Posts Tagged ‘Kate Foy


2013 Groundlings – the people’s choice Queensland-made theatre awards


I’m a bit behind the eight ball but I think it’s important to post here, albeit a little late, the winners of The Groundlings, Queensland’s only people’s choice awards for Queensland-made theatre. Thanks to Kate Foy and y’all had the chance to nominate and vote for your favourite productions from last year. Did you nominate? Did you vote? The facts and figures to come out of the wash up are fascinating. Check them out here.


Are there any surprises here for you? Better make sure you get your vote in next time! And next up?


Proudly supported by Arts Queensland
and Brisbane City Council



Monday 10 March
6:30pm for a 7pm start

Gardens Theatre,
George Street, Brisbane City

Hosted by 
Dash Kruck & Emily Burton

Entertainment by
Michelle Xen & the Neon Wild

Special Guest Presenter
James Stewart (Packed to the Rafters)

Michelle Zen and the Neon

We met Michelle Zen and the Neon on The Mystery Bus at Woodford! #woodford2013



2013 Groundling Award Winners –



Outstanding Contribution by an Actor: Nick Skubij

Body of Work includes Animal FarmOut Damn SnotTequila Mockingbird

Outstanding Contribution by an Actress: Barbara Lowing

Body of Work includes The China Incident; Tequila Mockingbird; Motherland

Outstanding Contribution by a Director: Michael Futcher

Tequila Mockingbird

Outstanding Contribution to Set Design: Josh McIntosh

Body of work includes Out Damn Snot; Blood Brothers; Tequila Mockingbird

Outstanding Contribution to Costume Design: Simone Romaniuk

The Wizard of Oz

Outstanding Contribution to Lighting Design: Jason Glenwright

Body of Work includes Oklahoma!Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside AdeleAnimal Farm

Outstanding Contribution to Sound Design or Composition: Dane Alexander

The Wizard of Oz, Motherland

Outstanding Contribution to Multimedia Design: Luke Monsour and Ray Pittman

The Empty City

Outstanding Contribution to Innovative Theatre Practice: Dead Puppet Society


Best New Play in an Inaugural Queensland Season: Tequila Mockingbird by Nelle Lee

shake and stir theatre company

Best Production: Motherland by Katherine Lyall Watson Directed by Caroline Dunphy

Ellen Belloo

Best Musical Theatre Production: Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele Devised and Produced by Adam Brunes and Naomi Price

the little red company

Best Co-Production: The Wizard of Oz (Maxine Mellor principal writer) Directed by Steven Mitchell Wright

the danger ensemble, La Boite Theatre Company, and The Brisbane Festival

Outstanding Contribution to Queensland theatre: shake and stir theatre company

for its contribution to theatre education for young people



Don’t you just love to get a glimpse inside someone else’s head? Here it is, for the first time in four years, the Ed’s Choice –



Bea Pontivec in The China Incident.

In a year notable for some thrilling performances by women, I found it hard to choose but finally it is Ms Lowing’s extraordinary creation of Bea Pontivec that gets my pick. I noted at the time it was “… a tour de force by an artist at the top of her game.” I still think this.

The Gentleman Caller in The Glass Menagerie at La Boite Theatre

Not one of the big roles in this or in other plays during the year but in one of the classic supporting and absolutely pivotal roles in modern drama Mr Curtis gave a “relaxed, pitch-perfect performance,” giving sense and substance to a character often passed over in Williams’ play.

DIRECTION: Caroline Dunphy for Motherland.

Shaping a new play, one with multiple characters and casting, and a narrative that crosses temporal and spatial planes in a confined space – surely more than enough of a challenge for a director – but Ms Dunphy’s secure grasp of the shape and tone of the text was also superbly translated on to the tiny stage at Metro Arts.

COSTUME DESIGN: Simone Romaniuk for her always beautifully rendered, sensitive designs.

Venus in Fur; The Wizard of Oz.

SET DESIGN: Penny Challen for The Glass Menagerie.

Ms Challen’s bold and definitive design caught the tone of the production superbly.

SOUND DESIGN OR COMPOSITION: Gordon HamiltonThe Glass Menagerie

Thrilling stuff this – “the composition and sound design slices and rearranges fragments of other times’ moods and melodies.”

LIGHTING:  David Walters MotherlandEnd of the Rainbow

One of the most experienced, accomplished, creative and innovative lighting designers working anywhere in the world.

Motherland by Katherine Lyall Watson

Beautifully written and expertly crafted, a gem of a play that weaves the epic and the personal and creates the kinds of roles actors long to play.

Motherland by Katherine Lyall Watson Directed by Caroline Dunphy

“This lovely ‘anti-epic’ – production is enormously accomplished, and the intimate tone at its heart fitted so beautifully into the little black-box of the Sue Benner Theatre at Metro Arts.”

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele

Adele’s songs are brought to life by Naomi Price ”with heart and soul and terrific technique.” It’s “an extended monologue that feels like a conversation with friends … irreverent, deliciously wicked, funny, mouthy stuff … ”


The independent theatres and their makers, the dreamers and doers who are the lifeblood of our community. Thank you!



One-Act Play Festival 2013


One-Act Play Festival

The 3 Finalists of the National One-Act Playwriting Competition 2013

 Noosa Arts Theatre

30th May – 15th June 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Do you ever wonder how the three final plays are selected?


Since 1993 there’s been a reading panel, made up of Noosa Arts members, experienced in various theatrical areas, which wades through the scripts over many months. The panel this year comprised Sue Clapham, George Courtney, Stephen Moore, Liza Park, Natasha Riley, Stephen Taaffe and Johanna Wallace.


It’s a wonder we haven’t all been on the reading panel for this competition. You would think these guys would get tired of reading script after script year after year – this year there were 99 new texts entered – and that a new panel each year would be happy to take on the challenge of selecting three finalists. The thing is, there are obviously HOURS AND HOURS OF READING AND DISCUSSION INVOLVED. Do you have time to volunteer? No, nor do I. So, like many others, I’m grateful to those who put up their hand to do the job, and to watch the end result. It’s no good criticising that result – and by that I mean the standard of the final three chosen – if you’re not prepared to do the reading and play an active part in the decision making process. If we haven’t read all of the plays we have to trust the opinions of those who have. Just saying.


Having said that, this year’s finalists offer pretty standard plays, pretty similar to the plays we see in this competition each year, which could easily be staged by community theatre groups everywhere. They are mostly unpublished playwrights and this is, I suspect, the (commercial) reality of the competition. And why not? Writers want to be published, don’t they? Playwrights want their plays performed? By anyone, anywhere? Is that it? So where are they? Oh right, this year there were the 99 submissions…fantastic! But are there others? Are there better plays out there than those we’re getting in this competition? Who are the playwrights who are not submitting? And can we really be so critical of a competition – a truly international competition, with entries from New Zealand, Ireland, Dubai, USA and UK – that attracts 99 plays, sell-out audiences, and gives local directors and actors an opportunity to work on their craft? There’s been a lot of discussion again lately across social media and the blogosphere, wondering where our new playwrights are. Well, here are three of them, according to one panel’s opinion, from the selection entered.


The competition is to foster and encourage playwrights, whether amateur or professional, so if you think you can compete, download an entry form and put your play up to be judged against others who are putting themselves out there, on plot, characterisation, dialogue and overall achievement.


Also, it must be said, what an incredible job convenors, Synda Turnbull and (for the last three years) Susan Dearnley, have done. Our congrats and appreciation as they finish up with the festival this year.


And what of the plays? Let us know what you think too, in the comments section below. It’s opening night tonight and the season continues until Saturday June 15th! Chookas, all!


Distinguished Guest

Distinguished Guest. Image by Andrew Seymour.

Distinguished Guest

by Richard Harris

John McMahon, as Director of Distinguished Guest, decided to step into the role of Hastings when another actor was unable to continue in the role and he does a fine job of it. The plot provides a nice twist, and although some will see it from a mile away, it’s a fun ride that gets us there. Yvie Somerville & Tim Murfin are delightful, and show their ease on stage, their experience in the theatre and a genuine connection on stage. These two recently worked together in David Williamson’s Travelling North. (I know. I was there. I played one of the daughters.), and a similar ease and expertise comes across in their roles as the owners of a remote B&B in the Peak District of Derbyshire.


This play lacks a little pace, but I’m sure it will pick up, as the text demands.


Direct Pressure

Direct Pressure. Image by Andrew Seymour.

Direct Pressure

by Nicola Bradbury

This is the real drama of the three, but there are some surprisingly light moments within a script that allows scope for the actors and director (Sue Clapham) to play. Jenni McCaul shows she’s up for the challenge. Jenni’s performance is stellar, showing a blunt sense of humour within a spectrum of solid character choices that makes her a standout in the line-up of local talent featured this year. I’d be surprised if audiences can sit unaffected throughout Jenni’s staccato breathing, gasping, choking, and determined delivery of wordy monologues and quick-witted responses to the questions asked by Jeff (Steve Mitchell), whose frenetic energy is probably supposed to balance the necessarily static state of the play.


Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly. Image by Andrew Seymour.

Daring Greatly

by Rainee Skinner

Daring Greatly, directed by Jaqueline Twigg, is a funny play for those who have been there, done that, you know, experienced The Big M, and it features mostly funny performances, with Peppie Simpson offering the most natural performance of the three, displaying boundless energy, and frustration at the “power surges” she has begun to experience; cause for giggles and chuckles from those who recognise the symptoms of menopause. What’s missing is believable connections between the three women, but they have some challenges in the material, and each do their best with what they’re given. Daring Greatly seems to be two or three plays rolled into one, not quite knowing where it’s going or what it’s doing along the way. I feel like so many of Rainee’s observations and clever quips would come across even better in a book. Or a blog. Or a blog-turned-book. There is something more written than spoken about her dialogue; words for readers, not for actors.


Xanthe Coward

See more social pics by John Woodlock on Noosa Arts Theatre’s Facebook page

Once word hits the streets, this season sells out every year so don’t wait to catch the best new one-act plays this competition has to offer. Go with a partner, a friend, or a group and enjoy talking about the plays, their themes, their actors and directors. Noosa Arts Theatre has a really good vibe going on. If you haven’t been before, it’s time to check it out and see some live theatre in Noosa!


Vote for your favourite play in the Nancy Cato Audience Choice Award, and if you’re attending the final performance on Saturday 15th June, during the Noosa Long Weekend Festival, you can look forward to the insightful comments on the acting and directing, and awards for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress from Adjudicator, Kate Foy.



Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival Results 2012

Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival

Open Section Results

Buderim Memorial Hall

17th – 19th August 2012

Adjudicator: Kate Foy


All For The Nation

Ipswich Little Theatre

Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor in a Comedy – Female, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy – Male

Chook Chook

Caloundra Chorale & Theatre

Second Best Play, Certificate of Distinction


Random Acts

Third Best Play, Best Actor in a Comedy – Male, Adjudicator’s Award

Here’s The Thing

Noosa Arts Theatre

Best Unpublished Script


The Actor’s Gym

Best Actor in a Drama – Male, Certificate of Distinction

Who The Fuck Is Erica Price

Brisbane Arts Theatre

Best Actor in a Drama – Female, Certificate of Distinction


Ipswich Little Theatre

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama – Male

To Whom It May Concern

Mousetrap Theatre

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama – Female

Level 12

Golden Glove Productions

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy – Female, Certificate of Distinction

Still Life

Miranda’s Dressing Room

Certificate of Distinction

Sunshine Coast Youth Theatre Festival The stars of the future from all over the coast hit the stage. Come along and check out the incredible young stars of the future we have here on the coast.

1 day. 7 short plays.

When: Saturday August 25

Cost: Session Ticket – Adults $12.00, Child $5.

Family Session Ticket: $25.00 (2 Adults & 2 Children)

All tickets on sale at the door only.
Festival Passes purchased at the OPEN festival are valid.

For full session times, and a detailed program, visit the festival page on or call 5449 9972 (office hours).


Sam Coward & Kate Foy

Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance President, Sam Coward and Adjudicator, Kate Foy


All for the Nation


See more pics from the Open Section of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 




Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 2012 – it begins!

Well, actually, it’s begun! (And our TVC on Channel 7 has been seen by many locals in the last week or so during the lead up!). Last night the Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival kicked off in fine fashion, with four plays up for adjudication by Kate Foy.

Those who were in attendance (I was at Metro Arts for The Danger Ensemble’s Loco Maricon Amor – catch it if you can!), saw:

The Big Cats

Act One Theatre Inc

Drama 45mins

Chook Chook (AT)

Caloundra Chorale & Theatre Co.

Comedy 45mins

…Here’s The Thing (U) (AT) (CL)

Noosa Arts Theatre Inc

Comedy 35mins

Stoic (U) (AT) (CL)

Actor’s Gym

Drama 40mins

This morning we saw two plays.


Caloundra Chorale & Theatre Co.

Drama 40mins

Downstage (U)

Vanity Project

Comedy 25 minutes

Sessions continue today at 1pm and 7pm and tomorrow at 9am and 1:30pm, with the final adjudication to follow.

Saturday 1pm

Still Life (U) (AT) (CL)

Miranda’s Dressing Room

Drama 30mins

Day Trippers

Act One Theatre Inc

Comedy 35mins

Pieces (U) (AT) (CL)

BATS Theatre Drama 45mins

Whatever Happened To Humpty?

Fractal Theatre (JUNIOR)

Drama/Comedy 50mins

Saturday 7pm

Narcissistica (U) (AT) (CL)

Excalibur Theatre Company Drama 50mins

Anticlimax (U) (AT) (CL)

Random Acts Comedy 30mins

Three Angry Brides (U) (AT)

Noosa Arts Theatre Inc Drama 40mins

I’m a Pisces, he’s an Asshole (U) (AT)

SAD Theatre Company

Comedy 30mins

Sunday 9am

Dead End (U) (CL)

Crash Box Theatre

Drama 30mins

Crush (U) (AT) (CL)

Hills Players Inc.

Drama 45mins

Level 12 (AT) (CL)

Golden Glove Productions

Comedy 35mins

Flame (AT) (CL)

Beenleigh Theatre Group

Drama 35mins

Sunday 1:30pm

Touched (U) (AT) (CL)

Ipswich Little Theatre Society

Drama 50mins

To Whom It May Concern

Mousetrap Theatre Company

Drama 25 mins

All for The Nation (AT)

Ipswich Little Theatre Society

Comedy 30mins

Who The F*** Is Erica Price? (U) (AT) (CL)

Brisbane Arts Theatre

Drama 40mins

Check out the website for all details and grab a festival pass for just $35 at the door. It’s the best value theatre ticket this weekend! (23 plays over 3 days)!

Next weekend, see and support the Youth Theatre Festival, at Lind Lane Theatre on Saturday 25th from 9am.

Chook Chook Caloundra Chorale and Theatre Company

Chook Chook by Caloundra Chorale and Theatre Company



la boite’s shakespeare: as you like it

As You Like It 

La Boite Theatre Company

The Roundhouse

18.02.12 – 24.03.12

La Boite’s theatre is perfect for Shakespeare: it’s open and alive and allows actors and audiences to come together to share the joy.”

La Boite Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, David Berthold.

Have you ever been a part of Woodford Folk Festival’s shared joy? For the first show of La Boite’s 2012 season, David Berthold has brought a little bit of Woodford to The Roundhouse Theatre and it’s truly wonderful. The Forest of Arden IS Woodfordia and Berthold’s As You Like It is full to overflowing with the same joy, love and good karma. Bill Hauritz will be pleased.

Boasting exceptional performances and containing the best bit of fight choreography we’ve seen at La Boite, indeed; the best we’ve seen in Brisbane in a good while, by (Lead Fight Director this time) Justin Palazzo-Orr, this is a show for everybody. It’s funny and witty and heaps of fun. We are reminded by this play, that Shakespeare’s writing is so good, not only does it stand the test of time but also, it continues to appeal to all sorts.

Probably the most convoluted of the comedies, with a massive cast – in terms of programming, it often loses out to the more popular Twelfth Night – the plot of As You Like It may be unfamiliar. In simplest terms, the love story is central: girl meets boy, they fall instantly in love, girl disguises herself as boy, boy meets girl disguised as boy and they hang out in the forest together, become mates and wed, the girl’s true identity revealed on their nuptial day. Duke Senior and his merry men also inhabit the forest – their commitment is more permanent, their lifestyle a good deal greener and they provide much of the perspective of the play.

Director, David Berthold and Designer, Renee Mulder, have created, with suits and city skirts and jeans and flannel shirts, the look and feel of last year’s Woodford. Woodford has changed since its humble beginnings in the Maleny show grounds and the new mood has been perfectly captured. Rosalind (the remarkable Helen Howard) and Celia (Helen Cassidy) wear black, Cue-style suits and the latest season’s chunky suede shoes, which is just as well, because in narrower heels it’s a challenge to tread the shredded playground rubber that covers the floor of the theatre. As the god, Hymen, in his glittering, high-heeled disco diva boots, Alec Snow is a standout amongst student interns and puts to shame with his confident strut, many of the women in the audience (no offence, no-less-confident women in the audience. It’s just that Snow got to rehearse and as such, he looks to be a contender for the next run of Priscilla)!

Centre stage is a circular dais, which suddenly rises, in a simple, beautiful and breathtaking reveal, earning surprised applause from the opening night audience. Colourful lanterns, indie folk music (props to vocalist Lucy-Ann Langkilde, ready for a Chai Tent chalkboard gig), Tony O’Connor style forest sounds by Composer and Sound Designer Guy Webster and pretty, dreamy lighting, all amber and blue and pink, thanks to David Walters’ trek-out-to-the-Amphitheatre-after-the-Lantern-Parade-passes-by inspired lighting design, all combine to bring the magic of Arden Forest to our midst.

It’s not just the design that is stunning. The performances are superb. We can see the company at work on the next generation of actors, with a stronger focus on training and mentorship this year (there are eight interns in this production), doing their bit to close the gap between accomplished performers and the new, eager actors. Holding their own, in that middle ground where the graduates dwell, are Luke Cadden and Dominic Nimo, in their La Boite debuts.

Bryan Probets, as the jester Touchstone, manages to steal the show early on and later, whips up the audience in a riotous chorus; an old-fashioned, call and answer, effortlessly interactive theatre moment. His comedy is cleverly marked and he appears completely relaxed – delighted in fact – to be entertaining us. How lucky are we? The other exquisite moment in this piece belongs to Trevor Stuart, as Jaques. His delivery of the famed “All the world’s a stage” seven ages of man monologue is magnificent. If it has never stayed with you before, it will linger with you now.

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Kate Wilson and Hayden Spencer, play their parts beautifully; the first, kind and wise and generous as Duke Senior, as comfortable in the forest digs here as if it were home, high on the Range, and the second, the mincing miss shepherdess, Audrey, in his hippie mountain chic attire, posing and pouting to make us laugh ‘til we cry. Kathryn Marquet brings Phoebe to life.

Helen Cassidy is a lovely Celia and she is well paired with Helen Howard as Rosalind. These two are a celebration of the sisterhood! Howard is a striking woman and it’s easy to watch her every move. That being said, it’s just as easy to be completely distracted by the Adonis good looks of the Bard Boy of Brisbane, Thomas Larkin, in the role of Orlando. We’ve seen his naked torso for some time now, in an image for his upcoming role (Romeo) in QTC’s Romeo and Juliet. But you know this. You’ve seen the poster and you’ve had your say on Twitter too, I’ll warrant. For those who have been living under a tree at Woodford, Larkin’s co-star, Melanie Zanetti, looking extremely young (just as Shakespeare intended… half her luck) has been the subject of some controversy, stirred by a single complaint from a woman on the Gold Coast. While I look forward to seeing him in Romeo and Juliet, as Orlando, we see Larkin in his best role to date.

As You Like It is a show of superlatives. Whether or not ideas are borrowed, this is a brilliant interpretation; it doesn’t miss a beat. If you’re feeling like a bit of a lift, this is the best show you can see in Brisbane this month. It’s gorgeous, guaranteed to please. It’s what the world needs now; love, sweet love, and pure, unadulterated Woodford-all-year-round shared joy. Do yourself a favour and see this one. It’s guaranteed to reinvigorate your soul and warm the cockles of your heart.


The Groundling Awards 2011

The Groundlings. These are “the people’s choice awards” of Brisbane theatre (unlike the Matildas, they have never claimed to cover Queensland at large). Personally, while I think the voting system is as fair as it can be (and I hope news of it reaches as wide a voting audience as possible and I hope that the voting audience saw what they claim to have seen), I still have a couple of qualms over the noms process. I can see, however, that the people who knew the noms were open, who saw a bit of theatre throughout 2011 and who bothered to get online and nominate have spoken. N.B. As a theatre critic (as opposed to a normal person) I did not submit any nominations, nor will I be voting (although, perhaps in future, there is a case for noms to be submitted by the companies, then narrowed down by the critics, then voted on by the people). There are certainly some notable oversights. Now, don’t think that I’m being biased and playing favourites, trying to influence the votes by posting the clips below. There are simply some companies recording very well, their trailers and the opening night audience responses. That’s right. The value of those vox pops just went through the roof!

To cast your vote (READY, NORMAL PEOPLE?) and to find out the results (after voting closes on February 10) head on over to

I don’t mind telling you that I’m surprised by some of the nominations. Here they are…

2011 Categories:

Outstanding Contribution by an Actor

Leon Cain (Orphans – QTC)
Bryan Probets (Body of Work including Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness- La Boite; Animal Farm – Shake and Stir; Pygmalion – QTC)
Lucas Stibbard (restaged season of boy girl wall – La Boite)

Outstanding Contribution by an Actress

Melanie Zanetti (Pygmalion – QTC)
Amy Ingram (Rabbit: the good room – Metro Arts)
Nelle Lee (Animal Farm – shake and stir theatre company)

Outstanding Contribution by a Director

Steven Mitchell Wright (The Hamlet Apocalypse for The Danger Ensemble/La Boite Indie)
Tim O’Connor (JC Superstar for Harvest Rain Theatre Company)
Shaun Charles (Water Wars for Umber Productions/La Boite Indie)
Michael Futcher (Animal Farm for Shake and Stir)

Outstanding Contribution to Set Design

Josh McIntosh (Body of work including Animal Farm)
Penelope Challen (Water Wars)
Simone Romaniuk (Fractions)

Outstanding Contribution to Costume Design

Romance Was Born (Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness)
Josh McIntosh (Body of work including Aladdin and Animal Farm)
Stephen Curtis (Pygmalion)

Outstanding Contribution to Lighting Design

David Walters (Body of Work and innovation in Water Wars for sustainable lighting practices)
Jason Glenwright (Body of Work including Ruben GuthrieAnimal Farm)
Ben Hughes (Body of Work including OrphansFractionsThe Hamlet ApocalypseStudio Shorts JUTE)

Outstanding Contribution to Sound Design or Composition

Guy Webster (Body of Work including Water WarsAnimal FarmRuben Guthrie)
Dane Alexander (The Hamlet Apocalypse)

Outstanding Contribution to Multimedia Design

Freddy Komp (Body of work including Water WarsEmpire Burning)
Dead Puppet Society  (The Harbinger)

Outstanding Contribution to Innovative Theatre Practice

Paul Osuch and Anywhere Theatre Festival for creating an imaginative infrastructure for theatre-making
Umber Productions and its contribution to sustainable theatre practice through the production of Water Wars
Steven Mitchell Wright and the Danger Ensemble for pushing performance and theatrical boundaries

Best New Play in an Inaugural Queensland Season

Water Wars by Elaine Acworth – Umber Productions/La Boite Indie/Empire Projects Company
Animal Farm  by George Orwell, adapted  by Nick Skubij (shake and stir theatre company)
Fractions by Marcel Dorney – Queensland Theatre Company

Best Production

The Hamlet Apocalypse – The Danger Ensemble/La Boite Indie
Animal Farm – shake and stir
Water Wars – Umber Productions/La Boite Indie

Best Musical Theatre Production

Cabaret – Zen Zen Zo
Spring Awakening – Oscar Theatre Company
Jesus Christ Superstar – (return season) Harvest Rain Theatre Company

Best Co-Production

Faustus (QTC and Bell Shakespeare)
Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness (La Boite and STC)
No Man’s Land (QTC and STC)

Outstanding Contribution to Queensland theatre

Terry O’Connor and John Brabon (Producers) for the development of the long-running project Shakespeare Under the Stars (Townsville)
Julie Whiting (Founder and Musical Director Blue Fish Theatrical) for leadership in the development of musical theatre training (Brisbane)
Tim O’Connor (Artistic Director) and Harvest Rain Theatre Company for the company’s contribution to the development of a sustainable independent theatre model (Brisbane)



Remember what you saw.

Remember how you felt.

Remember what you said.



To Award or not to Award?

That is, and will always be, the question.

Check out, if you haven’t already, Augusta Supple’s blog at because she is a talented, insightful, emotive writer and reviewer after my own heart, telling it as it is. Most recently, Augusta has blogged about boycotting the Sydney Theatre Awards, which is no small protest from somebody who is a respected authority on Sydney theatre and theatre-making generally. Put it this way: Gus knows her stuff. If she is of the opinion that vital work was overlooked, I’m prepared to take her word for it.

The same week, I received my print copy of Stage Whispers

(I’m a bit old school when it comes to subscriptions)

I noted, with interest, that in his editorial, Neil Litchfield bemoans the fact that Sydney community theatre has no special social event for its theatre-makers – no awards, no dinner, no party it seems – as the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria does in its celebrated Bruce Awards.

“I can only wish we had a similar community musical theatre night-of-nights, not so much for the awards, as for the fabulous performing showcase, and the immense sense of the performing community coming together in the foyer before and after the packed house ceremony. I felt a great nostalgia for Sydney’s lost tradition of Combined Musical Society Balls.” Neil Litchfield

Here here!

On the Sunshine Coast we have been missing, for a long time, as well as our unbiased reviewer, a number of those other elements that bring together a theatrical community: combined company productions, Saturday mornings spent at whichever theatre has a set requiring painting, fittings at Nancy’s house, living room play readings, piano parties and that strange affair known as the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance STAR Awards. Well, some of us have not missed the STAR Awards at all but instead, since its demise some years ago, have decided to replace the entire event with a SOIREE, without the pressure, mess and aftermath of an awards system that left most dissatisfied (and too many falsely confident in their abilities), rather than simply delighted to have had the opportunity to catch up with like-minded friends in a swanky setting over a few fancy drinks.

I attended what must have been one of the last ever STAR Awards evenings. I was pregnant. I was not drinking. I was bemused and dismayed that very little mingling and networking happened and instead, a lot of gossip happened, prior to the event, during the night and well and truly after the evening had finished! Those who had been recognised and given awards tended to grin and gloat and those who were overlooked were needlessly devastated. Of course I’m over-generalising (I’m sure there have been some who have themselves wondered at the award they’ve received!) after all, let’s not forget that I was sober! I’m sure it was all good originally,

Way back in the days when the grass was still green

and the pond was still wet

and the clouds were still clean,

and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space…

Suffice to say, towards the end, the awards night was just not achieving one of its main goals: to bring together in celebration, the theatrical community on the Sunshine Coast. (The STA’s major goal has always been to promote live theatre across the Sunshine Coast and this is something that is done superbly, via some terrific print and radio media partners, social media and

This year, the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, with Sam Coward at its helm, has decided to celebrate our involvement in local theatre without the awards. The evening, in February, is an opportunity to celebrate freely, without the competitive element. Sam says, “Take away the competition and we are left with a fun, friendly night of celebration and an opportunity to launch every theatre company’s 2012 season.” Sounds good to me. Thanks to the work of the committee members, we will enjoy drinks, canapes, media, mingling, networking, catching up with friends and performances from some of the theatre companies. Next year, we hope to see performances from ALL of the theatre companies. this will be a major milestone in itself. Previously, only not-for-profit theatrical companies have been granted STA membership and thus, their support. In terms of advertising alone, to allow ALL companies now to join the Alliance is a complete turnaround and a big step forward for the Sunshine Coast theatre community. It was something that had always baffled me: why would those over-achieving multi-taskers among us choose NOT to make money from our art? I know. I hear you guffawing. But we try, don’t we? And for those of us who make the effort to capitalise on what we’re doing, there is now a little bit more support locally than there was before.

Now. What to wear? The dress code is Dress to Impress and the ONLY award of the night is for Best Dressed!

Ironic much?

Obviously then, when reporting back to you, I shall have a fabulous photo gallery rather than a boring list of the theatre-makers-somebody-thought-did-the-best-job-all-year-even-though-the-criteria-was-thrown-into-question-and-they-didn’t-see-everybody-else’s-efforts-and-played-favourites-anyway.

That may not be true. I can’t back that up. I’ll just post the pics of everybody looking fab, shall I?

What are your thoughts on arts’ awards?

Do you prefer a people’s choice award? If so, The Groundlings can be found at Do you like your critics to deem what’s “best”? If so, you can appreciate those Sydney Theatre Award results and look forward to the Matildas. Or do you really just enjoy a genuine celebration without the competitive edge? If so, come join us at the Soiree! Only 60 tickets left! Book online here.