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.
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.
Arts Northern Rivers: https://artsnorthernrivers.com.au/blog/midsummer-in-mullum
Byron Shire News 08/05/14
Byron Shire Echo 06/05/14
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/
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.
11, 12, 13 October and 18, 19, 20 October
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 :
Writer Paula Williams
Director Paula Williams/Mike Russo
Peter Morley Stirling Nougher
T.V. Show Host Mike Russo
Writer Michael Lill
Director Mike Russo
Man Ghofar Bourke
Woman Melinda Saxe
Body Hamish Wilson
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
Writer John Smithwick
Director Peter Gough
The Bureaucrat Cotti Radonyi
The Applicant Justice Hamnett
The Hologram Carl Taylor
Assistant Director Cotti Radonyi
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
Writer Bette Guy
Director Bette Guy
Barbara Sharon Brodie
THE PROMISED LAND
Writer Michael Lill
Director Georgia Martin
Maria Cate Feldmann
Daniel Greg Aitken
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)
THE PROMISED LAND written by Michael Lill
Directed by Georgia Martin
Performed by Cate Feldmann and Greg Aitken
VOTE COUNTING written by John Smithwick
Directed by Peter Gough, assisted by Cotti Radonyi
Performed by Cotti Radonyi, Justice Hamnett and Carl Taylor.
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.
Pig Iron People
by John Doyle
Directed by Michael Borenstein
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.
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’.
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 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
Stage Manager: Jill Benham Sound & Video: Alex Benham
Lights: Sunita Bailey Publicity: Marion Russo
Front of House: Jan Blanch
by Michael McDonald in Byron Shire Echo 13/05/2012
An affectionate tribute to a local writer
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’.
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:
“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
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.
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,