Hot Shorts 2022

Attention Would-Be HOT SHORTS 2022 Playwrights

With our 2021 season underway, Drill Hall Theatre Company (DHTC) is looking forward to 2022 and hopes to reconnect with previous HOT SHORTS writers and meet many new writers.

DHTC has set November 30th 2021 as the closing date for submissions to HOT SHORTS, the 10-minute play competition that has run bi-annually for the past 20 years. However, if you haven’t completed writing by the end of November DHTC will accept, as a minimum, an outline of your play and its intended themes.

Throughout the first half of 2022, we will help further develop your plays with readings, reviews and feedback ultimately selecting those plays to be included in HOT SHORTS 2022 to be staged in November next year.

Shortly before the closing date, DHTC plans to hold a one-day play-writing workshop on Saturday, October 9 in order to help you complete your writing. The workshop, to be held at the Drill Hall will be hosted by Russell Eldridge, a very experienced theatre practitioner, writer and editor.

Russell held a similar workshop after HOT SHORTS 2019 and left those who attended excited with his ideas about how to make their writing punchier and more engaging. Russell has been on the HOT SHORTS selection panel for a number of years and feels that many of the plays that failed to make it onto stage could have benefited from re-writing.

Please email us at letting us know if you plan to enter HOT SHORTS 2022 and also if you interested in participating in the workshop.

The Drill Hall Film Society

The Last Saturday of each month at 2 pm


Membership:  New memberships are $20 for the calendar year (February to December) and then $5 for each movie attended.  2020 members may rejoin for just $10.
Guests may also attend screenings at a cost of $10 per film (limited to 3 films in the 12 month period)
Membership payment can be made at the door or by contact Sonia on 66842112 for online payment details.
To register your attendance please contact Sonia on 66842112 or via email at  


Saturday 26th June at 2pm

The History Boys


Most films about schooldays are American and concerned with who’ll take whom to the prom, who’ll fix the school bully, who’ll score the decisive touchdown. Few have much to do with education. Indeed only a couple come readily to mind. That’s why the film version of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys is special, though certainly not the only reason. It’s been thoughtfully brought to the screen with its National Theatre cast intact and with the same director, Nicholas Hytner, who made his movie debut in 1994 with The Madness of King George, based on another National Theatre play by Bennett.

The year is 1983, the setting is an all-boys grammar school in Yorkshire attended largely by working-class lads, and the piece concentrates on eight bright sixth-formers who have stayed on for an extra term preparing to sit Oxbridge scholarship exams in History.

Despite the fine teaching by excellent professionals in History and the intellectually enthusiastic Mr Hector in General Studies, the Headmaster is not satisfied. He signs on a young teacher to polish the students’ style to give them the best chance. In this mix of intellectualism and creative spirit that guides a rigorous preparation regime for that ultimate educational brass ring, the lives of the randy students and the ostensibly restrained faculty intertwine that would change their lives forever.

The cast are mostly London’s original National Theatre cast, who also performed the play in Australia.  You will recognise a lot of the young actors as they have gone on to substantial careers.

Saturday 31st July at 2 pm

Last Cab to Darwin


This film is a gentle, low-key drama about a dying man’s bid to leave this world on his own terms. Adapted from the play by Reg Cribb and loosely based on a real-life story, the film tells of a cabby who has never left his hometown, Broken Hill. Surgery didn’t get all of his stomach cancer, and he’s got about three months to live. And this is his mission: to die. Rex says goodbye to his neighbour and the local barflies and takes to the road, picking up a couple of randoms on the way.

Despite its sombre theme, the film is mainly a conventional road movie — a picaresque journey across our dazzling interior that changes his outlook, starting with the rides he gives to a chatty footballer with hopes of pursuing a career in the AFL and an English backpacker and qualified nurse who quits her job at a remote pub after coming to the aid of sick cabbie. When the three arrive in Darwin, issues loom; the law is still in flux as an euthanasia advocate, Dr Farmer has developed a new machine that administers death literally at the press of a button.

For a while the film feels like a tourist catalogue of outback pubs and an ode to the fair dinkum Aussie tradition of drinking beer no matter how many body functions conk out. When the characters are fleshed out, it begins to feel much more than that, though director Jeremy Sims falls into a pattern of offsetting dark moments with light ones (and vice versa) to the point at which tonal shifts can be second guessed. A happy scene with smiles and laughs, for example, usually leads to a sad one reminding us of the protagonist’s fading health.

Cinematographer Steve Arnold captures a warm and crispy glow, as if instructed to create a look reflecting early morning sunshine. Sims and Cribb (who co-adapted the screenplay) invest plenty of thought into the characters and extrapolate from them an at times touching degree of heart and humour – particularly in the touch-and-go relationship between the cabbie and his neighbour.


Saturday 28th August at 2 pm

Bran Nue Day


Director Rachel Perkins’s soulful and spritzy crowd-pleaser Bran Nue Dae, adapted from a stage production by Aboriginal playwright and composer Jimmy Chi, has a dancing foot in both camps. The characters play instruments and sing in groups but also burst into spontaneous song in the manner of a theatre show or a Hollywood musical.

Perkins draws together other playful technical properties: unconventional twists and twirls of the camera, bursts of light and quirky sound effects. There is a rich, zesty vitality coursing through Bran Nue Dae.

Ernie Dingo performs a surreal and magnificently staged rendition of a Dreamtime rumination “Listen to the News” while Missy Higgins, Dan Sultan and others fill out the show-stopping tune which brings them all together, and for which the production is best known, “There is Nothing I Would Rather Be Than to be an Aborigine”.

In Rachael’s earlier 1998 feature, Radiance, there is suggestion of a more contemplative, stately style, but here she enthusiastically takes to the moments of farce and productions numbers. Much like another Australian musical by a then young director, Gillian Armstrong’s Starstruck from 1982, Bran Nue Dae carries the day with energy and self-belief.

The film is noted by its primary-colours, production design and ebullient musical numbers, which hammer home the inevitable life lessons but also introduce much-needed bursts of levity, joy and satire. In one delicious scene, boys in war paint prance their way through a number on the back of a truck. It’s a cheeky poke in the ribs, that dance, not just for racists but also for liberals who insist on exoticising Aboriginal culture.

Saturday 25th September at 2 pm

The Rocket


Local documentary film maker Kim Mordaunt’s The Rocket is a debut fiction, set in Laos. It is a likable piece of work whose gentleness is an interesting contrast to the grim and even tragic subject matter. The Rocket seems to have grown out of Mordaunt’s 2007 documentary Bomb Harvest, about the work of an Australian bomb disposal expert trying to clear away the huge number of unexploded devices dropped on Northern Laos by the US during the Vietnam war. Children are still at risk from these terrifying objects in the ground.

The story is about a young Laotian boy, Ahlo, who is believed by his family to be “cursed”, a bringer of bad luck. Ahlo battles on, however, making friends with an orphan and her wacky uncle Purple, and comes to believe that if he can win the local firework competition with his homemade rocket he can hit back at his own bad luck – and maybe in some way hit back at the bad fate that sent bombs raining down on Laos.

What gives this movie its sting is that, despite Kim’s insistent attempts at uplift, death hovers over this story at every single moment, from the truck filled with bombs on which the family hitches a ride to the eye-poppingly dangerous rocket contest that gives the movie its title. Here, every smile feels etched in sorrow.

Ahlo and Purple are two halves of a coin, the youngster traumatised but offering hope for the future yet to come, while the elder, despite his largely comical demeanour, represents the ghost of childhood suffering past. But Mordaunt’s film is robust and neither melancholy nor sentimental. He and his cinematographer Andrew Commis have an easy way with the camera, capturing the playfulness and energy of childhood and, by presenting events almost exclusively from the children’s perspective, he brings a freshness and an easy route into the story for those with no previous knowledge of Laos.

Kim Mordaunt will be introducing the film and there will be a Q&A afterwards

Saturday 30th October at 2 pm

The Sapphires


Set in the heady days of 1968, four young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission, are discovered by an unlikely talent scout. Plucked from obscurity and branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes, The Sapphires grasp the chance of a lifetime when they’re offered their first real gig – entertaining the troops in Vietnam. For the girls, a whole new world of sex, war, politics and soul opens before them.

Based on a true story and adapted from the stage play, The Sapphires is an over-the-top journey that’ll have you laughing, crying and celebrating the achievement of these four amazing aboriginal women.

It was always going to be tricky to turn such an amazing stage show into a film. Although it is over-played in parts and there is a “stageiness” to it, the heart of the film is so warm and there is so much to like – from the music to the voices to the Australian story.

Actor, stage director and film director Wayne Blair cites The Colour Purple as inspiration for the stylised warmth emanating from the girls’ home, in a clear break from traditionally bleak depictions of mission life. The sun-drenched tranquillity of their family home underscores the girls’ core sense of belonging – and how… As depicted in The Sapphires, the Cummeragunja Mission could well be the happiest place on earth.

The upbeat cinematography is by Warwick Thornton who went on to direct Samson and Delilah and Sweet Country. It’s saturated brights all the way, and production designer Melinda Doring clearly had a ball with the colour-popping period retro. Full marks to the sound team, led by supervisor Andrew Plain and music producer Bry for maximising the impact of songs from the Motown, Stax and Atlantic Records catalogues.

The screenplay is by Tony Briggs, son of one of the original Sapphires, Beverly Briggs, in collaboration with Keith Thompson, and is an adaptation of his own stage play.

Saturday 27th November at 2 pm

Wake in Fright


Kenneth Cook was posted as a young man by the ABC to Broken Hill in the early 1950s. This experience provided the basis for his scarifying first novel, Wake in Fright (1960). Gary, a young schoolteacher bonded to the NSW Education Department to teach in a desolate desert whistle-stop, visits “Bundayabba” (Broken Hill) on his way back to Sydney, surf and girlfriend for the vacation, loses all his money in a two-up game in a desperate attempt to pay off his bond and descends into drunkenness and depravity with the friendly locals.

This film, directed by the young Canadian director Ted Kotchoff, with a couple of foreign leads, Donald Pleasance and Gary Bond, was quite happy to accept Cook’s ugly Australians as his local characters and his parody of “mateship” as the social cement binding them together. The dialogue may be spare but we are right inside Gary’s head as he loses it. Gary Bond as the hapless schoolteacher is very convincing. Chips Rafferty as the local policeman with a pragmatic approach to enforcing the law exudes a low-level air of menace. Donald Pleasance as “Doc” the alcoholic ex-doctor who leads Gary astray is quite menacing, at the same time as being very amusing.

Wake in Fright is best seen as very vivid fiction, a horror movie in fact. Kenneth Cook may not have set out to write non-fiction. Neither was Ted Kotchoff trying to make a documentary. But, with good actors and a host of authentic extras, he created such a realistic atmosphere that many viewers were misled.

The film, which launched the career of Jack Thomson for one, is said to have given the Australian film industry a boost. Certainly, some fine films followed ; “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, “The Getting of Wisdom”, “The Devil’s Playground”, “The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith” for example.

Saturday 11th December at 2 pm

(Please note the pre-Christmas time and not the last Saturday of the month)

Ladies in Black


Despite the dark shade indicated in its title, a sunny patina is pivotal to Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black; to its summertime Christmas setting, its golden-hued recreation of Sydney in 1959, and its tale of identity, opportunity and tolerance. Based on Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel  The Women in Black (which was also adapted into an award-winning Australian musical called Ladies in Black in 2015) this is a hopeful, humorous and handsomely staged look at the lives of department store clerks facing personal and societal upheaval. While the narrative is straight forward, even as it touches upon timely themes of equality, multiculturalism and the treatment of refugees, the feature’s optimism always shines.

Focusing on Christmas 1959, Australia was at this point in the middle of a sustained economic boom and accompanying social changes, mirroring those elsewhere in the world. The time is exemplified here by the emergence of a new, self-confident generation of young women and the parallel integration of post-WWII refugees from Europe.

While the external shots of the film are the old Mark Foy’s department store (now the Downing Courts Complex) the assistants are clad in the title’s sable-hued attire, a la David Jones.

The presence of the Hungarian-flavoured influx of well-educated, culturally rich newcomers — somewhat scornfully dubbed ‘reffos’ by certain of the longer-established communities — provides Ladies in Black with a welcome depth that counterbalances the general air of brightly lit, excessively scored buoyancy which prevails. The status of refugees has been a significant source of controversy of late and is seldom far away from the headlines. Ladies in Black quietly but effectively points out the seldom-stressed positives of immigration and integration, and thus deserves considerable attention.

On the technical side, every frame of Ladies in Black looks the polished period part, from the meticulous production design by Felicity Abbott to the sleek, tailored costuming by Wendy Cork. And, unsurprisingly, seasoned Beresford cinematographer Peter James makes a spot-on contribution to this effervescent account of women seeking change on the cusp of the feminism-fuelled, culturally accepting Sixties.

The Drill Hall Film Society’s aim is to screen classic cinema at low cost to members in the convivial atmosphere of the historic Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby, with its tiered seating and air-conditioning.

Refreshments are available and discussion before and after the film is encouraged, occasionally with featured artists involved with the presented film.

The World’s Wife

Saturday 4th January at 7pm

Public Act Women’s Theatre Group presents

The World’s Wife

written by Carol Ann Duffy
performed by
Public Act Women’s Theatre Group
directed by Philippa Williams


Following on from the sold out success at The Byron Theatre on Dec 11th, Public
Act Theatre are very excited to announce their encore theatre performance of
‘The World’s Wife’ at The Drill Hall Theatre this coming January! A series of
poems and dramatic monologues written by Carol Ann Duffy and directed by
Philippa Williams.

This is a unique collection of satirical poems from the erstwhile Poet Laureate,
filled with her characteristic wit, which is a feminist classic and a modern take on
age-old mythology. It gives the women of ancient history, the unsung women of
myth, fairytale and culture, a glorious and powerful voice. – from Mrs Freud, Mrs
Icarus, Mrs Aesop along with many other ‘wives’ who join their voices with
Medusa, Delilah, and Salome to tell it as it really was.

Join us on Saturday 4th January 7pm 2020 at The Drill Hall Theatre for a witty,
satirical, provocative and playful production of ‘The World’s Wife’.

Early Bird Online Special until Friday 27th December $15
Pre-sales online via FB/Try Booking, or from the Bookshop in Mullum for $18

Tickets can be purchased at the door on the night for $20

Bar opens 30 minutes before show

To find further details on all our upcoming 2020 courses, please visit our
website and FB page

Public Act Theatre

Social Theatre Art is a tool that is increasingly being used to empower people
throughout the world. Whilst not necessarily disadvantaged in Byron Bay, we
still have issues, personal trauma and extraordinary stories as a rich source of
raw material. The playful power of theatre can be incredibly far reaching and our
personal stories are always a reflection of the community we live in.

Our 8 week Empowering Women through Theatre’ courses have been running
termly since 2015 based at the Byron Bay Community Centre. Contact us to enrol
in any of our theatre courses starting back in February 2020.

Proudly presented by Public Act Theatre
…Theatre for All …

– Byron Live 2 –

29th December

Bar (including cocktails) and food available when Doors Open at 6pm

Show Starts at 7pm

ByronLive is on again!!

Byron Live, Byron’s only live chat show

Incredible guests, everyone’s favourite host, and a whole lot of fun

There is limited seating in the beautiful, intimate Drill Hall Theatre, and word is spreading quickly, so organise your friends and get your tickets soon – don’t miss out

Click Here For Tickets

Comments from the last show….

“Fuck!!! I LOVED the show so much!”

“Unexpectedly hilarious. Eye opening and educational.’

“Fantastic! Characters, stories, ambience all so interesting.“

“A Superb Evening…”

“A wonderful evening of laughter, sweet sounds and brain fodder.”

“From the moment Mandy Nolan made her somewhat suave dancing entrance I did not stop laughing.”

For more information visit  Echonetdaily December 12

Culture in the Byron Shire and Beyond for the Week Beginning 12 December 2019




Monday 2nd December

Doors open and Food from 6pm
Show at 7pm with Smokey Fields and Friends
Manbaggery at 8pm
End at 9pm

Manbaggery. Mark Swivel and friends.

A Night of Story Telling and Music to raise funds for Barefoot Law (DV and homeless clients)

Manbaggery: A Story
After Together’s Senate campaign in the May election I devoted myself to building up Barefoot Law, an experiment in ‘access to justice’ that’s become ‘what I do’. In September 2019, a play called ‘Avalanche: a Love Story’ ran at the Sydney Theatre Company – that contained an account of my marriage to Julia Leigh, the writer and filmmaker (The Hunter, Sleeping Beauty).  I’ve never said anything about this (or the book it’s based on). It’s time to change that, for one night only, for a good cause – free from bitterness and the risk of defamation! A week after Avalanche closed an old friend died, Richard, who taught me ocean swimming, lived through the events surrounding Avalanche and was at uni with me and Julia. These days I often hear stories from clients that stretch and distress me. The discord and pain, and good things, that
live next door. Manbaggery is a story of loving and dying, the communities we live in … and the stories we choose to tell. It’ll be funny and warm, loving and heartbreaking. Trust me, I’m a lawyer.

Mark Swivel

Music from Our Friends
Smokey Fields with Dodsy and Gully are doing their much loved Woodstock Revisited Show!

About the Night
A bit of a Christmas party, a fundraiser and a story you’ll remember for quite some time. All proceeds to the Barefoot Law Fund at MDNC for our work with clients experiencing domestic violence or homelessness, managed by MDNC. Mainly done by Fiona and Jess.

To book donate at least $20 and put your name please in the Reference here: Limited tix at the door.

Angola Family Project

Dance and Music for Families

Wednesday 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm until December 18

For more information contact:

Dr Vitor Bottazzi
0401 803 704



Incomplete: my story of spinal cord injury

Book Launch

Saturday 23 November @ 6pm

By: Tim Winton-Brown

After eight years of consistent work it is finally finished; a memoir detailing a quadriplegic spinal cord injury that will now be launched at the Drill Hall Theatre, Saturday, November 23 at 6 pm.

With over 20 years of lived experience with disability, this is a story that traverses the highs and the lows of a devastating injury. It’s an unflinching and honest look at a life with a teenage acquired disability and how that’s impacted on the rest of life.

Titled Incomplete, it is the story of how Tim broke his neck while on a student exchange to Indonesia, only months after finishing high school.

Now 40 years old, Tim is more reflective and more appreciative of his situation and the struggles he has survived. His book details some of the successes, as well as the struggle, while always trying to be honest with illuminating its emotionally challenging aspects.

Detailing his difficult emotional terrain with a personal reportage style, it is a book that addresses some of the real vulnerability of living with spinal cord injury and disability.

I was always encouraged as a child and a teenager to express my feelings, but this had been more difficult than I could’ve imagined. It can be really hard work, and a bit weird,” Tim said.

He is looking forward to launching his memoir and sharing his story with the wider community.

Byron Live with Mandy Nolan

Saturday 5th October 2019, 7pm for an 8pm show

Well, this is going to be fun….going to host a chat show talking to the inspired, kooky, amazing out of the box thinkers who live around here! First show we speak to Damon Gameau who made That Sugar Film and 2040, Guinness Book of Records Superstar, sword swallower, chainsaw juggler and mind reader Space Cowboy, Yoni Mapping Therapist Karlyn Boyter (yes I’m getting mine done..gulp) with live painting by Pricasso, the dude who paints with his penis.

Music by Aine Tyrell – just back from playing the UK and Irish Festival circuit …there’s a houseband, there’s a catch up with Ellen Briggs….its going to be awesome…Saturday 5 October at the Drill Hall… Only 100 seats – its our first live filming – we’d love you to be there!

For tix go to

Imagine the Land

Join us for the Imagine the Land – Pigment Paste Up Project

Northern Rivers To Rome

Sunday 15 September 9.30-4.00pm

Join the IMAGINE THE LAND PROJECT artist Karma Barnes in a Pigment Paste-Up Project that will see YOUR ARTWORK on the streets of the Northern Rivers and the walls of ROME!!

Explore natural pigments and colours of the Northern Rivers through making pigment paints and eco inks from local soils and foraged materials. Learn about the geomorphology of the Northern Rivers and connect in a creative exploration of the landscape. Learn to produce and make paste-up eco street-art works. We will install our on the day with wheat-paste on the streets of the Mullumbimby. These artworks will then be reproduced & I will install them in the street art district of Rome, Italy!

At the IMAGINE THE LAND project day we will;

  • Make pigments paints & eco inks from local soils & foraged materials.
  • Connect with the local soils in a creative exploration of the landscape, learn about the geomorphology of the Northern Rivers and how the landscape was created with guest landscape architect James Nash.
  • Learn how to make paste-up eco artworks with our handmade pigment paints & eco inks.
  • Create a series of take-home art explorations on papers with pigment paints & eco inks.
  • Collaborate on designing and painting a street-art artwork
  • Install our street art installation of our collaborative paste-ups with wheatpaste on the walls of the Northern Rivers.
  • Our collaborative artwork will be reproduced and taken to Rome! You will receive live updates from Rome about when the Northern Rivers Artwork is being installed and documentation of the installation and photos of the final work in Rome to share with your friends & family!
  • This is a creative arts workshop suited to all skills and abilities. All materials and resources included.

Young people welcome to join us (15+).

This is a fundraiser for an upcoming exhibition that Imagine the Land Project ( is presenting at The Contemporary Art Gallery of Rome -MACRO this coming October. There we will be creating a 15-meter environmental art installation from Italian soils.

WHEN: Sunday 15 September 9.30-4.00pm

WHERE: The Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby, NSW

BOOKINGS: $100 for the day – includes all materials & resources

(concessions available)


CONTACT: Karma Barnes,
ph 0450 707 709


Imagine the Land Project – Our Story

Imagine the Land Project is a collaboration between local artist Karma Barnes (NZ/Australia) & Ekarasa Donlanovic (Croatia/NZ). Over the past 10 years, the project has worked with people of all ages in producing collaborative ecological artworks through socially and environmentally engaged artistic programs with around 10,000 people to cultivate creative and positive expressions of cooperation and collaboration. These engagements foster tangible experiences of teamwork, connection and intersubjectivity. This is the potent power of art, that so beautifully draws people together, mapping their connection to each other and the land. through soils and pigments.

It is this body of participatory work, that has engaged peoples connection with the creative project and that has led the Imagine the Land Project to be invited to exhibit in Rome at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s ‘MACRO ASILO Curatorial project’ this coming October!

The proposed project “Tocca La Terra” will be made out of Italian local soils hand gathered from the surrounding regions of Rome and regional Italy. These soils will be ground into fine pigments and transformed into a 15m long art installation, filling one of the MACRO exhibition halls.

The project seeks to build on our methodology of community engagement and connection to local place within a global environment. The work will explore local stories and collective ontologies of the earth that we work upon, fostering compassionate relationships between the participants and the environment that nourishes and sustains us.

Karma is also the director of the local street art project <In.scribe> Youth Project.

Karma Barnes  +61 450 707 709
MA Expressive & Creative Arts Therapy, Grad.Cert ECAP, BA Art & Creativity
Art Therapy Northern Rivers // Professional Registered ANZACATA
o  Art Therapist
Imagine the Land Project
o <In.scribe> Youth Arts Mentoring