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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PALY DRESSING ROOMERS - KATE PETERS

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 bal­li­naplay­ 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.

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