Gala Dinner Dance Saturday 20 August                        View this email in your browser
Back to Willy Sunday 21 August


15 August 2016

Hello Friend,

Committee member Roger Forsey, our techno whiz and so much more, has begun cataloguing an extensive library of WLT images that he has taken over recent years. The dramatic shot above, one of Roger's, shows some of our lights resting in the stalls awaiting rigging. Thanks Roger for the great work you do, especially behind the camera, and safe travels also while you are overseas.

It's just three weeks and four nights before opening night of Sitting Pretty, directed by Robert Harsley with rehearsals in full swing. We're looking forward to this production.

We're pleased to include a further review from our last production; If I Should Die Before I Wake directed by Ellis Ebell and we thank VDL Theatrecraft for this.

It has been such a big year at WLT with our staple theatre-making continuing a tradition we now celebrate in our seventieth year. We have two big events marking our 70th anniversary seemingly minutes away. Saturday 20 August will be our Gala Dinner Dance at the Williamstown Town Hall. Then on Sunday 21 August our Back to Willy reunion BBQ and Open Rehearsal for Sitting Pretty. All relevant details elsewhere in this edition.

Some of you will have participated recently in a survey about WLT. We thank our Secretary Shirley Sydenham for managing this process and those of you who participated. Under Shirley's supervision we had none of the problems of last week's national Census! It is really important for us to get your feedback so that we can continue to provide the best theatre making we can, with all that entails. Look out for a summary of the results of the survey in this edition of Cues & News.

To go straight to the article of your choice simply select from the following list.

Sitting Pretty

By Amy Rosenthal
Director: Robert Harsley


Sitting Pretty Cast photo

(l-r standing) Roberta Szekeres, Conor O'Neill, Ian Tweeddale, Andrea Tappe, Dasana Smyth
(l-r sitting) David Efron, Margie Bainbridge, Marianne Collopy


Sitting Pretty Update

Both director Bob Harsley and Production Coordinator Brian Christopher report that rehearsals for Sitting Pretty are progressing well.

Bob is loving the cast and their efforts, as he is the backstage crew, who are getting the hang of things. Bob is promising a great show!

Brian advises that the set is now structurally complete (see several photos below), thanks to Barbara Hughes, David Dare and others. From the cast photo above, you will see that painting has commenced. Brian believes that everything is 'sitting pretty' and he can't wait for the production to open. 

(top left) Brian Christopher & Neil Williamson  (right) David Dare  (bottom) Brian Christopher

Props for Sitting Pretty

Maria Haughey is once again sourcing props for one of our productions and we thank her for that. For Sitting Pretty she needs a large rucksack or back pack. She promises it will be well cared for, picked up and returned.

If you can assist shoot off an email to Maria by clicking the Button below.
Email Maria


Auditions - London Suite

By Neil Simon
Director: Gaetano Santo


Production Coordinator: Peter Newling


Season: 17 November – 3 December


Auditions : Sunday 11 September from 1pm and Monday 12 September from 7.00pm.

London Suite is a stage play of four short plays set in a contemporary London hotel.

1. Settling Accounts

Brian Cronin     45-50 (English Accent)          Successful novelist

Billy Fox           45-50 (English Accent)           Brian’s manager

2. Going Home

Sheryl  Semple            Mid 50’s (American Accent)

Lauren Semple            Age 31 (American Accent)      

3. Diana and Sidney

Grace Chapman        Mid 30’s (American accent)   Diana’s secretary

Sidney Nichols           Mid 50’s (English Accent)   Fit, tanned and gay

Diana Nichols            About 50 (English Accent)  Glamorous and successful TV                                           star.

4. The Man on the Floor

Mark Ferris                30 – 45 (American/New York accent)  Frantic American                                               tourist

Anne Ferris                30 – 45 (American/New York accent) Frantic American                                                tourist

Mrs Sitgood               35-50 (Scottish accent)  Happy and cheerful associate                                                 hotel manager

Bellman                     Any age (English accent)  Dim witted and clumsy

Dr McMerlin               30’s and older  (English accent) Cheerful hotel doctor


Please Note: 
Successful actors may be cast in more than one of the plays or if preferable, be cast in only one play and therefore attend rehearsals only once a week.​

Rehearsal nights (at this stage) will be Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights.

When attending an audition at WLT please bring with you a completed Audition Form with a non-returnable head-shot with your name written on the back. Click Audition Form to obtain a copy.

Auditions are by appointment only and only after you have read the play. Click the button below for an Audition appointment, request a copy of the script and any other information.

Email Gaetano Santo

Review - If I Should Die Before I Wake

By Rebecca Lister
Director: Ellis Ebell

WLT gratefully acknowledge VDL Theatrecraft for allowing us to republish this review.

Subscriber Survey


On 20 July a survey was sent to our subscribers. To date we have received over 90 responses. Thank you! We appreciate you taking the time and effort to let us know how we’re doing… and the result shows that we are a very healthy company.

We thought that to reach 70 years was indeed a milestone and showed that we are doing something right… we wanted to find out more so that we can look ahead and consolidate even more so we reach the 80th and beyond!

The results were most heartening and here's a summary.

     Over 50% of subscribers have subscribed for over 10 years, and 25% of you have subscribed for 2-5 years. A whopping 74% of subscribers see all 5 plays each year and 85% of all subscribers are extremely likely to subscribe again next year.  The excellent quality of the productions rated highest among reasons for subscribing (91%) and the diversity of plays was next at 73%. 

    Of the plays of 2015 and first half of 2016, Visiting Mr Green was far and away the most popular at 73% with The Nance at 60%.

     It was most gratifying to see that so many people use the website to find information about productions and many who use the website to find booking and ticket information.  For those who don’t use the website for their ticketing enquiries, we do remind you that the latter is there for you! We love it that so many check the News page!

     People who indicated they’d like to be more hands on in their involvement (Note: mentoring/training provided) can take the next step by contacting either Shirley Sydenham, Secretary at or directly to the following:

  • Acting: check our auditions via Cues & News and our website: where there is always a contact for enquiries. Because we don’t pre-cast, this is the way to express interest in performing in WLT productions.
  • Directing: contact the Convenor of the Play Selection Committee Damian Coffey  
  • Stage management or general backstage, including operating lights/sound contact  Alex Begg.
  • Set construction and decoration: contact Brian Christopher to express interest and find out what's currently going on.
  • Costume design/making: contact Tony Tartaro.
  • Front of House: contact Bob Harsley
Click any of the names above to email them directly.


Replies to comments and queries:


Play Selection

The comments about choice of plays were tabled at a recent meeting of the Play Selection Committee and all have been discussed. We take on board that there was a recent spate of American plays and point out that this year’s selection is more diverse. The plays are generally selected from a list submitted by each of the chosen directors. Selection tends to be very much based on whether or not it’s a good play, its nature and message, its genre while getting a balance of comedy, drama, time period, large cast, small cast, heavy/light, contemporary/period and so on across the year. The complexity of set, costumes and props are considered also and nationality is also a criterion although not necessarily the first.


Subscriber Playbill

The Playbill is sent out in the first week of November. This means that subscribers get it about two weeks before the hard copy is available in the foyer where they are placed before the start of the last production of the year. Bookings for non subscribers open in January, four weeks before the first play opens. So subscribers have about 9-10 weeks head start on people making casual bookings. 


Prince Albert Hotel offer

We’re really happy that so many enjoy dinner at the Prince Albert Hotel before coming to WLT and remember to show their ticket to take advantage of the hotel’s offer of a free glass of wine. If you don’t like the wine, make sure you come across to our welcoming foyer in enough time to buy a lovely glass of Scotchmans Hill red or white : it’s not free but it is at a price you won’t get anywhere else! 


Supportive comments

Many thanks for the wonderfully supportive comments we received! We are delighted that so many of you, by far the majority of responses, are happy with our productions even the challenging ones that make for lively discussion.

Did you not receive a subscriber survey?

Some subscribers come in groups that are booked by one person and that person is the one who’d have received the survey. Could those who organise a group please let their group know that their feedback is just as valuable and if they would like to fill in the survey, please email for us to send you the survey.

Subscriber Survey report summary prepared by Shirley Sydenham

For Pete's Sake

Hello and welcome to August. The tell tale signs of spring are just starting to show themselves – the daffodils are coming out, blossoms are appearing on trees and most people are down to wearing only one jumper at a time.

We received a lovely email through the week asking if WLT would be prepared to continue our proud tradition of offering a ‘charity night’ during our final season of the year. I’m a big fan of ‘charity nights’ so I was pleased when we were able to give it the go-ahead.

For those who haven’t come across the concept before, many community theatre companies around Melbourne offer their final dress rehearsal to a local charity who then sells all the tickets and pockets the takings. There’s lots to like about this as an idea…..

The charity stands to make a fair bit of money out of the night – usually somewhere around two thousand dollars in ticket sales - then most will then add on a raffle and various other fundraising events on the night. So the charity could come away with several thousand dollars from the night. That’s the equivalent of a very big sausage sizzle outside Bunnings – and their people get to see a great show!

But it’s also good from the theatre’s perspective. It gives the cast and crew of the production a real live audience to play to before opening night. And that can be very useful in figuring out where unexpected laughs are likely to come, where expected laughs are likely to fall flat and whether the play you thought was a drama is, in fact, a comedy after all. It can also help blow away some of those first night butterflies! And who knows – we may introduce someone to live theatre who has never experienced something like that before.

But more importantly, it positions the theatre alongside other service organisations that are doing great work in the community. These events play an important part in helping companies such as ours satisfy our great desire to be good corporate citizens – not only by providing the community with access to quality arts, but also in providing tangible assistance to fellow community services to help them keep doing their valuable work.

We like to think that we have played an integral part in the Williamstown community for 70 years now and opening our doors to our fellow service organisations and helping them benefit through the work that we do is just one more example of how we’re serious about making an ongoing contribution to our community.

See you in the foyer. And see you at the gala!!


Read all about Track Youth Theatre and its founder Ed Bailey - CLICK HERE


Members & Friends

Wayne Pearn (pictured below left with Tim) is someone well known here at WLT where he has variously taken acting roles, directed productions and been an adjudicator. Wayne is not only dapper but also a sociable chap. He recently decided to practice experiencing a significant birthday. It wasn't significant because it only ended in 7!! So Wayne and partner Tim Williamson invited a whole bunch of friends to a pub party in Fitzroy, and thanks to Facebook, that was a simple process. There were lots of people there for a fun party in a beer garden. WLT was well represented and there were plenty of thespians on hand so it ended up being quite a reunion. We've put together a collage of happy snaps (see below) and you may just recognise some of the characters. Oh, by the way, happy birthday Wayne and thanks for a great party!


Also at Wayne's party was Laurie Gellon, our perennial former WLT President and much much more. Laurie was commenting on last month's story where the playwright of our last play attended one of the performances. This reminded Laurie of several other occasions when WLT has hosted playwrights. Laurie has written about this and you can see his article elsewhere. We have included a great picture of Laurie and the venerable Graeme Cope and David Dare who also joined the celebratory throng at the Fitzroy pub. Laurie will be joining us at our big knees-up on 20 August at the Williamstown Town Hall and the Back to Willy event the following day. 

Congratulations to Kay Hambling, Lighting & Audio Operator and Rehearsal Prompt for our last production, when she welcomed into the family beautiful Audrey Rose a new grand daughter.

We have a Raffle Queen! Should there have been a prize for FOH person selling the most raffle tickets, Bernadette Wheatley certainly would have won hands down: she sold $250 worth on one night alone! Raffle sales spiked on each of the three nights she was FOH… and she has sold more at work since then. Look out for details of the raffle prizes, around $1400 worth, on your table at the 70th birthday Gala Dinner Dance next Saturday night.

Peridot Theatre opened their production of the exciting play Les Liaisons Dangereuses last week and it runs through to 27 August. This production has lots of WLT connections commencing with the director, Peter Newling, along with a trio of popular actors seen regularly on our own stage; Janine Evans, Rowan Howard and Juliet Hayday. This play set in 18th Century France has a bunch of merciless aristocrats competing in games of seduction and revenge - vice unbounded, yet kept within the impassive mask of civilised decorum.  Chookas to Peter and his company for a great run.

Cues & News

Wayne Pearn's Fitzroy Pub Party!

Photos courtesy Leanne Cairnduff and Frank Page

Anniversary Despatches

See you all at the 70th Birthday Gala Dinner Dance on Saturday 20 August!

Join us at Back to Willy.
It will be all about seeing old mates,  swapping anecdotes, reliving happy times!

BBQ from 1.30pm.. for catering purposes, please let Bernadette Wheatley know you’re coming - click Button below to email her.

And for something a bit different... refreshments will be before you enjoy an open rehearsal of Sitting Pretty from 3pm

Email Bernadette

Our friends at The Victorian Drama League Theatrecraft ran a piece in their July edition on WLT's 70th anniversary/birthday. We thank them for acknowledging this significant milestone in our theatre's history. Here is a copy of the article.

The last 70th Anniversary Event

Onwards, Upwards and Many Awards -


WLT  presents the third of three, free Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Entertainments at 2 pm on Sunday 25 September

Bookings are not necessary.


Entitled Onwards, Upwards and Many Awards – 1991-2015, the presentation will include some scenes from past productions of those recent years, stories of the theatre company’s history and a song or two as well.  


Plus afternoon tea afterwards!

From the Archives

A few more production images we've scanned for you from both the 1970's and one from 1990.

Shifting Heart 1972  (l-r) Carmel Behan, Janet Sthall, Jim Ramsay, Ellis Ebell, Kay Butterworth, Paul Tonti-Filippini

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum 1974 (l-r) Marion Wilde & Bernadette Twomey

Odd Couple 1972
(l-r) Vin Foster & Doug Lindsay

Charley's Aunt 1975 (l-r) Frank Wadds, Sally-Ann Wilson, Geoff Armstrong, Irene, Peter Cheasley, Gail Poole, Peter, Maggie McInnes, Ewen Crockett in front of Williamstown Botanic Gardens gates.

Lysistrata 1975

Whose Life is it Anyway? 1990
(l-r) Ron Little (his last performance on stage), Les Terrill (Director), Fransina Vorpostal, Ellis Ebell, James Carlon. Actors fooling around whilst getting notes from the Director.


Is there a Playwright in the House?


What a fantastic night it must have been when the playwright was at If I Should Die Before I Wake and to have the following Q&A session. This got me remembering a couple of other times when we had a playwright in the house.

I recall John Power attending our 1978 production of The Last of the Knucklemen. The night he attended an after show party was at Eulleen Darcy’s home (and happy recent 79th birthday to dear Eulleen) which John attended. Unfortunately one of the cast members had a huge ego (an actor with an ego – surely not Lot!*) and also a love of the bottle. Thus, when quite lubricated, he kept setting upon John asking, "was I good?". To save the playwright from the most boring night of his life, one of our female members lured said actor into a bedroom on a promise, but once he was inside she immediately left the room and locked the door. Bit of noise from inside, but soon sleep took over and our playwright went on to have a good night.

Another playwright, Ian Nash, who wrote A Boy for Me, A Girl for You,  attended our 1983 production a few times (he thought that we made much more of the dancing and did that aspect better than the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production!). Having won the 1982 Waverley Festival of Theatre ABFM, AGFY was presented non-competitively on the last night of the 1983 festival. At that performance Ian was sitting next to me and on his other side was the adjudicator of the festival whose job by then was done and he was just an ‘audience member’. At interval said adjudicator obviously did not know he was seated next to the playwright and continually expounded his disparaging thoughts about the play to his companion. That time we could not protect the playwright from rocks-in-his-head! Thankfully our Cordell Adjudicators had other ideas and gave the 1983 Craven Award to the production and the Cordell Award to Norah Toohey. Good times. Happy 70th Willy.

* For more recent WLT members and friends Laurie's nickname was/is 'Lot' and his use of it here is a little question he is asking himself.

Words by Laurie Gellon


A Filmmaker and Actor discovers WLT thanks to Kerry Drumm


I always find it a little confronting to revisit things of my past. I recently had to do just that however, and actually, it was a rather pleasant experience.  

I’ve been in the biz for a long time now and yet I still like to think of myself as somehow ‘emerging’... I’m both a filmmaker and an actor though I haven’t done so much in the thespian sphere myself over recent years (partly due to becoming a mum and partly due to well, just life) I continue to be fascinated by it.  

Recently I started collaborating with an incredible local talent, Kerry Drumm. We’ve known each other a few years now and, through Kerry, my love of the theatre, the written word, of performance, of celebrating talent and the incredible potential of ideas has been re-ignited. And it’s come about partly due to our mutual relationship with the wonderfully charming community that is Williamstown Little Theatre.  

As I understand it, Kerry started volunteering at WLT a while back and she just happened to clock some talent (we’ re looking at you Rowan Howard) and so in a long blog-post attempted to be cut short... decided to film some scenes to showcase a feature film she’s written called Tanked. Kerry asked me to play the lead role in said sample material and she suggested Rowan play the other lead. Due to my filmmaker background and access to equipment, we ended up shooting some sample scenes guerrilla style and here we are now trying to raise finance to make it. Like. For real. We were accepted into the competitive Melbourne Film International Feature Film finance market, 37South - and we’re now just the other side of meetings with a bunch of brilliantly talented producers. 

While all that Tanked stuff was ticking away, Kerry also banged out a stage-play, Strawberry. As we’d fallen in love with some other cast members (there are these chicks called Lee McClenaghan and Madeleine McKinlay we’re referring to here) we decided to film some sample material from Strawberry. We live in a day and age where we think you really do need to just go that extra mile to showcase your works. But also we believe the more we get to act as a kind of ensemble ourselves, churning out material, experimenting, collaborating and getting work out - there's more chance  that maybe some of these projects will actually get made.


So. Strawberry being a stage play, we thought should probably be filmed on a stage. And here comes the part where we rave about and thank our friends at Williamstown Little Theatre. And here also comes the part where I confront my flashback of 20 or so years! 

Kerry sent me some pics of the space at WLT. “It’s Ok”, I said. “I know it. I did one of my first ever performances as an actor there... a long long long long time ago”. I hunted through the website’s ‘past productions’  page and I found it. It was called Bazaar and Rummage. Turns out it was 1991and directed by Wayne Pearn (as a director myself now, I still recall some of the exercises Wayne put us through and to this day, I use them in my own work). I was a baby at the time, of course. Clearly must have been in nappies. But what I do remember about the experience is how welcome I felt. I knew nothing about anything but I turned up to some open auditions I’d heard about because I quite liked the idea of being in a play. I remember doing some kind of monologue at the side of the stage and how the faces in the audience were so heavily backlit they were nothing but hazy silhouettes.  

And then I received a call a few days later and it was Wayne. Would I like to play a character called Fliss, a young social worker in the play that I auditioned for recently? “OK” I said, not knowing the journey I was about to embark upon as a result. One thing led to another and while I’m not certain of the exact order of events, I’m pretty sure that by doing that play a casting director called me in for some small audition and that led to hearing about an agent who was looking for people in my age group which led to some auditions alongside a very young Naomi Watts and really... sometimes I got the gig over Naomi. (I know! Ok. So, maybe, that was only once. Technically.)  

Anyway. Kerry and I recently filmed some sample material to showcase Strawberry and we used the wonderful WLT as our set.  

Thanks to David Dare and to Brian Christopher in particular for going an extra mile in helping us pull it all together. And we used Rowan, Maddie and Lee as our actors. Patrick Slee volunteered to help us light the stage and Emma Hunt to assist with stage management. It’s only a five-minute piece and will still take us a little while to edit it all together but we couldn’t be happier with the results and there was no way it would have been possible if it weren’t for the support and the community that is Williamstown Little Theatre. So a huge thank you!  

I felt so pleased to revisit that stage in such a different capacity and to see some of the same faces so eager to contribute to ... well... art.  


Words by Katrina Mathers 

Click the Buttons below to read more information on both film samples and see footage.


Diary Dates

20 August                    Gala, Williamstown Town Hall Grand Ballroom from 7pm
21 August                    Back to Willy: BBQ 1.30pm
21 August                    Open Rehearsal Sitting Pretty from 3pm
8 September                Opening Sitting Pretty
11 & 12 September      Auditions: London Suite
24 September              Close Sitting Pretty
25 September              Pleasant Sunday Afternoon's Entertainment 2pm
27 September              Bump out Sitting Pretty from 5.30pm - dinner provided
11 December               Cordell Day from 5pm
Website: http//

Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

Copyright © 2016 Williamstown Little Theatre, All rights reserved.

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