Posts Tagged ‘Actors


seeking brave vocalists

Image by Morgan Roberts

The Danger Ensemble are seeking two female, trans or drag actors of any age for upcoming !Metro Independents surrealist-tragic-cabaret

Loco Maricon Amor

Major commitments for the work fall between June and August.

This is a profit share production. The company is seeking brave actors with singing experience interested in experimental work and devised-collaborative process to join an exciting team of actors Chris Beckey, Caroline Dunphy, Polly Sara, Peta Ward and Thomas Hutchins.

To express interest please email with a CV, headshot or photo.

n.b. technical singing training is not needed but being able to sing is essential.


That Scottish Play: deliciously wicked!

My husband Sam, who you know is the President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance,
is at Lind Lane Theatre tonight, rehearsing for what I’m predicting will be
Why? Because it’s a parody of all things community theatre…and it’s all true! Well, okay; to be safe, let’s just say it’s “inspired by true events”.
Sam says of the show, “In true Denver style, this is chaos on speed!”
Locals will recognise many familiar faces not only on stage but within the references and in-house jokes, which Simon Denver has ingeniously (or is that just deliciously wickedly?) mashed together in order to present the play we had to have. Or is it a musical? Let’s use Midsummer’s line and call it “a play with songs”.
With Darren Heskes (MD) on board, we can certainly expect to hear some clever little musical references.
If you’ve ever been involved in community theatre anywhere, you will love this show.
(Actually, there’s a slim chance you’ll loathe it but that’s only if you’re unable to have a laugh at yourself!)
By the way, you might have noticed that on certain publicity materials my name appears, however; I was unable to commit to early rehearsals due to my involvement in Travelling North. Wait. Were there early rehearsals?!
I can’t wait to see what this show becomes by Friday night! I’m sure it will be full of surprises!
A deliciously wicked farce parodying community theatre. 
A local group crash tackles Macbeth, sorta by William Shakespeare – but with all the Macbeth bits taken out! 
A co-production presented by Lind Lane Theatre & SRT Productions
written & directed by Simon Denver.
“That Scottish Play” could almost be retitled – “ROAST THE COAST”  
Opening night: Friday April 27th
Season continues: April 28th, May 2nd, 4th & 5th at 8pm
Matinees: April 29 & May 5 at 2pm

Adults $22. Concessions apply
Once word gets out this show will sell out so be quick to book!
The cast of 25 plus, includes members of 12 different theatre groups.  
Or to put it another way, 15 current and past committee members of 
aforementioned groups and 6 past or present presidents!  
Pound for pound this is a very frightening cast!  All from the deeper end of the talent pool.  

The cast includes:
Brett Klease, Joy Marshall,
Sam Coward, Errol Morrison, 
Anna MacMahon, Jane Rivers, Jenni McCaul,
Howard Tampling, Darren Heskes, Angel Goulter
and a host of others.
Bookings: 5441 1814 or online at

Vicious Salon: stillness

Meredith McLean went along last week to check out heartBeast’s latest initiative:

Vicious Salon

“In the theatre there should be neither naturalism nor realism, but fantastic realism. Rightly found theatrical methods impart genuine life to the play upon the stage. The methods can be learned, but the form must be created. It has to be convinced by one’s fantasy. That is why I call it fantastic realism. Such a form exists and should exist in every art.”

Evgheny Vakhtangov, Theatre Director

There’s a push of new force happening in the Trinity Hall on Church Street. Some fuel this push with a simmering passion while others nurture it like a mother over-seeing her young. Vicious Salon is the result of the sinews and limbs that make up the body of heartBeast, the not-for-profit theatre ensemble in Brisbane.

A very excited Michael Beh, director and core member of heartBeast’s vicious faction, greeted me. He made me excited to be seeing the reading of Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against a Brick Wall. The performance had the effect I was hoping for. It commanded me to sit on the edge of my seat watching two actors, Anna O’Hara and Peter Crees, fall into chaos on stage. But they wouldn’t be in this void of stability if it weren’t for the playwriting of Brad Birch.

Birch’s script examines office culture, love and madness. The language is honest often times leaving me feel like the words were taken from my mouth. There were volleys of the C word which some of the audience confessed to disliking while others accepted it. I have sworn on my part not to use the “R word” (Meaning review, but don’t repeat it!). This isn’t an “R Word” for a very particular reason. Because at the heart of Vicious Salon no matter how vicious the words are from actors and writers mouths the performance is not a finite piece to be graded. It is an exploration of someone’s creation where both actor and audience alike can learn.

The name it self refuses all misgivings. Michael explained to me it was a comment on life. “Life is vicious. A kiss can be vicious. A tear falling down a cheek can be vicious. A smile can be vicious. The trickle of water in a stream can be vicious.” It’s an observation I’m sure many can relate to. In contrast to this poetic examination of the modern, “salon” comes from a deep root of theatre in history. Nothing like the “hair salon” middle aged ladies in their graying stages may refer to but salons in the 17th and 18th centuries when people would gather to laugh, learn and refine their craft in theatre. This clash of modern and historic all pools together for a warm-hearted night of discussion in the shadowy hall on Church Street.

Enjoying bruschetta and white wine I started to feel almost philosophical as we gathered in a circle to pick at and pull apart Birch’s work. The minimalism of the performance had many haunting analogies. Using the shadows as a backdrop and tumbling pages of the script on the floor to set the scene the theme of analysis rather than sell-out performances was evident. Many people forming the circle would have gone home satisfied with this deeper connection to a play while others gravely looked onto the social implications at hand.

Greg Goriss, the production manager associated with heartBeast, made clear he was not blind to the state of theatre around him. He questions the Queensland government’s default “You have QPAC, what more do you want?” response towards the theatre community’s concerns. But QPAC doesn’t offer this more honest level of communication between theatre-goers and the actors. For some this idea of speaking in depth with those involved in a performance over drinks and snacks is an alien concept. Goriss reminded me there is a difference between community theatre and underground theatre, and that underground theatre needs more attention than it is receiving at this time.

Undoubtedly this is true which is why I was delighted to see what Vicious Salon was achieving. Both Peter Crees, a co-founder of the project, and Anna O’Hara who had come aboard last year beamed as they put in plain words what it was the salon sessions accomplish. O’Hara reveled in her previous work with Michael Beh quoting a prior performance she had done as “a collaboration between Michael and Shakespeare”. The ways, in which Vicious Salon and heartBeast for that matter function, is to nurture someone’s craft. Especially for actors fresh out of any acting schooling she explained.  Michael Beh agreed, “We’re trying to build our little theatre family, and were happy to take in new people.”

This concept blossomed a few years ago when Beh found himself in a teacher position above Peter Crees as the student. I easily recognized Peter’s talent to revolve and capture the space of a stage and Michael must have seen it as well because soon their collaboration became a project, and that project became heartBeast. The company has done many shows ranging from contemporary like A Beautiful Frankenstein to an upcoming historical recount in the Anywhere Festival called Mother Country.

Brad Birch’s work also demonstrates a diverse but artistic choice in the company’s line up of performances. Based in Wales he has the caliber of a Writer in Residence position at Undeb Theatre as well as many prestigious commissions and programmes to his name. The blends of things such as the archaic and modern, well written but still budding, observant yet creative all link in with the purpose of Vicious Salon.

More of these Vicious Salon events have been lined up for June, July, August and September so far. Hopefully many more of these will follow, and I will be one in a crowd of those attending.


backbone youth arts ensemble

Backbone Youth Arts have extended the closing date for applications for their annual performance Ensemble! The Ensemble is a great opportunity for any performing artists seeking to expand their ideas of performance and train with industry professionals. Last year’s Backbone Ensemble group performed their Ensemble show at the 2012 World Theatre Festival-Scratch Series at Brisbane Powerhouse! So the Ensemble can take you places…

The Backbone Ensemble is an audition entry initiative to provide training and performance opportunities to young performance makers who wish to create work at the cutting edge of contemporary performance.  The Ensemble is placed to explore these exciting new developments in performance:

  • outside the silos of classical actor/director/writer paradigms
  • by exploring and defining new performance spaces and audience engagement
  • by interfacing with contemporary and emerging technological platforms
  • by utilising hybrid art modalities and site specific work

Apply for this three-month training course led by contemporary performance director, Emma Che Martin, new media director, Daniel Flood and guest industry practitioners. You will work towards a devised performance, learn core producing skills to develop your career as a performance maker and meet like-minded artists.


The Ensemble 2012


WHEN: Mondays 9.30am – 4.30 pm and Thursdays 9.30am – 12.30pm, 13 April – 14 July 2012 (week intensive 16 – 20 April)

WHERE: The Edge, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane.

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: Friday 13th April 5.00pm.

INTERVIEWS: To be confirmed with successful applicants.

COST: $250.00 payable upfront or in five $50.00 installments.

CONTACT: Please email or call 07 3210 2666


Backbone also have a new Performance Ensemble for people with disabilities. Working with Director and dramatherapist, Kimberley Twiner and arts worker, Anna Molnar, this group of 12 performers started training at The Edge, State Library Queensland at the end of Feburary. More news soon!


Sons of Sin by The Danger Ensemble. Photo by Eli Walton.


The Pact – World Theatre Festival from Backbone Youth Arts on Vimeo.


the last days of judas iscariot

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

Company 08 & QUT Precincts

QUT Gardens theatre

27th – 31st March

Reviewed by Meredith McLean


I’m no architect but despite this fault in my knowledge I’ve always loved the Gardens Theatre at Gardens Point. It reminds me of Mary Poppins’ handbag.



It looks so small on the outside but when you step inside it gets bigger and bigger. There’s a neat front desk, a quaint modern bar around the corner and the stage will pleasure any theatre technician with a soft spot for lighting. However, I am not reviewing the building, which is a shame because I would’ve taken my hat off to it without a second thought. No, I’m reviewing The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, the play I saw in this wonderful theatre the other night.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot can be summed up to many things. Black comedy. Religious parody. Phrases such as these come to mind. Hit show would not be in that mix for me. Looking into the history of this play this was not a clean-cut success. Its original production came with mixed reviews. Some giving appraisal and others asking if it was “too much New York.” It is true that it did begin at off-Broadway and George Street in Brisbane isn’t exactly New York but something in that review did sit with me. It niggled at me during the first act. It hung around the bar with me during intermission and sat next to me a little too close for comfort throughout the rest of the show. Finally, while trying to mind my own business on the train ride home, I couldn’t take it anymore.



I had to scream to this irritating comment, amongst others from previous reviews.

“Did you enjoy

the show?”

the relentless thought asked me.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t say for the entire duration I did.

The premise is promising enough. In fact I was excited for this production because of the concept it was presenting. The idea that Judas waits in purgatory for a Judge Judy-like woman to decide the verdict; Heaven or Hell seemed hilarious. Having eyewitnesses like friends, family, Freud and even Satan seemed like the perfect spark for a good comedy. In the case of this production there were moments where echoes of laughter bounced off the walls of the theatre. But like I said, they were only moments. There was no consistency. It was a lucky draw waiting to see if this next scene would make me laugh or make me wait.

Although I do have to contend with the thought that it is simply the fault of the script. Regardless of these university students’ talent perhaps it was the original script by playwright, Stephen Adly Guirgis, which has let us down. There were recurring moments where I would sit quietly thinking to myself “This skit should’ve ended five lines ago.” There was so much unnecessary banter between characters, jokes repeated for the sake of an extra laugh and persisting moments of characters shouting nothing of use to the audience.

I question Guirgis’ writing because there was one young man who stood out for me in this production. There was constancy in his character that made me laugh every time he spoke. Even his movements relayed those of his role, El Fayoumy: A pseudo-lawyer acting against the defendant, Judas. Thomas Albert played the imposturous disaster of an attorney. The dedication to absurdity in Thomas was impressive. It was his ridiculousness in every wave of an arm or unnecessary shout of “Objection!” that kept me laughing.

Likewise, Leonard Meenach’s direction, despite the content, was a solid result. The use of space on the stage was for lack of a better description how I would’ve done it. This is one of those strange occurrences in life where everything was done well, each line and movement delivered suitably but the results do not match up. A mystery of error that despite a great set-up just didn’t pay off. The concept was there. The arrangement was there but the laugh out loud experience I was building myself up for just didn’t reach the audience.



Naturally I still have faith in these students. It was clear they had worked hard. As I said there wasn’t consistency but there was, for the most part, humour. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot was not a show that blew me away but there was satisfaction in seeing it. As I expected, it was fascinating to follow the narrative of the piece. And besides, we all want to know what happens. Does Judas go to Heaven or Hell? I had to find out, and I did laugh at times while waiting. If you want to be tearing up in your seat from laughing too much, this production is not the show you are looking for. However, if you’re looking for a tongue in cheek observation on the theories that circulate Judas Iscariot’s life then The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a play you should see.





world theatre day 2012

Happy World Theatre Day! 

World Theatre Day Message 2012 from Jake Witlen on Vimeo.

I remember reading a post by Travis Bedard about Why World Theatre Day.

“World Theatre Day isn’t about creating a global theatre experience. It’s about celebrating the local theatre experience globally. World Theatre Day is an acknowledgement that we are all doing this thing that we love.

And the internet allows us to share those local celebrations and revel in the fact that we’re not alone in our pursuit, and that no matter how many times they try to prove it to us mathematically, theatre is not dead.”  

Travis Bedard 2009

N.B. The bold is mine, not Bedard’s, just in case you were trying to skim over the contextualising quote.

With that in mind, I thought it pertinent to share with you, Sam’s President’s Report, which he read at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance AGM on Monday night. Please feel welcome to leave us your feedback about the Alliance, Sunshine Coast theatre in general or to comment on World Theatre Day events in your area. And remember, if you’d like your production reviewed, or if you need some support by way of consultation or a workshop or a visit from one of us, during any part of the pre-production or rehearsal process, send a request or an invite at least 3 weeks out, to

President’s Report

With a relatively slow start to the year I am pleased to report that 2011 ended with a bang, the Festival was a great success and the separation of the Youth and Open sections went as smoothly as could be hoped; laying a stable foundation to continue growing both sections. Thanks to the Festival Committee (John B, Jacqui Mata Luque, Julia, Synda and Stephen).

The website has seen significant growth in the past 12 months and is truly the number one source of theatre related information locally. We have plans to upgrade the website in 2012 and hope to continue its exposure and usage. Thanks must go to Synda for her tireless efforts in managing the site, mailing list, directories and any other design/print jobs that pop up, which Synda takes in her stride and always makes us look good.

The 2011 committee also saw the inauguration of the Season Launch Soiree, a great night and the first time in a long time we have had the community together, under one roof. It was a good start; far from perfect but again sets a platform on which we can improve in future years. Huge thanks must go to the enigmatic Julia Loaney for her amazing Event Coordination of this event.

Most notably the 2011 committee voted to include any and all performing arts related entities into the Alliance, albeit with different levels of membership. This marks a significant milestone in the Alliances history and now will truly align all theatre groups, choirs, dance groups and the like, to share resources and form a stronger community for us all. Whilst the details of this change in constitution have yet to be ratified the sentiment and unanimous vote has ensured its go-ahead.

My main aim for 2011 was to raise the profile of theatre on the Coast, and whilst I am happy that we have gone some way to achieve this, I still feel the bulk of this task lies ahead. We need to show Sunshine Coasters that a weekly serve of culture can be found on local stages and not just in their yoghurt. We collectively need to shout out our success stories and demand a greater presence with the local media.

For many members 2011/12 has been a difficult year, with volunteer numbers dwindling, directors almost non-existent and companies struggling to recruit new members for both on and off stage duties. These challenges, coupled with shrinking audience numbers, means we all have a responsibility to find a remedy and together support and nurture the way forward.

To this end, I now ask anyone who reads this to consider the need, validity and value of “the Alliance” what does your group get out of it? What do you get out of it? Is what you get out of it worth what you put in?

I can see the need for collective representation, but to whom and for what? It hasn’t done us much good with the media, really. We haven’t secured any grants on behalf of anyone (this is a full-time job, even in the pro-am companies) and we have really only gone some part in achieving the set objectives as per our constitution.

The Festival would run without us – the keen would ensure it – the advertising discount would be maintained by the media houses, under the Alliance umbrella or not, the biggy would be the web site and directories; which could be maintained commercially if so desired.

So, again I ask: need, validity, value?

I personally have answers to these three questions, but do you? Does your theatre?

The commitment might only be 12 nights per year, but they are 12 nights we could better spend elsewhere if our efforts go unsupported or appreciated. I will continue my mission of raising our industry’s local profile whether or not I be involved with “the Alliance”……

I intend to stand again for re-election for 2012/13 but in doing so, I seek a mandate from those delegates who would like to see us become more active, which means becoming less bogged down in protocol at meetings and genuinely focussed on improving the standard, audiences, network and profile of all Sunshine Coast Performing Arts pursuits.

Thank you to all 2011/12 Delegates for your service and I hope that together we can effect some positive change, as the same ol’ same ol’ just aint’ good enough.


Sam Coward


Dickens’ Women

Dickens’ Women

AMcK Fine Entertainment

QPAC Playhouse

Featuring Miriam Margoyles

Directed by Sonia Fraser

Reviewed by Michelle Bull


‘A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other 

Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Tonight, I met some wonderful individuals that made me giggle and then in the next breath come close to tears. Tonight I was surprised, enthralled and captivated by both fascinating and fickle stories. I eavesdropped on conversations that transported me into another era. Tonight, the delightfully engaging Miriam Margolyes introduced me to Dickens’ Women.



Presented by AMcK Fine Entertainment, and written by Miriam Margolyes and Sonia Fraser (Director), Dickens Women draws from classics such as Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, Bleak House and Great Expectations, combining sensitive insight into the life of Dickens himself, with a thoroughly entertaining exploration of his most colourful literary personalities.



Elegantly accompanied by John Martin on piano, this is an intimate conversation in which Margolyes shares her inherent fascination and love for the work of Charles Dickens, in a way that reveals the unavoidable humanity of the literary great and that of his celebrated characters.

The set itself is minimalistic, and effectively so. Reflecting the cosy ambiance of a period drawing room (complete with a portrait of Charles Dickens himself), the simple design is functional and not without its own story, Margolyes telling the story of Dickens favoured reading desk, a replica of which is used throughout the show. Different levels of staging and creative lighting design (Mark Hammer) are also used to effectively create a sense of intimacy and adaptability that suits the ever-changing environment of the show.

Margolyes embodiment of each character is compelling. Brought to life through a combination of skilful characterisation and infectious storytelling, Margolyes is careful not to alienate those of us who may not know each of Dickens’ characters as intimately as she. Each is seamlessly introduced to the audience, just as one would introduce one friend to another, biography and storytelling going hand in hand as parallels between the characters and Dickens’ own relationships are revealed, with no apologies for the often shocking and chauvinistic caricatures of Dickens’ imagination!

Margolyes management of Dickens’ text is beautiful and evident of a true respect for the contours and nuances of the English language. I found myself at times luxuriating in the sheer poetry of the words themselves. Her eloquent and stylish delivery creates a believable portrayal of each individual, her voice and physicality taking on each character in comprehensive detail. The transformation is instantaneous, as she expertly switches between a young flippish seventeen year old girl (Little Nell) to that of a stately matron (Mrs Jarley), (Old Curiosity Shop). Her portrayal of the delightful interaction between Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney (Oliver Twist), is hilarious, her physicality and comic timing making this particular scene one of my personal favourites!

The show is not without its sombre moments and it’s within these that Margolyes performs with a sense of poise and stillness that is captivating to watch. Her portrayal of both the tormented Miss Wade (Little Dorrit) and the dottery Miss Flite (Bleak House) highlights the fragility and essential humanity of these characters. Heartbreakingly and honestly beautiful.

Miriam Margolyes is undoubtedly one of the finest character actors of her time and in her performance of Dickens’ Women, demonstrates her passion for Charles Dickens’ work. The show flows seamlessly from story to biography to character play, in turn giving a wonderful introduction to the life, women and works of a literary great. Dickens’ Women is a show that in it’s exploration of Dickens’ characters of yesterday, draws parallels with our lives today as it delves into a wonderful writer’s imagination and inspires all those who love a good story.


“They’re not just voices on their own. There’s a person inside there. You’ve got to get inside the person…”