow down, step away from the crazy busy stuff of life, and take a break from it all. I didn’t plan to spend three weeks in Greece (although that would be nice), and I didn’t intend to switch off completely from social media (although that would be sensible). I just decided to not do so much. Well, let me tell you how that is working out. It’s not.


I’m finding it really difficult to STOP.


Why is it so hard to stop? To say no? (I can’t answer that. Can you?)


This morning I caught up with a couple of friends at the groovy, cosy, completely rebranded BV Pizzeria & Wine Bar on Kawana Island. It used to be the Thai Islander Beach Café. I used to live in an apartment across the road. It was the perfect place for a catch up after the mad rush of rainy day school run traffic. To be honest, I felt like staying in bed and watching the chickens singing and dancing in the rain. But getting up and getting Poppy to school so I could enjoy a long overdue coffee with a couple of girlfriends turned out to be the right choice.



This is actually what I felt like ordering. Is it ever too early?

I should clarify, I don’t actually drink coffee anymore, so when I say, “Let’s go for coffee,” what I actually mean is, “Let’s meet somewhere and you have coffee and I’ll find out how they make their chai and probably end up, when they say they make it with syrup or powder, ordering a soy hot chocolate or an Earl Grey instead.”

Like, when I say I’m taking a break, I’m not actually taking a break.


I ordered Earl Grey without asking about their chai. I wanted no complications. I didn’t take a photo for Instagram and I didn’t check in on Facebook. I KNOW! I was feeling overwhelmed and outta’ control – not crazy outta’ control, but dreamy, floating, coasting, fairyland outta’ control (I would like to call it “surrender” but you and I both know I’ve got a way to go before I can claim “surrender”), as if nothing today would matter. But here’s what matters.


All three of us had a busy day on the cards, and we stopped. We didn’t stop for long but we each committed to teasing open a little crack in time, in between our other appointments and deadlines to say, “Yes, let’s!”


Let’s enjoy stillness rather than rushing about.


Let’s cherish each other’s company rather than quietly, politely ignoring each other’s just as crazy busy existence.


Let’s imagine for just one hour that we have several hours to spend together, to hear about each other’s joys, fears, successes and challenges.


Let’s feel supported, admired and valued for whom we have become.


Let’s leave feeling nourished, inspired and reenergised.


Let’s promise to catch up again soon and actually catch up again soon.


While we were chatting away and finishing tea and coffee (and chocolates – hot beverages at BV are served with a chocolate and doesn’t that just make your day?), a tiny sparrow came in out of the rain. It perched on the back of a chair nearby and appeared to be listening in. I don’t profess to see anything profound in that; it’s just that a tiny sparrow came in from the rain and found warmth and a safe place to be for a moment.


It seems it’s just as difficult for me to say yes as it is to say no. But knowing when to say yes, and feeling happy rather than guilty about doing so, is maybe more important at the moment. They say the lessons you need to learn in life keep turning up until you learn them. Looks like I’m staying busy for a bit longer.




Reality Bites – Australia’s Premier Literary Nonfiction Festival launches tonight! The program is online today! Check out


The Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival Youth Section begins tonight and continues until Sunday. Details on the website. Check out






Be a part of Wonderland at Brisbane Powerhouse


You can be a part of Wonderland at Brisbane Powerhouse but be quick!

Submissions close TOMORROW.


Brisbane audiences will be treated to an explosive carnival of alternative comedy, cabaret, circus and music when Brisbane Powerhouse presents Wonderland from Friday 5 – Sunday 14 December 2014.




During Wonderland the outdoor Powerhouse Plaza will transform into a night-time playground as a myriad of performances take place each night across several indoor and outdoor venues.


Artistic Director Kris Stewart says the program will encapsulate the character of Brisbane Powerhouse as a home to weird and wonderful artistic feats.


Wonderland will be a surprising and crazy mix of the unexpected. It’s about taking a holiday from the mundane and being able to come to Brisbane Powerhouse and experience a feast of colour and music and mayhem.


There will be a mad bunch of carnies and gypsies and a host of other shows. People can grab a drink at the bar and relax under the stars or come inside and explore the bizarre and wonderful performances occurring throughout the venue.


Artists can still submit to be part of the line-up, which already features some of Brisbane and Australia’s favourite talent.




The boys from Briefs are back with their wild burlesque show and the Kransky Sisters are teaming up with Topology for a celebration of television and film.


Brisbane Powerhouse is also opening the doors and inviting artists to come and be a part of the program.


“We’re looking for anything outside the ordinary; street performers, slam poets, singers, comedians, circus performers. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s about the spirit.”


Full submission guidelines and a downloadable registration form are available at


Finding the Silence


Finding the Silence

Judith Wright Centre

Judith Wright Centre 

August 16 – 23 2014


Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway


Finding The Silence - Balance - SYC Studios



A circus performer has to find a moment of inner silence before every trick, time to focus, release tension, prepare, breathe.


Jesse Scott, Casus Circus



On the surface, Casus Circus’s new show Finding the Silence doesn’t seem to be about silence. There is a soundtrack (David Carberry), and the performers at times create noise by deliberately thudding and crashing to the ground, and letting props fall noisily.


The program notes make clear that the theme is inner silence: for example, the circus performer needing to find inner silence to focus before every trick. Inner silence is hard to demonstrate through a circus performance except by showing us this concentration. We in the audience experience it from our perspective, sitting in silence and holding our breath as we wait for the climax of a routine, and then applauding in admiration and relief.


The hour-long show starts with one of the performers rotating slowly on the spot. After some time, he lifts his arms. The turning is reminiscent of Sufi whirling, a form of active meditation. While it could be one method of “finding the silence”, it isn’t very engaging for the spectator.


All four performers (Emma Serjeant, Jesse Scott, Lachlan McAulay and Vincent Van Berkel) then perform various raw-looking tumbling and acrobatic routines, often ending movements by crashing awkwardly and deliberately to the floor. The show ended in the same way. Is this about not finding the silence?


In the body of the show, there are many sequences demonstrating amazing feats: for example, of hand balancing, static trapeze work (including hanging by the back of the head), and aerial rope work. The performers build a human tower by standing on each other’s shoulders; they make a human seesaw out of their own bodies; and stand on the head of another person standing upright.


Finding The Silence - Ropes - SYC Studios


I was most impressed with the performers’ strength — particularly when Serjeant and McAulay, the smallest members of the group, lift the heftier men. Some of the balances seem impossible: for example, when Van Berkel stands on both hands and then bends his body to take the legs sideways and stand on one hand.


This is raw, no frills circus — you can see the strain, and the performers trembling with effort.


The show’s visual presentation is spartan and minimalist. The performers wear simple white jodhpur-style pants and there are few props — some chairs, planks and small lanterns. The stage is dimly lit during preparation for sequences.


Finding the Silence is an intense experience, with great feats of strength and balance applauded enthusiastically by the audience. What it is not is slick or showy, and there is certainly no frivolity. The link with the theme of inner silence is more an intellectual one, rather than expressed through the physicality of the actual performance. Finding the Silence must finish Saturday.


Finding theSilence-SYCStudios



Bombshell: The Official Launch Event


Bombshell: The Official Launch Event

Village Theatre, Sanctuary Cove

Sunday August 19 2014


Reviewed by Meredith Walker




It’s not the Bombshell of Glee-for-grownups’ TV show Smash, but Bombshell is just as much fun. And with Katherine Rodrigues behind the microphone, you are sure to have a good time.


Performing at the Village Theatre, Sanctuary Cove, Rodrigues launched Bombshell’s new show with a wink and smile to an appreciative crowd on Sunday night. And although it might be difficult to define, this is a show with wide appeal. From burlesque to bop, she showcases her bulletproof blonde persona. However, while she may look like Marilyn Monroe (and does a fantastic purring impersonation of her) Bombshell is so much more than that, because, as she notes in early reflection, ‘virtue is much more important than hairdo’.




Bombshell has her own story and strategies for dealing with men (or wolves as Marilyn would call them) and her own style, as is revealed in the eclecticism of her first act, which is celebration of nostalgic glamour and burlesque. Initial numbers are Marilyn-esque in their 1940s pin-up appeal, peppily accompanied by energetic male dancers dressed like they have stepped straight out of On The Town (you should see it now!). And there is comforting familiarity to the cheekily flirtation of traditional tunes such as I Wanna Be Loved by You (complete with audience interaction). Burlesque numbers are transformed into opulent spectacles thanks to corseted costumes and salacious dancers.


Repetition is rarely nourishing so it is refreshing to see such variety to the show’s sequence. And Act Two, during which Rodrigues is accompanied by band The Bullets, sees her belting out more modern, often remixed tunes, from Soft Cell’s Tainted Love to Britney’s Toxic and a show stopping Titanium.


As a first showing, there were some rough edges to the night with sound, lighting and av lapses, as well as an overzealous smoke machine, however, ultimately the sum of Bombshell is greater than its parts. And if Sunday’s show is a sign of things to come, Rodrigues has a genuine hit on her hands, representing the ultimate in live entertainment.




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