Posts Tagged ‘Noosa Longweekend


Kids’ Acting Workshops

The 2012 Noosa Longweekend is well and truly underway!

On Saturday, I took some acting workshops for kids

(and on Sunday, I got to work with some fabulous teen and adult actors).

As you can see, we had heaps of fun laughing, playing, imagining and improvising!

Thank you so much to the Noosa Longweekend’s Photographer, Barry Alsop (Eyes Wide Open Images)

for capturing these wonderful moments during the kids’ acting workshops.

There is so much more still to come!

N.B. David Williamson’s When Dad Married Fury is now SOLD OUT!

Don’t forget Erotique at Noosa Arts Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Click on the program below to book online.



Kids' Acting Workshops at the Noosa Longweekend


2012 National One-Act Playwriting Festival Results

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of this year’s One-Act Play Festival!

(the finalists of the National One-Act Playwriting Competition)

Congratulations to Brisbane playwright Debra Chalmers on taking out top honours in this year’s National One-Act Playwriting Competition, winning $3000 sponsored by Macquarie Private Wealth, with her comedy, Here’s The Thing.

Debra also won the Audience Choice Award and a Publishing contract with Maverick Musicals.

Here’s the Thing is Debra’s second play!

Winning Playwright Debra Chalmers

It should be noted that without the long-term support of Macquarie and Maverick Musicals, this competition would not be what it is. Thanks must also go to long-time supporter and a major force behind the continuation and evolution of the festival, Synda Turnbull (has Synda been made a Noosa Arts Theatre Life Member yet? IT’S TIME!), to the reading panels, the guest adjudicators and all of the wonderful Noosa Arts Theatre and Noosa Longweekend volunteers.

Cast of the winning play in the National One-Act Playwriting Competition Here’s the Thing by Debra Chalmers
Best Actress (centre) Jodie Bushby

Hugh O’Brien – 2nd place ($2000) Three Angry Brides

Rainee Skinner – 3rd Place ($1000) Boy in the Cardboard Box.

Sue Clapham – Best Director (Boy in the Cardboard Box)

Stephen Moore – Best Actor (Boy in the Cardboard Box)

Jodie Bushby – Best Actress (Here’s the Thing)

3rd Place: Boy in the Cardboard Box by Rainee Skinner
Best Actor (right) Stephen Moore. Adjudicator’s Award (left) Gail Evans).

Adjudicator’s Awards (special mentions) to Nathan Hynes and Gail Evans.

2nd Place: Three Angry Brides by Hugh O’Brien
Adjudicator’s Award Nathan Hynes


2012 One-Act Play Festival

One-Act Play Festival

The 3 Finalists of the National One-Act Playwriting Competition

Noosa Longweekend & Noosa Arts Theatre

7th – 16th June 2012

Three Angry Brides

by Hugh O’Brien

Directed by Janine Ritchie

A ridiculous premise prepares us for the witty, cheeky chaos that ensues when three about-to-be-married couples are required to complete a “divorce course” before their nuptial day on the coming Saturday; the same day the visiting Reverend Hill has a golf game booked. Clearly, he is hoping they’ll all fail his unorthodox tests so he will get his golf game in.

John Woodlock (Reverend Hill) sets the pace and drives much of the dialogue in this 40-minute comedy. Noosa audiences most recently saw Woodlock as the marriage celebrant in Travelling North. This role, as the Reverend, gives him the opportunity to flesh out that “type” of character (and to flash a bit a lot of leg but I won’t give away the context). In addition, he is able to add a couple of funny traits to delight and amuse (and inspire some to cackle, yes, truly cackle with laughter on opening night!). Playwright, Debra Chalmers (author of the third play in the program), says what motivates her is “that wonderfully addictive sound of a laughing audience.” It’s contagious too, so you might find yourself LOLing almost immediately, when those around you begin to giggle. I’m a big fan of Hugh O’Brien’s work and it’s largely due to this ability, to set up very quickly, usually within the first three or four minutes, his characters and a clear plot so that no one is left wondering who anybody is or what will happen in the end. That’s not to say that the ending is spoilt or that there are no twists or surprises. If you’ve seen any of his award-winning plays in this competition (the winner in 2005 and 2007) or on the festival circuit, you’ll know what I mean.

Woodlock is supported exceptionally well by Nathan Hynes (Lex), who underplays appropriately while everybody else – an extremely young cast it seems – over-acts to the max. Interestingly, Adele Comber (Toraino. That’s Torana, you know, like the car, with an “i” added) notes in her bio that this is typical for her. Unlike Kate Perry (Laurel), at least she admits it. Comber shows us some nuance towards the end of the play and this is the interesting aspect of both the character and the actor. I look forward to seeing more from her. Steve Mitchell (Tom), as her significant other, brings a welcome shot of energy to the ensemble.

Rachel Halverson (Kylie), whom I recently saw in Peta Beattie’s 1912 – Titanic (BYTE Master Class Actors), is an absolute delight to watch. We’ll see her again in September on the Noosa Arts Theatre stage, as Louisa in The Fantasticks. She plays opposite Callum Hamacek (Kade) and there is something very sweet and absolutely terrifying about this young love, as if they are out to sabotage the relationship as a test of truth. In fact, that’s where the plot weaves, the Reverend offering each couple the chance to hurl insults at each other, call the ex up and ask them to dish up the dirt on their partner and finally, to toss into the wheelie bin, anything from childhood that may have played a part in destroying their ability to establish and maintain a responsible, loving, giving, “grown-up” relationship into which children will be welcomed and remain physically and emotionally unharmed. It’s symbolic, of course it is (it’s a PLAY. It’s the THEATRE.) but we get it. Yes! Yikes! Suddenly the context gets heavy and the audience feels they should perhaps consider the state of their own relationship, their own mental and emotional health and that of their children! It’s clever writing and in more experienced hands, this play could move a few to tears after all that jolly laughter.

Jannine Ritchie has directed O’Brien’s work before. If she is to do so again, what I’d love to see her do is to let her actors find a natural connection with each other and work on really listening hard to each other, as if it’s the first time the lines have been uttered. It’s the first time we’ve heard the lines uttered! No pre-empting lines next time! How wonderful to see so many new, fresh faces, from right across the coast, working on the Noosa stage with seasoned performers as their mentors.

The Boy in the Cardboard Box

by Rainee Skinner

Directed by Sue Clapham

There’s an open coffin – actually, it’s a cardboard box, just as Johnny wanted, with pencils and felt pens and feathers and glitter and glue laid out – on the table in the dining room and three friends arrive early to pre-funeral drinks. Awkward. Aunty Jane (Eileen Walder) offers tea but this crowd prefers vodka. And they’re going to need it. Everybody loved Johnny but nobody really knew him…until the friends compare notes.

Stephen Moore plays a wonderfully gay actor friend of Johnny’s. I was waiting for him to burst into song (“Keep it gay, keep it gay, keep it gay!”) but he didn’t. Actually, I think he may have sung a snippet of something else but it was certainly not a refrain from The Producers. As Alan (not just “one of the Alans but the ORIGINAL Alan!”), his language is poetic and appropriately OTT, considering his decadent, self-indulgent Sydney life. He joins Kate (Tania Nash), who was a friend of Johnny’s from the bank and Angela (Gail Evans), who is another actor friend.  Nash gives us some terrific vocal work and Evans has wonderful stage presence so between them we get a great performance.

I know the playwright was worried that this production would turn out to be a big old “word fest” and without more confident actors her fears may have been proved right. It IS a wordy play that might work better if the director and cast were allowed to take the red pen to it (as it happens, this is not allowed but should be a consideration in continuing discussions about the development of the festival. See below INTERVAL – SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT) and it is very static in its direction, however; I’m sure the pace will pick up and lines will be spot on now that the initial opening night jitters have been dealt with.

Skinner’s is the least tightly constructed of the three scripts and the best example of why this festival needs a shake-up. Yes! It’s time!




One night last year, some of us discussed the pros and cons of a couple of changes to the festival (until the wee small hours of the morning) and now we need to see some sort of formal process facilitated. By that I mean we need to tell somebody else so that the ideas can be discussed at a bigger table. So I’m telling you. And you can all talk about it and email the committee and bring about change. Mostly because we’re too busy this year to have the same discussion for so long without doing something about it but also because everyone’s a winner when the playwright, during the rehearsal process, is allowed to make changes to the text.


I know. It’s pretty radical. But imagine if we could assess the playwriting first (keep those results secret) and then allow the director and the actors – with or without the playwright present in the rehearsal room (works for some but not for others. There’s always Skype for a notes session) – and work on the play as a living, breathing, working script in preparation for a paying audience. That way, without impeding the assessment of the writing, the play could be improved as a production. I would suggest that the same reading panel and the same adjudicator see the play on its feet, exactly as it’s written, without changing a thing first. Then, having assessed each play on its merits as a written piece that can be got up on its feet, they hand over to the director, who is then given free reign with the play, just like any director who has acquired the rights to perform any play. If we assume that scenario, the playwright might suggest in the script that a certain piece of music be used. If, according to the director, there is a more suitable piece of music available, why not let them use it? David Williamson stipulated specific pieces of music in Travelling North and in the Noosa Arts Production earlier this year, the director, in consultation with the sound designer, agreed that for his interpretation of the production, the suggested pieces were the best they could use. He could very well have used something entirely different.

I’m not saying the audience even knows or cares how much a play has been re-interpreted. Unless it’s well known – and let’s face it, these are not; it’s the first time we’ve seen any of them – a director can do whatever he or she sees fit to tell the playwright’s story.

What does this mean for the longest-running playwriting competition on the Sunshine Coast? It means that

For The Playwright

  • The playwright will write their play, submit it and have it read and assessed on its merits as a written text
  • The playwright will see their play performed as it is (no changes) in the first instance
  • The playwright will have the option to join the director and the actors in the rehearsal room to continue refining their text, re-writing dialogue as they see fit, if it will help to clarify the story for an audience who has never read or seen the play before
  • The playwright will experience seeing their play pre and post rewrites, which (tell me, writers, if I’m wrong), seems a very valuable part of the writing process

For The Director

  • The director will read the 3 finalists’ scripts and be allocated a play to work on.
  • The director will cast the play and have it “on its feet” for a well-rehearsed reading, which the reading panel and the adjudicator see and assess. (Actors, that means you would really nearly know your lines straight away!)
  • The director will work on the play with the actors and the playwright, if there is a need for change. If there are no changes made, happy days.

For The Actors

  • The actors get to work with the director and the playwright on producing the best possible piece of live theatre for a paying audience
  • The actors get to experience the rehearsal process as it should be: a fun, exciting, challenging time to keep them on their toes and turn out their best possible work

For the Audience (no change except to attend a more entertaining event)

  • The audience will enjoy the three finalists’ plays
  • The audience will vote on their favourite production

What else does it mean?

It means we need more (good) directors.

Here’s the Thing…

by Debra Chalmers

Directed by Jane Rivers

It will be no surprise to see this play win the Nancy Cato Audience Choice Award. It’s fast, funny and it’s the final play of the night. Two sisters wake up after a big night out in Brisbane and find a young man asleep on their lounge. They don’t know how he got there and they can’t wake him so they hide him…before Mum arrives! Mayhem follows and the story goes in a completely different direction to what you might be expecting, certainly the opposite of what I was expecting. I was expecting to hear and perhaps see re-enacted, the possible scenarios from the night before and perhaps never know the truth. Clearly, there’s potential for another play because that’s not at all what we have here. The ending wraps up the loose ends very neatly and, although we’re supposed to wonder about exactly what it was that Caroline (Jodie Bushby) got up to, there is no misinterpreting Bushby’s beautifully candid delivery of the final line. Thank goodness we have her naturalism and good sense on stage. She balances nicely, the hysterics of her sister, Amanda (Jenni McCaul). Nicole (Ebony Hamacek) is the slightly bemused but mostly horrified daughter of Amanda and Constance (Sue Sewell) the – eventually – drunk mother of Amanda and Caroline.

Director, Jane Rivers, has allowed for plenty of fun physical theatre and a good deal of over-acting from the majority of players, particularly in terms of response time and facial expressions, making this, for me, the six year old and a large number of audience members on opening night, the most entertaining play of the evening.

If you’ve never ventured out to see the National One-Act Playwriting Competition finalists at Noosa Arts Theatre or you haven’t yet enjoyed the newly renovated foyer and amenities, this is a great opportunity to do so. There are no really heavy overtones, no deep and meaningful moralistic tales or lessons, just good, clean fun. Sometimes that’s all we need to see.

Of course, if you’re after something a little darker after the one-acts, be sure to book your tickets to see Erotique, also part of the Noosa Longweekend program and showing over 3 nights only, on June 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Strictly adults only, Erotique will get you thinking…and talking…and feeling all sorts of things about sex and our attitudes towards it. Check out Profile mag’s interview with Director, Sam Coward.

And if you’re looking for something fun to throw the kids into, register for my acting workshops on June 16th and 17th (the first one on Saturday is free)! On Sunday, I’ll be working with older kids on audition skills and making first impressions.

Download the Noosa Longweekend program and book online

Hugh O’Brien, Rainee Skinner & Debra Chalmers


summer of the seventeenth doll opens thursday!

How excitement! This revival, the national touring production of Ray Lawler’s classic 1950’s play, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, directed by Neil Armfield and starring Robyn Nevin, with whom I once shared the stage in Noosa, opens at QPAC in Brisbane on Thursday.

QTC’s season opener is one of Australia’s most iconic, pivotal plays; a pillar of Australian theatre and a story which has been lauded for 50 years. “Times have changed but the characters still come through,” says 90 year old playwright, Ray Lawler.

The Doll premiered in 1955, at the Union Theatre in Melbourne (where Lawler was Manager at the time) and following a successful Sydney season, toured the West End and Broadway, where it ran for 5 weeks after Lawler refused to change any of the “Australianisms”, which would have made the play more accessible in the American market. Little wonder that Lawler has never watched the British-Australian 1959 film version, re-titled Season of Passion for its American release.

Queensland Theatre Company last staged the Doll at the SGIO Theatre in August 1974. Directed by Joe MacColum, the cast included Diane Berryman  as Bubba, Kate Wilson as Pearl, Suzanne Roylance as Olive, Hazel Howson as Emma, Douglas Hedge as Barney, Frank Gallacher as Roo and Terry Brady as Johnnie Dowd.

Set in Australia in the 1950s, the Doll tells the story of cane-cutters Barney and Roo, who return from Queensland to the Carlton house they share with Nancy and Olive every year, for their annual five-months of fun. It’s been this way for 17 years. This summer though, it’s different.  Barney’s 17-year seasonal girlfriend Nancy has gone and gotten married; so Olive ropes in the uptight Pearl as company for him; while she and Roo, who is flat broke, realise life has caught up with them, and their relationship. Is this really the end?

Starring a superb cast led by Australia’s leading lady of the stage Robyn Nevin, the Doll has been revived; its messages just as poignant as they were when the play was first performed in Melbourne in 1955, forever changing the landscape of Australian Theatre like no other play before, or since. “It’s still about human need, human failings, human flaws, human aspirations,” says Nevin, a member of MTC’s Season 2012 Programming Team.

‘This production of the Doll fell beautifully into our laps. It was already programmed as Neil Armfield’s final production for Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney and I had been cast. But it was only when both Ray Lawler and Neil Armfield made it clear that they would love MTC to take it on that we realised it would be such a perfect fit,” said Nevin.

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll stars Steve Le Marquand (Buried Child, Underbelly Razor, Beneath Hill 60) as Roo; the enigmatic Robyn Nevin as Emma Leach; Alison Whyte (Frontline, Satisfaction, City Homicide, Logie, Helpmann and GreenRoom award winner) as Olive Leach; Eloise Winestock (As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet) as Bubba Ryan; Helen Thompson (Getting’ Square, Green Room award winner) as Pearl Cunningham; Travis McMahon (Cloudstreet, Don’s Party, Last Man Standing) as Barney Ibbot, and James Hoare (Noises Off, Twelfth Night) as Johnnie Dowd.

 “Ray Lawler wrote a play against marriage, says Neil Armfield. “Ray held up this amazing mirror and, as great theatre does, it shows us who we are.”

Kewpie Doll from The Performing Arts Collection, Melbourne


        Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, by Ray Lawler

When:                     22 February to March 11

Where:                    Playhouse QPAC

Director:                 Neil Armfield

 Cast:                       Steve Le Marquand, Robyn Nevin, Alison Whyte, Helen Thomson, Travis McMahon, Eloise Winestock, and James Hoare

Set Designer:         Ralph Myers

Costumes:              Dale Ferguson

Lighting:                Damien Cooper

Composer:              Alan John

Sound:                     Paul Charlier

Asst Director:        Susanna Dowling

Under 30 $33; Previews $42-$56; Mid-Week $56-$75; Weekend $60-$79

Tel 1800 355 528 or

About Performing Arts Collection

The Arts Centre’s Performing Arts Collection is Australia’s premier collection relating to the history of circus, dance, music, theatre and opera, and is home to over 450,000 items including costumes, archives, designs and photographs.

Olive. Design by Anne Fraser for MTC's 1977 production, on which Armfield's revival is based.


The Noosa Longweekend begins!

The Noosa Longweekend opened on Friday night with stilt performers, magicians and The Magnets, a grown-up boy band, hailing from the UK: six sexy suit-clad guys, all singing, all dancing, all perfectly in role…as six sexy suit-clad guys, all singing, all dancing, all joking, all flirting, all about having and inspiring loads of fun.

True showmen, every one of them, this acapella group is unlike any other, offering the audience many opportunities to get involved and executing pretty tricky choreography whilst singing and/or beat boxing! Andy “imagine what he can do with those lips, ladies” Frost is quite simply, a phenomenon (fact, not fantasy) and his solo effort, creating a six part sound machine, stole the show.

Check this out:

The sounds they make are all their own. No instruments, no tricks (no auto-tune), just talent. It’s so refreshing! We saw them do their second (and final) Noosa show before they continue their Australian tour. We took Poppy and she loved them. She loved Patrick, actually, who twirled her – she was up dancing for most of the show – and met him after, as is her custom (her groupie antics rival those of her mama’s…apparently).

Poppy met Patrick & Fraser after the show.

Poppy may well be The Magnets’ youngest fan.

Get them while they’re young, Evita, get them while they’re young. Sorry.

I would have liked to have heard much more from Patrick Smith but I think that we will have to wait for that to happen outside of The Magnets at some stage. His is a good, pure, Irish voice! He is joined on stage by Fraser Collins (aka Colin Fraser; Poppy’s other favourite Magnet, with his beautiful base tones and tidy dreadies), Nic Doodson, James Fortune and Steve Trowell. Like every good boy band, there really is someone for everyone.

Fortune and Trowell’s arrangements of popular songs by the likes of Lady Gaga, Blondie and Bon Jovi are unique. They had audience members clapping, stomping (The J has a wooden floor so stomping is almost mandatory) and singing along – yeah, we heard you – and at one stage holding their collective breath. Or was that just me? Okay, it was just me; time stood stilll and I held my breath during a favourite of mine, A-Ha’s Hunting High and Low, which I will include here just because I can. Morten Harket should know he can still have me if he plays his cards right.

Oh. Ok. Embedding disabled by request. So here’s my other A-Ha fave, Take on Me, which The Magnets didn’t sing but…should.

The Magnets are all class and UK charm. You would expect nothing less after finding out that they were “discovered” and taken from the street to somewhere like Hogwarts School for Boy Bands and Boy Banditry where they learned, among other things, Westlife’s chair move (yes, that one; if you’re a fan like my good friend – a good Irish girl – Karen Stewart, you’ll know the one). These guys though, are completely self-deprecating and, in light of the boy bands we love so much to hate, they manage to make their entire act look effortless. And that is what I call a performance! And THAT is what I call performance fit! Yes, ladies! The next logical step for this group is to remove shirts at some stage during the evening…I mean, during the evening’s program…I mean on stage…I…I’m just sayin’.

Look, they have promised to return (no surprise that they’re lovin’ Noosa) so next time The Magnets are in town, you will have no excuse; GO!


One-Act Play Festival: the three finalists of the national one-act playwriting competition

Noosa Arts Theatre

June 9th-18th

The Finalists in The National One-Act Playwriting Competition are: Star Crossed by Jenny Bullimore, Nothing by Mark Langham and The Knock on the Door by Bruce Olive

Star Crossed By Jenny Bullimore

Directed by Johanna Wallace

Features Rebecca Plint and Matthew Ingold

Synopsis (from the program notes): Falling in love! Sometimes it happens slowly, sometimes without warning. Friends one minute, lovers the next. In Star Crossed, Meg and Andrew reminisce about past relationships, love, school, music and how it affected them and others.

This is the most cleverly structured play of the three finalists, heavy with monologues, with several timely opportunities for the two characters to interact within sweet scenes from their memory banks as they re-tell in tandem, without ever actually meeting again, the tale of their ill-fated relationship. Director, Johanna Wallace, has dealt with the challenging script by placing her actors in spotlights at either side of the stage during the delivery of their monologues and having them meet in the middle, centre stage, surrounded by colourful production costumes, for the scenes from their past. I felt that the connection between the two characters was made but more as friends than lovers, established early on and then never quite developed to the stage that I would have been more sympathetic about their ill-fated relationship.

On the second night, the pace was slightly lacking. I know that there were some adjustments to the script made during the process (cuts only, as per competition rules), leaving the cast with a complete script for just the final two weeks of rehearsal. As an actor, this is indeed a difficult situation to be in, however, as an actor in this competition, it is particularly important that the final version of the text be delivered accurately!

This play would make an excellent screenplay and I’d like to see it developed as such. It is a sweet story, simply told.


Nothing By Mark Langham

Directed by Jane Rivers

Features Michael Morgan, Frank Wilkie, Meegan MaGuire

Synopsis (from the program notes): Three close friends “waste” a day in a garage, dealing with the small and not so small issues of their middle class, comfortable lives. Are they happy? If not, why not? If so, why? Must everything in life be a drama and can we get away with being ordinary? Will the grass ever get cut?

This new comedy was indeed funny, in its astute observations & candid comments on the little (and big) things in life. Director and cast must have had fun during rehearsals, exploring every point, relating to most, discovering every opportunity for laughs and delivering these with easy, relaxed confidence. I did wonder at the blood alcohol levels of the three individuals represented on stage. Under any other circumstances, I’m sure this director (it’s nice to see her back at Noosa, by the way) would have addressed such an obvious flaw in the text, however, the task is to stage the play as it is written, which surely meant for this competent cast, as well as for savvy audience members, that reaching for a beer on every second or third line must have seemed somewhat excessive.

Nothing will be popular with audiences. It is undoubtedly the most entertaining of the three finalists in this year’s competition.


The Knock on the Door By Bruce Olive

Directed by Liza Park

Features Sharon Ward, Tom Morgan, Jenni McCaul, Michael Parlato

Synopsis (from the program notes): In 1915, Gladys and Harold wait for news of their eighteen-year-old son at Gallipoli. Nearly one hundred years later, Cate waits patiently in the same suburban house for the return of her husband from fighting in Afghanistan. Through these parallel lives, this play explores how Australians, particularly women, have attempted to cope with the anxiety of loved ones fighting overseas.

The third and final play of the evening was perhaps the most highly anticipated, its playwright, Bruce Olive, the winner of last year’s competition with his play, God Willing. Not since 1997-1998 have we seen a playwright take out the top award two years running.

I’m sure this year’s entry, The Knock on the Door, will be the other contender for the Audience Choice Award, largely due to its place in the program and to Jenni McCaul’s moving performance as the mother of Robert, the son who fights and dies in Gallipoli. I also enjoyed Sharon Ward’s performance as the young wife, which brought some light to an otherwise dark and moody text of timeless issues and current controversy over the conflict in Afghanistan.

Despite the strong performances of the girls, I was mostly unmoved by the play. What should have been a deeply moving tale of unbearable truths was unable to elicit a stronger response from me. The woman sitting next to me, however, as well as a number of other audience members were visibly moved, perhaps finding something more or deeper or stronger with which to connect than I.

I would like to see, as the competition continues to mature and grow, the engagement of professional directors and for actors, a stringent audition and workshop process. The hard work of competition Convener, Synda Turnbull and her team, to raise the profile of the competition and that of the writers, directors and actors involved, now demands a level of involvement from industry professionals. Local directors will balk at this suggestion but I only mean to propose the next level of competition in order that the festival may live up to its national profile.

The competition will conclude with special guest Adjudicator, Karen Crone, Saturday 18th June. Final presentations will be made as part of The 10th Anniversary Noosa Longweekend Festival. The Best Play winner will take home $ 2 500 in prize money and the winner of the Nancy Cato Audience Choice Award will have their script published by Maverick Musicals & Plays, making it available for production to many more groups and earning the playwright richly deserved royalties.

The National One-Act Playwriting Competition has, for over thirty years, fostered and encouraged playwrights, whether amateur or professional, to write a script that is judged on its quality and suitability to be staged within an intimate theatre venue. A reading panel based on the following criteria judges the scripts anonymously: plot, characterisation, dialogue and overall achievement.

I’m sure the reading panel and the regular audience members will agree that this year we have seen further improvement across the board and the overall standard of plays presented is terrific.


One Night In Emerald City

One more sleep until I spend One Night in Emerald City, on stage, with some pretty impressive Aussie talent.

Yes. I know. I should be sleeping. But I’m a bit excited…well, excited and scared.

I will be sharing the stage with Robyn Nevin, Paula Duncan, David Field, Ita Buttrose, Bob Ansett, Mikey Robins, Lucy Bell, Ian Roberts, Felix Williamson, Jim Berardo and Daniel MacPherson. Our comperes will be Shane Bourne and local Zinc FM breakfast show host, Sammy Power.

Apparently, according to my sources, who have all been at The J in Noosa already this evening, to support the premiere of the locally produced short film Cyber Sin, everybody is in fine spirits! I was sorry not to have been able to make this special event too, but our QAVA students keep turning up to classes!

Look, I would like to tell you that I have my lines down. I would like to tell you that, just like Ken Baumann (and so many others, though his is the most recent impressive interview with an actor), I read the script a couple of times and just HAD IT. In fact, I would like to tell you that I know exactly what I’m wearing, what I’m doing, whether my hair will be straightened or styled in water waves (thank you Suite Three)…but no. I got nothin’. We have come to the eleventh hour and I’m freaking out like my four year old. That’s right. Not a typo. Not just any four year old, my four year old; who graduated from daycare yesterday (are we celebrating or are we celebrating mediocrity?!) She refused to perform the well-rehearsed little concert they’d put together for the proud parents. She’d been singing Home Among the Gum Trees for several weeks. She was so ready! But she was happy with her decision. She was a beautiful audience member, in her red sari for Diwali (Nanny and Bugsy-Pa have just returned from India and her head is full of stories and her arms bright and shiny with bangles). She was so proud of her friends and she mingled with them afterwards, congratulating them, as four year olds do, over pink “champagne” and sausages in bread.

Perhaps stage fright is partly genetic. I think I hid behind my mother’s (her Nanny’s) skirts until I was four. Or in Grade Four, I don’t remember which; I’ve blocked it out. Perhaps Poppy is simply a child who knows her own mind (and heart). It has taken me years to work out that there are times I love being on stage and there are other times when I love teaching and directing. Above all, I have loved having a choice in the matter.

Clearly, I had to respect her decision (it was worded so eloquently), “Mama, I want to watch my friends today. We are the audience today.” No amount of coercion from teachers, friends or friends’ (stage) mothers could convince her to change her mind. So we enjoyed watching her friends perform.

We also had a little conversation later, about sometimes just having to do the show…


Mama: You know, sometimes, you don’t have a choice and the show must go on and that means you must go on.

Poppy: I know, Mama. Like your shows.

Mama: That’s right, like my shows; the audience turns up so we do our show.

Poppy: Okay, Mama; I will do the show the next time the audience turns up.


I hope, when the audience turns up tomorrow night I will feel ready to do the show, rather than sitting and enjoying watching it! I really would like to see it! I love a good playreading! One of the best pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen was a staged reading directed by Michael Gow, of David Williamson’s Let the Sun Shine.

After a read with the cast in the morning and a read on stage with them in the afternoon, I’m hoping I’ll feel as confident as I did walking into the audition! We shall soon see!


If you’re there, enjoy and make sure you say hi at our little soiree after the show!