Posts Tagged ‘Noosa Arts Theatre


Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest 2015



Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YITCC) is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and vying for a spot in the finals, which will give them the chance to win the ultimate prize package, tomorrow night in Brisbane are Amy Church, Judy Hainsworth, Claire Fabri, Trent Sellars, Alastair Tomkins and Cassandra Croucher.

Book here for the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday night!


Friday night in Noosa sees Sunshine Coast performers Emily Vascotto, Kendra Kinnear, Gabriella Flowers, Jenny Wynter, Adam Flower and Cherry Ripe compete for the coveted final places.

Book here for the Noosa Heat on Friday night!


Jenny Wynter


These performers have the opportunity to develop their craft and compete for a world tour to share their original show with audiences in Australia and New York City.

Special Guest and previous winner of the Cabaret Contest, Brad McCaw will also be performing at each heat, after a series of sold out shows.


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Sunshine Coast Arts Friday March 28 2014


SCD Arts Friday March 28 2014


Xanthe Coward


Sometimes this post is a bit late so to cover all bases and not miss anything arts related on the Sunshine Coast you should probs buy the Sunshine Coast Daily on a Friday (yes, on a Friday now. How is that working for you? Did you prefer the Saturday section? I know I did!). I post the column here anyway, and it’s just as well because that means I can highlight here for you the MUST SEE events each week!


This week, it’s Songs of Love and War for ONE NIGHT ONLY THIS SUNDAY APRIL 6 at 6pm at Noosa Arts Theatre. It’s actually a house concert. That’s right. Sam and I are hosting and you’re invited! We’ll have our Twenty8 oils burning and the cash bar open so you’ll feel right at home. Come on down for a relaxing, enjoyable evening with friends at our second home. It will cost you just $25 (or just $20 if you’re a student or pensioner) to catch two amazing singer/songwriters – Francesca de Valence and Emma Dean – in the one all ages show. The girls are off on a whirlwind tour so we’re very lucky to have them stop by in Noosa. Remember, to get your invitation email and bring your cash on the night. Invitations available at the door so tell your friends but be warned: STRICTLY LIMITED NUMBERS. Cash bar from 5:30pm.



We’ve had a facelift!


No, not me, though I’m sure I’m almost due for one. Check out the new-look Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance website designed by the talented team at Noosa’s Design Central. This is your one stop shop for production and audition details on the Sunshine Coast. Book tickets and keep up to date with Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival news, auditions, workshops and special events for local performers and lovers of live theatre.




Intensive Improvisation Workshops


Sunshine Troupe Inc will host a series of intensive improvisation workshops with a difference – learn strategies to work with people of all abilities in the creation of fun skits ready to be performed at the end of the one-day workshops. Your skit will be considered for inclusion in the new Sunshine Coast Community Inclusive Theatre Restaurant due to “pop up” later this year. Work under the guidance of 25-year experienced Florence Teillet and her team, to learn valuable improvisation skills and new ways of creating opportunities for people with unique abilities. Cost $10 (includes refreshments). Numbers limited. Saturday April 5 at 9:30am – 12:30pm at Parent to Parent, corner of Connection Road & Aurshire Road (near The Big Cow). Bookings or call 0433 433 204


Four Weddings and an Elvis


Sandy, the four-times-married-three-times-divorced owner of a wedding chapel in Las Vegas has seen her fair share of matrimonies. Four of her most memorable are featured in this fun musical. Coolum Civic Centre March 28 & 29 at 7:30pm and March 30 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5446 3500




Ira Levin’s intriguing murder mystery, directed by Chris Mills, will enthrall audiences from start to finish. A devilish play within a play. The Lind, Nambour April 4, 5, 9, 11 & 12 at 8pm and April 6 & 12 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5441 1814


Oriana Choir Showcase Concert


Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir will present their showcase concert for one performance only on April 6 at 2pm. Bookings or call 0431 542 343


Songs of Love and War


XS Entertainment presents Emma Dean and Francesca de Valence in Songs of Love and War, in a house concert style show at Noosa Arts Theatre. One night only Sunday April 6 at 6pm. Cash bar available. Limited numbers. Invitation only. To get your invitation email




Pirates to Pinafore

Following the tradition of Promac Productions previous smash hit musicals The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance comes the wonderfully entertaining new production Pirates To Pinafore. With an all-star cast featuring Australian musical theatre and London West End star Philip Gould as Sir Arthur Sullivan, alongside the hilarious veteran comic actor Brian Hannan as W.S Gilbert, international soprano Alison Jones as Leonora Braham and Chris McKenna as Richard D’oyly Carte, Pirates To Pinafore delivers all the hits and highlights of Gilbert and Sullivan’s thirteen operas in a cascade of tremendous solos, duets and trios. Noosa Arts Theatre for April 11 & 12 at 7:30pm and April 12 at 1pm & 13 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5443 9343






Sunshine Coast Arts Friday February 7 2014


SCD Arts Friday February 7 2014

Xanthe Coward

Millar to join Soiree


Lucy Maunder & James Millar in Noel and Gertie. Image by NicholasHiggins


Tomorrow night at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Season Launch Soiree at Noosa Arts Theatre, the local theatre community will welcome special guest, James Millar, a graduate of WAAPA, and writer, composer and performer. Millar, now based in London, was seen recently in Sydney as Noel Coward opposite Lucy Maunder’s Gertrude in Noel and Gertie. When he’s not performing, Millar is writing and has two musical productions under his belt already, both co-written with Peter Rutherford (LoveBites and The Hatpin). Last year the award-winning pair won the Victorian College of the Arts’ New Work Music Theatre Project, which aims to further develop new musicals. Millar and Rutherford, received $38 000 and a two-week workshop for their newest show, A Little Touch of Chaos. After the Melbourne workshop, Millar will head home to London to start rehearsals for a mega-hit musical that we can’t tell you about yet. Don’t think he’ll tell you tomorrow night either, as producers have a strict embargo in place.


Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance President, Sam Coward, is looking forward to seeing old and new members at the Soiree and says, “2014 promises to deliver a whole lot of new – new website, new members, new festival, new faces. We are opening up the doors and welcoming anyone who’d like to get involved”. For details go to and get last minute Soiree tickets online or call 5449 9343


The Making of The Great Lover


makingofthegreatlover_girlsWhen the play, That Woman, was performed at The Lind in Nambour in 2012, it played to capacity audiences. The next offering from Jo Denver at this busy theatre, The Making of the Great Lover, is expected to elicit the same enthusiastic response so be sure to book early.


Kirsty White, as the fearless independent writer Edith Hull, leads a stellar cast of local actors who breathe fire and humour into the script, which shows how every character is influenced by Hull’s controversial book, The Sheik. This influence extends over the miles, all the way to Hollywood, providing the springboard that will catapult a young actor to stardom and earn him the title of ‘The Great Lover’. Shaun Bennett is full of surprises as he takes his character from a shy and confused foreigner trying so hard to be an American, to the dynamic star of the silent screen…Rudolph Valentino. Opens Valentine’s Day February 14 8pm. Season continues February 15, 19, 21 & 22 at 8pm and February 15, 16 & 22 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5441 1814


Minefields and Miniskirts


If history is told by the victors, the story of war is usually told by the blokes. Now it’s the ‘sheilas’ turn. Nearly a thousand Australian women had a part in the Vietnam War as entertainers, typists, consular staff and army nurses. The one thing they have in common is that their lives were changed forever by Vietnam. For many of them it was the most vital and alive they have ever felt.


Minefields and Miniskirts records the voices of those who were actually there; ordinary woman revealing how they survived a war and discovered what they believed in. Adapted from Siobhan McHugh’s book, this play reveals through a collage of true stories, the extraordinary experiences of ordinary women in surviving a war. March 14, 15, 20, 21 & 222 at 7:30pm and March 16 at 2pm and March 22 at 1pm. Bookings or call 5449 9343


Four Weddings and an Elvis


Sandy, the four-times-married-three-times-divorced wedding chapel owner has seen her fair share of matriomonies. Witness four of her most memorable in a hilarious and heartwarming musical rom-com by Coolum Theatre Players, featuring Jennifer Rousset, Wendy McDermott, Richard Kent, Wayne Staniland and Marilyn Davies. March 21, 22, 28 & 29 at 7:30pm and March 23 & 30 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5446 2050



Frankenstein – National Theatre Live at Noosa Arts Theatre


Frankenstein (2011)

National Theatre Live

Noosa Arts Theatre

17 – 18 November 2013


Reviewed by Josh Kirwan


What better way to start a week of work experience in the entertainment industry than to experience some of the world’s best entertainment? Josh was thrilled to have the opportunity on Monday morning to experience Danny Boyle’s magnificent production of Frankenstein, thanks to National Theatre Live, the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast to the world the best of British theatre.


And thanks to Noosa Arts Theatre and Fresh Air Entertainment, we’re able to enjoy the National Theatre Live screenings right at our doorstep! How lucky are we?! If you missed Frankenstein, be sure to book tickets for Hamlet and 50 Years On Stage NOW! And keep an eye out for catch-up/encore screenings in 2014 at Noosa Arts Theatre of Coriolanus, Macbeth and Othello.





With the curtains partly drawn to frame the screen, Frankenstein graces the Noosa Arts Theatre with an outstanding “live” performance. For the first time ever, Noosa Arts plays host to Britain’s National Theatre’s live screenings, usually held at Noosa 5 Cinemas. An amazing performance by some of Britain’s leading talents, including Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the BBC TV series Sherlock, and Jonny Lee Miller, star of the CBS series Elementary, perform in Nick Dear’s re-telling of Mary Shelley’s original groundbreaking novel with Danny Boyle sitting in the director’s chair.


Cumberbatch and Lee Miller


Boyle implemented in this production the unique idea of role reversal, with both Cumberbatch and Miller alternating the roles of Dr Victor Frankenstein and The Creature. In an interview he mentioned that he did this so that both actors would have an idea about what drives the other character. However the down side to this tactic is that I am insanely disappointed that I was unable to see the roles switched.




After the screening (with Cumberbatch playing the creature), a gentleman who had seen the other version the night before, explained that The Creature played by Miller was a much harsher character. Respected critic, Michael Billington stated, “Miller’s strength, in contrast, lies in his menace. Stockier than Cumberbatch, his Creature makes you believe in the character’s Satanic impulse and in his capacity for murder”. The gentleman’s statement immediately gave Xanthe a preference towards Cumberbatch’s Creature because (and I whole heartedly agree with her) without the humanity Cumberbatch brings to the role you cannot feel the sympathy for him that makes him a “victim of humanity” throughout the performance.




With Dear’s inspired re-write of the classic story and Boyle’s excellent, direction the performance was bound to be a success, however; the standout element for me was the amazing light display that sat floating above the stage. What had to be hundreds and hundreds of different shaped bulbs all suspended on different lengths of wire would pulse with the brightest light to imitate Frankenstein’s electrifying experiments, and then would sit with just enough illumination to be seen to represent a beautiful night sky. Bruno Poet, Lighting Designer for the production won the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design for this work.




Additionally, it is clear that the Set Designer, Mark Tildesley, was familiar with every nook and cranny of the performance space. He obviously knew every little trick that that theatre had up its sleeve and used all of them. The set incorporated a house rising up from out of centre stage, to a little cabin dropping out from the ceiling above, to a steam train rolling out on tracks to the front of the audience. Absolutely spectacular.


We are so very lucky to be able to see work of such calibre here on the Sunshine Coast.


With the nearest big name theatres being in Brisbane it means if we want to watch a high standard performance we usually make the hour-long drive to QPAC, The Powerhouse or La Boite, which not everyone can do. No offense to the community theatre on the Sunshine Coast, but unfortunately not everyone wants to put in the hard yards and produce high quality performances. Most people are just in it for the laughs and to have a good time, which is all well and good but it means that much of the coast isn’t producing top quality shows. This means that an opportunity to view such amazing work should be grabbed by anyone who is even remotely interested in some outstanding entertainment.




Last weekend we saw the five-star Frankenstein performance. Tomorrow (Sunday December 1) at 6:30pm and Monday December 2 at 10:30am we have the opportunity to experience Hamlet starring Rory Kinnear and directed by Nicholas Hytner, I urge anyone and everyone to go and see it. Even if you have no interest in theatre, I guarantee that something on that stage will make you fall in love with the magic of the theatre. But if four hours of Hamlet doesn’t pique your interest, on Sunday December 8 at 6:30pm and Monday December 9 at 10:30am National Theatre’s 50 Years On Stage is screening.


This is a celebration of their last 50 years of performance and will feature famous actors such as Helen Mirren, Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Benedict Cumberbatch and many more. Any other information you need can be found at the Noosa Arts website. The season continues in 2014 so we can catch up on productions missed, including Othello, Macbeth and Corialanus. If these performances are at all close to the calibre of Frankenstein then we are in for some top quality shows.



West Side Story


West Side Story

Noosa Arts Theatre

11 – 28 September 2013




Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


It’s West Side Story but not as you know it. Director, Sam Coward, notorious for his controversial plot points and front-page theatrics, has once again pushed the boundary and raised the bar. Sunshine Coast audiences have never seen anything like it, and yet this is the sort of theatre we love to experience. It’s not done enough, and we know this is so because there are very few directors who can pull it off. It’s real, raw, and gutsy. And at the same time this version resonates with tender moments, the familiar tugs at the heartstrings, the symbolic, and some rather Brechtian cum Matrix representations of death!


A bullet is imagined, shaped by the actors’ hands and propelled across the space by the hands and the conviction of the artists. Buckets of paint are produced at precisely the right moment, and we see the foolishness and tragedy of jealousy, hate, blind rage and gang war – any war – in one vivid splash of red; it’s a powerful image. It’s a bittersweet story made all the more poignant by the director’s take on the futility of fighting.


The performers remain on stage for the duration, sitting and supporting the action, remaining intensely focused and chiming in with harmonies and backing vocals in the bigger numbers. This works a treat, allowing unwavering attention from the cast throughout the show; it’s something that is often so lacking on our community stages. (Because “community theatre is just for fun”, right? Discuss. #communitytheatre) Thanks to the awesome talent of Lighting Designer, Travis Macfarlane, this production also looks professional, with intimate spaces lit perfectly within the open space of the stripped-back theatre, in another first for Noosa Arts Theatre.


The rehearsal process has been demanding – I know – and the hard work has paid off. These performers, some of whom had never graced the stage before, have learned focus, discipline, and how to take direction. They’ve further developed a skill set that includes improvisational and collaborative skills, a repertoire of character traits, a more musical ear, vocal sass and physical acumen that some of them didn’t know they had!


Stephanie Brown’s choreography perfectly embraces the grungy feel of the street and the tough relationships established there. The dance happens organically, flowing on from the action, transitions that in less capable hands would appear clunky and kitsch. For a classic dance show with its original, immediately recognisable choreography by Jerome Robbins, this is an entirely new, seamless dance aesthetic for actors, and I wish we could see more of it on the professional stage. (Once again, I wish more of our professionals would come up to the beautiful Sunshine Coast to see productions like this one! Are you CRAZY missing the opportunity to experience that sort of weekend once or twice a year?! I’m practicing patient acceptance with all you.). We see the characters very clearly through their movement, and the humour and pathos of ensemble numbers (America, Cool and Krupke) showcase this cast’s ability to tell a story very simply, and in a dramatic form that doesn’t go so far into another realm that we can’t relate to its core messages. And that’s key to the success of this production – you might not have seen before, paint used in such an abstract manner to represent blood on stage, and you might not expect the action to start out in the street and see, in plain, view, the actors warming up backstage  – but the combination of dramatic forms used work to bring us a clear, almost cinematic style in a bare theatrical space that allows us to become a part of the storytelling. It’s like being on location, and when the director calls, “ACTION!” (in this case, the call for “LIGHTS!”) we’re suddenly lost in the magic…


West Side Story Image by Andrew Seymour


Jordan Russell’s Maria is a little stronger than you might expect, and rightly so, juxtaposed against Michelle Lamarca’s Anita, a tough, tattooed, velvet-hot-pants-clad little dynamite; she dances, belts out her songs, and establishes a relationship on stage with Maria that is at once sensitive, protective and forgiving. Their duet A Boy Like That/I Have a Love is perfectly measured; Russell is completely convincing and Lamarca’s fury gradually mellowed by her sister’s heartfelt words. These girls work beautifully together, bringing us the tricky ebb and flow of a real family dynamic.


West Side Story Image by Andrew Seymour


Hayden Rodgers is a gentle Tony, but he’s not a sap, as we so often see. Instead, he retains the cool, easy-going exterior of the lax leader of the Jets and at the same time, levels up to win Maria, showing her that he’s sensitive, respectful, fun and daring, and ready to commit to being with her for life. The duet delivered from the “balcony” wins us over in an instant; it’s sweet but not saccharine and we believe every moment. The bridal shop scene, so often slow and silly (well, c’mon, it is!), in this production makes us smile and genuinely hope for the best. It’s staged innovatively and it’s delightful; I remember that One Hand, One Heart was my parents’ wedding song, and it holds a special place in our family’s collective memory.


West Side Story Image by Andrew Seymour


Which brings me to Barnardo (in the film he was my mother’s favourite) and in this production he works hard – at times a little too hard – to convince us of his place in the family. After we had to do a shout out to find them, I’ve found the men in this show to be exceptional. (I overheard, murmured by the woman sitting behind me on opening night after a sharp intake of breath as she sat down, “Oh! They’re such BIG boys, aren’t they?”) The Sharks support Barnardo (Donovan Gaspar) in this role as if their lives depended on his leadership (and they do). Likewise, the Jets are such a strong bunch (and yes, some of them are pretty, er, extraordinarily strong-looking; good work, guys!) that I was at first genuinely surprised to see – and hear – them nail their individual roles and the powerful ensemble sound in this show. Props to Vocal Coach, Karina Gough, who has coaxed many of these performers to a level of performance they were not aware they had in their repertoire. Speaking of impressive vocal performances…


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Adam Flower is Riff, the real leader of the Jets, and I know you know I love this guy (his Jesus Christ in our Superstar in 1999 is up there with Tim Minchin’s recent performance). His suave, swinging acapella opening number, and his cool stage presence wins our hearts and keeps his gang at his heels. Completely convincing, Flower gives us the masterclass on character and nuance that we missed scheduling at the theatre this year (well, we’ve been busy!).


WSS_AS8_6944 (4) Credit Andrew Seymour


Ian Mackellar (Doc), Frank Wilkie (Officer Krupke/Snowboy) and Stephen Moore (Lt Schrank) each bring such depth and breadth of experience, and their expert interpretations of their roles to the stage; I know the younger members of this company have learned a lot from these three, who are some of our favourite Sunshine Coast performers. Always the showstoppers, Officer Krupke (and its kick line), and Cool (and its groovy, too-cool-for-school choreography) show us of just what the boys – and Ms Brown – are capable.


WSS_AS8_6941 (3) Credit Andrew Seymour


Unfortunately my only problem with the production comes in the form of the musos, under the guidance of Musical Director, Noel Bowden, who – let’s face it – has done a lot with what he’s had to work with. The crux though is that it’s not been enough and in a production of this calibre it’s completely unacceptable for the orchestra to perform below par but indeed they do, or did on opening night. I commend the singers on their musicality and their solid focus, without letting us know how hard they are having to work on counting and staying with the under-rehearsed musicians. I can imagine that were this production aptly supported by a professional orchestra, it would blow my mind, and all we can hope is that they improve during the season, particularly the clarinets and the string section…. perhaps they already have, and I’ll look forward to hearing them in the final performance on Saturday. The term “professional” indicates a particular standard and this is not what we have heard from them yet.


The entire West Side Story 2013 season sold out within days of opening night, and last week in my column for the Sunshine Coast Daily, I discussed what it is that makes a sold-out show. I discussed it rather poorly there, I admit it was not my best column (all the elements were there but terribly composed!), but I’ll challenge you to tell me here, what do you think makes a sold-out show? It’s not just word-of-mouth! There must be cause to rave over a show after all!


If you’re lucky enough to have seen this production, what have you loved about it, and what would you like to see from our local community stages (and from those down the road in Brisbane) next? I know I’d like to see the same level of commitment from all involved every time we stage a show (sorry, other theatre widows), and a standard that some of you have only ever considered to be paid “professional” work. It’s like running a race or being part of a team sport – it’s fun to be in it, sure, but how much more fun does it become when you WIN?! Sam Coward’s production of West Side Story for Noosa Arts Theatre proves that we can work harder, smarter, and have more fun for the WIN! #FTW


N.B. There are some individuals in this ensemble who I hope will continue to perform, though I won’t single them out here. The same magical thing happened when we did Superstar in ’99, and so much amazing, awesome talent came out of the woodwork to do the show…and then disappeared again, back where they’d come from, mostly to the hills I think?! If you’ve been involved in a top production, it’s only time and changing priorities that will limit your involvement again, so do consider coming back to us to do it all again sometime before life takes another turn! You ARE amazing! x


Photo Credit: Andrew Seymour

See more production pics here

Image by XS Entertainment