Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Entertainments
Down Memory Lane
Sunday 28 February 2pm

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15 February 2016

Hello <<First Name>>,

Well, if this seventieth year for WLT goes any faster it will be over before we know it! Notwithstanding all the celebrations, our core activity, staging plays continues unabated. Sweet Road, directed by Peter Newling, opened last Thursday. This bitter sweet offering had already attracted great interest with its season sold out and the scheduling of an additional matinee. Chookas to Pete and his team for a great run for this play.

Congratulations to all those involved in developing our anniversary program of activity which has had a very solid launch with the Kerry Drumm-designed 70th Birthday Wall officially unveiled by the indefatigable Life Member, Ella Bambery, at the theatre's Annual General Meeting on 5 February. All harbingers of an exciting year of celebration for us to look forward to. Rounds of applause all round we think! 

The WLT website is the go-to place for everything you need to know about our 70th Anniversary celebrations and activities - CLICK on the ABOUT US tab.

Some of you will also have seen some of the archive material we plan to publish during the year. This has appeared on our Facebook page and we hope we've ironed out the privacy setting issues that denied some the opportunity to see these items. You can also find these items on our Instagram account @WLT19462016. All the archive material will also be appearing on the website CLICK HERE and be sure to take a look.

Don't forget, if you can't read something in Cues & News because it's too small simply zoom your screen - it's really quite easy. 


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

Sweet Road
by Debra Oswald

The maps have been pored over, supplies have been packed, the journey has been charted and refined, and we’re on the road!   Sweet Road, the first play of our 70th Anniversary year, opened last week to full houses and enthusiastic applause. Audiences have enjoyed the show and have been taken through a gamut of emotions from chuckles and laughs, a few tears, heart-melting ‘awww’, admiration and moments of tension. 

Watching the play, you can see that Debra Oswald writes for television and in this piece has skilfully translated her filmic style to the stage. Our talented cast performs as a true ensemble seamlessly working together whether acting in their scenes or actually changing the scenes, moving on and off a caravan, shops and garage, phone box ... and cars. Lots of cars. It is, after all, a play about being on the road!

 With thanks to Roger Forsey for his excellent images. Ed
Stage Manager, Liz Buckley, alternating some performances with Alex Begg, keeps everything running smoothly. She and Alex certainly make it look effortless.

Kay Hambling drives the light and sound, all important in a production in which they delineate and give atmosphere to the locations on David Dare’s clever, minimalist set. Craig Pearcey designed the lighting and Patrick Slee designed the sound.  Jayde Hollingsworth coordinated the costumes and Rob Edwards assembled the props and set dressing. All did a superb job!

Director Peter Newling and Assistant Director Damian Coffey have done a fabulous job drawing out of the actors finely nuanced performances. The interweaving of the stories and the relationships of the characters shines through this production.  Even little BlakeNicole and Brown Dog are brought vividly to life.

I do hope you get a chance to come along and enjoy this excellent production.


The final dress rehearsal of Sweet Road was a charity preview night for Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Williamstown. This is the second fundraiser they have held at WLT and the third charity night raising money for their lunch program. Holy Trinity does a wonderful job providing free lunch to people in need as well as taking food boxes to some people's homes. Currently they use the Uniting Church premises in Melbourne Road but are in the process of outfitting a kitchen of their own specifically for this purpose. For this kitchen they need to raise around $50,000 and Williamstown Little Theatre is very proud and delighted that we are able to help the fundraising efforts. 

Being Shrove Tuesday, the highlight of the post show supper was… you guessed it… pancakes! Not just any pancakes, however, but cooked-on-the-spot pancakes! The Vicar, Rev Bill Beagley, kept up a steady stream of savoury pancakes while Michael did the same with lemon and sugar pancakes. It was a most delightful supper on a lovely summer evening a really pleasant way to end our rehearsal period before Sweet Road drives off through its February run.

Shirley Sydenham
Production Coordinator


Sweet Road, our first production for the year, has had an enviable sell-out season. As mentioned elsewhere, we even scheduled an extra performance to meet the demand for tickets.




If for whatever reason you find you cannot use your tickets for any performance please contact us. If ahead of the date, ring David Dare 9885 9678 but if on the day, phone the theatre 9397 6705 during the 30 minutes before show time.

   7.30 - 8.00pm, or
   4.15 - 4.45pm, or
12.15-12.45pm (extra matinee)


Tel. 9397 6705


With tickets in such high demand this avoids wasting them and gives someone else a chance to see the show. Thanks for your cooperation.

The Nance

By Douglas Carter Beane

We are delighted to announce our cast for the Australian premiere of The Nance.

Chauncey Miles          Phil Lambert  
Ned                             Ziv Gidron     
Efram                          Kirk Alexander        
Sylvie                          Cat Jardine
Joan                            Kate Lewis
Carmen                       Dianne Algate

Ensemble                    Maurice Mammoliti
Ensemble                    Suzanna Meijer

It’s great to see Phil Lambert back at WLT after many years’ absence.  Audiences may remember him from Master Class in 1992.  Phil is a very talented musical theatre performer who we know will be wonderful in this mammoth role.  Ziv is a New York actor who studied at the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting, New York and has appeared in Off Broadway productions. As has Kate Lewis, who actually appeared in the world premiere of Douglas Carter Beane’s newest play.  Dianne is a WAAPA Music Theatre graduate. Kirk and Cat are well known and loved around the local theatre scene with Kirk’s credits including the original cast of Les Miserables.

Production Crew to date include:

Director                                                      Chris Baldock
Assistant Director                                      Travis Handcock
Musical Director                                        Janet Provan
Production Coordinator                             Barbara Hughes
Stage Manager                                         Alex Begg
Assistant Stage Manager                         Rob Edwards
Set Design                                                David Dare
Sound Design                                           Chris Baldock & Neil Williamson
Lighting Design                                         Jason Bovaird
Lighting & Sound Operation                     Maureen White
Costume Design                                       Tony Tartaro
Wigs                                                         Robyn Duggan-Stewart
Props                                                        Barbara Hughes & Colleen Johnson
Rehearsal Prompt                                    Robyn Legge
Photography & Technical Assistance       Roger Forsey    
Program                                                    Erin Austin
Poster                                                       Janine Evans
FOH                                                          Bob Harsley & Peta Ripper

Thanks to Chris Baldock for the above.


The Open rehearsal for The Nance will be held on Sunday 3 April from 3.30pm.  Come along and watch part of a rehearsal for this very exciting show then join the cast and crew for some drinks and nibbles afterwards.

Over the River and Through the Woods - Theatrecraft Review


Congratulations to Peter Newling, Shirley Sydenham, Brian Christopher and Barbara Hughes on a slick and 'good news story', 'steady as she goes' AGM at WLT on Friday night 5 February. Thanks to Bernadette Wheatley and Alex Begg for another fabulous supper and to all the committee for their various contributions to the evening.

The committee remains unchanged with Peter as President, Shirley as Secretary, Brian as Treasurer and Barb as Vice President along with Roger Forsey, Ellis Ebell, Robert Harsley, Peta Ripper, Tony Tartaro and Bernadette Wheatley filling the remaining committee positions.  If it aint broke...

We were delighted to see a good attendance of members for an excellent AGM. See other reports on the 70th Anniversary activity on the evening along with our guest speaker Dr Peter Cliff.

To read the President and Secretary's Reports from the Annual General Meeting click on the button below.
President & Secretary 2015 Reports

70th Birthday Officially Launched!!

It was a night of both nostalgia and looking towards the future on Friday 5 February at our AGM, when our Birthday Year was officially launched and our Birthday Wall unveiled by Ella Bambery, dubbed the 'Matriarch of our Birthday'! Ninety eight year old Ella is a Life Member and WLT's oldest member.
Click on the button below to see a video of Ella officially launching our anniversary year.
Watch Ella launch our 70th Anniversary year!
Our Guest Speaker, Dr Peter Cliff, told us fascinating tales about the days when our premises was the Cliff Family Bakery with adjoining residence where he grew up. Two large Scotch ovens occupied the space that is now our stage. If ovens can be called the heart of the bakery, how fitting that they are replaced by the heart of the theatre, its stage. To read more about the Cliff Family Bakery click the Button below.
Read more about the Cliff Family Bakery
Peter and Ella swapped many names and anecdotes of the Williamstown of many years ago and it set a warm, nostalgic tone to the evening. The nostalgic notes were enhanced by archival photos in new collages made by Barbara Hughes that hang in our foyer with new production boards and by archival photos on our electronic display screen.
The 70th Birthday Wall was admired by all and artist Kerry Drumm was applauded and congratulated. 
It was a gorgeous night that enabled us to linger happily over a delicious supper and bubbles in the courtyard in a lovely setting beside our beautiful new mural.
Images by Shirley Sydenham and Frank Page

Bakery becomes Theatre - 1968

Dr Peter Cliff, guest speaker at our 60th AGM, opened his remarks by sharing this article from The Sun, Tuesday March 19, 1968 all about preparing the theatre for the first production, Barefoot in the Park. We were delighted and grateful when he donated the article for us to keep in our Archives. Several WLT identities are identified in the article.

The 70th Anniversary Wall


We've talked so much about the wall, so what does it really consist of? Here's a full explanation where you will see that we have symbolically captured our entire 70 years in one wall!  Read on....

For more information on the Birthday Wall click the Button below.
All About the Birthday Wall

Finally - the Archives

We've trawled back through our Archives and started scanning some of the few performance images we have and parts of some of the programmes. This material reflects a very different age and sensibility to what we are contemporarily used to. It is wonderful to look back and to appreciate the development and importance of our long years of presenting live theatre in Williamstown. Here are several items from the 1950's and featuring our beloved Ella Bambery and others. At irregular intervals we'll be posting some of this material on our Facebook page, Instagram account and website. Look out for it and enjoy the revealing of WLT's rich history over the years.

The Chiltern Hundreds
l-r Ella Bambery, Marion Becroft, Ted Cordell & Bill Smith 1951

Deliver My Darling Australian Premiere 1952. Programme Sixpence. Cast included Gillian Witt (Wadds/Senior - Life Member), Marion Becroft (Gough), Dorothy Porter - deceased (Matron 60@WLT - 60th anniversary year 2006) founding member WLT, Lorraine Davey (West) deceased and Ivor Porter deceased (Patron 60@WLT 0 60th anniversary year) with an interesting 'Dear Patrons' by Ivor as Hon. Sec. and early years of subscribing at WLT!

Birthday Event!

On Sunday 28 February we have a special event… the first of three Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Entertainments, each of which shines a spotlight on an era of our 70 history by presenting scenes from past productions, stories and a song or two as well. 

Down Memory Lane 1946-1967 will feature original artists reprising some favourite roles. Come along and hear the stories, share the memories and applaud some of those who helped lay the strong foundations for a company that has lasted 70 years and shows no signs of slowing up!

Back onstage we’ll see Ella Bambery, Marion Gough (Becroft as she was then), Mary Little (most recently seen in Talking Heads in 2013), Doug Lindsay and Graeme West.
Joining them on stage will be Barb Hughes, Bob Harsley and David Dare.
MC for the afternoon is Peter Newling.
Crew: Alex Begg, Neil Williamson
Organised on behalf of WLT Committee: Judi Clark, Robyn Legge and Lois Collinder.

Whether or not you remember the early productions and their stars, or whether you found WLT in more recent years, you’ll be charmed and entertained by this glimpse down memory lane! It’s a rare chance to hear the anecdotes about our earliest days.

No bookings required, it’s free, it starts promptly at 2pm followed by afternoon tea.

For information on 70th Birthday Events click on the Button below.
70th Birthday Events

For Pete's Sake

Hello and welcome to February! 

Well, season one is up and running. It has been a very productive and enjoyable rehearsal process. It’s been great to work with so many new faces  – and a couple of old WLT faves to balance it out a bit. A big thank you to the design team of David Dare, Craig Pearcey, Jayde Hollingsworth, Rob Edwards, Shirley Sydenham and Patrick Slee. It’s looking terrific. Best wishes everyone for a great season.

Now, as you know, WLT is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. Festivities have kicked off with the unveiling of the 70th Birthday Wall mural – by the remarkable Kerry Drumm and launched by the equally remarkable Ella Bambery. This is just the start of a year-long series of events and celebrations to mark this wonderful milestone.

It will be of no surprise that WLT has a proud history of celebrating its milestones. A bit of research has revealed that the company, over the years, has marked its important anniversaries in a variety of ways……
In 1956, to honour the company’s tenth year of existence, the Committee celebrated by instituting Life Memberships – a tradition that continues today. The very first Life Membership was awarded to Ted Cordell. Today, we have 22 Life Members*, and we will continue to celebrate exemplary service to the company well into the future.

Celebrations were a bit muted in 1966 because the company was homeless. It was the year before our current site – so they postponed and celebrated the 25th anniversary instead. Then, instead of celebrating the 30th birthday in 1976, the company focused on celebrating the tenth anniversary of being at Albert Street in 1978. 

1986 was a big year – including a ‘Back to WLT” afternoon, a fashion parade, and a ‘nostalgia night’ where excerpts from previous productions were re-enacted before an enthusiastic audience. The year ended with a big masquerade ball.

The fiftieth year was celebrated in 1996 with a series of events under the collective title “Take A Bow”. Such an appropriate theme for such an important milestone. The highlight was a fancy dress Gala dinner hosted by Damian Coffey. Barb Hughes’ costume as Patsy from Ab Fab is still burned into people’s memories (republished here in case anyone has forgotten. Ed)

Two events marked the 60th anniversary in 2006. A black tie ball – the advertising for which included the following: “After our complimentary welcome glass of fizz we’ll be dining on exotic European and Middle Eastern fare with our three-course dinner. A highlight of the evening will be an exciting cabaret, featuring the music of WLT.” The other event was called “60 years in 60 minutes” where the writers set themselves the challenge of incorporating the names of all 60 years worth of plays into one hour-long piece. It was performed by Barb Hughes, Brian Christopher, Ellis Ebell, Bernadette Wheatley and Janine Evans.

With such a proud history of celebrating milestones, I’m delighted that this year’s activities will be continue this wonderful tradition. I encourage everyone to come along to as many of our events as possible. Never let it be said in the future that the current manifestation of WLT didn’t know how to celebrate!!

See you in the foyer,


See a full list of all Life Members on our website CLICK HERE. Life Members no longer with us are remembered and their contribution honoured. Ed

WIT INC (West Theatre Inc)

Couch Potato

February show dates
Fri 12, 8pm  Sat 13, 8pm  Sun 14, 1pm Thur 18, 8pm  Fri 19, 8pm  Sat 20, 8pm Sun 21, 1pm  Thur 25, 8pm  Fri 26, 8pm Sat 27, 8pm

Bluestone Church Arts Space
10A Hyde Street Footscray

Featuring Jessica Lawrence, Jennifer Piper*, Mark Salvestro, Luke Styles

This is the story of how one small break-in saved a family.

Robert lives with his parents. They've been dead for years, but he's still there and nothing in the house has changed. His sister, Lisa, would like to find him a girlfriend. His best mate, Lorrie, just wants him to get laid.

Then The Girl appears. On the couch. Asleep.

When a man who never talks back shares his space with a woman who never talks, who takes care of whom? Is a beautiful woman who cooks, cleans, sleeps, and asks nothing more, really the perfect partner? How long will it be before somebody is forced to speak up?

This absurd new Australian comedy explores the way we navigate grief, family, relationships and love – usually while saying the exact opposite of what we mean. Are we more honest in our words or our actions? How can one stranger's presence bring a family back to life?

* Jennifer Piper in collaboration with Shirley Sydenham designed and constructed our clean website - where cleaness is essential for good web design - a place for everything and everything in its place, not to mention ease of functionality. Ed

Drama Classes for Kids


Inner-west theatre company Wit Incorporated will hold weekly drama classes at Braybrook Community Hub from February 1 for a cost of $20 a term.

Artistic director Belinda Campbell, who designed and will deliver the Wit Kids Braybrook program for children aged five to 12, says that having space to create, pretend and socialise in a supportive environment is an important part of children’s development and learning.

“There’s a level of camaraderie and closeness that’s necessary in drama class that the children don’t experience in many other places,” she said. “Sport is competitive, school is about grades, but in drama class we all work together to create stories.”

Classes will include vocal and physical warm-ups and games, theatre sports, mime, improvisation, storytelling and script work.

Ms Campbell, who has a performing arts degree from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art, has taught at Melton council’s children’s drama workshops since 2014.

She said drama provided support for every aspect of children’s lives. “Literacy, communication, physical fitness, emotional release, social skills, confidence, co-operation – the list goes on and on,” she said.

The classes, subsidised by Maribyrnong council, will be held on Monday and Friday in two age groups – five to eight-year-olds from 3.45-4.45pm, and nine to 12-year-olds from 5-6pm. Details:

For more information click on this button.
Drama Classes for Kids info

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Members & Friends

We are sure there are going to be lots of titbits coming out of our 70th Anniversary year to feature here in Members & Friends. You will see elsewhere the report on our AGM and unveiling of the Birthday Wall. After the formalities Guest Speaker Dr Peter Cliff and WLT's Anniversary Matriarch and Life Member Ella Bambery sat together and shared lots of wonderful memories of old Williamstown. In the process of their chatting it was revealed that Dr Cliff had recently had cataract surgery. You'd never guess who the physician was - Ella's son, Dr Stephen Bambery, leading cataract and refractive surgeon in Australia. It's a small world for sure.

We also loved this picture of Ella with WLT Treasurer and Life Member Brian Christopher.


Those significant decade birthdays are relentless - they just keep coming around. This time we send birthday greetings to Life Member Ellis Ebell who recently turned 70. That number has a kind of ring about it doesn't it - oh yes, it's the theatre's 70th birthday too. Ellis celebrated with family and friends including some representatives from WLT. Happy birthday Ellis.

We had a 'Memory Lane' rant (her words, not ours) from Wendy Boyd on the WLT Facebook page the other day and here it is.

Hello, thank you for accepting me. My interest in the WLT is probably a little weird to you all but I actually lived next door to it for 9 years in the sixties (from 1960 to 1969) and can remember it vividly! I was only a child (born in 1960) and didn't realise that it was a bakery before it became WLT. I can recall going in there on the weekends when no one was around and dressing up in some of the costumes, lol and play the piano that was in there. My sister and myself would play on the stage and we had a ball!!! Our house there used to be a butcher shop and I can remember Mr Higham (?) who either owned it or worked there. I also recall that our cockatoo, 'Alfie' caused quite a stir on opening night there when he got into the theatre and started squawking in the rafters. My parents were mortified and had to go in and get him. I just wonder whether anyone remembers that too??? Thank you for my memory lane rant ..

We hope Wendy will follow up her rant by coming along to our Down Memory Lane event on 28 February.

FOH Coordinator Bob Harsley moved a motion of thanks to all our Front of House Volunteers who give so generously to meet and greet our patrons and serve them refreshments. The AGM carried this motion reflecting the gratitude of the whole company for the contribution made by our FOH team. Bob also noted at the AGM that Maree Jones and Sandra Thorn have this year retired after many years on the Front of House roster. Maree and Sandra, we appreciate the work you did and on behalf of our patrons we thank you for the way you welcomed them and looked after them so well. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre and maintaining the connection.

January Working Bees

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you....


Once again Tuesdays in January brought gatherings of worker bees to WLT. And as usual, an extraordinarily huge amount of work was done. Tony Tartaro posted a very long list on the door, and gradually things were crossed off such as: gutters cleaned; furniture bay and lighting storeroom tidied/sorted; huge inroads in organising props bay (there’s a floor!); our chandeliers (yes, that’s plural!) and hanging lights sorted and culled…and so much, much more! Would you believe about half a dozen tubs of artificial flowers (see picture) were sorted and culled? And are now stored in categories in labelled tubs. All this activity resulted in piles of rubbish going into the skip and several changes of skip the last of which included that red sofa!

And of course, each evening culminated in a delicious barbecue meal (pictured below) coordinated by Bernadette Wheatley, our catering legend! And each had a keynote jug of something delicious and just a bit wicked, such as raspberry daiquiri, extraordinarily powerful Pimms punch or mojito.  Always such a wonderful way to end each session of hard work, sitting back in the gathering dusk enjoying good food and excellent company.

There are so many people who came along and gave us a few hours of their time, their energy and ideas. Some were ‘the usual suspects’, some were the ‘when I can’ ones, some came every Tuesday, some just one or two -  but however much time each person gave, it is all appreciated and valued and all contributes to the maintenance of the premises and its collections of furniture, props or whatever. 

We daren’t attempt a list of many names in fear of leaving a name off and offending someone…  we thank you, each and every one of you.  You know who you are!

Costume & Backstage Workshops

Delighted to have five people come along to our recent Costume Workshop. Our Wardrobe is quite extensive and thanks to the hard work of some of our core people it is operating very impressively. It's fantastic that we have more members expressing interest in the work associated with the Wardrobe and costuming. Thanks to Tony Tartaro and Shirley Sydenham for running this workshop.

Thanks also to Neil Williamson and Alex Begg who ran the Backstage Workshop where we had Josh Cetin attend. Josh is very interested and going to try to help Alex backstage during the run of The Nance.

Diary Dates

Sweet Road
by Debra Oswald
Director: Peter Newling

Until 27 February

Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Entertainments 
Down Memory Lane 
28 February 2pm

The Nance
by Douglas Carter Beane
Director: Chris Baldock

Season: 21 April - 7 May
Open Rehearsal:
Sunday 3 April 3.30pm

Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

Copyright © 2016 Williamstown Little Theatre, All rights reserved.

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