IT’S EASY BEING GREEN
Everybody’s favourite ogre is set to take the stage at Ballina, while top theatre talent is celebrated at a well-attended award’s night
This week we celebrated the Gold Coast Area Theatre Awards (Palmies). Major awards went to Beenleigh Theatre Group and GCLT who shared the Outstanding Community Theatre Production for Rent and Who’s Afraid of Virigina Woolf? respectively. Other top honours went to Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s Lauren Roche for best actress in a leading role in a musical and Ethan Liboiron for Best Actor in a musical, with best actor and best actress in a play going to Noel Thompson and Kate McNair for their roles in GCLT’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The Platinum Palm Award was made to Julanne Shearer, who has been involved with GCLT for more than 40 years for her support to local theatre companies. Popular leading man Ian Stenlake was once again MC for the night, his second trip to the Gold Coast in a week, having been called in at the last minute to replace a performer struck down with illness just before the Broadbeach Christmas Carols. Many of the musical performances on the night of the awards were from nominated productions, and once again the capacity crowd enjoyed networking and lots of theatre chat in the Gold Coast Arts Centre’s Paradise Room. Notable absences on the night were Maureen Fitzgerald and Jock McIlwain (the awards major sponsor), who passed away this year. They and 10 other theatre enthusiasts, were honoured in an obituary segment on the night. The awards will continue into their ninth year in 2017. He’s large, very green and the star of Shrek Jr, Ballina Players’ January musical for young people. Children have grown up with his movies and know and love Shrek, the scary ogre who is thrown out of home at age seven and forced to live alone in a swamp. He grows up and comes to like his life of solitude and does not appreciate his swampy home being invaded by a fairytale creatures. They, too, know what it is like to be exiled, having been banished to the swamp from the kingdom of Duloc by the wicked Lord Farquaad. Shrek Jr is one of a series of musicals specially adapted and abridged by Disney for younger casts. There are 31 young people aged eight to 18 years from all over the Northern Rivers taking part and gaining important theatrical skills. Shrek is brought to Ballina Players by a production team very experienced in youth theatre. Geoff Marsh is director, with Sarah Jarvis as assistant director and choreographer and Leanne Broadley as musical director. It will be staged at the Players Theatre January 13 – 22. Book online at ballinaplayers.com.au An exciting new directors workshop is being held at the Zamia Theatre, Tamborine Mountain, on Saturdays starting in late January. Following the theatre’s highly successful RADF-funded playwrights workshop, the Tamborine Mountain Little Theatre (TMLT) is looking to expand its capacity with this new skills development program. Five sessions (plus a show and tell) will give participants basic skills and key tools for the director’s role. This program is specifically for those with no or minimal experience in directing. There is no assumed prior knowledge. While preference will be given to existing members of the TMLT, as the program is fully funded by TMLT, others may apply. Facilitator is Matt Scholten, a highly able director with an extensive career in professional theatre, who lives on Tamborine Mountain. Recent directing experience includes Mother, a play starring Noni Hazlehurst that has received rave reviews (and awards), and student productions at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, which has an excellent drama program with a national reputation. In 2017, Matt will be head of USQ’s drama department. Applications to attend must be submitted by December 23. Places are limited, so get in quickly. Audiences young and old will be all smiles and flying high next winter when Bonnie Lythgoe Productions tours Australia for the first time ever. The Adventures of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell will have its world premiere at the Arts Centre Gold Coast from June 23 to July 1. This enchanting story will feature top Australian performers, sumptuous glittering sets, spectacular effects, gorgeous fairytale costumes, fantastic song and dance numbers, infectious and riotous comedy, magic and bags of audience participation. Bonnie Lythgoe Productions is Australia’s biggest family musical pantomime producer. Peter Pan will be the fourth panto produced by Bonnie Lythgoe after the success of Snow White Winter Family Musical in 2014 followed by Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp in 2015 and Cinderella in 2016. Bonnie has been staging pantos in the US and UK for a number of years. Well known for her creativity and involvement in global television hits American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance and most recently I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Bonnie is dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across Australia by presenting fun, musical theatre that the whole family from the age of three to 103 can enjoy. In rehearsal are Murwillumbah Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol – a coproduction with Doublemask, playing December 16-17 at Murwillumbah Civic Centre, GCLT’s Back to the 80s, and Spotlight’s Saturday Night Fever. See you in a crowded foyer real soon!
A scene from Shrek Jr being performed at Ballina Players.