Previous Productions

2014

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY

APRIL 25, 26, 27, MAY 2,3,4 & 9,10,11

The Drill Hall Theatre Company is excited to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opening on the 25th April for nine performances through to 11th May.  The production is inspired by William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday.

Brimming with a cast of 25, and supported by a creative team of over a dozen (and growing), the new production is currently in rehearsal preparing to honour the Great Bard, in lavish style, on his birthday, 26th April.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a deliciously delightful romantic comedy navigating the high and lows of passionate young love, traversing spiritual and earthly realms with spiralling misunderstandings and deeply satisfying resolutions.

The DHTC’s production is set locally in Mullumbimby in the late 1960’s with the music, moratoriums and mayhem of social revolution forming the backdrop to Shakespeare’s homage to love, together with the infamously mischievous characters Puck and Bottom.

Some of the cast of “The Dream” hard at work rehearsing

 

Production Team:

Directors:  Dominick Reyntiens, Max Donati,  Melinda Saxe
Supervising Director:  Gregory Aitken
Choreographer/ Production Designer:  Michael Hennessy
Executive Producer:  Michael Borenstein
Producer:  Tim Winton-Brown
Costume and Set Designer:  Svea Bjornsson
Lighting Designers:  Sunita Bailey & Melinda Saxe
Digital Art and Poster Art-Work:  Ken Ford
Production Manager:  Susie Strong
Stage Manager:  Ben Morrissey

 

and 26 Superb Performers:

Cate Feldmann, Owen Trevor-Jones, Sam Hemphill, Mike Russo, Max Foggon, Simon Dubber, Hayley Acton, Phoebe Lines, Laurie Axtens, Chris Benaud, Danyon Saxe-Wilson, Eryn Thackray-Smith, Robin Brady, Sue Hird, Michael Lill, Kasadevi Curtis, Max Donati, Mandi Sabasio-Ong, Maureen Lill, Danni Ducanson, Ebony Webb, Tara Brady, Reuben Saxe, Susie Strong,  Ben Morrissey and Snoopy the Dog.

 

Read more…….

Arts Northern Rivers: https://artsnorthernrivers.com.au/blog/midsummer-in-mullum

 

Byron Shire News 08/05/14

Byron Shire Echo 06/05/14

 

Reviews:

Dave Heggie in the Summerland News:  http://www.summerlandcoast.com.au/summerland-news/item/a-mid-summerland-night-s-dream

 

Tracey Hordern in The Northern Star (Friday May 2, 2014).

Sarah Smith in the Byron Shire Echo: http://www.echo.net.au/2014/04/midsummer-still-in-mullum/

 

William Brener

 

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Raise the Curtains!

SUNDAY 16 MARCH, 5PM

Your local theatre needs you … to be entertained!

The Drill Hall Theatre Company presents a variety show style fundraiser Sunday 16 March from 5pm for one night only.

With a wide range of performers from comedy to music to short theatre skits, it promises to be sensational early evening of frivolity and family fun.

Some of the featured acts will include the Hinterland Wayfareres, Mavis and Jean Circus acts, El Psycho  and The Ghost Chickens.

The fundraiser is being staged with a strong  community effort and a wonderful volunteer spirit to raise the capital required to continue alterations and improvements to the Drill Hall Theatre’s stage in preparation for an exciting 2014 season of theatre and beyond.

Tickets available at the door.

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2013

Hot Shorts

11, 12, 13 October and 18, 19, 20 October

Photo: MEDIA RELEASE<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Tuesday, September 24, 2013<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre Director Jeni Caffin to Judge Drill Hall Theatre Company’s Short Play Competition<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> In a change from previous years The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s “HOT SHORTS” 10-minute play competition this year will be judged prior to performance on the basis of how well the play has been written. The three judges are Jeni Caffin, the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre Director and Director of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival; Lisa Walker, who is the NRWC Writer Development Manager, author of two best-selling novels, an award-winning short story writer and radio playwright; and an anonymous Australian actor who is a household name of stage and screen fame. All three are familiar with navigating their way through theatre scripts.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Jeni was delighted to be asked to head the judging panel and stated that “the ten finalists are testament, though none was needed, to the diversity and dynamism of writing for performance in our region. The styles and themes were wide ranging, but humour omnipresent. Ultimately, one clear winner emerged and the decision was unanimous.”<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Drill Hall Theatre Company Artistic Director Mike Russo says, “There are some very fine plays among this year’s finalists, with six previous prize-winners represented. Rehearsals are going well and audiences will enjoy the balance between comedy, satire and tragedy and should have fun deciding which play they will vote for to decide the audience prizes.”</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>The Drill Hall production team is sprucing up the theatre to make the experience more fun for audiences and hope you enjoy their efforts. Anyone who would like to join in the fun at the Drill Hall, in any capacity at all, should contact DHTC President Michael Borenstein on 6684 9195.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>The 10 short plays will be performed each night at the Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby on Friday 11 and 18; Saturday 12 and 19 at 8pm and Sunday 13 and 20 at 5pm in October. Tickets are $15 and $12 and can be pre-purchased from the Bookshop, Mullumbimby.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>ENDS</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Contact: 	mikerusso2@gmail.com<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> 		66 844 886

In a change from previous years The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s “HOT SHORTS” 10-minute play competition in 2013 was judged prior to performance on the basis of how well the play had been written. The three judges were Jeni Caffin, the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre Director and Director of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival; Lisa Walker, who is the NRWC Writer Development Manager, author of two best-selling novels, an award-winning short story writer and radio playwright; and an anonymous Australian actor who is a household name of stage and screen fame. All three are familiar with navigating their way through theatre scripts.

Jeni was delighted to be asked to head the judging panel and stated that “the ten finalists are testament, though none was needed, to the diversity and dynamism of writing for performance in our region. The styles and themes were wide ranging, but humour omnipresent. Ultimately, one clear winner emerged and the decision was unanimous.”
Drill Hall Theatre Company Artistic Director Mike Russo says, “There are some very fine plays among this year’s finalists, with six previous prize-winners represented. Rehearsals are going well and audiences will enjoy the balance between comedy, satire and tragedy and should have fun deciding which play they will vote for to decide the audience prizes.”

The 10 short plays were performed at the Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby over two weekends in October 2013 – Friday 11 and 18; Saturday 12 and 19 at 8pm and Sunday 13 and 20 at 5pm in October.

The plays selected for 2013 were :

RIGHT ON, PETER MORLEY!
Writer                                        Paula Williams
Director                                     Paula Williams/Mike Russo
Peter Morley                              Stirling Nougher
T.V. Show Host                         Mike Russo

TERRA NULLIUS
Writer                                        Michael Lill
Director                                     Mike Russo
Man                                           Ghofar Bourke
Woman                                     Melinda Saxe
Body                                          Hamish Wilson

FINE, THANKS
Writer                                        Jan Baldwin
Director                                     Jan Baldwin
Harry                                         Colin Thornton

SALOME DOES PILATES
Writer                                        Greg Aitken
Director                                     Greg Aitken
Sal                                             Joanna Stephens
Roddy                                        Max Donati
Olivia                                          Diana Ridoutt
Choreographer/Designer           Michael Hennessy
Production Manager                  Sunita Bailey

I LOVE ACTING
Writer                                        Monique Lavail
Director                                     Monique Lavail
Meryl                                         Georgia Martin
Geoffrey                                    Mike Russo
Pro                                           Jo Hawkins
Sleepy                                      Georgia Berriman
Clumsy                                     Cheryl Wheatley
Hippie                                        Majida Hawkins
Tragic                                       Kathryn Sefton
Rowdy                                      Cheryl Wheatley
New Age                                   Georgia Berriman
Production Manager                 Hamish Wilson
Production Assistant                Niki

VOTE COUNTING
Writer                                        John Smithwick
Director                                     Peter Gough
The Bureaucrat                        Cotti Radonyi
The Applicant                           Justice Hamnett
The Hologram                           Carl Taylor
Assistant Director                    Cotti Radonyi

MUD
Writer                                        Denise Lego
Director                                     Denise Lego
Greg Mullins                              MurraySmith
Max                                           Robynn Goddard
Elly                                            Cheryl Wheatley

JACK AND SOPHIE
Writer                                        Max Strong
Director                                     Max Strong
Jack                                          Peter Henson
Sophie                                      Jacquelina Wills
Waiter                                       Casper Brace

WINDOW DRESSING
Writer                                        Bette Guy
Director                                     Bette Guy
Barbara                                     Sharon Brodie

THE PROMISED LAND
Writer                                        Michael Lill
Director                                     Georgia Martin
Maria                                         Cate Feldmann
Daniel                                        Greg Aitken

PRODUCTION TEAM
Artistic Director                         Mike Russo
Production Manager                 Monique Lavail
Lighting                                     Alex Benham
Sound                                        Monique Lavail
Stage Managers                        Hamish Wilson & Mike Russo
Poster                                       Marion Russo
Programme                              Georgia Martin

AND THE WINNERS …………………..

Most Popular Play (chosen by the audience)

First
THE PROMISED LAND written by Michael Lill
Directed by Georgia Martin
Performed by Cate Feldmann and Greg Aitken

Second
VOTE COUNTING written by John Smithwick
Directed by Peter Gough, assisted by Cotti Radonyi
Performed by Cotti Radonyi, Justice Hamnett and Carl Taylor.
Third 
I LOVE ACTING written by Monique Lavail
Directed by Monique Lavail
Performed by Georgia Martin, Mike Russo, Jo Hawkins, Georgia Berriman, Cheryl Wheatley, Majida Hawkins and Kathryn Sefton.

BEST WRITTEN PLAY (judged by a Panel)

TERRA NULLIUS written by Michael Lill.

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Pig Iron People

by John Doyle

Directed by Michael Borenstein

Set on a quiet suburban street with not quite enough parking for the residents, The Pig Iron Peopleexamines two generations and the way the politics of their time have shaped them.Characterised by John Doyle’s humour, which brilliantly illuminates the hearts of his characters, The Pig Iron Peopleis a timely satire infused with profound tolerance for the foibles of humanity.Australia, 1996: The winds of change begin to blow like a gale through the nation as a new government has taken the reins. Nick’s out of step.  He’s a writer; no writer has ever lived on Liberal Street before and the residents are making sure he knows it.From now on people will have to make their own way in the world. People will no longer be rewarded for being weak. The madness is over… The people have spoken. This is what they want, this is what they voted for, and if you don’t see it like them, then you are out of step. So get used to it. In this suburban satire, John Doyle’s infectious humour takes an affable yet sublimely sharp look at an Australia we all recognise.Performance dates: May 2013

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2012

Honk if you are Jesus

by Peter Goldsworthy

Three weekends from Friday September 7, 2012 – Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm.

The stage adaptation of Honk If You Are Jesus was commissioned by the State Theatre Company of South Australia for the 2006 Adelaide Arts Festival, and was directed by Martin Laud Gray in conjunction with the author, noted Australian novelist, Peter Goldsworthy. Honk If You Are Jesus is a comedy about the big ethical issues around science, religion and cloning; a story weaving ambition, animal-attraction, future-shock and resurrection, and where the moralities of its characters are very, very blurry. It is a razor-sharp satire with immediacy and anarchic energy; an Australian and a global story with themes that are universal and battle-lines that are inter-cultural. In 2006 Honk If You Are Jesus won the ‘Ruby’ Award for Best New Work; The Advertiser ‘Oscart’ Award for Best Play; the ‘Curtain Call’ Award for Best Comedy; and was nominated for ‘Helpmann’ awards in two categories.

Honk If You Are Jesus is essentially the story of Mara Fox’s responses when she is inadvertently tricked into assisting with the cloning of a very famous, historical character. It is about her deeply personal journey along an uneasy ethical road, in a landscape full of inconsistencies and dilemmas and strewn with romantic temptations and apparent betrayals. It’s a serious comedy that, beneath its comic overtones, asks some important questions about our future in the ‘technological age’; who should have the right to determine it; and whether, as a species and as individuals, we still want to use our capacity to think and feel, rather than simply act by default or disengage and take the consequences.

The Drill Hall Theatre Company presented “Honk If You Are Jesus” at the Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby, for three weekends from Friday September 7; directed by Mike Russo with a cast featuring Robynn Goddard, Greg Aitken, Sam Hemphill, Eva Robinson, Jasper Wilson, Jennie Hicks and Kasadevi Curtis.

Peter Goldsworthy has impressed at more than one Byron Bay Writers’ Festival by his deeply felt and beautifully expressed humanity. If you have read the novel you will want to see how well it has been adapted to the theatre and, whether you have read the book or not, you will not want to miss the chance to see a modern Australian masterpiece by one of our most noted current authors.

REVIEW

by Ray Moynihan, Byron Shire Echo, 18th September 2012

 

For lovers of theatre, the play closing this weekend at Mullumbimby’s Drill Hall is a godsend. Adapted from a best-selling novel Honk if you are Jesus this irreverent and timely production is as intelligent and engaging as it is enjoyable.

The hilarious story is set in a private Christian university on the Gold Coast, run by a bible-bashing Reverend Schultz, whose dramatic sermons are performed with panache by Greg Aitken and whose young third wife, Mary-Beth, is brought to life ably by Eva Robinson.

Traversing the minefields of science and religion, sex and fertility, the play’s narrative is intimate, fresh and surprising. As the characters seduce and beguile each other, the play exposes a religion that looks more like a shonky business, and an ethically-challenged science that looks more like a shonky religion.

While the direction and acting is solid, the blazing performance of the red-headed lead Robynn Goddard is outstanding. Playing Mara Fox, the ambitious and frank IVF professor, Goddard brings a sensual magic to the stage, reminding the audience of the intense physical power of live theatre.

Watching Goddard and her colleagues perform last Friday night, there was a palpable sense of theatre’s renaissance in the northern rivers – a local growth industry that doesn’t kill koala habitat or further poison stressed waterways, and still provides a great night out.

Director Mike Russo is also optimistic, both short and long term. He says every performance of Honk if you are Jesus is getting better, and he thinks the closing shows this weekend will be ‘really something’.

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Rod Gibson – A Retrospective

11, 12, 13 May;  18, 19, 20 May

and a special performance in Grafton on 27th May 2012

… a selection of plays and poetry by local playwright, poet and performer, Rod Gibson who passed away in 2011.

Rod performing one of his poems (shown on video)

 

Rod won the Jean Stone Poetry award, the Nicholas Shand Memorial Poetry Slam, was short listed for the Angus and Robertson National Short Play Competition and has had sixteen of his plays produced in the Northern Rivers region.

To quote fellow playwright Paula Williams :
“Rod never fails to surprise us all by exploring a totally different slant in his writings, he takes us to strange and wonderful places we have never considered going.”

Rod’s writing has been described as a swirling, evocative maelstrom of images, characters and bedevilment, a rich mix of scintillating sarcasm, reminiscence, storytelling, and ironic self-observation.

The evening was a compilation of Rod’s short plays and poetry with a bit of music, a smidgen of multimedia and a few surprises.

Directed by Michael Borenstein

Cast: Greg Aitken, Sonia Borenstein, Mike Russo, Janet Gibson, Georgia Martin and Stirling Nougher.

Including video: of Rod Gibson    … and

The Beatification of Mary McCullen

featuring Julie Tweedie, Carol Garcia & Anthony Llord.  directed by Sandesh Gibney.

Fishermen at Brunswick Heads directed by John Campbell

Crew:

Stage Manager: Jill Benham                                   Sound & Video: Alex Benham

Lights: Sunita Bailey                                               Publicity: Marion Russo

Front of House: Jan Blanch

Review

by Michael McDonald in Byron Shire Echo 13/05/2012

An affectionate tribute to a local writer

 

Michael McDonald

In the 80s and 90s, when I got out more, writer Rod Gibson was a familiar face at Byron Shire bars, plays and art gallery openings. Many of the plays would be his own; at many of the bars he would be performing his own poems – animated, ironic, satirical and sometimes downright silly.

Our paths crossed a little: a friendly hello, a joke or two. A ciggie in one hand, a drink in the other, the demon of schizophrenia in his head, Rod mostly inspired affection and some amazement at the delicious turns his writing could take.

He was no pushover, however. He was a stout defender of local theatre and Rod would lucidly lacerate in the letters to the editor any review of mine with which he disagreed. I suppose our minds mostly met in the pages of The Echo, where as then-editor I published his poems and reviewed his work.

And I suppose his work reminded me most of Richard O’Brien’s, the man who electrified the stage with The Rocky Horror Show. Nostalgic tributes to the past mix with cutting satire and a sense of the absurd – sometimes terrifying, sometimes playful.

So when Rod shuffled off this mortal coil last year, I was sad to hear of the untimely death at age 60 of the ‘Poet Lorikeet of the North Coast’. Writing is a tough gig to make a freelance living from but Rod gave it his best shot and was rewarded episodically on the way and with a deserving obit by Geoff Helisma in the Sydney Morning Herald.

A lot of people who knew Rod well were also saddened. Among them local theatre director Michael Borenstein, who has staged Gibson’s work over the last 25 years, including the first production of the notedThe Fine Art Of Kissing The Ground. It is only fitting that Michael is the man to bring together the tribute, Rod Gibson: A Retrospective, for the Drill Hall Theatre Company.

Michael has eschewed many of Rod’s longer, better-known plays and offered up a buffet of short plays, poems and stories. It works well. The Drill Hall actors – who on this occasion include Rod’s sister, Janet – are very strong and clear in their performances and attack each piece with enthusiasm and skill. Borenstein makes clever use of sound and video, including performances by Rod himself, and a stunning piece of acting by Julie Tweedie in The Beatification Of Mary McCullen.

The night is an exuberant expression of Rod’s unique insight into the vicissitudes and joys of life. Unlike some local theatre over the years, it is also of a refreshingly bearable length. Fans of Rod will renew their friendship with the man and his work. Those new to his work, and/or poultry lovers, cannot fail to be charmed by his ‘Ghost Chickens’.

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2011

Hot Shorts 

 21, 22, 23 & 28, 29, 30 October 2011

The 10 finalists in our 10 minute play competition HOT SHORTS 2011 were presented at The Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby on 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 October.
The audience voted for their favourite play with prizes of $1,000 $300 and $200 available.

The plays and their themes, all written and presented by writers, actors and directors from around the North Coast, were:

“The Lady In White” – The horrors and hypocrisy of the Middle-East conflict;
“Babies Are Forever” – What a woman resorts to when her biological clock is ticking so loudly that it drowns out her husband’s protests;
“Three Halves” – The absurdities of human relationships and our failures to communicate;
“First Light” – The perils of Schoolie’s Week in Byron Bay;
“Buy Robot” – The uses a woman might find for her robot butler;
“I Thought, You Thought” – A couple who are on the same holiday but aren’t quite both on the same wavelength;
“Death Takes a Break” – How do you cope after several millennia in the busiest and most unpopular job of all;
“High Fidelity” – Complexities of computer dating for the over-fifties;
“Going to a Party With Sting” – An innocent from country NSW meets a slick and not-so-honest Hollywood agent;
“The Ashes” – A widow meets her husband’s mistress over the ashes of more than just her dead husband.The standard of writing this year is very high and there is a good mix of comedy and drama.

The results were as follows:

1st “Buy Robot” by John Smithwick. This play also won the Peg Gloor Prize for best performed play. Well done John, your play was overwhelmingly the audience favourite and Director Georgia Martin and her outstanding cast of Kate Horsley and Heilrick Georges Dujon did a fantastic job of getting it on stage.

2nd “The Ashes”, written and directed by Greg Aitken. Greg’s play was very well supported by our audiences and Georgia Martin’s and Robynn Goddard’s performances were very powerful.

3rd “First Light”, written and directed by Denise Lego. Denise’s play was beautifully performed by Juliet Smith, Elena Larkin and Anthony Jensen. It was especially pleasing to include a play that had young characters dealing with a very topical, local theme.

HOT SHORTS will be on again in 2013 so start thinking about that short play you’ve wanted to write for ages.

The winners from 2011

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Who Nose

3,4,5 & 10,11,12 June 2011

 

The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s June production was an absurd burlesque cabaret devised and performed by Monique Lavail and directed by Mike Russo in which Miss Froggy attempts to recover her identity by treading the boards with irreverent tales and songs. To debunk the myths of beauty, romance, racial superiority and stereotyped relationships, she takes masks, creatures and costumes out of her “magic trunk” hoping to keep Spooky, the ghost of her dead lover, at bay.

Performances were on Fridays and Saturdays June 3, 4, 10, 11 at 8pm. Sundays June 5, 12 at 5pm at the Drill Hall Theatre Mullumbimby.

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Caldera

6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15 May, 2011

Local writer and actor Greg Aitken wrote this adaptation of famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s last play and it was performed at the Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby on Friday, Saturday & Sunday 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th and Wednesday 11th of May. Sunday performances were are at 5pm with all other performances at 8pm.

Greg set the play on a health retreat near Mount Warning and it deals with a man whose obsessive approach to his art has alienated him from his personal relationships. When his beautiful younger wife meets the handsome wild dog hunter and the artist is reunited with his former model their lives are led down paths that they should have taken years before, by the sinister owner and chief therapist of the health retreat. There is humour, biting satire and searing drama in this tender and brutal play.

Featuring Greg Aitken, Cate Feldmann, Robynn Goddard, Sam Hemphill and Mike Russo and directed by Dominick Reyntiens,