New Wave Martinis


Drill Hall Theatre in conjunction with

Alan Raabe of EDIBLE TEAS

Reg Barber, Mandi Sebasio-Ong & Maureen Lill of



Edible Teas along with newly established music trio The New Wave Martinis and the Drill Hall Theatre Co. are co-hosting an evening of music, food and friendship on Friday 11th December.

The star of the Drill Hall’s production of “The Ballard of Edgar and Mary” Ms. Mandi Sebaslo-Ong is joined by Maureen Lill and Reg Barber to present an eclectic mix of old and new music.

Settle back and enjoy a leisurely 3-course tea-inspired meal which will feature shared platters with vegetarian and gluten-free options included.

This is a great opportunity to get together with family, friends or work colleagues to celebrate the Christmas season.


Numbers are strictly limited and must be booked in advance

The menu will consist of:

For starters – Watermelon and Jasmine Gazpacho.
(Seafood lovers have the option to add diced prawns or vegetarians can add crumbled feta if they prefer.)
For main course – meat eaters are offered Tea-Smoked Chicken Drumsticks & Chicken Kebabs.
Veggie lovers can opt for Tea-Smoked Roasted Vegetable & Spinach Frittata.
A salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, fresh coriander, mint and basil plus a Moroccan inspired barley salad.
Specialty breads, sour cream, avocado salsa and cranberry mustard condiments are included.

To finish – Chai Pavlova.
A delicious crunchy and chewy pavlova with a hint of chai flavours topped with fresh seasonal fruits marinated in chai syrup with whipped cream to finish.

All up, a total of 7 different teas are used in the meal. YUMMMMM!!

Hot Shorts 2015

Fri, Sat, Sun 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 November

And the Results are:

The Best Script prize, selected by a panel from the Northern Rivers Writers Centre, went to Michael Lill for his comedy “The Big One”. Congratulations to Michael, who also won this prize and the audience favourite with two separate plays in HOT SHORTS 2013.

First prize of the audience awards, The Peg Gloor Prize, went to Mike Russo with the dark comedy in the German expressionist style, “Mother’s Hat”.

Second prize went to Ollie Heathwood for her very visual comedy about ego in the theatre “Follow Spot”.

Third prize went to John McPherson for his very moving monologue “Mrs Serafini”. This was a beautiful piece about dealing positively with loss.

The Theatre Company isoverwhelmingly grateful for all who attended, all who participated and all who entered the competition. It was a fabulous celebration of a creative community. It’s particularly pleasing that nine actors from the Monday night workshops performed in the plays and did so well.

A huge thank you to Mike Russo for the coordination and to Shelagh Pepper for carrying out the difficult role of MC so well. Harry O’Meara, who operated sound and light for the first time did a terrific job and we hope he comes back to the Drill soon.

And not to forget all those who work behind the scenes to make a show like this a success: the stage managers; front of house and bookings; those coordinating and those working in the kitchen and the bar; the set construction;  those who set up and pack up the tiered seating: those involved in publicity including social media and the web site: and the Drill Hall Theatre Company Committee.

The Program for 2015


HOT SHORTS is a biennial competition first produced by the members of BAYLAB, an organisation founded by local theatre director Peg Gloor and writer Lorna Bol. It aims to encourage writing for the stage by Northern Rivers writers and has been presented seven times previously, the last two by DHTC. This year, from 31 entries, the independent panel chose the nine plays you see tonight, hoping to create a well balanced program reflecting a variety of current interests and theatre styles. Prizes to the writers are: $1,000 for the best written play as selected by a panel appointed by the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre; the $500 Peg Gloor Prize for the audience favourite; a $300 second prize and $200 third prize. These last three prizes are determined by audience vote.

MC:    Shelagh Pepper
Artistic Director:     Mike Russo
Stage Managers:     Mike Russo and Des Mayblom
Lights & Sound:      Harry O’Meara
Catering:      Rae Richardson   Front of House:       Jan Milton Blanch


Alex Broun – “Kane And Doris”

Awkward. That moment when you are in a public place and the person next to you has a very public meltdown. My play was inspired by exactly that situation at an airport in India. The man next to me received a text message and what followed was a quite spectacular emotional explosion. I wish I could have said some wise words to console him, renew his hope, soothe his soul. But in that moment you just don’t know what to do. Doris does. But that’s Doris. This could be the start of something …

 KaneJames Morau  Doris: Elizabeth Burke Direction: Penny Irving


Michael Lill – “The Big One”

Local Mayor, Gordon Hunt believes he is some kind of God with a dominion stretching as far as the eye can see. With one of our country’s most significant cultural celebrations less than an hour away, he is set to revel in the fruits of other people’s labour. Then his Deputy arrives with some news.

Mayor Hunt:   Des Mayblom  Tim: Michael Borenstein  
Direction: Michael Borenstein


 Belinda Lopez – “Two Girls And A Box”

Curiosity. It lurks in all of us, and let’s face it, life would be pretty boring without it. Sometimes it can get us into trouble though… like when it trumps privacy. Luckily in this case it didn’t kill the cat, but I’m curious….what do you think is in the box?

JaneKimberly McIntyre  Emily: Christelle Naude  
DirectionHielrick Georges Dajon


 John Bailey – “The Widow Maker”

One day my mind did something different. I wrote dialogue rather than history. Let it rip. Oh the relief of not being bogged down by bloody facts. My heart jumps in a jazz chorus as I compose a murder mystery.

AliceToni Collins  Harry: Scott Jones 
Squirrel: Justice Hamnett / (Nov 14  Mike Russo)  
DirectionGeorgia Martin


John McPherson – “Mrs Serafini”

I was seeking to explore the notion of dealing with loss. The reality constructed by each person is distinctly different from the next person’s. We may live beside someone but never know their innermost secrets. What informs their intimate thoughts and memories. Positive things or negative things that they may punish themselves for that no-one else knows about. Mrs Serafini is a story about one of those secrets – a tragic secret – and how, through unpredictable circumstance, one woman’s tragic loss is turned, by the power of her own imagination, into a joy.

Mrs Serafini: Sharon Brodie  Direction: Kylie Fuad


Ollie Heathwood – “Follow Spot”

It was during a post show discussion about a lighting operator having a run in with an actor and leaving in a huff that I said ”They could have done much more damage by staying and working the lights against the actor’s best interests. Lots of comic potential there.” Driving home I started to think about exploring what that would be like. Trawling for a suitable monologue for the actor, I came across Lady Macbeth’s famous speech, and the first line made me laugh, so the play grew from there.

 HarmonyChristelle Naude Angie: Brenda Shero Davina: Mandy Morris
DirectionOllie Heathwood


Paula Williams – “Dottie”

I have been writing since I was 16 and now, having turned 90, my passion for writing and theatre is just as strong. It is the actor in me, when ever I glimpse a particular personality, I love to create an internal monologue about how they view life and the people in their life.

 Dottie:          Jennie Hicks  Direction: Jenny Johnson & Katherine Hicks


Mike Russo – “Mother’s Hat”

A surreal, expressionist look at the prejudices of a conservative family as they deal with an unwelcome visitor. The look and feel of this play was germinated when I was asked to devise an improvisation in the style of the German expressionist movement when I was at university twenty years ago. It has stayed with me as something I should explore further.

DaughterJudy Boreham Son: Carl Taylor/  (14 & 15 Nov  Kito )
FatherMike Russo  Mother: Jan Wilde  Visitor: Toni Collins
DirectionMike Russo & Judy Boreham  Costumes:     Marion Russo


Mark Swivel & Kathryn Walker– “In The Vacuum”

An absurdist or horribly real look at how we frail and lovely humans tackle the big and the small – being intimate with our loved ones as we struggle to just get through the day; or doing the vacuuming while we do something practical about climate change; how we communicate, how we give shape to the vacuum of ordinary life. All that. And it’s funny.

HerKathryn Walker Him: Mark Swivel  featuring Thibault and Nina Walker and thank you to Buzz Walker for the best line in the play
Direction:  Kathryn Walker & Mark Swivel


Thanks to Bette Guy; Mullum Printworks; The Bookshop; Russell Eldridge; Jill McCann and all involved in creating and producing the plays.

The Ballad of Edgar and Mary

Fri, Sat, Sun 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 October

The Ballad of Edgar and Mary

a boutique musical of love and war

produced for the Centenary of the Drill Hall Mullumbimby

co -written & directed by Claude Gonzalez & Gregory Aitken

with music hall & soldiers songs from WW1


Sponsored by the Anzac Centenary Program

Edgar and Mary Stephens marry in 1914 and live at Left Bank Road Mullumbimby. In 1916 the Drill Hall is built for military training with timber from Hollingworth’s saw mill where Edgar is employed before enlisting. While Edgar serves in France, Mary dreams of a life in Paris as a chanteuse. Instead she joins a travelling enlistment show with a blind soldier poet, a veteran of Gallipoli, as the main attraction. The final show is at the Drill Hall. The mysterious Singer who narrates the entertainment in song is supported by L’Orchestre du Music Hall. 

The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary is a music theatre entertainment commissioned by the Drill Hall Theatre Company, with assistance from the Australian Government’s, Anzac Centenary Grant Program, for the Centenary of the Drill Hall. The show is co-written and directed by Claude Gonzalez, twice nominated for an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award and an IF Award and Gregory Aitken an actor and producer who has enjoyed 22 years of theatre work in the Northern Rivers.

Starring:                   Amanda Sebasio-Ong, Ben Mackenzie, Danielle Dwyer & Nu McCabe
Music:                      L’Orchestre du Music Hall – Coral Grogan and Graham Richardson
Producer:                  Gregory Aitken
Production design:    Claude Gonzalez
Musical direction:      Coral Grogan
Choreography:          Michael Hennessy
Lighting design:         Sunita Bailey


Dates & Times

9 – 25 October 2015
at 8pm Friday & Saturday Nights and 2pm Sundays


Special Events

Opening Night Celebration – 7.15pm for 8pm show Friday 9 October
Closing Night – meet the writer/directors and cast – 2pm Sunday 11 October Q & A after the perrformance


Ticket Prices

$20 and $15 concession for regular nights
$30 for Opening & Closing Special Events
Special prices for Schools & Groups


The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s Centenary Production –

Media Release 7 September 2015

Collaborators in Dreams

When a couple of mates caught up after an absence of thirty years they decided to write a show.

“I was Executive Producer of the Byron Bay Film Festival and Claude (Gonzalez) was the Series Producer for ABC TV’s long running The Movie Show when we renewed our friendship. I knew the Drill Hall Theatre Company wanted a show to celebrate the centenary of the Drill Hall so over a period of eighteen months Claude and I co-wrote The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary. It’s been a joyful collaboration,” said local theatre veteran, Gregory Aitken.

The writers are also co-directing the music theatre entertainment. “Claude likes to think that we are a creative partnership similar to the film-makers, the Coen Brothers.”

The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary has over twenty music hall and soldier songs from the period. “Some of the songs are very poignant while others challenge the war. The songs are fantastic and when stirred in with with a bit of music hall comedy, plus astonishing performances this production has all the ingredients of a hit. More exciting, in my view, than the Drill Hall Theatre Company’s 2015 production, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. ”

Aitken who was the supervising director and adaptor of the Shakespeare play adds “ there are similarities with both productions. The Ballad is a love story set in Mullumbimby while The Dream was a love story adapted to Mullumbimby. Michael Hennessy is the choreographer for the new show as he was with The Dream. Two beautiful actresses from The Dream (Danielle Dwyer and Amanda Sebasio-Ong) flourish in the Ballad. For both productions, Sunita Bailey’s the creative lighting designer.”

The Ballad is set in 1916 and tells of the story of the newly-weds, Edgar and Mary . Edgar serves in France while Mary becomes a singer with an enlistment show. “We are a month away from the opening and the performers and the band are firing. If people enjoyed the production values of The Dream they won’t be disappointed by The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary. Claude is designing the ‘look’ which is sub-conscious fantasy, again, like The Dream. It’s great to have a really talented visiting director at the Drill Hall for the Centenary”, said the co-director, Aitken.

(The photo is of – left to right – Gregory Aitken, Claude Gonzalez and lighting designer Sunita Bailey in the background.)



“Authentic. An absolutely fantastic show.” Howie Randell

“The costumes are divine. It’s very entertaining. The story is great.” Yvette

“Wonderful acting. Beautiful singing.” Glad King

“Loved the songs and everything about the show.” Lucy

“The sets and costumes are stunning.” Norman Appel

“Every song is evocative.” Tim Winton-Brown

“The performers are wonderful. It’s beautiful music theatre.” Carolyn Bailey

“Refreshing. Its different from the usual theatre we see and very personal.” Georgia Martin

“Fantastic. It captured the era.” Ursula

“The music was brilliant. Particularly in the second half.” Michael Borenstein

“Brilliant. Fantastic statement and beautifully put together.” Anjali Walsh

“The second half of the show took me with it. It clicked straight away.” Geoff Harrison

“Very, very good.” John Bailey

“I thought it was great. The pacing was really good.” Mo

“I loved the theatricality of the songs. All of the characters are so believable” Alan Raabe

“Fabulous lighting.” Mike Russo

“The acting was superb.” Minny


The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary

 Gala Opening Weekend

The Ballad of Edgar and Mary is a heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of a soldier, Edgar, who serves in France in WW1. His wife Mary dreams of becoming a chanteuse in Paris but lives in Mullumbimby.

The Ballad of Edgar and Mary tells how war affects ordinary people. Edgar reluctantly enlists because Mary believes that “if we all do our bit this war will be over soon”.

The mysterious singer comes to a different view in the song “Stay Down There Where You Belong” she sings that politicians and their masters are profligate with other people’s lives.

The Gala Opening, Friday 9 October, 7pm for an 8pm show, includes bubbles or a beverage from Coopers plus a slider. Or Saturday night when you can enjoy a post-show chat with the writers and the performers while on Sunday there is a Q & A with the cast after the 2pm show perhaps with a cup of tea.

Becky Shaw

Directed by Georgia Martin

Friday, Saturday, Sunday 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 June & 3, 4, 5 July

“Becky Shaw” is an amusing and cleverly constructed comedy about ambition, the cost of being truthful, and the perils of a blind date. The fast and funny dialogue navigates between five distinctively perverse and disingenuously dysfunctional characters.

When this  Pulitzer prize-nominated play first premiered in 2008 one reviewer said of it:-
“Gina Gionfriddo’s comedy of bad manners, a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics among a quartet of men and women in their 30s, is as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage from its first moments to its last”


Featuring Kate Foster and Madeleine Lipson from last year’s hit “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress”; Brenda Shero who appeared in several Theatre North productions as well as DHTC’s “A Pint of Pinter”; Sam Hemphill (“Uncle Vanya”, “Caldera” and “Honk If You Are Jesus”) and newcomer Samuel Peacock, who has just completed a professional tour of Queensaland; this is a strong cast in a very strong play.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 19, 20, 26, 27 June & 3, 4 July at 8pm

Sunday Matinees 21, 28 June and 5 July at the winter friendly time of 2pm

In rehearsal

The Cast – photographs courtesy of John Rado

                                                                                                Like us on 

Opening Night



by Joanna Murray-Smith

Friday, Saturday, Sunday 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 May 2015

After 32 years of marriage, George and Honour have achieved it all; the successful marriage, the family, the house, the garden. They’re a golden couple and what’s more, they’re still desperately in love.

Honour – beautiful, intelligent and a promising writer in her youth – has been fulfilled by a life spent caring for her family and supporting George while he carved out a brilliant career in academia. Together the couple have weathered hard times, their lives becoming inextricably intertwined.

However, Honour is to learn of the appalling fragility of love when George, enchanted by a stunning, young journalist, abandons both his wife and his marriage.

The tale is a familiar one – it’s Nero and Poppea, Clinton and Lewinski – yet Joanna Murray-Smith’s fiercely intelligent play imbues it with freshness and insight. With extraordinary wit and great compassion, she questions the very nature of love: does it inevitably erode over time? Can it endure the terrible dichotomy between passion and perseverance?

Warning:  Occasional strong language

From the Director, Penny Irving …

I am excited to have been asked to direct Joanna Murray-smith’s play “Honour” for the Mullumbimby Drill Hall Theatre.

Honour’s tale of an elder man leaving his wife for a younger woman is a well-worn theme, however, the four characters in the play all have their own perspective on love, family and marriage.  The play is also a lament to the passing of youth, a weighing up of the enthusiasm and the joys of the young, against the gentle satisfaction of middle age.  Joanna Murray-Smith does domestic drama well.  The plays sadness is brightened by humour, intelligence and wit.

The cleverness of the play is what is left unsaid, the unfinished sentences between Honor and George who both have made words their life’s occupation.

I am thrilled to part of the Drill Hall Theatre and to work with such talented actors.

and some background …

Penelope Irving was born in Melbourne and in her youth joined St Martins Youth Theatre where she learnt all about theatre making and attending many Theatre workshops.

Penelope also attended the Theatre prac workshops at Central Queensland University.

Penelope has performed in:

  • The Capricorn Players production of Godspell, Cabaret, King O’Malley. Remains of The Day
  • Baz Lurmann’s Crocodile Creek.
  • Back Yard Theatre productions as a performer and director

Has Directed:

  • “Urban Nomad” for Rockhampton Community Theatre.
  • “Lament for Living” for Noosa Arts (winning play)
  • “Sophia” for RocPak and Central Queensland University (winning play)
  • “The Kiss” Performed at the Philbeam Theatre, Rockhampton.

Has obtained Sponsorships from and Grants for:

  • Greening Australia to direct “The Dance For the Conservation of The Trees”
  • Amnesty International to direct a mono drama “Examples”

Penelope’s work has included involvement in the Gender Equity program for disadvantaged schools, using drama as a tool.  Her skills have also been engaged by Rockhampton TAFE for a semester directing performances with the Hospitality students.

Employed by the Queensland Department of Education as Artist in Residence in drama to the coastal primary schools on the Capricorn Coast.

Central Queensland University – worked in the Creative Arts Programme which was developed as a collaborative project between the Faculty of Health science and the Rockhampton Mental Health Services to facilitate module related to drama.

Collaborated with Monash University and Central Queensland University performing Arts Programme on the production Of “Know Bull”

Penelope took a group of actors with disabilities to perform at Tattersalls in Brisbane as part of the state celebrations which recognised Disability Week.

Penelope was employed by Rockhampton Regional council and Yeppoon High school to facilitate theatre workshops and performances with “Kids at Risk” after school hours.

Penelope ran drama workshops for primary school children and adults at the Walter Reed Centre in Rockhampton.

Founded the Open Hand Theatre which was sponsored by The Strand Hotel In Yeppoon.

Devised and directed the opening for the “Village Arts Festival”

Worked with her husband at the WoodFord Folk Festival running workshops for seven years.

The above is just some of the stuff I have done over many years.

A Review from Maurice Morrisey

“Honour” play is an ensemble tribute to all Australian provincial theatres and the countless who nurture each performance. “Honour” is a play about the erosion of a woman’s sense of self (she being no less accomplished as her husband) as she accommodates, honouring love, her husband’s intellectual and literary successes – only to left for a younger woman, Claudia, a woman as vital as the woman she sacrificed – herself. “Honour” was a play difficult for the Mullumbimby Drill Hall Theatre to “get to up” – apparently, this production is the fourth attempt, and thankfully successful, to see the box office open. The director, Penny Irving, has moved the actors about the confined stage with economy – reflecting the precision, humour, and the matrimonial insights of this gently searing script by Joanna Murray-Smith. Such economy has permitted both the script and the acting to be appreciated in equal measure. While the stage props are sparse – the costume charges cleverly reflect the age of the characters (Amy in particular – the young daughter in the play) and the scenes of the play. Liz Chance brings to her character “Honour” a fine nuanced performance of an wife grown ever more accommodating of his husband’s life despite the casual cynicism, and insights, embedded in her matrimonial conversation. Aurea Morrisey plays Claudia; self-possessed, confident, independent and to whom love is but a means to an end– her ambitions. At the end of the play, despite Claudia realising the damage she has caused to three lives, you feel Claudia still has a way to go before she is able to honestly honour love – such lingering engagement marking a memorable performance. Aya Emery plays the difficult role of a young daughter in her early ‘twenties, Sophie, and only slightly younger than Claudia. Amy Emery captures the generational change in values, and these she shares with Claudia, while being bewildered by the lost of the security of a joint parental love. Mike Russo plays George – the husband and a well practised ego centric bastard.Mike Russo’s performance quickly conveys George’s emotional separation from the marriage many years previous – all hidden behind the deluded subterfuge of intellectualisation. A difficult role but mastered. Once again, applaud this cast, this company and provincial theatre!
Disclaimer: I’m Aurea’s Dad.”


Alastair and Alice present …

Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 April

A  CABARET “Alastair and Alice present …” written and directed by Alan Raabe will be the next Drill Hall Theatre Company’s production and promises to be a sensational night’s entertainment for all. Enjoy amazing tapas, plus a drink or two with friends before the show, in an intimate cafe-style setting. Say “Hello” to the protagonists, Alastair and Alice, but, be aware they dream of doing something really exciting.  Something as mind-blowing as producing their very own cabaret – a cabaret overflowing with a cast of almost 20 performers showcasing some hysterical comedy, unforgettable singing, sizzling electrifying  dance routines, dazzling lighting effects and breath-taking specialty acts.  With a little added help from their Guardian Angel, and, if the big name cabaret artist agrees to perform, the show will definitely be a truly, unparalleled ‘spectacular spectacular’ entertainment event. Don’t miss it!

Friday & Saturday 10 / 11 / 17 / 18 April.
Tapas and drinks from 7.00pm.
Show starts at 8.00pm
Sunday 12 / 19 April.
Tapas and drinks from 4.00pm.
Show starts at 5.00pm

Tickets $20 ($15 concession) available online (30c booking fee), from the Bookshop Mullumbimby and (until sold out) at the door.

And a comment from a fan ……….

“My mother (77) and I (54) went to Saturday 11th April show. Unreservedly, it was the best belly laugh, most colourful, entertaining, tongue in cheek, vamped, fun, engaging and totally enjoyable show I have ever seen….without doubt….anywhere! Congratulations to Alan Raabe and the Team …. they all deserve an Oscar.  Sincerely, Linda”


An Evening with Dylan Thomas

An Evening with Dylan Thomas                           – from Laugharne to Mullumbimby

Friday, Saturday, Sunday 27, 28 February, 1, 6, 7, 8 March 2015



An Evening with Dylan Thomas – from Laugharne to Mullumbimby, opens The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s 2015 season. This year is the 101st anniversary of the poet Dylan Thomas’ birth and the 99th year in the colourful life of the Drill Hall.

Dylan Thomas’ lyrical poetry and prose is loved throughout the world. Idiosyncratic and surreal, he captures the essence of Wales in the first half of the 20th century with humour and longing.

An Evening With Dylan Thomas is directed by visiting Welshman Ray Thomas who has presented the show in both Wales and England. Ray is a member of Cardiff’s Every Man Theatre. An Evening will be a relaxed script-in-hand reading with the audience in ‘café style’ seating.  A strong cast of 15 veteran and new to the Drill Hall actors form a warm ensemble of voices.

Included in the show are extracts from some of Dylan Thomas’ best-known works, Under Milk Wood, Fern Hill, Return Journey  and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, Do not go gentle into that good night.

The director Ray Thomas who also performs as the Narrator gently guides the audience through the poet’s life while the actors perform around 70 colourful characters.

By Evening’s close the audience and the cast will feel close to the heart of the poet. This production will delight those familiar with Dylan Thomas’ poetry and prose and those about to discover its beauty.

An Evening With Dylan Thomas held over 6 nights:

at the Drill Hall Theatre, 2 Jubilee Avenue, Mullumbimby 

Friday and Saturday 27, 28 February & 6,7 March at 7:00 pm for a 7:30 start


Sunday Matinee performances on 1 and 8 March at 4:30pm for a 5.00 start.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the bar

A little about the Director


Born in a South Wales steel town, Port Talbot (as were Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Sheen, Rob Bryden and Paul Potts) Ray’s first acting experience – like many others – was in Primary School.

As a Sixth Former, Ray was privileged to be taught by Godfrey Evans – then a young Graduate from Central School of Speech and Drama, who had vied for parts in school productions with Richard Burton – under whose Direction, Ray appeared in a number of plays and musicals, learning a great deal in the process.

From 1968 Ray trained to be a Drama Teacher at Secondary Level, graduating in 1972. During a 13-year career as Head of Drama Departments in large Secondary Schools in UK and Singapore, Ray also managed/ Directed a 525-seat school-based professional Community Theatre; founded and Directed 3 Youth Theatres; found time to pursue his acting, Directing, music and sporting interests.

After returning to UK from Singapore in 1985, Ray decided on a mid-career change of direction. He completed an M Ed, choosing to focus the whole course on Community Education/ Lifelong Learning. From 1987, until taking early retirement in 2004, Ray worked for Somerset County Council as a Senior Manager in the Adult Learning and Leisure Service. Once again, acting and Directing opportunities enabled Ray to participate in work that he loved, as well as continuing with sport and music. At this time Ray also delivered a Performing Arts Course in Somerset College of Arts and Technology.

A return to Wales, in 2006, saw Ray creating links with Everyman Theatre Company, Cardiff at their internationally renowned base, ”Chapter Arts Cenre” in Canton, Cardiff. Acting and Directing work for Everyman was interspersed with Film and TV work as a Supporting Artiste. September, 2013 saw Ray embarking upon the M A Drama Course at The University of South Wales, in Cardiff. Having completed the Course, with a Distinction, in September 2014, Ray was invited to Lecture at The University, in Directing at B A Level.

Acting and Directing featured heavily during 2014/5, with Ray acting in “Earthquakes in London”, Pinter’s “The Homecoming”, a Music video and a University Sci-Fi film series. He also Directed Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” for Everyman; “The Thunder and Lightning Man” – his own play about a little-known 19th Century Somerset Scientist; and “From Laugharne to ……(wherever we happen to be playing!” – a compilation piece, script-in-hand reading/ performance, about the life and work of the wonderful Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. This work sprang from the Centenary Celebrations of the birth of Dylan (1914 – 1953), which lasted the whole year in Wales!

The piece has been well-received in England and Wales. Having searched for a venue and a cast in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, Ray is delighted to have made contact with The Drill Hall Theatre Company and also that they have been incredibly interested in and so supportive of this production. All proceeds will contribute to the fund-raising efforts of your own Community-based Theatre Company, as they also head towards their Centenary.

The audition and rehearsal processes have been full of fun and fascination – we hope that our audiences will enjoy the whole experience in a Cabaret-style setting in the Drill Hall – please support the production and help your own Theatre Company. I am really looking forward to sharing the experience with you.

Ray Thomas

January 2015


And some interesting comments from an ex-resident


A Good Look Around Revisited

Earlier in 2014 Tony Barry, noted Aussie actor and much-loved patron of DHTC, hosted a weekend of artistic activism that focused on developing performance pieces that emphasised a message of love for the planet and gentle, loving satire for those who may not have its best interests at heart.

This weekend was the next stage in that process and was held at:

The Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby on Friday 31 October and Saturday 1st November at 6pm.

Read more in the Byrob Shire Echo at:

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

July 25, 26, 27 and August 1,2,3,8,9,10

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, written by Alan Ball, is a seriously humourous play that combines a celebration of female friendship with a satire on the pretensions and foibles and of the upper-middle class and an expose of the skeletons in their closets. A play that women will identify with and through which men will learn a lot of secret women’s business, especially what women think about men and talk about when men aren’t present.

Alan Ball is the academy award winning screenwriter of “American Beauty” and scriptwriter and producer of the television favourites “Six Feet Under” & “True Blood”.  “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress ” is in the vein of these popular hits and will delight fans of Alan Ball’s uniquely skewed point of view, his wit and his ingenuity.


“Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” is directed by Mike Russo and Georgia Martin and features a talented cast consisting of Kate Foster, Madeleine Serrier, Madeleine Lipson, Catherine Volkov, Melia Naughton and Hank Spangler.

This play is for the broad-minded as it contains adult themes including sex, gender politics and drug taking and includes some strong language.

Melia Naughton in pink surrounded by (L to R) Madeleine Lipson,
Kate Foster and Madeleine Serrier.