with Tony Barry
Friday 30th April at 7 pm
A screening of the film of the 2004 Sydney performance.
Tickets at the door $25/$20
Byron Shire Echo, Wednesday 21st April 2021
The play, A Local Man: A play about Ben Chifley, was written for Tony by the late Bob Ellis and Professor Robin McLachlan.
It opened in Bathurst, Ben’s home town, in 2004, and then toured the east coast after a successful six week season at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney.
Tony says the experience of playing arguably the greatest Australian Prime Minister, is one he will never forget.
The screening to be shown is of the 2004 Sydney Performance and is a fundraiser for a one-man show that Tony is developing. That show, A Good Look Around, is planned for later this year/early next year and will explore Tony’s life and times in film, TV, activism, alcoholism, cancer recovery, and his traumatic experiences at the hands of the Catholic Church when he was a child.
Come and share the night with Tony. The film will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.
Tickets available at the door: $25/$20
by Joanna Murray-Smith
18 June – 4 July
Joanna Murray-Smith’s brilliant play Switzerland is the second production in the Drill Hall Theatre Company’s all-Australian 2021 season. Arguably the nation’s most successful playwright, Murray-Smith has written a play about the grande dame of best-selling crime literature, Patricia Highsmith.
Highsmith lives with an impressive collection of books and a somewhat sinister collection of guns and knives. The novelist finds solace in her seclusion, her whisky and cigarettes until the hapless Mr Edward Ridgeway appears sent as an emissary by her publishing company in New York.
Murray-Smith makes no bones about Highsmith’s tendency to abuse. She is seen, towards the end of her life, as a rancorous loner railing at the New York literary establishment. She is prone to racist rants and has a vicious smackdown for every occasion which challenges her visitor who has come to beg her to write one more book in The Ripley Series.
The director, Toni Scanlan says that “this Drill Hall production is a perfect platform for Liz Chance’s amazing skill as an actor while we will witness the rise of an emerging talent in Charlie Burton.”
A noted actor herself, the director informs us that “Liz plays the famous writer, Highsmith as an eccentric lesbian, homophobic, racist, hard-drinking, a brilliant would-be psychopath with excellent taste in soft furnishings. While Charlie who shows enormous promise, plays the mysterious and ambiguous intruder Edward Ridgeway”.
Switzerland opens at the Drill Hall Theatre Mullumbimby, 18 June and plays until 4 July.
DOORS OPEN 30 MINUTES BEFORE EACH SHOW
Please be early as seating is not allocated
Bar (Beer/Wine) and Kitchen (Tea/Coffee/Cakes) opens 30 minutes before each show.
Please note that online bookings close 2 hours before each performance.
There is a 50c booking fee for online bookings.
Duration approx 1hr 30 minutes.
Joanna Murray-Smith is one of our outstanding Australian playwrights and has had her plays and novels translated and performed widely around the world. According to the Australia Council, Joanna Murray-Smith, along with Daniel Keene, account for half of all foreign productions of Australian plays.
Switzerland was first performed by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2014 and in its review, the Sydney Morning Herald, had this to say about the play:
“Switzerland is arguably Murray-Smith’s best play yet, and certainly one of her most entertaining. The playwright’s familiar strong suits – her barbed wit and effortless gift for verbal sparring, her feminist lens (which in this production burns a hole into sexism in literary publishing) – are totally in service to the dramatic whole in Switzerland, and they combine to form an unbeatable hand.
Whether you’re a mad Highsmith fan, or you’ve never heard of her, you’ll be chilled and gripped, amused and seduced by this pitch-perfect psychological thriller.”
Angry Young Penguins (1987); Atlanta (1990); Love Child (1993); Ridge’s Lovers (1993); Flame (1994); Honour (1995); Redemption (1997); Nightfall (1999); Rapture (2002); Bombshells (2004, written for Caroline O’Connor); The Female of the Species (2006); Ninety (2008), Scenes from a Marriage (2008); Rockabye (2009); Songs for Nobodies (2010); The Gift (2011); Day One, a Hotel, Evening (2011); True Minds (2013), Fury (2013); Switzerland, (2014); Pennsylvania Avenue (2014)
Truce (1994) Judgement Rock (2002) Sunnyside (2005)
The poems of Ern Malley (ed) (1988); Georgia, (film, 1988); Cassidy (1989, for ABC Television); “Mimi Goes to the Analyst” in Six Pack (1992, for SBS TV); “Greed” in Seven Deadly Sins (1993, for ABC Television); Lyrics to a song cycle about Harold Holt, music by Paul Grabowsky; Janus: episodes “Fit to Plead”, “An Unnatural Act”, “A Prima Facie Case” (1995, for ABC Television); Libretto to the opera Love in the Age of Therapy (2002) by Paul Grabowsky for Opera Australia, Melbourne Festival and Sydney Festival; Libretto to The Divorce (2015, for ABC Television)
- Australian Film Institute Award nomination in 1989 for the screenplay to Georgia (shared with Ben Lewin, Bob Weis).
- Braille Book of the Year for Judgement Rock
- Victorian Premier’s Literary Award: Southbank Pacific Prize for Drama for Honour in 1996
- Victorian Premier’s Literary Award: Louis Esson Prize for Drama for Rapture in 2003
- Winner 2004 Fringe First Award, Edinburgh Festival Fringe for Bombshells
- International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award nomination in 2004 for Judgement Rock
- Winner 2005 London Theatregoers Choice Award for Bombshells
- Final list of twelve of the Miles Franklin Award in 2006 for Sunnyside
- Co-winner New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards (Play Award) 2012 for The Gift
Toni trained at the Drama Centre, London. Her theatre credits include:
For Belvoir: Stop Girl & Ruben Guthrie. Sydney Theatre Company: Blood Wedding, Our Town, Troupers, King Lear, Cuckoo’s Country and Madras House. For Black Swan Theatre: Hir and Angels in America – Part One For Ensemble: Richard 111, Let the Sun Shine, A View From the Bridge, I’m Not Rappaport, All My Sons, The Price. For Riverside: Hamlet, King Lear. For The Darlinghurst Theatre, Good Works, Eternity Playhouse Grand opening show: All My Sons.. For QTC: Once in Royal David’s City, The Children, The Family, Too Young for Ghosts. For Q Theatre: Daylight Saving, Kid Stakes. For TN Theatre Co: Private Lives, Boy’s Own Macbeth, Cloud 9, The Conquests of Carmen Miranda. For Griffin Theatre: King Tide, Back Beat, White Nancy. For Playhouse Theatre: Fields of Heaven. For Her Majesty’s, Perth: Annie. For Hole in the Wall Theatre: In His Own Right, Under Milkwood. Film: The Forest, Vacant Possession, Loveless, Homebrew, Breakaway, Tenderhooks, Contact, High Tide.
TV & Film includes Hearts & Bones, The Hiding, Crownies, Answered by Fire, MDA, Backberner, Crash Palace, Water Rats (Series Regular 6 years), Bordertown, Blue Heelers, GP.
Awards: 2014 Sydney Theatre Awards winner for Best Actress in a Leading Role in an Independent Production, All My Sons.
2008 Sydney Theatre Awards winner for King Tide, by Kath Thomson.
Toni’s Directing credits include, The Seagull, Cherry Orchard and Three Sisters for QUT. A Cheery Soul for Waapa.
Liz Chance is a veteran of stage and screen and recalls her first big break into theatre when she was discovered in an acting class with the great Stella Adler.
With more than 30 years’ experience as an actor, Liz has appeared on just about every Australian stage and in more television than she can remember, including A Country Practice, Home & Away, Water Rats, Blue Heelers, Rafferty’s Rules, G.P, and admits her first stage kiss was with Mel Gibson with the Sydney Theatre Company. For more than a decade, Liz also directed and taught at NIDA, teaching Australian luminaries including Cate Blanchett, Sam Worthington, Jeremy Simms, and Damon Gameau.
Liz first performed for the Drill Hall Theatre Company in 2015 in the title role of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Honour, and Mark Colvin’s Kidney by Tommy Murphy (2018). In 2020 she was appointed as the theatre’s Artistic Director, and most recently directed the return (sold-out) season of SHIT by Patricia Cornelius, marking the return of live theatre after Covid.
Liz is delighted to play Patricia Highsmith in Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland.
Hello! I’m Charlie Burton and I play the role of Edward Ridgeway. I’ve loved the process of finding and developing this character so far.
I grew up in Mullum but am currently living in Melbourne, having come home at the start of May to begin rehearsal for this play. Acting is something I’m exceptionally passionate about and I am always enthralled at the prospect of getting to engage in theatre or other forms of acting.
I am currently studying at Melbourne Uni though hope to move my studies into the acting sphere next year.
Though difficult at times, working on Switzerland has been a thoroughly rewarding and exciting process and I am excited for everyone to see the finished product!
Photos by Kate Holmes
Liz Chance stars in Switzerland at the Drill Hall 18 June–4 July.
A Chance for Switzerland
The Drill Hall Theatre Company presents Joanna Murray-Smith’s gripping psychological thriller: Switzerland, arguably Murray-Smith’s greatest work to date.
The show stars Liz Chance (Blue Heelers, Water Rats, Tender Hooks) under the direction of multi award-winning actor Toni Scanlan (Stop Girl, Dreamland, Water Rats).
The play introduces young actor Charlie Burton (the son of local comedian Mandy Nolan), for whom performing is a passion, and Toni was impressed from the outset. ‘The first time I heard Charlie read I thought – that boy has it going on. His instinct for such a complex psychological drama was beyond his years. Liz and I would not be doing this play without him.’
Switzerland at the Drill Hall
18 June–4 July. (NSW Dine & Discover able to be used until 27 June).
Looking for a little background
|The Talented Mr Ripley with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett and Gwyneth Paltrow is on Netflix. A fabulous stylish film that will give you some insight into the work of the terrifying Ms Highsmith!|
Producer: Liz Chance
Stage Manager: Briony Dalton
Lighting: Geoffrey Moon
Sound: David Steward
After first being involved with the Drill Hall almost 40 years ago as an actor, Geoffrey has worked in a broad range of areas including clowning in Hyde Park for the festival of Sydney, touring schools with Theatre In Education productions for 20 years, NBN’s Big Dog, cabaret and more. “I have always maintained a keen interest in community theatre as an avenue for social benefit. A forum where the community can come together and share, with the community, skills, energy, and time. It is an honour and a joy to play my part ”
David has been a sound technician for ten years. Before joining the Drill Hall Theatre Company this year he worked with the team at Byron Theatre.
Audio production has always been a keen interest of David’s, which began with his father’s role as a radio engineer for the ABC.
Born and raised on a family farm in Bina Burra, David is a true country boy at heart with an undeniable passion for the arts.
Lighting Design: Alex Benham
Sound Design: Adam Booth
Props and Set Decoration: Natalie Holt
Front of House Manager: Michael Borenstein
Set Design: Toni Appleton
Set Construction: Toni Appleton, Alex Benham, Geoffrey Moon
Publicity, Promotion & Marketing: Chris Benaud, Michael Borenstein,Mandy Nolan, Alex Benham
Poster: Toni Scanlan, Syd Geary
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 email@example.com letting us know if you plan to enter HOT SHORTS 2022 and also if you interested in participating in the workshop.
Have you ever thought about becoming a member of the Drill Hall Theatre Company?
The Drill Hall Theatre Company is a not-for-profit association run by its members to support and promote the performing arts in Byron Shire.
The Drill Hall Theatre Company is a constituent group of the Mullumbimby District Cultural Centre (MDCC) which also includes the Mullumbimby Adult Learning and Potters Association. The MDCC manages the Drill Hall site and as a member of the DHTC you are also a member of MDCC.
The Theatre Company has been entertaining local audiences since the 1950’s and prides itself on being a Community Theatre where theatre is made by, with, and for the community it serves.
The uniquely defining aspect of our Community Theatre is that we all participate purely for the love of theatre and no one gets paid. It’s our passion for live theatre and our love of community engagement that drives our work. Members of the community are warmly welcomed to get involved, whether it be as an actor, backstage crew, sound and lighting or front-of-house.
Anyone can become an associate member of the company for an annual membership fee of $15. Memberships are from January to December.
Associate Membership entitles you to:
- Free tickets to the Preview of DHTC productions
- Discount tickets (at the concession rate) to all other DHTC productions
- Access to DHTC activities and workshops
- And at the discretion of the Artistic Director and Management Committee the opportunity to be involved in Drill Hall Theatre Productions
If you would like to join please do one of the following:
- Renewing Members: Send an email with your name, email address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and pay your $15 membership as outlined below.
- New Members: Fill out PART A of the membership form (at the bottom of the page) and return it to email@example.com. If you have someone who is a member who can nominate and second your application, have them do that, otherwise the management committee can arrange for that to happen. A photo of your nomination form taken with your phone is sufficient if you do not have access to a scanner. Please then pay your membership as outlined below.
Membership Payments: Your $15 membership fee can be made by direct deposit to:
Drill Hall Theatre Company
Please include ‘Membership and Your Name‘ as a reference. You will receive a receipt indicating that your membership has been accepted.
APPLICATIONS FOR THEATRE WORKSHOP WITH LIZ CHANCE
Introductory Course in acting techniques
Saturdays 20th March to 8th May, 9:30-12:30
The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s artistic director, Liz Chance, is teaching a dynamic introductory course in acting techniques, commencing next month.
Liz comes with 30 years of experience as an actor/director, and for 12 years taught at NIDA, teaching stars of stage and screen including Cate Blanchett, Sam Worthington, Damon Gameau and Jeremy Simms.
The course runs on Saturday mornings for eight weeks, 20th March to May 8th (including Easter Saturday). There will be a showing for family and friends at the conclusion of the course
Classes start at 9.30 am, on time, and go to 12.30 pm. There will be a break from 10.45 to 11.15.
There will be a maximum of 12 people.
The course costs $320 and places are by audition/interview.
Fees must be paid in full before commencement.
If interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and to see if there are still spaces available.
A condition on entering the Drill Hall is the willingness of participants to register attendance. The preferred option is using the Drill Hall QR Code. If participants do not have a smartphone, a friend may register their attendance. If this is not practical then the organiser should be asked about an alternative method of registration.
All venues may move to the one person per 2sqm rule meaning classes of up to 51 participants (plus any instructors/assistants) may operate at the Drill Hall as long as the procedures in the COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN are followed.
All events to revert to the 4 square metre rule (25 persons)
For Ticketed Theatre Events, where ticketholders are assigned to seating, tickets can be sold to 100% capacity of the theatre. For the Drill Hall, this means an audience of 103 in the auditorium. Physical distancing is still required and the COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN must be followed.
Non-ticketed events may operate if they can adhere to the one person per 2 square metre rule and the 1.5-metre physical distancing rule. For the Drill Hall, this means a restriction of no more than 51 persons in the auditorium. Procedures in the COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN must be followed.
What’s in the Covid-19 Safety Plan?
Byron Shire Council managed halls have reopened post based on the NSW Government’s Covid-19 Safety Plan for Community Centres and Halls. The safety plan includes the following:
- The exclusion of staff, volunteers and visitors who are unwell or who have been in identified Covid-19 hotspots in the last 14 days.
- Ensuring conditions of entry of the Drill Hall are on display.
- All participants register their attendance. The preferred option is the use of the Drill Hall QR code but where this is not practical, alternative registration is provided.
- Ensuring all touched surfaces are cleaned first with detergent and water, then with disinfectant, at the conclusion of any activity.
- Ensuring capacity does not exceed the number allowed for the activity.
- Ensuring that participants are aware of the 1.5 metres physical distancing rule and apply this where practical.
- Ensuring there are no deliberate body contact activities.
- Having strategies in place to manage gatherings that may occur immediately outside the premises.
- Ensuring toilets have strategies in place to reduce crowding and promote social distancing.
- The adoption of good hand hygiene practices. Ensuring hand sanitiser is accessible at the venue entry and elsewhere in the facility.
- Ensuring bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels.
- Ensuring that where food is provided that one person be allocated to serve and this person should practise hand hygiene before and after service.
- Reducing sharing of equipment where practical and ensuring equipment is cleaned with detergent and disinfectant between use.
- The regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for longer activities).
- Making your staff aware of the COVIDSafe app and its benefits to support contact tracing, if required.
- Ensuring cooperation with NSW Health if contacted in relation to a positive case of COVID-19 and notify SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.
Classes of up to 51 participants can resume at the Drill Hall as long as the following procedures are followed.
- If you are sick or feeling even slightly unwell please go home immediately and do not enter the Drill Hall.
- Use hand sanitiser on entry and practise hand hygiene at all times.
- All participants register their attendance. The preferred option is the use of the Drill Hall QR code but where this is not practical, alternative registration is provided.
- The number of persons allowed in the Drill Hall at any one time is 25 class participants plus up to 5 instructors/helpers.
- You still need to keep a social distance of 1.5 metres at all times.
- Bring your own water bottle. In the interest of public health, the kitchen will usually be closed.
- if you are involved in aerobic activities bring your own towel.
- Bring your own equipment (where practical).
- If equipment is shared it must be disinfected between users.
- Any equipment kept at the Drill Hall must be disinfected before being stored.
- Remember that the Covid-19 app, COVISSafe has been designed to speed up contacting people exposed to the coronavirus. It can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
The latest Covid-19 regulations as they apply to the Drill Hall can be found here
The following links also provide information on COVID-Safe Plans required, although venue capacity numbers quoted are no longer relevant.
12 – 28 March 2021
When a woman swears, or spits, or screams, or shouts, laughs too loudly, or fights, really fights, or fucks too much and wears too much lipstick or none at all, all we want to do is lock her up or cross the street.
Out of control women are a sight to behold. They’re terrifying, electrifying, and everything that women shouldn’t be or so we’re told. This is the story about three such women. Their names are Billy, Bobby and Sam, and you will never forget them.
After a sell-out season in 2019, Patricia Cornelius’s multi-award-winning play SHIT returns to the Mullumbimby Drill Hall Theatre by public demand on 12—28 March 2021. Staring Claire Atkins, Kate Foster and Kate Horsley. Reimagined and directed by Liz Chance, with sound design by Paul Pilsneniks, choreography by Kate Holmes and lighting design by Tone Wand.
Video clip thanks to Brett Stephens of Six-Sixty Productions
Patricia Cornelius is an Australian playwright, screenwriter and novelist.
Her play, SHIT was presented at the 2017 Sydney Festival, following its Melbourne premiere with the Melbourne Theatre Company, and is a four-time Green Room Award winner, including Best Writer.
Her play Savages won the Victorian Premiers Award for Drama in 2014 and the Green Room Award for Writing, and was nominated for an AWGIE and the Griffin Prize. Over her career Patricia has written more than 30 plays including Big Heart, Do Not Go Gentle, The Call, Slut, Love, Fever, Boy Overboard, and Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? (co-written with Andrew Bovell, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas, and Irene Vela.) Her most recent plays have been, The House of Bernarda Alba, produced in June 2018 at the Melbourne Theatre Company and In the Club, which premiered in 2018 at the Adelaide Arts Festival.
Other playwriting awards include the Victorian and NSW Premiers’ Literary Awards (2011), Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, Richard Wherrett Prize, Wal Cherry Prize and nine AWGIES for stage, community theatre and theatre for young people. She won the Australian Writers’ Foundation Playwriting Award (2015), a Patrick White Fellowship (2012), a Fellowship from the Australia Council’s Theatre Board, as well as the AWGIE Major Award three times. In 2018 she was the winner of the Mona Brand Award. She is a founding member of Melbourne Workers’ Theatre.
Patricia co-wrote the feature film adaptation, Blessed, based on the play Who’s Afraid of the Working Class, (for which she also won an AWGIE) and she is currently developing a feature film.
Her novel My Sister Jill, was published by Random House.
On the 14th March 2019, Cornelius was among eight international writers to win the Windham-Campbell prize, worth $165,000 awarded by Yale University in the USA. The judges’ notes say her work “channels the power of resisting received literary tradition in order to open up a space where the lives of characters on the margins can become vessels of universal truths.”
Liz Chance is a veteran of stage and screen and recalls her first big break into theatre when she was discovered in an acting class with the great Stella Adler. With more than 30 years’ experience as an actor, Liz has appeared on just about every Australian stage and in more television than she can remember, including A Country Practice, Home & Away, Water Rats, Blue Heelers, Rafferty’s Rules, G.P, and admits her first stage kiss was with Mel Gibson with the Sydney Theatre Company.
For more than a decade, Liz also directed and taught at NIDA, teaching Australian luminaries including Cate Blanchett, Sam Worthington, Jeremy Simms, and Damon Gameau. In 2020 Liz came out of retirement and was appointed Artistic Director of the Drill Hall Theatre Company, and she is thrilled to be teaching and directing again.
Claire Atkins is a multi-disciplinary artist with a keen interest in screen and theatre production.
She has written, directed and produced a number of short films and documentaries including, One Little Room, The Adventures of Max & Lil, The Super Fantastical Delicious and Magical Illustrated World of Tamsin Ainslie, and No Bloody Way. Acting highlights for stage include SHIT and The Call by Patricia Cornelius, and Hotel Sorrento by Hannie Rayson. Most recently she appeared in EDEN on Stan and Deadlock for ABCTV. In 2020 she released her debut album Eternal Return produced by Paul Pilsneniks.
Claire holds a Bachelor of Art Education from The UNSW College of Fine Arts, and in addition to her own studio practice, has worked for many years in a range of arts related fields as a planner for major cultural events and venues, an editor on arts magazines, a publicist, and as a casting assistant for film and television.
Claire is thrilled to be playing the role of Sam in The Drill Hall’s second season of SHIT.
Kate Horsley trained at The University of London (Goldsmiths College), where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and English Literature, and a Master of Arts in Theatre Arts.
She worked as a professional actor in the UK, working largely in repertory theatre, where more often than not, two Shakespeare plays were rehearsed over two weeks and performed over the next four weeks! Only for the young and brave…
Favourite roles included Viola in Twelfth Night, Rosalind in As you like it, Titania in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Luciana in The Comedy of Errors, and Nurse in Romeo and Juliet.
On moving to Sydney, Kate played Helena in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Toinette in Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid, and directed a production of Twelfth Night to critical acclaim.
On relocating to the Northern Rivers in 2003, Kate took on the most challenging role to date, raising three children under three whilst studying for a Bachelor of Psychology which she completed in 2016.
In 2007 Kate performed in two separate Hot Shorts for Drill Hall Theatre and was enticed back in the 2011 Hot Shorts when she performed in Buy Robot which won the Peg Gloor prize and Best Actor.
Most recently she performed in Patricia Cornelius’ SHIT, and The Call. She is delighted to be performing in The Drill Hall’s second season of SHIT as Bobby.
Kate Foster’s first acting class with the Basin Theatre Company at the tender age of four, inspired a love of all things theatrical.
17 years of competitive dance saw her as a regular on the stage and lead to a slate of musical theatre credits including The Pirates of Penzance, Oliver, Pippin, Guys and Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along and The Little Prince. An experienced and talented choreographer, she has worked on Rent, Life’s a Circus, and as director/choreographer for A Slice of Saturday Night, Bring Down the House and Avenue Who?
Some of Kate’s performance highlights include SHIT, Dr Faustus, White Paper Flowers, Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth. And her short film credits include Four Past Friday and Axis of Evil.
Kate has a Bachelor of Performing Arts from Monash University and for many years worked as a talent agent for film, television and circus. In 2014, Kate returned to the stage after a sixteen-year hiatus, performing in 5 Women Wearing the Same Dress and Becky Shaw for Drill Hall Theatre Company. In 2019 and 2017 she directed Calamity Jane, and Little Shop of Horrors for the Bangalow Theatre Company, winning Best Director for a Community Theatre Musical at the Gold Coast Area Theatre Awards.
Kate is excited to be back on the stage in the challenging and liberating role of Billy.
Stage Manager: Cathy McDouall
Sound: David Steward
Lighting: Geoffrey Moon
Production Design: Claire Atkins
Sound Design: Paul Pilsneniks
Lighting Design: Tone Wand
Choreography: Kate Holmes
Photography: Kate Holmes
Set Construction: Luke Atkins & Arien Breeze
Photos by Kate Holmes
Interview with Liz Chance with Karena Wynn-Moylan – 25 February 2021
The Last Saturday of each month at 2 pm
JOIN THE DRILL HALL FILM SOCIETY
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 email@example.com.
Saturday 26th June at 2pm
The History Boys
THE HISTORY BOYS (2006)
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
LAST CAB TO DARWIN (2015)
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
BRAN NUE DAE (2009)
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 (2013)
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 (2012)
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
WAKE IN FRIGHT (1971)
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
LADIES IN BLACK (2018)
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.