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15 October 2014

Hello Friend,

As the year slips away we get ready for the final burst of energy for 2014 with our closing production of The Kitchen Sink, directed by Lois Collinder. Details of the cast and crew appear in this edition. Sounds like we're going to need some washers, we're hearing references with this production to "The Drips"!

Unfortunately due to some cast members' work commitments we are unable to conduct an Open Rehearsal for this production.

The other end of year activity that is an important part of the tradition of WLT is Cordell Day, our annual awards day. This year it will be held on Sunday 14 December, so pop it in your diaries now.

Before we go much further a quick apology for leaving out your names last month, with just a Dear (blank) to greet you. A bit hurried with the database at the last minute and we rudely left out your first names.

On the subject of the database, don't forget to keep us informed of any changes to your email contact details. A reminder too that our provider won't accept any role-based email addresses. If your email address is obviously linked to your workplace, the system detects that and won't send to you. If this applies to you, just send us your personal email address to be sure you keep receiving Cues & News. All such matters please direct to our hard working Secretary, Shirley Sydenham

Click on any of the following links to go straight to the article of your choice.



WLT is delighted to announce the cast for our upcoming production of The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells, directed by Lois Collinder.

Martin - Peter Newling
Kath -  Helen Ellis
Sophie - Gemma Pantaleo
Billy - Charlie Collopy-White
Pete - Rowan Howard

It's been a while since Peter trod the boards at WLT but he is well known to our audiences both as President of the group and as the director of our last production, Farragut North. Helen is making a welcome return, having previously appeared in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. When last we saw Charlie he was going down with the ship in Morning Departure. And Rowan is capping off a very big year at WLT during which he appeared in Almost, Maine and Farragut North. We extend a very warm welcome to Gemma in her first appearance at WLT.

                      Left to right seated Charlie Collopy-White, Peter Newling, Helen Ellis, Gemma Pantaleo,                             standing Bernadette Wheatley, Rowan Howard, Lois Collinder

The Production Team features lots of WLT regulars as well and what a great team they make.

Lois Collinder - Director
Bernadette Wheatley - Asst. Director
Barbara Hughes - Production Coord/Props
Lizzie Buckley - Stage Manager
Alex Begg - Asst. SM
Craig Pearcey - Lighting Design
Patrick Slee - Lighting/Sound Operation
David Dare - Set Design
David Dare, Ray Hare
Brian Christophe
r - Set Realisation
Neil Williamson - Sound Design
Maggie McInnes - Costumes
Tony Tartaro - Costumes
Kay Hambling - Prompt
Maria HaugheyProps
Jennifer Piper - Program
Roger Forsey (TBC) - Photos/Tech Assistance
Janine Evans - Poster/Dollys
George Tranter - Accent Assistance
Bob Harsley - FOH


Thanks to the great work by David Dare, Ray Hare and Brian Christopher, the basic set for The Kitchen Sink was up in time for the first rehearsal and is now almost complete.

Barbara Hughes
Production Coordinator


We’ve had some queries over the last few months at each of our recent auditions as well as the imminent one, so in the interests of transparency, I thought it might be of interest to comment on our process!  

The date of audition is determined jointly by director and production coordinator. We have an auditions coordinator who ensures the theatre is available, or hires an alternative venue, organises helpers to meet and greet or assist by reading in other parts to assist the auditions. We prefer auditions by appointment rather than a general ‘everyone rock up’ style, although the director may choose otherwise.  

We do not pre-cast by invitation. People who are on Committee or who do a great deal of work at WLT in any capacity are not automatically guaranteed a role in a play they fancy.  Everyone auditions!  Even the President, who currently has a role in The Kitchen Sink. The only time we pre-cast is when a play has a particular requirement of a role, such as a specific ethnicity, or it could be dancing, singing, acrobatic ability (Doubt is one example, and some of you may remember the exotic dancer in RolePlay!). And even then, those people audition, although often before the auditions for the other roles. If that is the case, that fact is noted on the audition notice.

There are so many factors a director has to consider, and that includes a variety of ‘who matches who’ criteria. By requiring all parties to audition, we give the opportunity to anyone who thinks they can do a role, the chance to demonstrate that, the chance to prove to a director that there is a quality there that will bring a role to life in combination with other actors.   There are many reasons for the success of WLT’s productions, and we believe our choice of director and ensuring the best possible cast, is an integral first step to that quality. 

Shirley Sydenham


Audition Requirements:

Please prepare a contemporary stage piece lasting 2-3 minutes. This should be set to impress. Neutral American accent required. There will also be reads from the script.

Please bring to audition a completed Audition Form (CLICK HERE to download form) and a non returnable headshot with name on back, attached to form.

To make an appointment, please contact Shirley Sydenham,


Williamstown Little Theatre
Farragut North
by Beau Willimon
Directed by Peter Newling
Performance - Saturday 13 September 2014 (middle weekend)
Reviewer – Jennifer Paragreen

Farragut North had its world premiere with an Off-Broadway production in November 2008. 
It is a tale of ruthless intrigue among political aspirants based on a fictionalised version of events from the 2004 Democratic primary election campaign for U.S. President of former Governor Howard Dean for whom the playwright, Beau Willimon, was a staffer after having previously served on political campaigns for Senator Hilary Clinton among others. This experience no doubt provided inspiration for Farragut North and his more recent work as scriptwriter for the American version of House of Cards.

The script is strong on political machinations and power plays that turn campaigning into almost a gladiatorial sport.  The characters may well be stereotypes but they prove to be an exciting combination and are convincingly brought to life at Williamstown by an experienced and very talented cast.
Under the direction of Peter Newling, Williamstown Little Theatre’s version of Farragut North adds to the contemporary feel of the play by setting it in January 2012 with the fast paced action occurring in various locations in politically crucial Iowa over a period not much over 24 hours which clearly demonstrate that a day is indeed a long time in politics.

Everything happens with breakneck speed. The relentless ambition of the protagonists with their earthy dialogue propel the play forward and the momentum is sustained in this production to keep the audience riveted as we witness the trajectory of central character, Stephen Bellamy, from confident and charismatic press secretary to a disposable has-been.

Tim Constantine plays this key role initially with aplomb, gloating of his meteoric rise to become, while still in his mid twenties, the press secretary to a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.  He can be charming but above all he is a strategist, quite unabashed in his tactics, ruthlessly destroying one candidate’s career with intimations of anti-Semitism and calculatingly feeding positive stories to a journalist. Brimming with unmitigated ego, he lines up a nocturnal assignation with a 19 year-old intern and then inexplicably agrees to meet a representative from the rival Democratic camp, a move which ultimately sends him on a downward spiral. Tim plays the role with unflagging energy vividly portraying his arrogance, his enjoyment of power and ultimately his desperation and devastation when he overreaches himself.

This is no one man band. There are six other actors whose interactions with Stephen Bellamy drive and illustrate the plot while simultaneously providing further insights into the internal workings of the political machine.

A rather portly Stephen Shinkfield created Stephen’s boss, Paul, as a seasoned veteran, less overt in his ruthlessness than Stephen but none the less an intelligent schemer, callous and caustic.  

As Ida Melanie Rowe convinced us that she could give as good as she gets in the macho world of a hard-bitten journalism. She is no fool and prepared to do whatever it takes to get (or to make) her story.

John Murphy brought an amazing mix of naïve enthusiasm and rat cunning to his performance as Ben.

In a role that had shades of Monica Lewinsky, Madeleine McKinlay as Molly Pearson trod a fine line between flirtation and seduction. With a lithe body, a beautiful smile and huge expressive eyes it was possible to imagine her as a either a predator or a trophy, a metaphor for political power games.

Chris Baldock was chillingly calculating as an experienced and sly campaigner who knows exactly which buttons to push to unhinge Stephen and does so.

With two roles to fill Rowan Howard made them both distinctive. His story of his brother’s fate in war stands out as the one beacon of sincerity in the whole play.

George Tranter’s set design was quite remarkable in facilitating different acting areas on the small stage.  It did look a little cluttered but there were many very clever touches. 
The white skirting board on the upstairs bedroom defined it well. Rotating the bed horizontally and the painting vertically was a clever way of denoting two different rooms in the same hotel.
The colour pallet was limited to red, white and blue with some grey and few black accessories.  A red and white check tablecloth established the Italian bistro area. The masterstroke was the deep blue square feature wall in the hotel bedroom complete with a similarly coloured abstract painting.  It served as a perfect canvas for stars which were suddenly augmented with red striped lighting to become part of a spectacular American flag which flooded the stage with light during interval thanks to Craig Peacey’s clever lighting design. 

Audio design by Bruce Parr and Jeff Saliba was also impressive with crowd noises invading the theatre whenever the auditorium doors were opened and aptly chosen music starting off with Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” providing breaks while sustaining the mood between the scenes.

Tony Tartaro’s costume designs were sharp and appropriate, lots of suits, and Molly’s ‘tight-arse’ jeans certainly were.
In short this production really worked because there was an interesting script, a strong directorial vision and everyone involved was talented and fully committed to the project. Congratulations to all those from the Play Selection Committee onwards who contributed to bringing us this highly entertaining piece of contemporary theatre.

Jennifer Paragreen



Goodness. October already.

Well, season four has now been put to bed – and Governor Morris and his rather dysfunctional staff team have boarded the last train to Farragut North and trundled off into political obscurity. It was sad to see all the red, white and blue bunting come down in the foyer, which has now returned to its usual purple state.

Our play for season five could not be further from the caustic rough and tumble of the American political landscape. Set in the Yorkshire area of northern England, The Kitchen Sink is a delightful, wistful look at the changing fortunes of one local family, and the strength of the bonds between them that will move them toward an uncertain future. As our website eloquently puts it, it’s “an irresistibly funny and tender play about big dreams and small changes”.

As many of you will be aware, I’m going to be making an on-stage appearance in this production. Our Director, the talented Lois Collinder has entrusted me with the role of Martin – an ageing milkman with a clapped out milk van and a diminishing customer base. I’m really looking forward to re-engaging with the acting process (how DO you learn all those lines?). 

Many people ask whether I prefer acting or directing. It’s not an easy question to answer – they’re not easy things to compare. 

When directing, I love the rehearsal process – having the opportunity to workshop bits of the script with talented people, and to contribute to the building of a consistent, polished whole. The painful bit for me when directing is once the show is in performance (and especially opening night). Yes, you can take some pride in what you’ve contributed to, but the wonderful sense of control you had during the rehearsal period has now totally been taken from you. Your success now lies in the hands of others – and you just have to trust that they’ll make you look good – which they generally do.

When acting, I love the thrill of performance. There’s an unpredictability that separates live theatre from doing TV or film. If it stuffs up, you and your cast mates need to be able to get it back on track. But when you get it right, and at the end of the night if you feel like the audience has come on a journey with you, there’s a tremendous satisfaction to it. 

So which do I prefer? Both. Or neither. Not sure. I’ll let you know after the show! Make sure you stick around afterwards and say hi. 

See you in the foyer!





Life Member Robyn Legge has jetted off to the UK. Celebrations include son Alexander’s birthday and happy reunions with old friends.  We know she’s having a great time!



We send condolences to another WLT stalwart on the death of her father.  Kay Hambling is almost our resident Rehearsal Prompt and was one of the Roman Sewers for A Funny Thing... last year. Our thoughts are with Kay and her family at this sad time.

For catering purposes,
RSVP essential - 1 December 

to Bernadette Wheatley 9399 1692

BYO drinks for the barbecue


The Other Place

by Sharr White
Director: Kris Weber

Monday 10 November from 7.30 pm

Season: 12-28 February 2015

      SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS                         

Peridot Theatre announcing to their members their first production for 2015, following its very successful run at WLT in June/July this year.

Correction:  We used a screen shot from Peridot's newsletter here and realise that they misspelt Alan's last name which is Burrows.

Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

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