Find out how we are fighting off infections of boredom with covid safe activities and special offers!
It’s midwinter 2020 and here in Victoria we are still facing restrictions that make it very difficult to produce shows in the traditional way.
NEVER FEAR! we are still going to bring you some great drama experiences, and some awesome offers. First up:
SPECIAL COVID PRICES! In 2020 we have super cheap memberships available at only $10 for a year! Yes that’s right. Why join? You get to support the incredible resource that is the Castlemaine Theatre Company; You get to promote your COVID SAFE drama/performance activities on our socials and our 400 strong mailing-list; you get the latest updates about upcoming activities and auditions; you get our brilliant newsletter Headliner 4 times a year. All for just $10. Amazing, right? To celebrate our freedom, we also hope to bring you discount ticket prices for our first show after lockdown. Membership forms are here as a docx file: CTC COVID discount membership form or as a pdf here: CTC COVID discount membership form Send your form to us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
BROADCASTING on 94.9MainFM We are bringing you some wonderful excerpts from previous CTC shows that will be broadcast on our beloved local radio station 94.9MainFM. Our first one was on Sunday 5 July at 10.30am on Suzanne Donnisthorpe’s Artswank show. It’s an excerpt from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which we produced in 2018, directed by Rob Jorritsma. This excerpt is from Act II Scene 7, concluding with Jaques’ very famous ‘All the world’s a stage’ speech. The actors are in order of appearance Claire Shamier as Duke Senior, Stephen Mitchell as Jaques, and Gabriel Lillington as Orlando.
The following excerpt features Tim Ratcliffe performing his ‘Stan’ speech from our 2013 production of Aftershocks, by Paul Brown and the Newcastle Workers Committee. This is a verbatim play about the 1989 earthquake that destroyed the Newcastle Workers Club. It was first performed in 1991. Our production was directed by Trisha O’Hara.
In this speech Stan describes how he was rescued from the rubble, and the ongoing struggles he has with his mental and physical health in the aftermath of the disaster. Terrence Jaensch reviewed the production, and commented favourably on Tim’s performance: “…standouts are Tim Ratcliffe as Stan…Ratcliffe has a very natural, almost improvisational mannyer on stage, which is a perfect for the peice.” 3’s A Crowd member Lyn Grehg commented “I think Aftershocks is one of the best CTC production I have seen…”
This excerpt was featured on ArtSwank on Sunday 16 August 2020:
or One Flew Over the Second Star on the Right (adapted and directed by Kate Stones)
Currently on hold until further notice
About the Production
This is the story of Peter Pan told in the form of a traditional Pantomime. Which means a Dame in drag, plus lots of audience participation, local references and slapstick humour. A traditional aspect of Panto is that characters from different stories can show up. We’ll be drawing on One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest to source our Dame (guess who!), and find other places to weave in themes from the iconic movie/novel. JM Barrie will no doubt turn in his grave! We will also interrogate outdated aspects of the story, the ‘Redskins’ will be a local footy team, the Pirates will be female, and Wendy will be a child prodigy animal psychologist. Our story begins in the youth psych ward of Castlemaine Hospital…oh yes and there will be a few songs.
Characters and casting
Peter (can be played by a male or female), Wendy, John, Michael and the Lost Boys will hopefully be played by young people aged 14-30. Or those who can play ‘young’
There are 6 Lost Boys
Instead of ‘Redskins’ we will have Castlemaine’s Magpies footy team, with Tiger Lily their captain. Can be male or female. Minimum 3. Any gender. As much diversity as possible amongst them.
Captain Hook is the leader of the Pirates. Mature female, tallish
Other main pirates include Smee and Starkey (all female, any age)
Tinkerbell – A sassy man in a sharp suit
Nana – a therapy dog (think Wilfred)
Nurse Ratched (our Dame) – male actor, large stature. Should be played butch rather than overly camp
Chief Bromden (Asian man)
We are looking for an ensemble of about 15 with some doubling up
Production week and performance dates (you must be available for all these dates):
TBC until post Covid
Tech run: Sat
Opening night: Fri
Evening perf: Sat
Mat perf: Sun
Evening perfs: Fri /Sat /Mat Sun
Final weekend: Fri /Sat /Mat Sun
Monday and Thursday evenings, 7-10pm beginning Thursday
The Phee Broadway Theatre, Mechanics Lane, Castlemaine
A black comedy set in Regency London, where our cross-dressing heroine negotiates a venal world of Bodysnatchers, villainous Surgeons, dishonest Undertakers, drunk Prostitutes and the occasional Solemn Angel and Foul Demon. Accompanied by the raucous songs of street balladeer Penny Dreadful, Frankenstein’s Children dives into bizarre gothic history with blood-curdling horror and lashings of gallows humour.
“What amazing talent and the attention to detail was fabulous”
“Standout performances, super effective set, and entrancing, shocking story, dotted with relieving humour”
“Thanks for a great night’s entertainment. Brilliant set, lighting & performances. Fantastic work!“
“I’ve been thinking about your play all morning. There was so many layers to it and so many
surprising and thoughtful details.”
“a strong brave show “
Rebecca Barnett, Seamus Curtain-Magee, Zenith Flume, Adeline Johnston, Kenneth MacLeod, Clare Shamier, Ralph Shipard, Donna Steven, Kate Stones, David WatsonIt’s 1832 and ‘bodysnatching’ is the new black
England 1832. The Industrial Revolution is at its peak. London’s population swells on an influx of poor people looking for factory jobs. Crime flourishes. Science and superstition walk hand in hand. Experimental surgical medicine creates a whole new economy for the desperate and opportunistic….a thriving black market in human remains robbed from freshly dug graves.
Young and well-to-do, Anne Sheridan is buzzing with the enthusiasm of scientific enquiry. Rebelling against her mother’s ambitions to marry her off, she disguises herself as a man, James Selfridge, and enrols at London’s School of Anatomy. There, James’ scientific ideals are corrupted by an elite order that traffics in human bodies with no moral qualms. Caught up in the commerce of flesh between the surgeons and street folk, s/he falls in love with prostitute Polly Chapman who has enterprisingly sold her body to science many times over. As 19th century science marches on with the successful passing of the ‘Anatomy Act’, can James save Polly from the mercenary surgeons under the leadership of the arrogant Sir Astley Cooper?
Director – Stephen Mitchell
After studying Community Theatre at the University of Tasmania in the 1980s, Stephen worked as an actor in Hobart and Adelaide, as well as in numerous backstage roles including stage manager, lighting designer/operator/rigger. As a scriptwriter, he has had plays staged in Melbourne and Sydney and a radio drama produced by ABC Radio National. In 2001, he won an AWGIE for his SBS teleplay ‘Wee Jimmy’. After a 20 year hiatus he returned to acting in 2010. In 2012 he directed and performed in ‘The Local Stigmatic’ for Castlemaine Theatre Company, and appeared in the 2016 production of ‘The Ghost Train’ and 2018’s ‘As You Like It’.
I saw Frankenstein’s Children at the 1990 Adelaide Festival. An original work by Red Shed Company, its inclusion in the main festival program was a thrilling coup for a small, local theatre collective. I knew many of the people involved and it was not without a degree of jealousy that I attended a performance in the authentic period surroundings of the East End market. Whatever envy I brought with me was obliterated by the marvellous, funny, poetic, intriguing theatrical work that they produced. I loved it.
To the best of my knowledge, the play has only ever been performed in Australia one other time. When I tracked down a copy of the script 28 years later, I wondered whether it would live up to my memory…It was better. Indeed, I find it extraordinary that writer David Carlin delivered such a wonderfully resonant, moving, astute work in his debut full length play. The story brims with rich characters full of humanity and subtlety. The writing is an actor’s dream, mixing well-observed vernacular with passages of simply beautiful prose, moving from hilarious comic interludes to heart-breaking romance, combining classic gothic horror with incisive political commentary. And it frames it all with a succession of traditional ballads sung by the show’s one woman chorus, the oh-so-fittingly named Penny Dreadful. I am very excited to bring it all to life (perhaps with a bolt of lightning!) on the Phee Broadway stage with Castlemaine Theatre Company.
Writer – David Carlin
Associate Professor David Carlin has a long and decorated career as a writer and creative artist and is currently co-director of the nonfictionLab research group at RMIT. Frankenstein’s Children was his first play, written in 1990 as a founding member of Adelaide’s dynamic Red Shed Company and performed in that year’s Adelaide Arts Festival. Since then, David has written many more plays, films and books. He served as Associate and Show Director of Circus Oz for a number of years, as well as Artistic Director of Red Shed Company, Arena Theatre Company and Melbourne Worker’s Theatre. He was also founding partner, producer and director with Cracker Night Films.
Dress Rehearsals at the Phee Broadway Theatre
These rehearsal photos were taken by Julie Millowick
"They were deceiving themselves, but the blood couldn’t be denied"
Nov 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30 and Dec 1 and 2
BLOOD WEDDING by Federico Garcia Lorca
Directed by Rob Jorritsma
Performance Dates: Nov 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30 and December 1 and 2
Castlemaine Town Hall
Blood Wedding – one of Lorca’s famous rural tragedies
Federico García Lorca (1898 – 1936) lived at a time when the art world was exploding in new directions. His friends included Salvador Dalí and film-maker Luis Buñuel. The composers Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg were his contemporaries.
Blood Wedding is a tragedy about a young woman and two men fighting for her love. The Bride is in love with Leonardo, but their families do not get along, so Leonardo marries another woman. The Bride has been promised to another man, whom she doesn’t love, but will marry to appease her family.
Although Leonardo is already married, he confesses to the Bride that he is still in love with her. At first she tells him to be silent, but then confesses that she still loves him too.
Despite these revelations, she goes ahead with her marriage to the other man, but on the night of the wedding reception, she elopes with Leonardo. When their disappearance is discovered, the Mother commands everybody to search for them. In the forest where the Bride and Leonardo have fled, the play takes a surrealistic turn. The Moon and Death work together to encourage the Bridegroom and Leonardo to kill one another. Leonardo and the Bridegroom then meet and kill each other in a knife fight.
At the end of the play, the Bride returns to the church hoping that the Bridegroom’s Mother will kill her, but she doesn’t. The play closes with both women reflecting on the deaths of the two men.
The Blood Wedding cast includes Diane Addington, Peter Bevin, Lulu Carolan, Angela Down, Laura Hall-Levetan, Dominc Hayes, Kirsty MacCallum, Sebastian Marshall, Lisa Martin, Philip McDonald, Michael McMahon, Rebecca Morton, Louise Osland, Asha Richardson, Erin Scanlon and David Watson.
Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30pm/Sundays at 2pm. Box Office opens 30mins before the show starts
“Just saw, nay! – experienced As You Like It by The Castlemaine Theatre Company. It was brilliant! Flowing, effervescent, modern and accessible. If you’re afraid of Shakespeare, just read a synopsis of the play before going, then let the skills of the players (and director and support crews) convey the richness, humour and delight that is this production. Thanks CTC, again!”
“I thoroughly enjoyed Shakespeare’s As You Like It performed by the Castlemaine Theatre Company this afternoon. Did the play justice, whilst staying relevant to a modern audience. Interesting costumes and simple but innovative set design. Good fun and good acting – I highly recommend it.” Audience member
“Seven of us saw this and it is brilliant!! I would urge you to go and see it.” FB comment
“Truly spectacular show! I’d recommend it to everyone” FB comment
We are very excited to be taking on one of the Bard’s works for the very first time in the history of the Castlemaine Theatre Company. As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, which means that it’s whimsical, and at the end, everyone ends up married, rather than dead. Which is good.
Director Rob Jorritsma (who directed The Peach Season for the CTC in 2015) is an expert in Shakespeare, having worked for many years creating Shakespeare plays with young people at Castlemaine Steiner School.
The cast includes: Christina Curtain Magee (Phoebe), David Farrington (Silvius), Toby Heydon (Charles), Delwyn Hopkins (La Belle), Thomas Jones (Oliver), Bronwyn Lamb (Corin/Hymen), Gabriel Lillington (Orlando), Jess MacCallum (Rosalind), Stephen Mitchell (Jaques), Simeon Roberts (Amiens), Elizabeth Scanlon (Audrey), Clare Shamier (Duke Senior/Duke Frederick), Michael Treloar (Touchstone), Amy Vaux (Celia), and David Watson (Adam).
Central to the play is the love story between Rosalind and Orlando. They fall in love at first sight, but things are not that easy. The backdrop for their journey is drawn by two feuding brothers. The friendly Duke Senior has been banished and usurped by Duke Frederick and now lives in the Forest of Arden, a lovely place of transformation – a tree-change indeed. Rosalind is Duke Senior’s daughter. Forced by circumstances, Rosalind and Celia (Duke Frederick’s daughter) leave the court, accompanied by the clown Touchstone. They go in search of Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden with Rosalind dressed as a boy and Celia as a country girl. Orlando also leaves for the forest, fleeing from his brother Oliver who plans to kill him. In the forest we meet other characters as well. There is the melancholy Jaques (he’s got the famous ‘All the world’s a stage’ speech), then there’s the singer Amiens and some shepherds and country folk. A lot happens before the comedy comes to a joyful ending with multiple marriages. Rosalind has the honour of delivering the epilogue and thanking the audience. Our production will have a contemporary setting, showing the difference between life at the court and in the forest. As Duke Senior puts it:
The title of the show ‘Gallipoli, The Musical’ by local writer and theatre maker, Mark Penzak has caused some brows to furrow and wonder, ‘What the…?’ Well, for starters, it’s not a musical in the traditional sense of the word, however it does have wonderful incidental music composed by Mark Anstey, (the brains and the brawn behind Lot19). The cast includes Charles Affleck (composer, Monkey and the Monk), Simon Birdsall (The Full Monty), Hector Mackenzie (CTC newcomer), Lynne Jolly (My Fair Lady), Michael McMahon (The Ghost Train), Elaine Matheson, Lindsay Matheson (Cat on a Hot Tim Roof), Tim Ratcliffe (Aftershocks) and Clare Shamier (Peach Season). Featuring Kenneth MacLeod as ‘Slim’ Hope, the last surviving Digger to serve at Gallipoli. Gallipoli the Musical is a riotous comedy, but it has a serious and thoughtful message about the commercialization of the ANZAC legend. It follows the story of Stumpy, Bluey and Sunny, 3 hapless shearers who have written a play called Gallipoli, The Massacre. Having failed to secure Australia Council funding they are seeking corporate sponsorship for their project. They happen upon the wheeling, dealing Carrie Trust, an advertising executive, who brings The Wool Board and The Hope Mining Corporation into the project as partners. The script weaves together warmth, humour and political satire in an affectionate framing of the ANZAC legend, casting a witty yet critical eye over the commercialization and commodification of the Gallipoli narrative.
The legend of Gallipoli continues to be remodelled today, reports Ruth Pollard in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Mustafa Ataturk, [was] the Turkish commander at Gallipoli, founder of the modern, secular Turkish republic, and its first president…There definitely seems to be a move in certain political circles to reduce the role of Ataturk and increase the motivation of Turks at Gallipoli to be fired by their belief in Islam, to say they looked on it as a kind of holy war.”
Gallipoli the Musical touchingly and humourously highlights the spirit of mateship and egalitarianism that underpins the truest and most humane aspects of the ANZAC story – young men of many different nationalities, with big dreams, thrown together in tragic circumstances, that left life-long scars on them as individuals, and on our national culture.
“It’s a great honour for me to direct a play that features the wonderful talents of our community. Mark Penzak’s script is a joy to interpret, and Mark Anstey’s score brings a whole new delicious dimension to the production. The cast is top notch, featuring some of my favourite ‘old hands’ of the CTC, and some exciting new talent. Gallipoli the Musical really encapsulates the vision of the CTC, supporting local artists and honouring our traditions, whilst pushing new boundaries where we can.” Kate Stones, Director
“This play is a humdinger. The depth of emotion that some of the cast have to feel and convey is palpable. The giggles are infectious. I’ve loved discovering the work so far and the history and present day significance of what the ANZAC legend is, and the director, Kate, has helped me form a 3 or 4-dimensional character for my role.” Michael McMahon, plays ‘Sunny’
“It’s been such a great time with this super cast and amazing script – discovering our characters and the complexities of human nature. It’s so great to be working with the Castlemaine Theatre Company again!” Clare Shamier, plays ‘Carrie Trust’
“This play is not satirizing Gallipoli or mocking the sacrifices made by that generation of Australians. The opposite. I have great respect for them. They not only fought the battles of war but the battle for Federation, the 8 hour day, voting rights to women and I believe, laid the foundations for that nebulous but nevertheless real concept of a ‘fair go’. In my imagination then, I don’t believe they’d approve of today’s erosion of worker’s rights, privatisation of medical services or the growing impression, particularly if you’re renting, that our fair go society has gone. Nor do I believe they’d approve of Gallipoli being commercialised or used to promote obligatory patriotism. Remember, they voted twice during the war not to introduce conscription. I wonder too what they’d make of us having fought an additional eight conflicts since The Great War. Gallipoli the Musical isn’t questioning their sacrifice, it’s questioning whether we’re living up to it.” Mark Penzak, Author, Gallipoli The Musical
NB The last surviving ANZAC soldier to serve at Gallipoli was Alec Campbell who died in 2002 at the age of 103. The characters in the story of ‘Gallipoli, The Musical’ are entirely fictional, and do not represent any real people living or dead, and do not reflect in any way the life of Alec Campbell. The CTC regards the courage and sacrifice of all service men and women with the utmost respect.
Mark Penzak works as a playwright, actor and theatre-maker for both adult and youth productions. Over his 30 year career he has created about two dozen productions which have toured around Australia, overseas and have been seen by a around half a million children. He has written, performed and directed cabaret, stand-up comedy and highly visual storytelling. Mark holds a BA (Theatre/Media) from Charles Sturt University, a Masters of Design (Film/TV) from Edinburgh College of Art with performance studies at John Bolton, Philippe Gaulier and at the Desmond Jones School of Mime in London. He also co-directs Such As They Are with Eliza-Jane Gilchrist, a company that creates highly visual productions that fuse puppetry with specially designed installations. Mark’s work has featured in numerous Castlemaine State Festival productions. Mark and Eliza live in Campbells Creek.
Kate Stones has recently completed an MA in Directing for Performance at the VCA. She directed ‘No Hands’ for the Castlemaine State Festival (March 2017); in 2016 she devised and performed a solo work, The Quiet Bite at The Melbourne Fringe (North Melbourne Town Hall Festival Hub). She co-directs The Red Room Theatre in Campbells Creek, a collaboration with partner Kenneth MacLeod. The Red Room’s acclaimed production of Purgatorio by Ariel Dorfman, featured in the 2015 Castlemaine State Festival. Kate has worked for the CTC as director/project manager for Monkey and the Monk (2015), she directed Burqa (2013). She has performed in and production managed numerous CTC productions.
“It’s a great play! I was brought to tears, laughed and laughed, stewed over big corporate and moaned like a dying soldier. Jam packed!” Renee Kelcey fb Nov 14
“Tell the director it’s a hit! They should make it into a movie” John Stanton, 12 Nov
“Fantastic fun! Saw it on opening night. Some terrific performances! Linnet Good fb Nov 13
“Hey there, just wanted to say big thanks for the show last night. I really enjoyed mulling it over on my drive back to Natimuk. So much amazing content in there but somehow the show keeps all the threads contained and manageable for the audience. Delivered with a special mix of professionalism, heart and energy. Well done!” Kate Finnerty
Another fabulous live Radio Drama in the CTC's Armchair Theatre series, adapted and directed by John Rowland
7, 8, 9 July; 14, 15, 16 July at The Faulder Watson Hall, Castlemaine and 22, 23 July at Newham Mechanics Institute
Arsenic and Old Lace provides another opportunity for audiences to relive the magic of 1940s Radio Theatre, in the vein of The Ghost Train performed at the end of 2016. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring, was originally performed on stage in the early 40s, before being adapted for the silver screen in 1944 with Cary Grant in the lead role of Mortimer Brewster. The CTC cast includes Remy Brannon, Peter Byrne, Val Case, Seamus Curtain Magee, Daniel Keohan, Bronwyn Lamb, Gus Saunders, Michael Treloar, David Watson, Hamish Whitcroft McGlade and Briega Young.
“Just wanted to let you all know how much I enjoyed the production. It was outstanding. Brilliant accents, great timing, a real balance between all the roles and you carried the humour with a gentle deft touch. I felt transported to the era. A wonderful experience. Thanks to all the cast and crew” Audience member
About the Play
It’s a spooky slapstick comedy, not exactly a ‘whodunnit’ (because we know who’s doin’ it) about a pair of sweet old maiden aunts who have taken it upon themselves to put lonely old gentlemen out of their misery by poisoning them with a very special home brew – they view it as a kind of public service. They are members of a somewhat eccentric family, the Brewsters, which includes a nephew Teddy, who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, another nephew (our hapless hero, Mortimer), a reluctant theatre critic, and another who is an outright psychopath and a dead ringer for Boris Karloff. Add various policemen and alcoholic henchmen, and we’re all set for a hilarious gothic romp!
Here’s our “old school” promo radio ad for Arsenic and Old Lace!
by Arnold Ridely of 'Dad's Army' fame! Directed by John Rowland
Fr 9, Sat 10 (7.30pm) 11 Dec (2.30pm) 2016
The Ghost Train is coming to Faulder Watson Hall in Barker Street, Castlemaine for three shows only – Friday 9th and Saturday 10th December at 7:30 pm, and Sunday 11th December at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $20 / $15 concession. To book your tickets head to our Ticket Sales page and follow the links.
Take eight actors, two microphones, and an assortment of doors, sandbags, bird whistles, cabbages -and the power of imagination – and discover the magic of radio theatre with Castlemaine Theatre Company’s upcoming show, The Ghost Train. Difficult as it may be to imagine, prior to the arrival of TV and the world wide web, radio theatre was the leading form of home entertainment. Often recorded live in front of a studio audience and broadcast to the nation, in radio theatre actors had only their voices to bring characters to life. A small crew performing live sound effects created an atmosphere that kept audiences captivated.
For its first venture into the world radio theatre, CTC has chosen The Ghost Train, a classic radio thriller written in 1923 by English actor and playwright, Arnold Ridley, who is best known for his portrayal of Private Godfrey in the British sitcom Dad’s Army. Set in the waiting room of a remote railway station in rural England, a group of rail passengers stranded overnight are faced with the spectre of a phantom locomotive said to haunt the line, leaving death in its wake. Naturally, all is not as it seems!
Charged with bringing The Ghost Train to the radio theatre stage is CTC guest director, John Rowland. In a broadcasting career of over 40 years, John has of produced and directed countless radio plays in both England and Australia, working with many legendary actors of stage and screen. Lending their voices to The Ghost Train’s cast of colourful characters are newcomer Gus Saunders, as well as familiar CTC faces Michael McMahon and Louise Osland (both last seen in Monkey and the Monk) and Donna Steven (Playhouse Creatures, Aftershocks, The Donohue Sisters). We also welcome the return of Vyv Rodnight (Aftershocks), and Stephen Mitchell and Daniel Keohan who brought their own shows to CTC’s New Blood season in 2012. We are also thrilled to welcome back Three’s a Crowd actor Michael Treloar, who last performed with CTC as a teenager back in the 1980s!
A contemporary Australian play evoking the heat, scent and hard slog of a peach farm at harvest time.
Apr 29, 30, May 1, 6, 7 and 8, 13, 14 and 15 2016
by Debra Oswald
directed by Rob Jorritsma
Castlemaine Town Hall, April 29-May 15 2016
Cast: April Bevin, Seamus Curtain-Magee, Bronwyn Lamb, Izrael Little, Sebastian Marshall, Clare Shamier
After the fatal shooting of her husband in a service station hold-up, Celia has shut herself and her 16-year-old daughter Zoë away, toiling on a peach farm in the middle of nowhere. When a desperate brother and sister turn up looking for picking work, it’s the beginning of the end for Celia’s safe existence.
Her daughter falls in love with enigmatic, erratic Kieran, but when the relationship is threatened, they run away together. The safe, perhaps smothering, world that Celia has created unravels; her paranoia and insecurities amplified to full volume. Playing out alongside her fear, we see the increasingly degrading and dangerous lifestyle that the two elopers have fallen into.
Peach Season is a powerful, salutary tale showing what it’s like to be a young person desperate for independence, but also, crucially, what it’s like to be a parent during the painful process of letting children fly the nest.
From the Director:
“Having a deep love of the classics, be it Greek tragedy or Shakespeare, I asked myself why I wanted to do Debra Oswald’s Peach Season. This is what I wrote in my journal: because it’s an Australian play. The script had been on my shelf for quite some time before I actually read it. I was instantly blown away. This was the play I wanted to do. It’s about personal relationships between the six characters: mother-daughter, first love, brother-sister, immigrants, drug use, crime, it’s all there; personal stories but recounting big themes.
For the last 15 years, theatre has been at the centre of my world. I finished a post-graduate degree in Theatre Studies, I worked with a community group called The Waldorf Players, bringing plays to the stage that excited us. At my work I directed a series of Shakespeare plays with year 8 students. I assisted in the background with the last two Castlemaine Theatre Company shows and now it’s time for my director’s debut with CTC”
“Oh my god, I almost wet my pants!” – Cosi audience member
Our first show of the year was an Australian favourite, Cosi by Louis Nowra, written in 1992. This popular black comedy has become a mainstay for community theatre both because of it’s large cast with a variety ages, and good balance of gender roles, and because it reveals the drama of creating theatre from the ground up with limited resources, against the odds. The play is set in 1971 against the background of the Vietnam War, in a Melbourne mental institution. A young director, Lewis (the character is based on Nowra) has been charged with producing a play with the patients, as part of a therapeutic program ‘to get them out of their shells’. One of the patients Roy has decided that the play they will produce is Mozart’s comic opera, Cosi Fan Tutte. None of the patients can speak Italian, much less sing – indeed, some can barely speak. To make matters worse the venue is a fire-gutted theatre with a leaky roof and faulty wiring. The cast includes a pyromaniac, a junkie, a knife-wielding romantic, a confused realist, a Lithium-addicted pianist who hates Mozart and a stuttering ex-lawyer who refuses to take part in the production. Lewis, needless to say is slightly discouraged by the task at hand. Nowra’s humour exposes weakness and stupidity, it ridicules our prejudices and popular institutions, but it is not exploitative or gratuitous. Writer Frank Gauntlett has claimed that ‘when Louis Nowra places his fruitcake-rich, riotously funny, beautifully conceived play Cosi in a Melbourne madhouse, he has less to say about life within the rubber walls than without.’
MC Tim Ratcliffe hosts an evening of music, comedy, theatre sports, a quiz, prizes, auctions.....
29 November 2014
On Saturday 29 November MC Tim Ratcliffe and the lovely Vinyl Vera will be hosting the CTC’s inaugural fundraiser cabaret and vareity show. There’ll be acts, a stage and screen trivia quiz, prizes and fun for all
The fun starts at 7.30pm and the venue is the Castlemaine Senior Citizens Hall, next to the Phee Broadway on Mechanics Lane.
“Absolutely superb production, loved every minute!” Vyv Rodnight
“Fanstastic!!!! Sooo funny, sooo wise and sooo visually delicious and the casting was perfect!!!!!” Miss Evie Danger
cast: Yen Kong (Monkey), Michael Gillies Smith (Tripitaka), Morgan Kurrajong (Pigsy), Michael McMahon (Sandy), April Bevin (Kwan Yin), Peter Bevin (Jade Emperor), Kate Stones (Buddha), Ron Moore (Yama King of Death), Laura Hall-Levetan (Mother Demon), Louise Osland (Dragon Queen)
Performance Dates: Nov 27, 28, 29; Dec 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 2015 (Fridays 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 2pm)
Venue: Castlemaine Town Hall, Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine
Serious Monkey Business
The Castlemaine Theatre Company’s production ‘Monkey and the Monk’ is a re-telling of a traditional Chinese legend, made famous in the 1980s by the Japanese TV series Monkey Magic, which achieved global cult status. Monkey and the Monk is a new kind of project for the CTC, with an expanded scope. We are working with 2 local youth organisations, local musicians Charles Affleck and Patrick Killeen have been commissioned to write an original score, director Kate Stones is creating an Education Program to accompany the show, and local film maker Karen McMullen is making a documentary of the process. The above Learning Guide document is part of the education program, and includes detailed background information and history about the story.
The Story of Monkey and the Journey West
The story originates from the true tale of Hsuan Tsang, a Chinese academic who travelled to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures, which he devoted his life to translating. He became a folk hero in China, and by the time his story was finally written down in the sixteenth century, he had acquired a band of trusty disciples to protect him on his journey in the form of the irrepressible Monkey (a streetwise, rebellious ape with a taste for a good fight and a dream of immortality and fame); Pigsy (a round fellow with a love of food and pleasure, the ‘Friar Tuck’ of the tale who most often ends up carrying the bags); and Sandy (a water spirit who waxes poetic and philosophic, dry and depressive – like Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh). The four pilgrims set out to bring back sacred scriptures from the Western Heaven (India), assisted by Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, along the way they fight demons and joke and argue constantly with each other. Monkey and the Monk is our very own home grown version of the story, adapted and directed by Kate Stones and featuring original music by Charles Affleck and Patrick Killeen, performances by the students of the Castlemaine Youth Theatre and the Omiokiri Karate School, with help from guest choreographers Sarah Cook and Flynn Patrao (Xtreme Inc/Movement Zone).
Tripitaka, A Youthful Buddhist Monk. Physically vulnerable, a bit pathetic, at times annoyingly pedantic on Buddhist Teachings, deeply committed to non-violence, ruthless when necessary.
Monkey, Sun Wu K’ung, King of the Monkeys, skilled in magic arts, irrepressible, anarchic, protective, streetwise, loves fighting demons, pursuing immortality.
Pigsy, a pig spirit who loves food, women, comfort, lazy-minded but always ends up doing the hard work, very physically strong.
Sandy, an erstwhile cannibalistic water demon, is on the road to reformation along with his companions. Sandy is like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh – poetic, thoughtful, philosophical, a glass half empty kind of guy.
Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, wise and well, compassionate
The Jade King, Emperor of Heaven, a bureaucrat who doesn’t like to be interrupted at tea time
A contemporary script by April de Angelis about the very first women actors to perform on the London stage during the Restoration period - the reign of Charles II in the 1660s.
Directed by Kenneth MacLeod
with (in order of appearance) Kate Stones; Zenith Flume; Tiffany Naughton; Donna Steven; and Bridget Haylock.
A contemporary script by April de Angelis about the very first women actors to perform on the London stage during the Restoration period – the reign of Charles II in the 1660s.
ABOUT PLAYHOUSE CREATURES
“ ‘tis as hard a matter for a pretty woman to keep herself honest in the Theatre, as ‘tis for an apothecary to keep his treacle from the flies in hot weather – for every Libertine in the audience will be buzzing about her Honey-Pot.” Thomas Brown, 17th Century writer
London, 1669 – Bon vivant and culture vulture Charles II has restored the monarchy to England after decades of puritanical Commonwealth rule under Oliver Cromwell. He ushers in an era of unprecedented religious tolerance, artistic freedom and cultural enlightenment. One of his first bold moves is to permit women to tread the boards of London’s theatres for the very first time.
Join us backstage at the King’s Theatre, to witness the precarious lives of four of London’s most famous early actresses, as their trajectory rises from the gutter to the stars and back again. The most notorious amongst them is the riotous Nelly Gwyn who goes on to become the King’s favourite mistress…but sadly not all are as fortunate as she….
First performed in 1993, Playhouse Creatures, by English dramatist April D’Angelis, offers a darkly comic glimpse into the lives and careers of some of the first actresses granted licence to perform professionally on the English stage. Set in London during the period which became known as the English Restoration, Playhouse Creatures brings together four of the period’s first women of the stage – Mary Betterton, Rebecca Marshall, Elizabeth Farley and Nell Gwynne – in a colourful portrait of late 17th century theatre.
Prior to the reinstatement of the Catholic monarchy in 1660 under Charles II, England had endured eleven years of rigid social and religious Commonwealth rule under Oliver Cromwell. All theatres had been closed or destroyed well before Cromwell succeeded in taking power, with puritan Protestant sentiment deeming all ‘’entertainments’’ to be a threat to public order in such troubled times.
Having spent the years of Commonwealth rule living it up in self-imposed European exile, upon his return to the throne, pleasure-seeking aesthete Charles II immediately sought to reignite the cultural passions of English society, issuing Royal Patents to two of his staunchest followers to open new theatres. Given exclusive rights to stage plays for profit, the King’s and Duke’s companies were formed in London’s West End, creating an impenetrable duopoly and becoming fierce rivals for the patronage of largely aristocratic audiences.
Up until the closure of English theatres in 1642, all women’s parts had been played by ‘boy players’. While in exile, Charles had developed a taste for a more sophisticated European style of theatre, and was particularly beguiled by the sight of women on stage. In late 1660, Charles II issued a proclamation that all women’s roles would henceforth be performed women. The impact was immediate, with curious audiences turning out in droves to witness the spectacle of women on public display.
The presence of actual women on stage brought an expectation of eroticism, and contemporary playwrights were quick to exploit an actress’s obvious charms. “Couch scenes” in which an alluring young actress would be placed centre stage on a bed or couch seemingly asleep and in a state of undress became commonplace. Rape scenes also became a prominent feature, allowing female characters to retain their virtue whilst gratifying an audience’s desire for sexual titillation. “Breeches” roles which required women to dress as men also became popular, giving audiences an opportunity to admire a shapely leg sheathed in tight leggings.
Not surprisingly, this blatant objectification of women on stage served to fuel the widespread assumption that any woman who chose to display herself on a public stage was most likely a “whore”, and it was widely considered that acting was a profession which no respectable woman would ever pursue.In Playhouse Creatures, we see how the culture of the court helped to fuel the boorish behaviour directed at actresses. Charles II himself took orange-seller turned actress, Nell Gwynne, as one of his many long-term mistresses, eventually persuading her to abandon a highly successful career in favour of a townhouse, and later two children and a fatal dose of syphilis. Rebecca Marshall, whose story is also explored in the play, twice took her outrage at the treatment she received at the hands of various earls and gentlemen to the King, hoping to secure protection from unwanted advances.
At a time when we take for granted the rights of women to perform, write and direct; to own and manage theatres, Playhouse Creatures offers a lively account of the ways in which Restoration actresses fought for financial independence and the right to be respected as legitimate actors.
Please be aware that Playhouse Creatures contains some adult themes, earthy language and partial nudity.
Three short plays written and directed by Ian Nash
19 and 20 Feb 2011, Welshmans Reef Winery, Newtsead-Maldon Road
Challenged is a trilogy of short plays, Bonnie, Kaaris and Tapestries, with a focus on disability. Bonnie has been the mother and full-time carer of her now 43 year old brain-damaged daughter for more that three decades; Kaaris is an imaginative, middle-aged woman who, at 150kgs, seeks release from the virtual prison of her own flesh; Suzy and Rita, long-time residents of a community house for the disabled, discover, when all else fails the need for faith in each other.
Writer/director Ian Nash has an interest in giving voice to characters who are in some way marginalised. His recent works make a study of women who do not conform to traditional expectations of stereotypical female behaviour. A graduate of Stanford University Creative Writing Centre, Ian is the author of many plays including A Boy For Me, A Girl For You (Melbourne Theatre Company), Burnout (The Open Stage, Melbourne University), Little Eva (Carlton Courthouse), Show of Strength, Stone Talk and Horse Talk (La Mama). In 2010 Ian directed Tapestries for the Castlemaine Theatre Company.
In 2010 Tapestries, part of the Challenged trilogy, toured the One-Act Play Festivals in Regional Victoria, where it enjoyed considerable success. Tapestries gained nominations in the Best Original Play, Best Director and Best Overall Production categories, whilst its performers, Anna Davies and Bev Geldard achieved Best Actress awards at the Ballarat and Anglesea Festivals. Associate Professor Kim Durban from the University of Ballarat commented that Tapestries ‘invokes the cry of the soul’ and that Nash handled the subject matter with ‘heart and compassion’.
Tickets are $15 full price and $12 concession. Limited seats are available so please book in advance at Newstead Rural Transaction Centre on 5476 2360. Tickets will also be available at the door. Coffee, cake and wine will be available before and between the performances.
Challenged is generously supported by Maldon and District Community Bank.