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.