Open Rehearsal
When I Was Five
19 March 3.30pm
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15 February 2017

Hello <<First Name>>,

The year is well and truly underway at WLT with the theatre's Annual General Meeting held on 3 February and our first production opening night on 9 February. Bad Jews directed by Tess Maurici Ryan, with a sold-out season, has seen wonderful responses from audiences. Chookas to the company for the second half of its season.  

The AGM was another affirmation of the strength and success of our little theatre. The reports from President, Secretary and Treasurer attest to this as we ticked off all the successful elements of 2016. One thing WLT does well is recognise its people and the awarding of Life Membership to three well deserving members was a highlight of the night. Their contributions to WLT are significant. Details of these Life Members appear in this edition.  

A big thank you to Shirley Sydenham for taking on the assembly and editing of our January 2017 edition of Cues & News.  It was a great read, with lots of news and content, ushering in another year at Albert Street. Meanwhile, Ellis Ebell and I were enjoying the festive season in the US prior to the commencement of the Republican Administration. If you scroll to the very end there are several photos from each of our three destinations. 

Words by Frank Page, Editor


Bad Jews

by Joshua Harmon
Directed by Tess Maurici Ryan

Current production closes
25 February.
Look for reviews in our March Cues & News.

Left: l-r Francesca Bianchi, Charlie Collopy-White, Julia Lambert, John Murphy
Right - Full Company: Peta Ripper, Ness Harwood, Tony Tartaro, Tess Maurici Ryan, Kerry Drumm, Shirley Sydenham in back row
Photos by Roger Forsey

Bad Jews Launches Season 2017


Bad Jews, which opened last week, has been bringing the house down! Huge laughs, and maybe a few gasps, from the delighted full houses. Some audience members have said they were frequently mid laugh when the next zinger came so the laugh just continued. And continued. 

Director Tess Maurici Ryan, whose first production at WLT this is, has truly given us a feast to kick off 2017. She has built a true ensemble with her actors and they’ve worked intensely over January to develop a wonderful entertainment for our audiences.  

Our four feisty actors are simply superb. There’s no other way to describe their performances.  Julia Lambert as Daphna and Charlie Collopy-White as Liam are fiercely at each other’s throats. Like a circling shark, Daphna is never more dangerous than when she smiles before she pounces. John Murphy as the hapless Jonah is so awkwardly stuck in the middle as each demands he takes their side. And Francesca Bianchi as Melody shows us a sweet, naïve and perhaps not very bright shiksa who tries to broker a peace between the cousins.  

Stage Manager Ness Harwood runs things with her usual smooth and calm professionalism. She is ably backed up by Assistant Stage Manager Kerry DrummPeta Ripper is the third backstage person, operating sound and lights with her usual efficiency.

The set looks great. It is exactly what it is.. an overcrowded studio apartment in an excellent location… apparently the bathroom has views of the Hudson River!  Craig Pearcey’s lighting is excellent. Patrick Slee’s sound is evocative, especially the opening. 

If you haven’t got a ticket, you might be able to pick up any cancellations: contact David Dare on 9885 9678 to be put on a waiting list for notification. If you live close by call in to the theatre around 8pm and wait to see if anyone hands in tickets they’re not using.

And if you have tickets you can’t use… contact David Dare 9885 9678, or phone the theatre on 9397 6705 in the half hour before the show to let Front of House know.


Shirley Sydenham
Production Coordinator

Editor Notes:  Modesty dictated that Production Coordinator Shirley Sydenham couldn't really extol her own virtues - she did a damn fine job, as usual, as PC. Well done Shirley.

When I Was Five

By Jeff Baron
Directed by Brett Turner


Production dates:
20 April - 6 May

Auditions were conducted last weekend.  Look out for cast announcement on and the WLT Facebook page. More details on this production in our March Cues & News.

Auditions - Vincent in Brixton

Download Audition Form Here



Hello and welcome to February! 

Well, 2017 has gotten off to a flying start with the wickedly funny Bad Jews now settled into its run. Fast paced and sassy, it’s a ripper of a production. Best wishes to Tess and her team for a fantastic season. 

A big thank you to all who participated in the January Working Bees. They are our annual opportunity to get the place sorted out and ship shape, ready for the year ahead – and the place is looking great thanks to the hard work of myriad WLT champions. And particular thanks to those who catered; cooking the BBQ and providing the cocktails. What a civilised lot we are!! I wonder how long the current orderliness of the storage areas will last? My tip – mid March.

And a very big thank you to all who came along to the Annual General Meeting. I know they’re not the most exciting thing on the annual calendar, but the AGM is always a great way to find out ‘where things are at’ at WLT. I hope you’ll take the time to read the reports now on the website and with links in Cues & News.

A couple of things worth mentioning from the AGM….

Firstly, heartfelt congratulations to Neil, Alex and Bob on your Life Memberships. These are three long-time and selfless servants of the company and we’re thrilled to acknowledge your immense contribution in this way. I wonder how many hours these men have put into WLT if we added them together? 

Secondly, I pay tribute to two members of the Committee who decided not to stand for re-election at the AGM. Peta Ripper (pictured) has been a wonderful go-to person around the place and has made a significant contribution to the discussions at Committee Meetings. Peta – best wishes from all of us and we look forward to still seeing you around the place! And what can you say about Bernadette Wheatley? (pictured below) Life Member, legend, all-round-nice-person. We will miss seeing your smiling face around the theatre. Best wishes for your very exciting career opportunity – and we look forward to welcoming you back to Melbourne down the track.

We are also delighted to welcome Emma Hunt (pictured) onto the WLT Committee. Many will know Emma from her wonderful work as a Stage Manager with us and we look forward to the immense contribution that we know Emma will make at Committee level now and in the years ahead. We’re going to be in safe hands well into the future.

So 2017 is very much off and running. Do you get the feeling it’s going to be December again before we know it?!

See you in the foyer,


Members & Friends cont.

The eastern suburbs Lyrebird Awards are probably the last from 2016 and we are delighted to note the success of some of our WLTsters. Congratulations to Peter Newling whose production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses won Best Drama Production, Best Director of a Drama and Best Actor in a Drama, Rowan Howard (pictured below) among others.

Congratulations also to Helen Ellis whose production of Becky's New Car won a number of awards including Best Comedy Production and also Jason Bovaird for Best Lighting a Musical (over $30,000).

Members &


Robyn Legge (pictured)has happily announced the engagement of her son Alexander to his lovely Alejandra during their Christmas sojourn in Melbourne. Alexander and Alejandra, who is from Barcelona, have now returned to their home in Oxford. Alejandra’s engagement ring is a beautiful family heirloom handed down through four generations of Robyn’s family. The wedding,  a full-on traditional Spanish celebration, will take place in Barcelona in September. Meanwhile Robyn is embarking on Spanish lessons to better converse with Alejandra’s family!  


One of our WLT onstage favourites is Stephanie Gonelli or just Stephie. With memorable appearances in recent years in Times Stands Still, Sweet Road and London Suite we have come to know and love this warm and affectionate actor. We were thrilled, therefore, when it was announced that she was to direct Madagascar by J.T. Roberts at Essendon Theatre Company 30 March - 8 April. After successful auditions, Stephie's production is now in rehearsal and we are delighted to note that a WLT contingent makes up a good part of her team. Stage legend Paula McDonald is one of the three actors while Stage Manager extraordinaire Emma Hunt with tech whiz Patrick Slee behind-the-scenes rounding out the WLT representation. Paula's Facebook posting after her first rehearsal said it all; "If last night is any indication it's going to be a wild ride.....woo hoo bring it on....!!!" Chookas to Stephie and her cast for a wonderful experience with Madagascar.

l-r Stephie Gonelli, Paula McDonald, Emma Hunt, Patrick Slee, and in front Hanna Koch, Peter Tedford-Taylor


It's summer time and so another WLT tradition is the trek up the Western Highway to Ray and Rosemary Hares' for their annual BBQ. A good representation from WLT joined Ray's and Rosemary's other friends and family for this very pleasant afternoon. The weather is always somewhat unpredictable at the Hare's BBQ and last Sunday was no different, with threatening dark clouds, some rain and then warm sunshine. There's one thing about traditions; everyone knows what to do. The salads and desserts were as superb as ever with guaranteed second helpings as well. Great to see Ray and Rosemary, whom we thank, and to have a relaxed afternoon chatting and catching up. Click the Button below for a small album of photos (by Frank Page), several of which we include here.

Ellis with Ray

l-r Judi, Lorraine, Brian, Neil, Rosemary, with Emma & Robyn in the background

l-r Neil, photo-bombing Rosemary, Ellis, Bernadette


We have remarked on previous occasions about Emma Hunt's wonderful shoe collection. Here are her "Mary Poppins" boots seen at the BBQ. Always with style is our Emma.


Hare's BBQ Album

Annual General Meeting              
3 February 2017

AGM papers with the fabulous     
Bad Jews set in the background.

More images in the album below - Click button below.

Almost 40 people attended the Annual General Meeting on Friday 3 February. President, Secretary and Treasurer presented their reports, which were well received by those in attendance.  Ness Harwood’s work in reviewing the accounts of 2016 were commended and she accepted the invitation to review the 2017 accounts. 

l-r Shirley Sydenham, Brian Christopher, Barbara Hughes, Peter Newling

A moving… and surprise…  agenda item was the induction of three new Life Members: Alex Begg (introduced by Barb Hughes), Neil Williamson (introduced by Bernadette Wheatley) and Robert Harsley (introduced by Ellis Ebell).  Those present heartily and vocally endorsed their induction as Life Members.

Composition of the Play Selection Committee has changed somewhat with the retirement of Graeme Cope, Judi Clark and Shirley Sydenham who were thanked for their years of work. New member Natasha Boyd was welcomed. She joins Convenor Damian Coffey and Gaetano Santo with Peter Newling as non-voting Committee liaison.

Deborah Fabbro was thanked for her three years on the Adjudication Panel and John Shelbourn was welcomed as he begins his three year appointment joining Shane Ryan and Lois Collinder.

Bernadette Wheatley and Peta Ripper retired from Committee and were warmly congratulated and thanked for their contributions. The election of new member Emma Hunt was received with enthusiasm.

Your Committee for 2017 is:

    Peter Newling, President

    Barbara Hughes, Vice President

    Shirley Sydenham, Secretary

    Brian Christopher, Treasurer

General Committee:

    Ellis Ebell

    Robert Harsley

    Roger Forsey

    Tony Tartaro

    Emma Hunt

In typical WLT tradition, the meeting was followed by refreshments and with thanks to Peta Ripper and Bernadette Wheatley for same!  On this balmy evening we gathered in the courtyard with great conviviality.


Shirley Sydenham

2017 AGM Photo Album

New Faces - Life Members!

New Life Members l-r Alex Begg, Bob Harsley, Neil Williamson
Click the Button below to read the Life Member citations created by each of the Committee members mentioned above.  Website Editor Shirley Sydenham has done an AGM story on the site including the welcoming of Emma Hunt to the Committee line-up for 2017 - the citations are included there. 
Life Member Citations

Tuesdays in January - 2017


Beginning of January: a list of tasks to be done was stuck on the door.

On 31 January, at the end of the last Tuesday working bee,  the list was removed – all tasks crossed off. Done! A most satisfying thing… thank you to all who came along to pitch in. It was hard work but fun also and the dinners were, as usual, a most delicious and mellow evening enjoyment each week. Not to mention the cocktail of the week each Tuesday!


Just a few of the jobs done:

  • The complete culling, re-organisation and labelling of all our flats…huge job!
  • The festoon light bulbs replaced
  • The kitchen cupboards and drawers sorted, culled, cleaned
  • Cobwebs removed
  • Archives organised, professional library sorted
  • Much progress in the ongoing organisation and cataloguing of costumes 
  • Much progress in the ongoing organisation and cataloguing of props
  • Lights storage area tidied.
  • The skip was filled and replaced a couple of times
  • Many small repairs and tidy ups
Words by Shirley Sydenham, Photos by Shirley Sydenham and Barbara Hughes

Diary Dates

25 February     Closing performance Bad Jews
28 February     Bump out Bad Jews from 5.30pm - dinner provided
19 March         Open Rehearsal When I Was Five

Pre-Trump USA

Top - Pikes Peak, Colorado
Bottom Left - Laguna Beach, California
Bottom Right - Near Graumans Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, California

Photos by Frank Page

Editor: Frank Page   M. 0417 010 817  E.

Copyright © 2017 Williamstown Little Theatre, All rights reserved.

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