Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Flinders Anglican College


Strictly Ballroom the Musical opens next week!


Strictly Ballroom the Musical comes to QPAC next week!




This joyous production, based on the much-loved Australian film, has audiences dancing in the aisles in a kaleidoscope of colour and fun.


Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Strictly Ballroom the Musical features classic songs from the film including Love is in the Air and Time after Time, as well as some wonderful new songs by artists such as Eddie Perfect and Sia.


The cast includes Thomas Lacey and Phoebe Panaretos as Scott Hastings and Fran with Bob Baines, Darren Gilshenan, Natalie Gamsu, Robert Grubb, Fernando Mira, Heather Mitchell and Mark Owen-Taylor leading an ensemble of over 40 performers.




I took Ellie Ferguson (Year 10 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College) on her birthday to meet Nadia Coote at The Big Pineapple recently. Nadia is Tina Sparkle, the ambitious ballroom dancer made famous in the film by Sonia Kruger. Nadia took some time out from teaching her Heavenly Pineapples dance routine to local cheerleaders to chat with Ellie about her performing arts training and the joys of touring a show. Happy birthday, Ellie!


“I kinda’ fell into theatre and I don’t want to stop – it’s a real passion of mine”, Nadia told Ellie. Winning the role of Penny in the original touring production of Dirty Dancing was the step Nadia needed to get off the cruise ship circuit and into musical theatre. Now she wouldn’t do anything else.


“We have an eight show week and tech rehearsal and cover rehearsals…outside of the show I keep up my singing training. I keep up with my singing lessons every week. We get one day off a week…so you don’t get a whole lot of time (outside of the show) but I love it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s so much fun.”


Ellie asked Nadia about her role in the show and learned that Nadia feels more comfortable when she is acting. “I’m lucky. In Strictly Ballroom I do have one song by myself but it’s a comedy song. So I love singing when it’s more about the acting.”


The conversation turned to the demands of the industry on performers to continually train as “triple threats” (actors, singers and dancers). “In theatre you’ve gotta’ push yourself in all areas – there’s so much competition”, explained Nadia.


And what’s Nadia’s advice for Ellie and other aspiring triple threats? “Keep at it. The more you can do, even if you feel like it’s not working, do it. The more you do the better you’ll get at it.”


Nadia was so generous with her time, talking with Ellie and teaching the local “Sharks” cheerleading team. And I finally got to catch up with QPAC Publicity extraordinaire, Inga Tracey!




Strictly Ballroom the Musical opens at QPAC, Brisbane, Thursday September 9. Book here.


An audio described performance is available on Wednesday 7 October 2015 at 1pm & Friday 9 October 2015 at 7.30pm. There will be an Auslan Interpreted performance on Sunday 11 October at 3pm.



Out-dazzled by Strictly Ballroom the Musical’s Tina Sparkle aka Nadia Coote.



Nadia favoured an injured foot off the dance floor and had fun posing with a crutch! The consummate professional though, she danced as if nothing was wrong and we were surprised to see her limping away…



The all-new Heavenly Mobility Aid dance routine. This could catch on.






The Wizard of Oz


The Wizard of Oz

Matthew Flinders Anglican College

Flinders Performance Centre

May 21 – 23 2015


Reviewed by Rhys M Becks






Matthew Flinders Anglican College delivered a spectacular rendition of The Wizard of Oz.


Seated waiting for the show to begin, there was a monumental air of suspense, so great I felt like crying. The band began to blast a majestic tune and everyone was happy and excited. This for me is the true meaning of theatre. To be drawn away from the tribulations of daily life into another world. The lights dimmed and the band continued, as Dorothy (Rebecca Rolle) burst through door two of the theatre, breaking the the fourth wall in the best possible way, drawing us into the story immediately.


Miss Rolle most definitely stole the show with her breathtaking vocals and physical ability. It was remarkable how much Miss Rolle’s Voice matched that of Miss Judy Garland. If one were to close their eyes during the performance, they would feel as though they were watching an improved version of the motion picture. Having watched Miss Rolle’s last production year, I expected nothing short of a professional performance, and my goodness, she certainly delivered.


Then there was Jackson Reedman (Scarecrow). I must say that this was the sassiest portrayal of the scarecrow I have ever seen. But I liked it, because despite it being an unconventional portrayal, it worked. Mr Reedman put a fresh twist on the role and put a lot of self into it without making a mockery of the character. I do not know if the sass was intended, but it was there. I loved how Mr Reedman assumed the posture of the scarecrow, and how in movement he was not tense yet unstable, and a little bit floppy. This aided him in making us believe that he was truly a scarecrow. Mr Reedman has a lovely classic broadway type of belt, which is all well and good. Yet at times (not very often) the clarity of a lyric was lost.


Mr Reedman has a decent stage presence. During the show that I attended, at the end of the scene where Dorothy and the scarecrow are tormenting the trees for their apples, Toto (Nala Rolle, an actual dog) was not ready in the wings for her cue. Mr Reedman saves the day by inquiring, “Dorothy where is your dog?” To which she replies, “Over there!” He continues, “Where? Oh never mind, we don’t need him anyway!”






STOP PRESS! Jackson Reedman is off to do musical theatre at AMDA!



The scene continued, and Dorothy made acquaintance with the Tin-Man.


Henry Jeaffreson gave an accurate representation of the Tin-Man. He delivered lines and vocals with perfect clarity. He gave a delightful tap dance every so often. He was choppy in his movement, which made him seem more mechanical, therefore we believed that he was made of tin. The Tin-Man was made to be a passive character more so than the scarecrow  at least, yet not as passive as the Cowardly Lion. He makes us feel sympathy by emphasising the fact that he has no heart. Mr Jeaffreson did this very well without making it obvious. He did not stand out massively for me. This may or may not have been done on purpose.


I feel the same way about William Smith. Mr Smith performed a decent rendition of the Cowardly Lion. His speech was as clear as day, yet his singing was at times a little disjointed by perhaps his lack of breath. Yet his clarity of speech and movement made up for this. He appeared to be cuddly and generally quite soppy, which is precisely the character of the Cowardly Lion.


The lighting and sound were phenomenal. The school also utilised the projector in such a manner that it did not lower the excellence of the show, by becoming a distraction. The transitions between scenes were smooth, practical and visually pleasing, largely due to a purpose built revolve. My favorite transition was during the tornado when Dorothy was standing inside the farmhouse, pressed against its walls in shock, as the house is spun around by stage hands in theatre blacks.


The band in the pit was absolutely astounding, I have never in my life heard a student band play so professionally.


All these performers working together as a collective gave a sterling performance. For a student production the calibre was high. I now have high expectations for the next production year. Yet unfortunately these brilliant aforementioned performers will not be attending the college by then, as this is their senior year.


Overall the show was wonderfully performed, and people of all ages (11-18) worked together very nicely, with a marvellous, dazzling end result.





Rhys M Becks attends MFAC (Year 10). You can see the show he’s producing with Humming Bird Media in October at Matthew Flinders Anglican College.

Tickets on sale in September 2015.



The 7 Stages of Grieving


The 7 Stages of Grieving

QTC and Grin & Tonic

Bille Brown Studio

March 17 – 31 2015


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward



Time is linear and irreversible.



Everything has its time…



Indigenous history has been a long and complicated grieving process since colonisation.

Wesley Enoch




The 7 Phases of Aboriginal History – The 5 Stages of Dying






















Self Determination







We cry together, we laugh together, and we tell our stories.





The Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe has forged a brilliant relationship with our state theatre company, and testament to their determination to jointly bring Australian Indigenous stories to the stage; this production is a fine one. The 7 Stages of Grieving, penned by Deborah Mailman and QTC’s Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch, enjoys its 20th year in 2015. This strictly limited (very nearly sold out) GreenHouse season is followed by a tour, which takes the show on the road and into schools. I’m looking forward to seeing it again, at Matthew Flinders Anglican College. It will be interesting to hear from the students, who’ll be viewing it through Brecht coloured glasses, and who obviously didn’t see the original Kooemba Jdarra productions, directed by Enoch and starring Mailman, in 1994 (a 25-minute version for the Shock of the New festival at La Boite) and in 1995 (at Metro Arts as part of Warana, which became Brisbane Festival). The show then toured nationally and internationally.



I remember Mailman’s sweet, deep-seated sadness, and her wicked humour, cutting unforgivingly through deceptively simple episodic storytelling. History’s a sinister thing, isn’t it? Those who tell it create it, and we can be grateful that this play gives voice to some of the lesser-told stories. Or perhaps I should say, lesser heard. I’ll compare productions only so far as to say that it was simpler then – low-tech – and also, Mailman’s power on stage was already astonishing. We experienced her expansiveness, as if her spirit filled not only the intimate Metro Arts space, but also the entire universe. Experiencing Mailman’s performance in this show was like reaching that state of meditation that allows you to see without seeing, and understand more than you feel you’ve ever been allowed to know.



The only thing black at a funeral should be the colour of your skin.



Chenoa Deemal (Mother Courage and Her Children) is the Aboriginal Everywoman who brings a fresh, light approach to the storytelling; it’s a completely new take, as it should be. She studied acting at ACPA and QUT, but comes from the Thitharr Warra tribe in Hopevale, north of Cooktown in the Cape York Peninsula. The language we hear is Deemal’s language and the traditional elements of this production are her people’s traditions.



Deemal takes centre stage after emerging from the darkness to pour concentric circles of rainbow coloured sand, its phosphorescence glowing eerily, discomfortingly, around a mound of red earth (the land, the source, the spirit, the core of everything) and a suitcase containing the photos of family members who have died. It’s poignant, it’s ritualistic, and the irony and deep sorrow is never lost, only veiled in more comical moments throughout the show. Deemal’s casual comedy shines in Nana’s Story (no matter what you were having for dinner there was always rice), and in Murri Gets a Dress, delivered in stand up comedy style, complete with a hand held microphone. Audience members on opening night shriek with laughter.



Have you ever been black? You know when you wake up one morning and you’re black? …”Hey, nice hair, beautiful black skin, white shiny teeth … I’m BLACK!



… I go to bed thinking, “Tomorrow will be a better day”, snuggling up to my doona and pillow. Morning comes; I wake up, I go to the bathroom. I look in the mirror. Hey, nice hair, beautiful black skin, white shiny teeth. I’M STILL BLACK! AND DEADLY!



Not 20 minutes in something gets me, though I can’t for the life of me recall what it is that sparks the tears, which I blink back, not wanting to miss the next chapter in this stark, raw look at our First People’s mourning traditions and daily struggles. Despite some business as usual moments, which could just as easily be perceived as inspired acting/directing choices, Deemal offers a natural, vulnerable, very real performance. There is grief and there is joy, which wells up and spills over into fierce pride and exultation during a vivid retelling of Sorry Day celebrations.



Oi. Hey, you! Don’t you be waving back at me! Yeh, you with that hat! You can’t park here, eh! You’re taking up the whole bloody harbour! Just get in your boat and go. Go on, get! Bloody boat people.



Director (and Artistic Director of Grin & Tonic), Jason Klarwein, has manipulated mood and meaning beautifully, assembling a terrific creative team to bring this 20-year old show up to date in bold cinematic style. Jessica Ross (Designer), Daniel Anderson (Lighting Designer) and Justin Harrison (Sound & Projection Designer) have created a galaxy of stars and souls and memories and words and hopes and dreams, and a sense of place that is both new and ancient. With its updated political references, and a new ending to raise the stakes, The 7 Stages of Grieving strikes me as The Mountaintop of Australian plays, asking us to consider what really matters, and challenging us to make the changes we want to see in our world.



They’ve written sorry …



… They’ve written sorry across the sky.



Are you walking across bridges yet? The baton passes on …




Opening Night Style at QPAC: Wicked






Opening Night Style at QPAC: Wicked



I love the new touring production of Wicked (read my rave review here) and having only just experienced opening night on Sunday, unexpectedly, randomly, to fill the teacher-student ratio, I was able to see it again today with the beautiful kids and music staff from Matthew Flinders Anglican College. That’s right. I know! How lucky am I?! Lucky it’s an awesome admin team there, who can cover a lunch duty and a double Year 8 Drama class at the drop of a hat. Sorry Year 8s – I hope you were good for your teacher this arv.


It was interesting to see the show from the balcony, where I was able to take in the production in its entirety, rather than focusing solely on the performers in the space. This can happen when you sit in the stalls, and it means you’re sometimes missing the true scale of a production, like using the zoom function on the DVD and missing crucial elements outside of the new frame. If you only ever zoom in you may never see the director’s original vision for a film.


It was interesting to see and hear Ali Calder’s Elphaba so soon after experiencing Jemma’s performance, and it was interesting to hear the students’ responses to various aspects of the show. MFAC kids are well travelled so equally as interesting was hearing where in the world they’d previously seen Wicked… Today’s performance marked the fourth time one senior student had seen the show and he felt, as I did, that some of the performances were a little flat. We agreed Calder may have been “holding back”. More student comments to come…


I won’t post a pic of the Stella pants and Seed Heritage top that I wore today because #openingnightstyle


Poppy and I got a little bit greenified for opening night. No doubt you’ve seen these pics on Insta already (and no doubt noticed that I look as if I haven’t slept for a week. That’s because I haven’t slept for a week)… #newmoon #newintentions #getmoresleep




Dress Code: Smart with a hint of emerald


Pre-show treat: The Cafe


Pre-show drinks: Foyer Bar




Kaftan: Camilla


Shoes: Jo Mercer


Earrings: vintage, from the vault











David Harris brings his intimate cabaret Time is a Traveller to Brisbane Powerhouse

Son of a coal-mining dad and a secretary mum, this is the story of an Aussie country kid and what lead him to tread the boards in some of Australia’s biggest musicals.




Following an extended and sold-out season at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre, leading man David Harris, brings his intimate cabaret to Brisbane Powerhouse this Saturday August 9.

(Saturday is David birthday! Remember to wish him Happy Birthday!)


You may know David from productions such as The Pajama Game, Fiddler On The Roof, Breast Wishes, Children of Eden, Boy From Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Wild Party, John & Jen, Little Women, The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie or Legally Blonde


David Harris & Lucy Durack. Image by Jeff Busby.






Miss Saigon




Gutenberg! – The Musical



Damn Yankees



Into The Woods




Or from a special visit to Matthew Flinders Anglican College




Time is a Traveller weaves together the songs and stories that have helped David shape his career. From growing up in country New South Wales and the embarrassment of his first school musical, to the talent quests in RSL clubs, yodelling in the Swiss alps and the highs and lows of performing his dream role.

David’s latest cabaret is an intimate, personal and candid story of one of Australia’s most acclaimed leading men best known for his Helpmann Award nomination portrayals, of Chris in Miss Saigon, Fiyero inWicked and Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde.

In Brisbane David will be joined by Special Guest Ana Marina

Catch him in this intimate setting before he embarks for the bright lights of New York.



David Harris with Jordi Russell, currently studying at AMDA NYC



Special Guest Musical Theatre stars appear at BYTE & Matthew Flinders

The Sunshine Coast has welcomed some of Australia’s top musical theatre stars, with special events for students at Buderim Youth Theatre of Excellence (BYTE) and Matthew Flinders Anglican College.




Yesterday, Chelsea Gibb and Amanda Harrison appeared at Buderim Memorial Hall for a discussion with Robyn Ernst’s BYTE Master Class students about the performing arts industry in Australia and overseas.


These two triple threats were relaxed and chatty, as they sat,  swinging their legs, on the edge of the stage and talked about how they got their start in the industry, what it’s like to be “stayers” in the industry and what differentiates a dancer from a “mover”. They discussed what it is that makes it all worthwhile, how to fit a family and the demands of being a mother into a real working career in the performing arts, and shared some valuable tips for auditions.


Run up a hill until your heart is beating SO fast and stop and sing. That’s what it’s like to sing when you’re nervous, with your heart beating that fast…You have to squish it all down! – Amanda


Gaining experience, skills and work outside of the arts industry is vital to sustaining a career in musical theatre, at least in this country, and so is having a close-knit group of like-minded friends to help you through the lows and celebrate the highs. Amanda noted that so many of the friends come from wherever you’ve studied and of course, from the productions in which you’ve been involved.




Both Chelsea and Amanda mentioned their concerns over the rise and rise of the Internet during their careers, and the damage that heartless, careless critics and bloggers can do to artists and to the industry. They explained very well that as artists they expect support and honest feedback. Chelsea admitted she doesn’t mind if an individual doesn’t love her interpretation of a character, or her tonal quality, but doesn’t see the need for a reviewer to resort to personal jibes and attacks. Amanda agreed and both advised staying away from what’s written about the show you’re in while you’re in it!


Today Matthew Flinders Anglican College students will have the opportunity to attend a Q&A session at Flinders Performance Centre during their lunch time.


Chelsea and Amanda will be joined by Simon Gleeson, Patrice Tipoki, Mark Vincent and Laura Tipoki. Patrice and Laura Tipoki are MFAC Alumni and Patrice joined us last year, with Lucy Durack and David Harris for a similar special event.


Patrice Tipoki_colour


If you haven’t booked yet for A Little Night of Music – Songs from the Silver Screen you can do so HERE



With this calibre of talent on stage together AT THE SAME TIME EVEN there really isn’t anywhere else you should be!



Brisbane and Gold Coast friends, are y’all coming up for this? IF NOT WHY NOT!?






Don’t miss A Little Night of Music – Songs from the Silver Screen




Starring Patrice Tipoki, Simon Gleeson, Amanda Harrison, Chelsea Gibb & Mark Vincent




At Flinders Performance Centre in Buderim for ONE NIGHT ONLY enjoy an evening of your favourite film songs, hosted by HOT91FM’s Todd Widdicombe and performed by some of the brightest stars of Australian musical theatre for MontroseAccess, supporting children with physical disabilities.


Amanda Harrison_colour


Flinders Performance Centre

Stringybark Road, Buderim


Show starts 7:30pm


Bookings or call 5477 2964


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