Posts Tagged ‘Noosa Arts Theatre


The National One-Act Playwriting Competition – winner announced!


At the final sold-out performance this afternoon at Noosa Arts Theatre, Adjudicator Kate Foy offered some feedback on the plays and performances, and announced the winner of The National One-Act Playwriting Competition.

The winner of the National One-Act Playwriting Competition 2013 is…..


One-Act Play Festival 2013. Image by Kate Foy.

Distinguished Guest by Richard Harris of NZ

Second Place Direct Pressure by Nicola Bradbury of WA

Third Place Daring Greatly by local playwright Rainee Skinner


The Nancy Cato Audience Choice Award Daring Greatly

Best Director Jacqueline Twigg for Daring Greatly

Best Actress Peppie Simpson in Daring Greatly


Best Actor Steve Mitchell in Direct Pressure


Adjudicators Certificates to Jenni McCaul for Direct Pressure, Yvie Somerville for Distinguished Guest, and the cast of Daring Greatly for their ensemble work.


Images by Andrew Seymour



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Congratulations to all the winners!



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.



West Side Story Auditions – Noosa Arts Theatre

West Side Story Auditions at Noosa Arts Theatre this Weekend!

Noosa Arts Theatr Front Entry

This weekend, in between our green smoothies, coffee, vino, ADELE UP LATE and Katie Noonan’s SONGBOOK Sam is auditioning hopefuls for the upcoming Noosa Arts Theatre production of West Side Story.

One of his favourite shows ever, this version of West Side Story will establish a contemporary urban feel from the outset, and challenge fans of the original production style. Because I’m not directly involved in this one (from now until September I have my french tips in too many other pies, people!), I will be your eyes and ears throughout the process. You’ll learn a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes. More about that after the auditions.

Noosa Arts Theatre ain’t that big a place, it’s a lovely little intimate theatre, and having been privy to the early ideas being discussed with committee and the production team, I know audiences will be surprised with the way the space is to be utilised. Performers will experience something different at Noosa Arts too!

Bringing one of our fave Sunshine Coast choreographers, Stephanie Brown on board, means that the look and feel of Sam’s West Side Story is going to test cast members in the initial stages, and ask them to be open to trying anything. I know! How excitement! It will be no different to working with Sam on any other project!

Sam Coward

Director, Sam Coward. Image by Blueprint Studios.

So are you auditioning?


If you call today you can still book an audition spot for Sunday 28th April but Saturday 27th April is BOOKED OUT!



Stephanie Brown

Choreographer, Stephanie Brown. Image by picture this! photography.

Assistant Director: Synda Turnbull

Musical Director: Noel Bowden

Choreographer: Stephanie Brown

Join the Facebook group to be part of the conversation!


CLICK HERE for Available Parts & Character Outlines

Need some last minute audition tips? Remember our good friend Todd Schroeder?

Check out what he’s been teaching performers for years!

Principal Roles include:  
Maria, Bernardo, Anita, Riff, Tony, plus the 4 adult roles:
Officer Krupke, Doc, Schrank, and Glad Hand.

By appointment 

Saturday, APRIL 27 – BOOKED OUT!

Sunday, APRIL 28 from 9.30am

An pianist/accompanist will be present at auditions to play your music, 
or bring your own backing CD.  A CD player will be provided.

Due to time constraints, please keep your singing audition to 16-20 bars Maximum.

Performance dates: 

SEPTEMBER 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30pm 

SEPTEMBER 15 and 22 at 2pm

For more information about Sunshine Coast productions and auditions contact Synda via email or keep an eye on Facebook and


Travels With My Aunt – Win a Double Pass to Thursday’s Preview!

To win a DOUBLE PASS, courtesy of Noosa Arts Theatre Member Sharon Grimley, to this Thursday’s preview of Travels With My Aunt, simply tell us below in 25 words or less why you’d love to see the show! Thanks, Sharon!



Travels With My Aunt – Preview Thursday 21 March

The preview on Thursday 21 March is great value at $20 but you can spend that at the bar if you comment below and win the double pass!


The previews at Noosa Arts, unlike the previews on main stages in the city, are exactly the same as a normal performance. They are not a dress rehearsal. Every show has a full dress rehearsal before the preview. Previews are used by many theatres to encourage more people to come to the theatre and to get people talking about the show early in the season.


This is a perfect piece to enjoy in the intimacy of Noosa Arts Theatre. It sparkles with the legendary Graham Greene wit and repartee. It is full of slightly eccentric and sometimes outrageous middle to upper class English characters and it takes you on tour around the world delving into the shadier sides of life in an ever so proper way.



Henry Pulling, a mild-mannered retired banker is drawn from the safety of his flower beds into a series of absurd, exotic international adventures by his rather outrageous elderly aunt. Among her many pleasures she enjoys men ‘who have a bit of the hound in them’!


This Olivier Award winning adaptation of Greene’s book by Giles Havergal with four men playing upwards of 25 roles is an exquisite example of actor technique deployed with impeccable precision.


892444_601459999881659_1910235980_o-1Director, Liza Park, has chosen a cast in Steven Tandy, Stephen Moore, Frank Wilkie and Callum Hamacek to deliver a show which The Guardian described as ‘a miracle of lightness and wit’.


Performances are on March 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 at 7:30pm with matinees on March 24 and 30 at 2pm.



Adults $29, Concessions $25, Members and Groups $23, Children $20. Preview 21 March $20.


March 27 performance at 7.30pm is a special fundraiser for the RSPCA. All tickets $34 incl. supper at interval.

Bookings 5449 9343 or online


Strange Attractor – Sam Coward

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

A Chat with Sam Coward


It’s hard to catch my husband for more than 2 minutes at a time so we’re lucky we got this much out of him.

This weekend is your last chance to see Sam in what he says will be his final role on stage for a while. And he’s good. And I’m his biggest critic. You should see this production, it’s good; it’s Simon Denver’s staging of Sue Smith’s bold Australian play about a Pilbara community rocked by the unexpected death of their mate, Gus, played by Sam.


Tell us about Gus

Gus has a fairly fast decline from being enthusiastic and somewhat superficial about his role as the safety officer. He’s got an IQ of 133. And then all of a sudden we see his decline; he’s obviously been in the job too long and he sees the de-civilisation in the camp that brings him to breaking point. He resorts to drugs and alcohol, which leads him to doing something stupid. Perhaps if he weren’t depressed he wouldn’t have taken the risk, which ultimately led to his death. Did the drugs and alcohol make the risk possible?


How much has the environment contributed to the death of Gus?

Gus is a good man. You see him trying to fit in and he’s an Alpha but it’s not about intellect in that environment. It’s as superficial as “might has right” and it’s a Neolithic hierarchy. Placed in those extreme environmental conditions, combined with a lawless and loveless mental condition, basic instincts govern.


Are there any answers by the end of the play?

By the end we learn that relationships are all that matter but people are still going to be attracted to the bright lights and the promise of money. They’ll put themselves into shit conditions to make a lot of money fast. The resource boom FIFO jobs are traps. They sound like they’re a good thing for the family, they’re sold attractively but these jobs are just cheese in the trap. The alcohol, the drugs…

There must be people who find the lifestyle attractive. It’s empty, shallow, and it’s easy until you stop and think about it. It’s purely about the wants. There’s no love, there are just connections.


What’s it like to play a dead guy?

It’s funny. Because you’re one of the guys but you’re not performing as one of the guys. They’re all talking about me but I’m not there talking with them. I have a different relationship with them.


Tell us about working with SRT

The company is cavalier, crazy and raw. Whether the success of their shows is by accident or design we’ll never know. Simon says the success of a show is 99% casting and he’s right; that’s what we see him do.

There’s a high degree of trust in the SRT process, where actors in the fold are trusted and it’s more a baptism of fire for the newbies. Weaknesses are exposed, ridiculed, and laughed about until they’re not weaknesses anymore. It’s survival of the fittest. You can either work the way we work or you can’t. There’s no management and no handholding. Everybody knows what he or she is doing and they expect you to do the same. When you join SRT for a production it’s sink or swim.


So describe the rehearsal process…

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh. You mean Bump In and Tech? That’s it. No, really, that’s it.


Is this an important play?

Yes, it’s very relevant; it takes an up close look at the impact of the FIFO phenomenon on Australian families. There’s so much perpetuated about the mining culture and this is a glimpse at the truth.


What’s this about a Boys’ Shed at Noosa Arts Theatre?

The Mens’ Sheds comprise men over 60 who hang out and build stuff. The proposal is to start up a boys’ arm of the Mens’ Shed to provide role models for the sons of FIFO fathers, as well as opportunities to learn and apply new practical skills. It’s an old school idea for a new generation of Lost Boys.


What about a Girls Shed?

Well, they’re everywhere…salons, stores, and coffee shops.


Righto… What’s next? The Pirate Show is ongoing, at least until the 22nd. What do you have on after that?

Soiree_2013The Pirate Show is the first theatre restaurant concept the Sunshine Coast has seen for years so we hope to bring you a return season later in the year. We have some other concepts up our puffy pirate shirt sleeves too. Next Saturday 9th February the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance presents their annual Soiree, a night of fun and great food, and the season launches from our Alliance theatre members. Check out for details on how to book and how to get involved at your local community theatre.


Following that, I’m involved behine-the-scenes with Noosa Arts Theatre’s West Side Story, directed by Synda Turnbull, and I’m directing opening and closing pieces for the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival and Floating Land. And you know XS has a heap of other projects, which we’ll reveal details about later in the year.


Book online for Strange Attractor


Book online for the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree


Find audition info for the Noosa Arts National One-Act Playwriting Competition and West Side Story here





Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

Noosa Arts Theatre & SRT

Noosa Arts Theatre

24th January – 2nd February 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Unmoving figures – six silhouettes in hard hats – beautifully backlit in red, eliciting thoughts of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, appear behind a white backdrop out of the darkness of an almost bare stage. It’s already a tragic picture and I’ve come into this production cold. I’ve stayed away from rehearsals and other than the synopsis; I’ve not read a thing about Sue Smith’s Strange Attractor. You would think I might have heard updates or insights from Sam from time to time. You would be wrong. We are ships in the night when working on different productions.


A basic bar, a fridge, a punching bag and a few tables and chairs set the scene for what must be one of the most important newer Australian plays, about an unexpected death that rocks an outback rail construction camp.


It’s a pity that Strange Attractor runs for such a short season (and that the Sunday matinee was cancelled due to the storm), because so many will miss out on this moving drama. It’s not often Sunshine Coast audiences get the opportunity to experience something that falls outside of the farce or musical theatre genres and this is probably the best of its ilk you’ll see this year. (I guess we’ll see what else is in store at the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree in Mudjimba on February 9thhave you booked yet?). It’s a strong ensemble with powerful performances from some of the Sunshine Coast’s best actors; its strength is as much in its silence as in any of its conversation.


Moments of unease are relished; the characters wait between lines, without slowing the pace of the play, masterfully stretching the uncomfortable silence into the undeniable reality of the nightmare that follows a tragedy, breathing, waiting, considering, and content to disperse further unease with a look, before moving on. This takes a certain degree of discipline and experience and while the impressive results don’t surprise me, I’m once again bemused to see that the SRT Way just works. I’ll leave that for Sam and Simon to explain in another post. Suffice to say, the casting, by Simon Denver, is superb.


A beautiful, sophisticated soundscape by Howard Tampling layers haunting arrangements for piano (Darren Heskes) and guitar (James Allen) of classic Australian songs, the sounds of the storm, and weather updates during the Category 4 cyclone, which wreaks havoc on the camp and contributes to the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of popular safety officer, Gus (Sam Coward). It’s nice to see Brad Thomson back treading the boards after a too-long hiatus, and reunited with Job’s Right boys, Sam Coward and Brett Klease. Joined by Clayton Storey as Rube, David Breen as Chilli, and Jodi Bushby, the token female in camp, known semi-affectionately as Truckie, this lot come with language that may offend (though not as much as I’d expected!), and a moving story that they tell with care and a sense of responsibility.


Unexpectedly funny, you’ll find it’s extremely real – the people represented are tragedy-raw and hurting, and yet their Australian larrikinism comes through in crass jokes and deft humour for which your grandma would rap you over the knuckles but which you know is your only coping mechanism – and you’ll recognise that and enjoy the challenging repartee more than you think you could. But it’s a cautionary tale, almost a warning… I wonder if Sue Smith intended it that way. It seems this director did. But while there’s treasure to be found under their feet, no disruption is reason enough for the likes of these characters to call it quits, give up the gold and go home.

STRA poster-1

Whether our sensibilities want to accept it or not – we are officially into the Chinese Century! This country once rode on the back of the sheep – we are now the quarry of the world. The reality of this is quite simple…the vast oblivious suburban mass of Australia live on the fiscal crumbs from the mining table!


Hard truth – sad fact.

– Director, Simon Denver



Strange Attractor coming soon to Noosa

Strange Attractor
‘WHEN the next generation research how theatre represented the state of the Australian nation in the early part of the 21st century, this new play by Sue Smith will be the flagship text they’ll turn to.’
Nicholas Pickard, Sydney Morning Herald, 2009
From Sue Smith, the writer of Bastard Boys and Brides of Christ, comes Strange Attractor, a gripping, contemporary tale of free-will and responsibility in the face of great temptation.
It opens at Noosa Arts Theatre on 24 January for a strictly limited two week season.
With explosive characters and a witty sense of humour, Strange Attractor is a stunning portrait of small-team camaraderie at the furthest frontier of the mining boom.
Deep in Western Australia’s mining country, against the blood-red landscape of the Pilbara, a cyclone has wreaked havoc in a remote railway construction camp.
Now, a small team of employees anxiously await the arrival of ‘the company man’, sent up from Perth to carry out his own investigation before a coronial inquiry. Dog-tired and in search of drink, they do their best to distract themselves, coming together in a makeshift mess hall. But a stormy evening of shared memories soon takes a strange and unexpected turn.
Strange Attractor is a beautiful play. It won’t shock and won’t challenge but it will enthral you. It’s sad and it’s guilty, but the bleakness is brought to life very well and this attractor makes for great theatre!’
Adam Moussa,, 2009
Simon Denver is directing this joint production of Suncoast Repertory Theatre and Noosa Arts Theatre.
Simon is well known as an outstanding director and has chosen a very strong cast in Jodie Bushby, David Breen, Sam Coward, Brett Klease, Brad Thomson and Clayton Storey.
This play is not suitable for children under 18.
Preview: January 24 at 7.30pm
Evenings: January 25, 26, 30, 31, February 1, 2 at 7.30pm. Matinee: January 27 at 2pm.
Strange Attractor