Bad Jews Open Rehearsal -               Sunday 8 January 3.30pm
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15 December 2016

Dear <<First Name>>,

Exhausted but delighted are we to have had such a spectacular year of anniversary celebrations and fine productions. Congratulations to the many members who contributed in a host of different ways, ensuring that it was all very special and done with WLT's unique style and panache.

So for the last time we feature our special logo. As the sapphire represents 70th anniversaries, our own familiar logo appears on a sapphire. Once again we thank the extraordinarily talented Janine Evans for creating this logo which we have been able to use throughout the year. We have a last dip into the archives as well with a couple of old shows featured this month.

As usual, the December edition of Cues & News includes all the news from the Victorian Drama League Awards as well as our own in-house awards from Cordell Day. Congratulations to all the nominees and awardees. Here's a chance for you to remember our great year of theatre as you peruse the lists and remember the performances.

In all the hullabaloo of year-end, don't forget, January is not too far away and that, of course, heralds our Tuesday night working bees! Always fun and our chance to address those tasks there's never time to do during the relentless production cycle of a normal year. Come along, socialise while doing various tasks and end each session with a sit down dinner and a catch up with some of WLT's finest.

Bad Jews

By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Tess Maurici Ryan

Auditions for Bad Jews took place over the weekend of 18/19 November and we are excited to announce the cast for our first production of 2017.

Julia Lambert................             Daphna
John Murphy.................             Jonah
Charlie Collopy-White...            Liam
Francesca Bianchi........             Melody

(L-R) John Murphy, Julia Lambert, Tess Maurici Ryan, Francesca Bianchi, Charlie Collopy-White
What a cast Tess Maurici Ryan has put together for Bad Jews!
Congratulations all!  We welcome this stellar cast.. three returning to WLT and one new to our stage.
Charlie Collopy-White was last on our stage as the lovable art student son in The Kitchen Sink… well this time he’s totally different as Liam, locked head to head with his cousin Daphna in a viciously determined battle of ownership of late Grandfather’s heirloom. John Murphy was last seen as the seemingly obliging and innocent intern whose wily ways bring him out on top in Farragut North… also a contrasting role as Liam’s brother Jonah, a gentle would-be mediator who is stuck in the middle of the family brawl. Francesca Bianchi was Caitlin, the girl everyone loves,  the grandparents’ choice of partner for Nick, in Over the River and Through the Woods. This time she’s the shiksa, Liam’s girlfriend, thrust willy nilly into this stormy family argument. New to WLT is Julia Lambert, who plays Daphna,  the fiery, fervent born-again Jewwho sees herself as the rightful beneficiary of Grandfather’s heirloom.

What a rocket launch into 2017 is this play! This fast paced funny, dark comedy is a new play that took Broadway by storm and has just completed a sell out Australian tour produced by Ellis Productions… Helen Ellis was the Craven Award-winning director of last year’s Over the River and Through the Woods.  
“…while Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews is about a specific family from a specific culture, it could easily be about  most families.…an often hysterical and disturbingly relatable comedy…”  Ben Neutze, Daily Review
Open Rehearsal is 8 January at 3.30 pm, all welcome!
We’ve assembled quite a team…
Set Designer: Laurice Banwell 
Lighting Designer: Craig Pearcey
Costume Designer: Tony Tartaro
Set Dressing: Tess Maurici Ryan, with Judi Clark
Props: Maria Haughey
Stage Manager: Ness Harwood

Assistant Stage Manager: Kerry Drumm
WARNING - Bad Jews :
  • runs for 90 minutes with no interval 
  • contains strong contemporary language.
Can you help?
We are looking for someone of the Jewish faith who could help us with pronunciation of a number of Hebrew words. And can anyone loan us a snowboard, preferably in a case/cover? It wont be used or abused, but carried onstage with other luggage.  If you can assist please email me, CLICK BUTTON below.
Shirley Sydenham
Production Coordinator
Photos by Kerry Drumm & Shirley Sydenham
Email Shirley Sydenham

London Suite - Reviews

Williamstown Little Theatre

London Suite by Neil Simon

Directed by Gaetano Santo

Performance - Friday 18 November 2016 (Opening week)

Reviewer – Jennifer Paragreen

Neil Simon has written over thirty plays and been a favourite on the American stage since his first play, Come Blow Your Horn, recently staged by Strathmore Theatre Arts Group, hit Broadway in 1961. His endurance and popularity locally is amply demonstrated by the fact that Williamstown Little Theatre’s season of London Suite runs simultaneously with a Melbourne Theatre Company production of his 1965 hit, The Odd Couple, and Geelong Rep’s version of his 1988 farce, Rumours.

The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 1991 play, Lost in Yonkers, Neil Simon’s specialty is comedy and delightful escapist entertainment. With his 1995 London Suite he revisits a formula utilised effectively in his 1968 Plaza Suite based in New York and the 1976 California Suite of using a fashionable hotel as a setting for four otherwise unrelated short plays.

This technique allows for an interesting variety of characters, stories and moods while offering actors the opportunity to strut their stuff, doubling up in their roles while playing about with accents, hairstyles etc. and, even more importantly, provides the audience with an intriguing assortment of entertainment ideally suited to the pre-Christmas silly season.

The set created by David Dare vividly conveyed the ambience of a genteel hotel. The furniture had a faded elegance and the subtle art nouveau elements in the décor suggested its vintage while the streetscape, glimpsed through the central window, set the location in a fashionable part of Twentieth Century London. 

The show opened with Patrick Slee’s cleverly designed soundscape combining street noises, airport announcements and the ‘Pink Panther’ theme really establishing the atmosphere of the play.  Similarly well considered combinations of sounds and music choices were later used to link the two scenes in each act. 

Director, Gaetano Santo, had obviously worked hard with his talented cast to ensure that the audience was kept happily engrossed and richly entertained with a tightly paced production.

The first vignette is in the mode of a thriller with a rather inebriated successful writer (Xavier Ryan) and his swindling business manager (Peter Hatherley) engaged in a cat and mouse game. A drunk with a ‘life threatening” gun is not a good combination and Xavier played him to the hilt, stalking around the room with an endearing accent, plenty of gun waving and feigned naïvety. Peter tellingly used furtive hand movements while delivering increasingly elaborate and implausible lies in a vain attempt to mask his greed and the fact that Billie has been embezzling his client’s money. I loved Peter’s delivery of the line, “It takes two to embezzle £2,612,000”.  There were plenty of laughs and a well handled twist at the end.

The second playlet involved a wealthy widowed American shopaholic and her married daughter who have come to London to buy shoes. Shirley Sydenham and Kylie Ryan sparred nicely with good rapport. When the daughter decides to encourage her mother to go on a date with a wealthy Scotsman on their last night in London we are left to wonder at her motivation – a little dash of food for thought among the laughter.

The most poignant vignette involved a successful, now fading, American television actress, played by Janine Evans, who is about to meet up with her ex-husband (Peter Hatherley in a very different role) who has been living with his male lover in Mykonos for quite some years. The play begins innocuously with a discussion of the night at the theatre but the tone changes with the mention of the other man. Janine was remarkable in her delivery of such lines as “Bisexual, he could be half as nervous as me” and “You think he is coming up here in a time machine?” The poignancy comes when we realise that he has come to ask for money for his lover’s cancer treatment whereas she had been hoping for a reconciliation. Assistant Director Stephanie Gonelli added an extra dimension as Grace, personal assistant to Janine's character.

The final play opened hilariously with a Scottish concierge (Judi Clark) doing the vacuuming and fielding telephone calls. This time the suite’s occupants were an American couple (Kylie Ryan and Xavier Ryan back on stage) who had come to London to see the tennis at Wimbledon.

Gradually extra characters were introduced on stage and the scene dissolved into utter farce. As the audience was rolling on the floor with laughter, metaphorically speaking, Xavier was literally doing it on stage as the victim of a back injury. His treating doctor was an Irish magician (Janine Evans again) and stage manager Jake Privett, now on stage as an enthusiastic bellman. In the meantime the Wimbledon tickets were missing and an unseen Kevin Costner was demanding access to the suite.

What a delightfully uproarious way to end Williamstown Little Theatre’s 70th year! The combination of Neil Simon’s comedic script and the production’s phenomenal cast and crew should send audience members scurrying now to book their subscriptions for what promises to be another wonderful year of theatre in 2017.

Jennifer Paragreen


Photos by Roger Forsey

We are grateful to VDL Theatrecraft for permission to republish this review.

Waiting for my bottom slap from Judi!


In this anniversary year for Williamstown Little Theatre I was thrilled to be asked by production coordinator Peter Newling to join the team for play five as stage manager. The few times I've worked with WLT before I have loved the experience, the people, the company and the productions and so naturally it took me about 3 seconds to reply with a definite 'YES'. By the end of our first production meeting with director Gaetano Santo my role had expanded from simply the play's stage manager to include a small role in the cast. In my position as a member of the crew and the cast, or as a 'crast' member, I had a unique perspective of this production of London Suite. And so began a journey which would culminate in what was described as 'a fantastic way to crown this 70th anniversary year'.

I'm not an actor by any stretch of the imagination and so Gates had his work cut out for him. But this task was made easier, for him and for me, because of the top-notch cast this production had. I have always perceived, from the dark recesses of a crew-member's POV, that relationships play a pivotal role in the success or failure of any venture. From the very beginning the relationship Gates had with each of his cast members was one of mutual trust, regard, and friendship. The interaction between the cast also, on stage and behind the scenes, meant that this was a very fun, friendly, and easy to enjoy production. The camaraderie this cast had was a major factor in the success of the play and the enjoyment audiences described having seen it.

As stage manager my day at the theatre usually started a couple of hours before calling beginners. I’d open up, turn on the lights and most importantly put on the coffee. The cast would start to arrive as I pre-set the show and cleaned up from the previous performance. For anyone who didn’t get to see the play, our final scene took a lot of joy in making a huge mess on stage.

The backstage courtyard was the main congregating place for the cast and crew and the mostly lovely weather we had during this season meant that just sitting outside, enjoying the constant supply of junk food, talking and joking was always a lot of fun. 

Most of the cast were always very relaxed before the show knowing that their beginners call would not be for at least another thirty minutes after we began.

I also loved having the opportunity to meet and work with WLT’s fantastic front of house volunteers. Meeting new people and catching up with friends working behind the bar is always a delight. After we liquored up the audience and got them in their seats we could begin.

Patrick Slee ran (and also designed) our lights and sound and did a fantastic job. We also had the lovely Kay Hambling in to assist behind the scenes a couple nights. They would start the show with their lights and voice-over cues and we’d be away!!

The first scene, with Xavier and Peter, was always a breeze. With no technical cues once it had started we could just sit back and enjoy watching the performance every night. Only on one occasion was I in SM mode during this scene and that was on one of the final nights of the run. I happened to look down from the screen for a moment and when I did I heard an unfamiliar ‘cluck’ ring out from on stage. As I looked up I saw Xavier bending over to pick up the barrel of his gun which snapped and flew out of his weapon as he cocked it. An unfortunate but funny blooper of live theatre. For the remainder of the scene Xavier’s character remained very threatening with his pointed finger-gun while the real prop was stowed safely in his pocket. Black marker and boot-blacking turned one of the orange plastic guns from rehearsal into a very passable substitute for the remainder of the run.

The night vision camera which films the stage for the backstage monitors meant that the beginning of scene two was always a little funny. Mostly invisible to the audience in the black, Peter blindly leaves the stage while Kylie enters and feels around for the furniture to avoid a collision. Half way through scene two on our cue line “Dennis the menace plays tennis in Venice” I stood with Judi and Steph ready for Shirley to come whizzing around the corner for her make-over. A big smear of make-up from Judi, new coat and props from me, and I know Steph loved styling Shirley’s hair into a mohawk every night.

Sometimes the funniest or most poignant moments in a play occur by accident. After interval, Steph always made the audience laugh by simply throwing Peter’s coat into the closet while his back was turned. It did a lot to set up the subtle rivalry between the two characters. However, it was added into the performance for a purely practical reason. Concerned that the coat would get too wrinkled in the bottom of the closet all night, and without enough time to hang it up, Steph was throwing it through the false back wall to me to be hung up in Peter’s dressing room. It was not until preview night that we realised how funny the action was. Janine was also happy to know that her excessive drinking in this scene was accompanied by thoroughly cleaned ice-cubes. Having noticed me one performance cleaning the dishes, she acknowledged my helpful and frankly weird habit of also scrubbing the plastic ice-cubes.

The final scene, the farce, and the art which inspired life. The main point of the scene being the back injuries was mirrored in the real life bad luck of two of our cast putting out their backs during the season. This included Xavier, who’s painful back routine in this scene was no act. This was also the scene where I could transform from crew to cast. I would burst onto the stage as Bertram the Bellboy and end the scene lying unconscious under Kylie and waiting for my bottom slap from Judi, the hotel manager.

As a cast member and stage manager I loved being part of every element of this production and would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved with mounting such a successful production of London Suite.

Jake Privett


We asked Jake for a 'fly on the wall' view
of this show and we thank him for this insight.
Photos by Jake Privett.

In Jake's photos accompanying the article above Patrick Slee features several times. We thought one was a selfie but it turns out it wasn't. Patrick was inspecting the CCTV camera giving Jake the opportunity to take this pic from the backstage screen. 

2016 Theatre Awards


VDL Awards

Williamstown Little Theatre congratulates all nominees and awardees for the 20th annual VDL Awards 2016. Indeed we celebrate the impressive range of theatre companies across Melbourne and the state and the wonderful work they do in the practice of theatrecraft.
WLT's entry for the 2016 VDL Awards was the Rebecca Lister play If I Should Die Before I Wake, directed by Ellis Ebell. We were well represented at Merrimu Receptions for this annual calendar event to complete the theatre year. All the cast, some crew, director and other WLT members joined the party. You will recognise the gang from the pictures below.

For all results of the year click on the button below.
2016 VDL Awards

Cordell Day 2016

In our 70th year, Williamstown Little Theatre celebrated another successful year with the traditions and awards of Cordell Day. It has been a momentous year with some fabulous theatre presented to our audiences.  

The large crowd were welcomed to Cordell Day with complimentary sparkling wine which set the mood for a ripping ceremony.

WLT President, Peter Newling, MC'd proceedings with his usual wit and charm, maintaining a fast clip as we moved through the various elements of the day. There was a great buzz and vibe in the room which was filled to capacity.


Peter's introduction

A special welcome to Laurie Gellon, Life Members, past Presidents and all those involved in 2016 productions.

Tonight is a celebration of a very successful year of theatre.

Five excellent productions with lovely feedback from patrons.

One form of feedback – subscriptions renewal. Last time I checked we were at about 70% for next year – expecting 90% full before the theatre year starts.

2016 was our 70th birthday year… and we celebrated in style. Three wonderful Sunday afternoons were organised to commemorate the various eras. A big thank you to Lois Collinder, Judi Clark and Robyn Legge for your wonderful work in pulling these together. And thanks to all those who performed or worked backstage on those days. 

And, of course, after our first Sunday afternoon shebang, we had the official launch of the commemorative mural. Thanks to Kerry Drumm for your amazing work and to those who suggested the quotes.

And, of course, we had our big celebratory bash at the Williamstown Town Hall in August – and what a brilliant night it was. Once again, thanks to those on the organising committee for pulling it all together.

Over the course of the year we were saddened by the loss of a couple of WLT legends.

June Lownds

Back in May, we learned of the passing of June Lownds. I never saw June perform, but from what I hear she was not only a very good dramatic actress but her timing for comedy was superb.  

She was the recipient of the Cordell Award for her performances in Five Finger Exercise and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. June’s last performance with WLT was as Ethel Thayer alongside Vin Foster in On Golden Pond in 1986

She was made a Life Member of WLT for her services to the theatre.  Not only did she perform, she made costumes, worked front of house and was always available to help dress a set or do some upholstery! June was also a Life Member of the Victorian Drama League. 

We were delighted that she was able to attend WLT’s Down Memory Lane -1946-1967 earlier this year, and one of the highlights of that afternoon for me was seeing June singing showtunes in the courtyard in her wheelchair.

Bruce Wapshott

In August we learned of the death of Bruce Wapshott.
Bruce joined WLT at the age of 15 and worked backstage when we were at the Mechanics Institute hall – and this was where Bruce picked up his legendary stage management skills. 

We don’t think Bruce ever appeared on stage however he did direct two shows at WLT, Wallflowering and The Golden Age but his skills were as a stage manager and he confidently ran many productions at Albert Street. 

Bruce was made a Life Member of WLT for his backstage work and for the amount of work he did when we moved in to this facility, converting the bakery to what we now call our home.


But let’s turn our focus from honouring legends of the past to looking to our future.


Introduction 2017 Season Launch

Our amazing Play Selection Committee has lined up a terrific, varied year for us in 2017. 

Before we meet the directors and hear a bit about their plays, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the newest member of the Play Selection CommitteeNatasha Boyd. Natasha joins PSC Coordinator Damian Coffey and Gaetano Santo in what is now a four year appointment. Natasha – we’re really looking forward to your input into the PSC – you have an enormous legacy to continue – but we’ll hear more about that later.

Let’s hear from the five directors that will be bringing us our 2017 season.

The Plays!

1. Bad JewsTess Maurici Ryan

2. When I Was 5Brett Turner

3. Vincent in BrixtonShirley Sydenham

4. The SeafarerBruce Akers

5. The 39 StepsBarbara Hughes


Cordell Day 2016

For newcomers to WLT, the following will provide context for the awards and the identities that they are named after.

The first three of the above awards were chosen by our in-house Adjudicators who were introduced by Peter - see below. He thanked them for their work in 2016 and paid tribute to Deborah Fabbro for her commitment to this role over recent years. Deborah is now retiring from the panel. Peter announced that John Shelbourn would take Deborah's position as Adjudicator for three years commencing in 2017.

Lois Collinder – long time friend of the company, director and co-organiser of our 70th birthday events.

Deborah Fabbro – well respected director and first rate props wrangler. Committee member of the Brighton Theatre Company and all round nice person.

Shane Ryan – previous Craven award winning director, "half useful" actor, and recently graduated paramedic.

Shane Ryan thanked Ray Hare for stepping in as his substitute adjudicator for Sweet Road, in which Shane's partner had a leading role.

After presenting their critiques of the five plays the Adjudicators then announced their award nominations and winners followed by their Adjudicators' Awards. Click button below for critiques. 
Adjudicator's Critiques

                 The Win Stewart Award for                  Best Performance in a Supporting Role


The nominations are:

Div Collins as Michael in Sweet Road

Stephanie Morrell as Yasmin in Sweet Road

Ellis Ebell as Frank in Sweet Road

Gilbert Gauci as Mechanic, Curtis in Sweet Road

Cat Jardine as Sylvie in The Nance

Kate Lewis as Joan in The Nance

Dianne Algate as Carmen in The Nance

Dasana Smyth as Zelda in Sitting Pretty

Kylie Ryan as Lauren, Anne in London Suite

Stephanie Gonelli as Grace in London Suite

Janine Evans as Diana, Dr McMerlin in London Suite

Judi Clark as Mrs Sitgood in London Suite

Winner: Cat Jardine as Sylvie in The Nance

The Cordell Award for Best Performance in a Principal Role


The nominations are :


Sarah Milway as Jo in Sweet Road

Stephanie Gonelli as Carla in Sweet Road

Travis Handcock as Andy in Sweet Road

Phil Lambert as Chauncey Miles in The Nance

Ziv Gidron as Ned in The Nance

Shirley Sydenham as Joan Anderson in If I Should Die Before I Wake

Rosalin Shafik-Eid as Gillian Anderson in If I Should Die Before I Wake

Margie Bainbridge as Nancy in Sitting Pretty

Marianne Collopy as Nina in Sitting Pretty

Winner: Ziv Gidron as Ned in The Nance

The Craven Award for Best Production 


The nominations are:


Sweet Road directed by Peter Newling

The Nance directed by Chris Baldock

If I Should Die Before I Wake directed by Ellis Ebell

Sitting Pretty directed by Robert Harsley

London Suite directed by Gaetano Santo


Winner:  The Nance directed by Chris Baldock

Adjudicators' Awards


There are so many elements that go into making a production work on all levels and to enhancing the overall experience and we take this opportunity to recognise and thank, in a small way, just a few of these valuable contributors.


Deborah Fabbro’s award:  David Dare for the innovative set of The Nance which used the small WLT stage to great effect.

Shane Ryan’s award: The cast and director for the Time Machine moment in London Suite.

Lois Collinder’s award: The amazing work of the crew of The Nance.

WLT Committee Award
& Gifts of Appreciation

WLT President Peter Newling made the following presentations on behalf of the Committee.

Grahame Murphy Award for Excellence

Every year, the Committee agrees on the recipient of the Grahame Murphy Award for Excellence. Those who knew and worked with Grahame know that it was his contribution to the theatre itself, not just to the productions, that typified his commitment to WLT. 

The Grahame Murphy Award for Excellence is a very special award because it gives us an opportunity to acknowledge those people who work behind the scenes.  We, the committee, are in a unique position to see the hours of work and dedication that go towards making Willy Little Theatre so vibrant and successful and that may go unnoticed by our audience.  This year’s recipient has been tireless in his work for the theatre over many years and in many capacities.

The 2016 Grahame Murphy Award for Excellence goes to Ray Hare for his outstanding dedication to Williamstown Little Theatre. Presented by Life Member and Vice President Barbara Hughes.

Ray Hare - Citation


Ray’s contribution to WLT started in 1978 when he appeared in The Last of the Knucklemen.  Over the next 35 years he appeared in, or directed, over 30 productions with Australian plays being a specialty.  In 1999 Ray won the Win Stewart Award for his performance in Hysteria. For much of that time Ray lived in Hoppers Crossing and didn’t drive (which makes him crazy as well as dedicated). In 2013 I had the pleasure of directing Ray in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumSo Ray has certainly contributed more than most onstage and as a director.

But Ray’s influence at WLT goes far beyond the stage.  Ray was President from 1984 to 1986 and was a committee member for many years. He has also served as an adjudicator. He is the first person to put his name down for front-of-house despite living in Greendale.  He’s a fixture at working bees, open rehearsals and all our celebrations.  We often joke that we live at the theatre but for many years Ray has done just that – camping in the foyer during the Film Festival.  He has delighted (and occasionally horrified) us with his Mystery Movies. And he is a hugely important member of our set construction team and has worked on scores of productions.

Some of you will know that Ray has been unwell lately.  Sometimes it’s not until a person isn’t around that you realise just how much they do and how much they are missed.  I know that Ray misses being here as much as we miss him and we look forward to seeing him back behind the bar or down here on a Saturday afternoon muttering at a recalcitrant flat very soon.

We can think of no worthier winner of an award for excellence than Ray.  He is an excellent friend to the theatre and a most excellent member of the WLT family.

1978 – The Last of the Knucklemen
1978 -  A Flea in her Ear
1979  - Wind in the Branches
1980  - Don’s Party
1980  - Not Even a Mouse
1981 – Don’t Just Lie There
1981 – Only an Orphan Girl
1982 – Travelling North
1983 – Flexitime
1983 – The Removalists
1983 – Celebration
1984 – A Night in the Arms of Raelene
1985 – Gulls
1985 – Lamb of God
1986 – On Golden Pond
1988 – In Duty Bound
1988 – The Club (Director)
1989 – The Happy Haven
1993 – Mass Appeal
1994 – Money and Friends (Director)
1994 – On Top of the World
1995 – Cosi
1999 – Hysteria (Win Stewart Award)
2001 – Born Yesterday (Director)
2006 – ‘Allo, ‘Allo
2006 – A Happy and Holy Occasion
2006 – Broadway Bound
2010 – Hotel Sorrento
2013 – A Funny Thing…

COMMITTEE: Many years including:

President 1984-1986

                                                                                                                  Barb Hughes & Ray Hare 

WLT Committee Gifts of Appreciation

These gifts are thank yous for services above and beyond the scope of the awards and above and beyond the call of duty.

Deborah Fabbro, thanking her for her wonderful contribution to WLT as adjudicator 2014-2016.

Kay Hambling, thanking her for her excellent contribution at working bees, as operator, rehearsal prompt and Ancient Roman Sewer.

Adrienne Williamson for the excellent job she did as ticket secretary for the Gala.

Kerry Drumm for the creation of the beautiful 70th Birthday mural.

Alex Begg, Andrew Wild, Brian Christopher and Rob Edwards for their outstanding work backstage on The Nance.

Graeme Cope, Judi Clark and Shirley Sydenham on their retirement from the Play Selection Committee, thanking them for their excellent contribution.

A big thank you to all the committee and other members who worked so hard to make Cordell Day the special day that it is.

Bernadette Wheatley, Barb Hughes, Brian Christopher, Alex Begg & Shirley Sydenham for set-up, gifts and cleaning of everything. Bob Harsley for sparkling wine procurement, printing nomination certificates & engraving of awards. Bernadette Wheatley in charge of catering and for salads brought by Shirley Sydenham, Barb Hughes, Tony Tartaro, Peter Newling, Ellis Ebell & Bob Harsley. Frank Page for bar-tending with our welcome sparking wine.

For Pete's Sake


Well, it’s that time of year again folks when people’s attention starts to turn toward over-indulging and covering the fronts of their houses with snowflake lights, sleighs and reindeer and other things we don’t have in Australia. It’s also the time when people start to reflect on all the things they’re grateful for. For example, I’m grateful that, at this time of year, I don’t work in a shopping centre that has Mariah Carey’s Christmas album on high rotation.

It also means we’re at the end of another theatrical year down at WLT. We’ve checked out of London Suite and big congrats to Gaetano Santo, his talented cast and crew on a brilliant end to the year. Lovely to end the year with a laugh – and there were certainly plenty of those to go around.

Being WAY too environmentally conscious (cheap) to fork out for Christmas cards, I thought I would use this column to say a few thank yous to some people that played very special roles at WLT in 2016…..

Big thanks to those who planned and participated in our 70th birthday events across the year. You should be very proud of your efforts your planning, organising, performing, catering and clapping bought a lot of joy and a lot of memories to a lot of people. Thank you for helping make this anniversary year so special. Special thanks to all those who came along to the gala bash at the town hall – such a special night. Doesn’t the launch of the 70th Birthday Wall feel like a long time ago!!

Big thanks to those who served in year-long roles down at the theatre – to my Committee colleagues, our adjudicators, our Play Selection Committee, our regular set builders, sewers, techies, our comms gurus and our mighty Front of House team.

Big thanks to all those who gave up 20% of their year to be part of one of our productions – either on stage, back stage, stage door groupies, designers, makers, directors and hanger-offerers. And thanks to all spouses for the use of your loved one(s).

Big thanks to our corporate supporters – to Scotchmans Hill (I took delivery of my first WLT consignment through the week!!), the lovely staff at the Prince Albert Hotel (gotta love that free plonk), and those organisations that contributed to our gala. 

And of course, big thanks to all those who came along and supported our work – our beloved subscribers, our members, our regular group bookings, those who came to Open Rehearsals, those who liked our Facebook page, those who read Cues & News – you’re what it’s all about. Thank you for your ongoing support throughout the year.

See you in the foyer in 2017!



Members & Friends cont.


$3 million debt ridden Williamstown RSL is being threatened with closure and we're not happy. Well certainly not our oldest Life Member Ella Bambery a longtime RSL member and frequent user of the facility. Ninety-eight year old Ella launched our 70th anniversary year back in February. Here is Ella asking a question at a recent public meeting exploring options to avoid the closure. To read more about this CLICK HERE for an article from The Age.


No prizes for guessing whose fabulous red shoes these are - such fitting footwear for our Cordell Day celebrations. Emma Hunt of course! Emma can always be relied upon to wear some real show-stoppers. We all love Emma's shoes.

Members & Friends


Last month we brought the sad news of John Legge's passing. John made significant contributions as a writer, teacher and social commentator as detailed in a comprehensive obituary published recently in The Age. CLICK HERE to read this piece written by his brother David. We once again send condolences to Robyn, Alexander and family.

Life Members Ellis Ebell and Frank Page are heading to the US for Christmas and New Year in Colorado and California. This will be before the presidential inauguration so they should be okay!

Speaking of the VDL Awards, we wanted to congratulate WLT President Peter Newling on his nomination for Best Director of a Drama Production for his directing of Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Peridot Theatre Company. Here are two blurry shots of Pete heading up to collect his nomination certificate! Below that, a few of us taking some fizz before heading off to the 2016 VDL Awards.

While we think of Pete's production we can't forget that two of our favourites here at WLT, Janine Evans (just seen in London Suite) and Rowan Howard featured in that production.


Jake Privett, who wrote above about his London Suite experience also told us about some visitors to the theatre who were unable to get tickets for the show. They have just discovered WLT and hope to see a production next year. Jake gave them a tour of the theatre and took them through a synopsis of the play. They also met the cast before the Friday 2 December show. Claudia Fenwick and Lisa Azzapardi sent some photos from their visit for which we thank them.

(L-R) Jake Privett, Peter Hatherley, Lisa Azzapardi, Patrick Slee, Claudia Fenwick

Now there was some speculation as to what this little huddle was on Sunday. Some thought it was Directors Workshop?

Fabulous Front of House

We once again salute and thank our fabulous Front of House team. Their smiling welcoming faces are the first contact audiences have with WLT and they do it all superbly and we really appreciate their work. So, a big thank you to the following folks who worked on London Suite.
Alexander Almond                         Jo Jansen
Alex Begg                                      Oleh Kowalyk
Sarah Berry                                   Marise de Quadros
Lizzie Buckley                               Mark Riley
Ann Chadwick                               Evelyn Robertson    
Ross Dufty                                    James Rodrigo                                
Rob Edwards                                Julie Rees
Sandra Fitzpatrick                         Melanie Rowe            
Kay Hambling                               Linda Smart                
Jane Harris                                   Andrea Tappe
Robert Harsley                             Tony Tartaro

Emma Hunt                                       Bernadette Wheatley


Anyone interested in joining the Front of House roster please contact Bob Harsley - Click Button below.

Email Bob Harsley

Membership 2017

Memberships are now due!


In order to be able to vote at the Annual General Meeting on Friday 3 February 2017, you need to be a financial member of the Company before the end of January 2017. Membership is a requirement of participation in any capacity in a WLT production or committee.

Membership fees:  $10 single membership
                                 $15 family membership

To renew or become a new member use the button below to download a membership form, fill it in and follow the directions to send with cheque or pay by EFT and email the form.

Click here for Membership Form

Subscriptions 2017

The 2017 Subscription Playbill is now online - Click the button below.  Hard copies are also now available in the foyer.

Two ways to get your subscription choices and preferences to us: fill in the subscription form (it’s part of the playbill) and either post to the given address with cheque OR scan and email to

In addition, information about each of our 2017 productions can be found under the Productions tab on our website.  Bookings for casual ticket sales for 2017 will be open online from 9 January. After that date we can’t guarantee subscribers will get their choice of dates/seats.

NOTE: subscriptions are not done over the phone because of the complexity and number of them.

2017 Subscriptions

Interested in working backstage?


We are currently placing people in backstage teams for 2017 productions. Are you interested in being an Assistant Stage Manager or in operating light/sound?

On Tuesday 17 January from 5.30pm Alex Begg will be showing people what happens backstage and answering all their questions

Now is a really good time to express your interest and to come along and find out what is involved! We even provide training wheels….we have an excellent Stage Manager for each play next year and they are ready and able to train and mentor a newbie!

On the same evening Neil Williamson will be teaching people how to operate our sound/light system. Come along and see our whizz-bang system with its computerised cues. And again, mentoring….when a new person operates a production, Neil is on hand for the first few runs to make sure you are OK.

And as it is a Tuesday in January working bee… you can stay on for dinner!!

Contact Alex Begg to express interest - Click Button below to email him.

Email Alex Begg

Tuesday Working Bees


Our now legendary Tuesdays in January are looming! Every Tuesday in January we gather at the theatre from around 5.30pm or so to tackle general annual maintenance and general tidying up such as culling and sorting props… last year our huge collection of fake flowers were ruthlessly culled and organised!


Best of all, we end up with a fabulous BBQ and some cool beverages. Each Tuesday Bernadette Wheatley makes a jug of something quite lethal… we had the summer of the daiquiri, the Pimms summer….wonder what’s in store for the summer of 2017?


It’s very convivial as we sit in the darkening evening feasting and sipping, chatting and laughing. If you’ve never been… come and join in any Tuesday! All welcome.

Here's a collection of images from past Tuesdays in January.

WLT Wardrobe Wonders Celebrate Another Successful Year


Our team of Wardrobe Wonders (AKA The Ancient Roman Sewers) gathered recently for afternoon tea to celebrate another successful year of making and modifying costumes worn by our talented actors and catch up on everyone’s news. Some time was also devoted to planning next year’s projects especially the exciting wardrobe challenges offered by Vincent in Brixton, set in the 1870s, and The 39 Steps, with its many fast and furious costume changes.

Pictured above from left to right are new recruit, Jenny Duxson, along with Barb Hughes, Moira Smith, Deb Moore, Shirley Sydenham and Maggie McInnes. Unfortunately, other members of our troupe, Laraine Williamson, Kylee Armstrong, Kay Hambling, Peta Ripper and Marise De Quadros were unable to attend because of other engagements, overseas travel and a last minute attack of the latest lurgie going around.

We’re always keen to welcome new members to our working bees so if you are interested in costuming please get in touch with Tony Tartaro - click button below to send him an email.  We can guarantee it won’t be boring!

Words and photo by Tony Tartaro

Email Tony Tartaro

Diary Dates


Late Dec                          Bad Jews set construction commencing late                                                         December Saturday afternoons. Check dates with                                                 Brian Christopher  0458 134 469

Tues nights Jan              Tuesday Night Working Bees from 5.30pm with BBQ                                          dinner to follow         

8 Jan                               Open Rehearsal  Bad Jews  3.30pm

17 Jan                             Backstage Workshop

We have two last shows to remember from the Archives as our final nod to this 70th anniversary year. You will find these along with all the other archive material posted this year under the History tab on our website CLICK HERE. These are The Rivals from 1992 and appropriately, given the time of year, Season's Greetings in 1994.
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Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

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