View this email in your browser
15 February 2015

Dear <<First Name>>,

Because it was Valentine's Day yesterday we're leaving these beautiful Lillium in for those of you who are in love and we hope you had a positively charming Valentines Day yesterday!

This has been a big week for us at the theatre with The Other Place opening to much acclaim on Thursday and to a sold out season. Chookas to Kris Weber, her cast and crew and grateful thanks to all who worked on bringing this first production of the year to the stage. Special mention to John Barrett, set designer extraordinaire with support from our other stalwart set designer David Dare and not forgetting our magnificent set realisation team. 

It doesn't happen often but WLT has two productions running concurrently again. Peritdot opened our production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks last Friday. This was our third production in 2014. The production in its entirety just moved across town to Mt Waverley - set, actors, costumes and props. Set Designer David Dare again assembled his set and Costume Coordinator Tony Tartaro fluffed and folded the costumes again. Chookas for this rerun.

Thanks to everyone who rallied to the cause and participated in our Fabulous January Working Bees which were again a success for WLT and an enthusiastic start to the year.

Click on any of the Table of Contents below to go straight to an article of your choice.

The Other Place

We have launched into 2015 in style with the opening a few days ago of The Other Place by Sharr White. The intriguing 90 minute performance of beautifully shaded performances by the four actors has brought a range of emotions, including some laughs and some tears, to the intent audiences. Patrons have been enjoying the experience and leave with much to talk about. 

Kris Weber’s intensive work with her actors has resulted in taut, multi-faceted performances. Janine Evans and Chris Baldock run us through a gamut of emotions, ably supported by Clare Hayes as the doctor, daughter and ‘the woman’, and Wesley Forke as the post doc assistant and nurse. Janine is on stage throughout the 90 minute play, utterly believable as she shows us the many faces of Juliana. Chris Baldock as Ian, her husband, responds to her mood changes, patiently and movingly as the truth is revealed. The abstract set, subtle lighting, and projected images add to the atmosphere of the play. 

Stage Manager Jake Privett has the show running smoothly, and with a tight cast, it is a true ensemble show, which certainly shows on stage.  

Roger Forsey was almost a resident of the premises in the final weeks, working on a multitude of technical details, installing and fine tuning LED strips set into the stage floor and working on the projections. Neil Williamson’s audio design is equally atmospheric, and together the technical and set designs merge into an evocative backdrop for the actors as they bring their characters to life. 

A huge and special thanks go to Patrick Slee, who operated a rehearsal that none of the operators were able to cover.  Like a knight in shining armour, he returned to merge the light cues with the other cues into the computer cue system.  

The show has three rotating operators, which is dizzying yet very workable.  Rob Edwards has done a great job coordinating their schedule and teaching the operation of this production to Peter Newling and Kay Hambling, including ‘riding shotgun’ as they operate.

Projections research was by John Burrett, who designed the set, and Roger Forsey, who actioned it all. Craig Pearcey did the lighting design. David Dare led the set construction team of John Burrett, Ray Hare and Bryan Thomas. Barb Hughes coordinated the props, Shirley Sydenham coordinated the costumes. 


Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing 2015 to a great start!


Patrons have been surprised and pleased to find that programs are now free! For those who don’t wish to keep theirs, containers are on the counter at the end of the show for programs to be placed for recycling at other performances.


The Other Place is a 90 minute play with no interval. 

Accordingly, the bar is open both before and after the play.

Shirley Sydenham

Images courtesy Roger Forsey.

Auditions Visiting Mr Green

by Jeff Baron
Director: Brett Turner

Season Dates: 23 April – 9 May

Auditions by appointment:
Sunday 22 February from 1.30 pm

Monday 23 February from 7.30 pm

To make an appointment or enquiry, please contact Brett Turner. 


Email Brett Turner


Ross, a young up-and-coming account executive with American Express, is involved in a car accident and ordered by the court to do community service for the victim, Mr Green, a retired dry cleaner. At their first meeting tensions rise, but Ross is determined to win Mr Green over, and every Thursday over the course of three months he arrives with food and companionship. Slowly tensions abate, secrets are revealed and a close bond begins to form between two people who have more in common than either one of them would have thought on their first meeting.



MR GREEN, late 60's plus

Mr Green's wife Yetta has died suddenly.  His entire life was built around her, and she took care of him in many ways, both in terms of cooking and cleaning, but also in making him feel important.  Mr Green is lost without his wife, and he is quite an old man.  Mr Green is not a strict Orthodox Jew.  Like most people, he observes some rules, but not all of the rules.  For example, he keeps a Kosher home, but he doesn't always say a prayer before he eats and he doesn't wear a yarmulke all the time - only when he prays.   Mr Green is a very proud and stubborn man. 


ROSS, late 20's, early 30's

Ross Gardiner has a very good job at American Express, and lives in a very nice apartment.  He has been successful at just about everything he has done.  When he was 22, he fell in love with another man.  This made  him very happy, but his parents' negative reaction shocked him.  After a number of unsuccessful attempts at relationships with women, Ross has been alone.  He doesn't realize how sad this makes him, because he stays busy with work and because he's a naturally positive person. 

Tuesdays in January working bees

Usually you can count on every Tuesday in January to be at least 43ºC, but not this year! This year we had balmy evenings in which to work, mellow enough to have leisurely dinners outdoors, and with a slight chill to indicate time to go home. Perfect!

The last four or so years each January has had a major undertaking, such as the big front gate or painting the foyer. This year we started to reap the benefits of such big works. There was time to tidy and prune and cull, time to get to smaller jobs in a bigger way. Archival material was spread out and sorted, our library of theatre books was expertly sorted and catalogued  - Judi Clark’s years of librarianship were well utilised! Kitchen and office tidied and sorted. The furniture bay looks like a Harvey Norman display. The lighting storeroom looks fantastic… storage was all coordinated and sorted, lights on racks, extension cords tidy. A huge thanks to the three Williamson BoysNeilMatthew and Josh, who transformed it all. The wardrobe department and props area are pristine. Well, pristiner… works in progress, but looking wonderful, and further organised and sorted. Awards all gleaming in their foyer display cabinets. Courtyards all spruced and  pruned, new trees in pots, gutters clean and clear. All that and heaps more.

Our last Tuesday was enlivened by the sudden arrival in our midst of a glorious eclectus parrot, clearly a tame escapee and missing people’s company. Our three younger workers, Matthew, Josh and William, took his welfare to heart, and kept him entertained and fed. His owner was found next day, so thanks to Barbara Hughes and Ray HareWilbert is now happily back home none the worse for his theatrical adventure.

Thank you to Bernadette and Alex for providing the usual excellent BBQ fare, thanks to Neil for being the alternate chef.  Thank you to everyone who took part in any of the working bees this January. We saw many of the ‘regulars’ and welcomed some new faces. A big thank you to Fenella, a subscriber who popped in to check it all out, pitched in and did heaps of work. And came back again. And again. Her son William joined in too, and also helped out. The two were last seen walking home with a bike-helmeted one-legged mannequin William rescued from the skip! 

Editor Note: Thanks too to Shirley Sydenham, who wrote this piece, for her contributions to these Tuesdays in various ways including some catering assistance. We've included two dinner images, the leisurely outdoors social bit and to show that we do work, Ray looking busy. Wilbert was indeed a handsome parrot - thanks to Barb Hughes and Bob Harsley for these two images.

2015 Annual General Meeting

Williamstown Little Theatre’s 69th Annual General Meeting on Friday 6th February was well attended by a cheery crowd of members, including our youngest members, Matthew and Joshua Williamson.  Reports from the Secretary, Treasurer and President were received with applause, some laughter and the odd comment from the floor. Our usual AGM in other words!

The many talented and dedicated people who contribute to our success in 2014 at WLT were acknowledged and thanked.

The independent reviewer of our annual accounts, Ness Harwood, was applauded for her excellent work and reinstated for 2015.

Barbara Hughes delivered a moving tribute to our late Life Members Amy Joseland (Grove Rogers) and Ivor Porter. She then inducted two new Life Members, the startled, surprised and delighted Bernadette Wheatley and Shirley Sydenham - see following citation.


Election Results were announced.  Your 2015 Committee is:

Peter Newling, President

Barbara Hughes, Vice President

Shirley Sydenham, Secretary

Brian Christopher, Treasurer

Bernadette Wheatley

Bob Harsley

Ellis Ebell

Peta Ripper

Roger Forsey

Tony Tartaro


General Business gave the Committee a number of things to consider and decide for 2016.

The meeting closed at 9pm, at which time the company adjourned to the courtyard for delightful refreshments provided by Bernadette Wheatley, and a mellow couple of hours was spent in typically convivial WLT style.

Click here to read reports from the AGM.

AGM Reports

Life Membership -               Williamstown Little Theatre


The great strength of Williamstown Little Theatre over our almost 70 year history is that we have always had a core number of members who are dedicated to the theatre and who are prepared to put in the extra work to ensure that the shows we present are of the highest possible quality we can achieve.

No one does it for the money or the thanks because, God knows, there is none of the first and often very little of the second.  ‘Amateur’ is a French word meaning ‘for love’.  WLT is an amateur theatre in the very best sense of the word – we do it ‘for love’.

Each year the approach of the AGM gives us an opportunity to reflect on the efforts of our members and recognise those whose contributions have added immeasurably to the success of the group, by the awarding of Life Membership.

In 2014 we lost two of our honoured Life Members with the passing of Ivor Porter and Amy Grove-Rogers.

Ivor (pictured) was a part of WLT almost from the day of its inception.  He performed on stage, worked backstage and held committee positions as President, Secretary and, in his greatest contribution, as Treasurer for over 17 years over four periods. He was instrumental in the purchase of our present home.   Once his committee days were over, Ivor continued to be interested and active in the theatre.  He acted as auditor for many years and, together with his wife Dot, attended every show and every AGM and Cordell Day.  In 2006, Dot and Ivor served as Matron and Patron of our 60th Anniversary celebrations, a task they completed with gusto.  Ivor was a much loved and honoured Life Member of WLT.

Amy (pictured) was a member and Life Member of the theatre for 37 years.  She was a dedicated committee member serving as both Secretary and Treasurer, a position she held for 11 years.  She first appeared onstage here in 1978 in Simon and Laura, directed by her very good friend Laurie Gellon, and she went on to appear in many more productions.  She also directed shows such as Move Over Mrs Markham, The Bandwagon and Bedroom Farce and her 1988 production of A Pair of Claws is remembered as one of WLT’s most successful shows.  Amy was a lovely, generous lady and a valued Life Member of WLT.

Both Ivor and Amy made a significant contribution to the theatre and they will be sadly missed and always remembered.

The success we enjoy today is built on the efforts of people such as Ivor and Amy and our other Life Members, those who are still with us and those who have passed on, as well as the many, many other people who have contributed and whose efforts are also great appreciated.


Tonight it is my pleasure to announce that we are going to add to our list of Life Members.

Some people are quiet achievers.  Our newest Life Member is one of those people.  They don’t make a song and dance but they are extremely diligent, totally reliable and, once they take on a task, you know the end result will be excellent.  This applies to their work onstage, backstage and on the committee.

Ladies and Gentleman, please congratulate our newest Life Member, Bernadette Wheatley (pictured)

Let me tell you a bit about Bernie’s involvement with WLT.  When Bernie first arrived at WLT in 1989 it was to work backstage as Stage Manager for I’ll Be Back before Midnight.  This was despite the fact that Bernie was already a highly accomplished performer.  Over the next few years, we saw far too little of Bernie on stage in shows such as Bazaar and Rummage, The Rivals, Broadway Bound and How the Other Half Loves but her association with the group continued.  

In 2007, Bernie joined the WLT committee and immediately identified a role for herself in the portfolio of Catering.  Catering had always been an ad-hoc affair but not with Bernie at the helm.  Almost without exception she has provided or organised opening night suppers for every show, for our AGMs, including this evening’s, for working bees and social events and Cordell Day.  These mini-feasts are always delivered with quiet efficiency and a warm smile.  Bernie has also served as Production Co-ordinator for several shows, working together with cast and crew to ensure WLT’s high standards are maintained.

But Bernie’s contribution goes far beyond food and cocktails and coordination.

 In 2008 she took on the role of Director to bring us the delightful The Cemetery Club and followed this in 2010 with Skylight. She approached directing with the same passion and attention to detail that we have come to recognise over the years.

Also in 2008, after an onstage absence of some years, I bullied Bernie into appearing in Honk!  She is a delight to work with and delivered a wonderful and memorable performance.  She next appeared in The Dixie Swim Club in 2012 and, in 2013, we saw her join the happy cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  And last year, when Lois Collinder asked Bernie to assist her in directing The Kitchen Sink, Bernie immediately agreed.

Bernie has been an asset to Williamstown Little Theatre for many years and, we hope, for many years to come.  


While most of the committee were busy being sneaky to keep this as a surprise for Bernie, some of us have been sneakier still because tonight we would like to award a second Life Membership.  In an association that goes back 20 years, this lady has made herself indispensable in many, many ways.  

Could I please ask you to join me in congratulating our other newest Life Member, Shirley Sydenham (pictured).

Shirley first arrived at WLT in 1995 when she appeared in Brian Crossley’s production of Waiting in the Wings.  She was drawn to the group through her friendship with Celia Meehan.  

We started to see more of Shirley here at WLT from 2002 when she appeared in Hate.  The following year she did Quartet and costumed Lucky Stiff.  Other onstage appearances include The Cemetery Club, Hotel Sorrento and most recently as the unforgettable mother in The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Shirley has also directed for us on several occasions with How the Other Half Loves and Scenes from a Separation. And in 2011 Shirley joined with Bob Harsley to direct Two Weeks with the Queen, followed in 2013 with Talking Heads.

In 2009 Shirley joined the committee as Secretary, a position she has held ever since.   Shirley brought a wealth of experience to this position through her work with Children’s Arena Theatre and as a committee member of HATS.  She has assisted three Presidents, Bryan Thomas, Ellis Ebell and now Peter Newling.  Shirley is a conscientious and diligent Secretary and she keeps the rest of the committee well informed and on our toes. In addition to the usual multitude of secretarial duties, Shirley assists the Play Reading Committee, is on the Communications Committee and completes the Playbill each year.  She has worked backstage, co-ordinated several shows and costumed several more.  Shirley is always the first to jump in when there is an emergency and is currently coordinating The Other Place as well as costuming the show.

In preparation for this presentation, I contacted Celia Meehan.  In her reply Celia said, ‘Shirley is such an asset to any theatre company.  Her talent, organisational ability and sense of theatre are truly splendid.’  We couldn’t agree more.

Barbara Hughes

A selection of images from the 69th AGM, capturing the surprise and elation of our two new Life Members and the celebration that followed. Congratulations to both Bernadette and Shirley for their well deserved elevation. Grateful as ever to our talented in-house photographer Roger Forsey.

Occupational Health and Safety at WLT

The Committee takes very seriously the safety of members and patrons. To this end, David Dare and Stephen Pehm, a member whose job is OHS, have put together a manual for WLT. We thank them for this marathon task, marathon because a) we are a volunteer organisation, and b) because the tasks undertaken are amazingly diverse. We expect all who work here in any capacity to respect the guidelines that have been put in place, and relevant team leaders will ensure they know them. Risk assessments are to be carried out before any new works…such as set construction… begin. Stephen conducted a whole-site inspection and found a few small things to be adjusted , but overall found that we have good safety measures and practices in place.

The OHS Manual is online for members to read:


Queries can be emailed to and will be forwarded to the relevant team leader to respond.

Costume Workshop

The great Hollywood costume designer, Edith Head, wrote, “What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not. We ask the public to believe that every time they see a performer… he's become a different person.”

Interested in clothes, shoes, hats and other apparel?

Interested in costuming for the stage?

Interested in art and design?

Like shopping?

Then WLT’s Costume Workshop is for you!


Along with many other members of the production team, the costume coordinator plays an important role in bringing each show to life. Members and subscribers interested in joining our team of costume coordinators are invited to attend a workshop run by Tony Tartaro and Shirley Sydenham, where what is involved in this role will be explained and you will be given a tour of our wardrobe department. 

You don’t need to be able to sew!

Sunday 1 March, 2015

2:00 – 4:00 pm

If you’d like to know more or intend to come along please contact Tony on 0419 448 156 or email

Email Tony

There will be cake!

For Pete's Sake


Ah February. The kids are back at school. Folks are back at work. Season one is underway.

By the time you are reading this esteemed publication, the Annual General Meeting of the Williamstown Little Theatre Inc will have come and gone. Thankfully for all of us, we have managed to retain a very impressive Committee of talented, dedicated individuals whose task it is to make the difficult decisions (sometimes unpopular decisions) and lead the company into the future.

What many people don’t know is that every member of the Committee has a specific portfolio area (or two) that they are responsible for, and are required to report on that portfolio area at Committee meetings. It’s like a cabinet structure – with ministries decided at the meeting following the AGM. Here’s how they stand at the moment:

Brian Christopher has been Minister for the Treasury for more than 20 years. His close attention to the finances, and very detailed reporting of facts and figures is deeply appreciated by the Committee members. Barb Hughes holds several portfolios. She is the Minister responsible for the Wardrobe team, and also responsible for organising our ever popular social events (Minister for Good Times?). And in her spare time, she’s the Vice Pres. (At the AGM, we were delighted to have picked up Tony Tartaro, who will be a great asset to Barb upstairs in the Wardrobe area. Welcome on board, Tony – I’m sure we’ll be able to find you a very interesting Ministry of your very own, very soon!!)

Bernadette Wheatley is the Minister for Catering of WLT events – and many a cast and crew have benefitted from her remarkable culinary skills (special mention to Alex Begg who holds the Junior Ministry for Barbequing). Peta Ripper is the Minister for Props, and does a fine job in ensuring things are stored/filed/abandoned where they’re meant to be.  

The big job of Minister for Front of House sits with Bob Harsley, who does a remarkable job in rostering and equipping our FoH volunteers. He is also Minister responsible for Choc Gingers. Roger Forsey is our Minister for Technical Stuff, and regularly reports to the Committee on what’s happening with the electrics, the lighting stuff, the sound stuff, projections stuff, the doorbell and anything involving a thermostat. We’re very lucky to have someone that understands so much about so many things that so few of the rest of the Committee have a clue about.

Ellis Ebell, aside from being the immediate past president, is also the Minister for Archives – preserving our history, photos, and information. He holds a secondary portfolio as Minister for the Environment – making excellent use of his green thumb in maintaining our courtyard area. Jennifer Piper is Minister for Communications – or at least, was up until the AGM where she decided not to stand for re-election. We thank Jen sincerely for her wonderful work in this area.

Finally, Shirley Sydenham is the Minister Responsible for Everything Else. 

Committee work isn’t the most glamorous of roles in a theatre company, but they are absolutely vital roles. As I said in my President’s report to the AGM, it’s a wonderful group of people to work with, and I thank them individually and collectively on behalf of the patrons and members of the company. 

We’re in good hands for 2015.

See you in the foyer!


Too much stuff? - We can help


Barb Hughes looking for props!


Over the next couple of months, we will be collecting lots of old envelopes, shopping bags (similar to the one in the photograph) and telephone books for Visiting Mr Green.  If you can help, please bring your stuff along during The Other Place and put it in the tub near the front door, or call Barb on 0417-589-015.


Male Actors Need Apply

Interested in an independent production, box office share?

Two roles required for a new, original play.

Dorian: 50-60, A ruthless, dangerous crime lord who nonetheless exudes a kind of twisted charisma. Think Scarface crossed with Julius Caesar.

Brody: 40-50, Dorian’s younger brother and right hand man. A calm, reasonable family man, but with a violent streak that can prove lethal if roused.

Contact Gabe Bergmoser        0427 424 333 

Remembering Gabe who appeared as the young brother in The Beauty Queen of Leenane a year or two back, here at WLT.

Members & Friends

A very happy birthday to Michael Schneider who turned 80 recently.

Multi-awarded and multi-talented Rowan Howard (three WLT productions in 2014) has something else to celebrate. One was the recent arrival of new baby daughter Frankie, baby sister to Jack. Mum Genine was well and truly near term when we all saw her at Cordell Day.  All your friends at WLT send love and best wishes. We love this snap of the whole family which we've pinched off Facebook.


Life Members Ellis Ebell and Frank Page have finally moved into their new Daylesford home. Two years in the planning and seven months in the building, the process has not been without some issues. That's all behind them now as they transition across the garden fence to modernity after 29 years in their 1860's oft-renovated Miners Cottage which they will shortly be putting on the market, of interest to any potential 'tree changers' or 'weekender' folks.

Diary Dates

Visiting Mr Green
By Jeff Baron
Director: Brett Turner

Sunday & Monday 22 & 23 February - details elsewhere

Season: 23 April - 9 May

Costume Workshop
Sunday 1 March 2-4 pm - details elsewhere

Bump Out The Other Place
Tuesday 3 March from 5.30 pm

Set Construction
Every Saturday from 8 March 1 pm
Contact: Brian Christopher  0458 134 469

Freaky Friday Foodie Fun


Friday 13 March might be unlucky for some, but not for us because we’re going to the Yarraville Gardens for dinner at the food trucks.

For those of you who haven’t been there before, over the weekend food trucks line the Somerville Road side of the Gardens.  Typically you might find Mr Burger, Señor Churro, Happy Camper Pizza, Nen N’ Nem Vietnamese, The Brulee Cart and the Gorilla Grill.  In other words, something for everyone.
You’ll find us somewhere in the Gardens (cnr of Hyde St and Somerville Rd, Yarraville) from 6.30pm.  BYO chairs, picnic blankets, drinks and Aerogard.  No need to RSVP – just turn up for a fun night.


Vale Nicky McFarlane

Williamstown Little Theatre joins in remembering Nicky McFarlane. The company shared the love and respect for Nicky who in her various VDL roles was involved with WLT productions and people. She is warmly remembered and we send condolences to her family, friends and theatre colleagues.

With thanks to VDL Theatrecraft for permission to republish this Obituary.




Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.
Copyright © 2015 Williamstown Little Theatre, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp