Open Rehearsal
Over the River and Through the Woods
Sunday 18 October 3.30pm
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15 September 2015

Dear Friend,

September already and pleased to see winter exiting and lots of signs of spring around. You'll soon be sipping your pre-show or interval wines in the courtyard on one of our delightful mild Williamstown nights! Opening night of Buffalo Gal was fresh, as opposed to mild, but our stalwart audience enjoyed their post show supper in the courtyard - thanks to Bernadette Wheatley for yet another feast.

Buffalo Gal, production number four for 2015, opened last week to a great response from audiences and no doubt George Werther our director, along with his full company, are delighted with this. Looking forward to the reviews for this special production.

Editor Frank Page managed to put this edition together before flying overseas yesterday and thanks Shirley Sydenham for taking care of the October edition. From WLT Secretary to Costumier for Buffalo Gal to WLT Webmaster (mistress) to Acting Editor Cues & News, as we've said before there's little that Shirley can't turn her hand to.  Big thanks to her.

Rehearsals are underway for our final production for 2015 Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe DiPietro and directed by Helen Ellis. For a synopsis of the play and the cast details CLICK HERE.

Thinking about the website, if you haven't looked at our new styled site, take a moment now - it's great and very user-friendly, CLICK HERE to see.

Finally, over the weekend the Saturday Age, Spectrum supplement ran a cover story on community theatre: "Coming to a theatre near you: an unpaid troupe prepares to shine". It's a good article giving some well deserved recognition to the significant role played by community theatre across Melbourne. Fantastic to see some of our loved WLT mates featured; Marianne Collopy, Tim Constantine and George Tranter. CLICK HERE to read the article.

Don't forget, if anything looks too small in our newsletter, just Zoom your screen. The Buffalo Gal opening night images below for example.
Click on any of the following links to go straight to the article of your choice.

Let's Shuffle off to Buffalo

“The train was two hours late. What do you think of that? What a way to run things!”
Such are the opening lines of Leonid Andreievitch Gayev in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. In the light of impending rail strikes, this is surely a case of “Life imitating Art”. For the last six weeks or so, cast and crew have been deeply immersed in the process of “Art imitating Life, imitating Art”, a presentation that we’re sure will be some riveting theatre. As Jackie says in our play to, our ‘Buffalo Gal’, Amanda, “you’re hungry for an audience...Starved!”

With barely a few days since opening night Jackie’s words just about sum up the feeling of the team who are having a great time entertaining our patrons.

Just a little piece of trivia to ponder. Did you know that Buffalo Gal premiered in June 2001 at that other Williamstown theatre – namely, The Williamstown Festival of Theatre in Massachusetts? Truly a case of “Art imitating Life!”


Thanks to Brian Christopher, Assistant Director and Production Coordinator for Buffalo Gal for this update. A few images from opening night below.

For Pete's Sake

Well, spring is here, and Buffalo Gal is up and running and delighting audiences. All is good in the world!!

Many of you will be familiar with an organisation called the Victorian Drama League (VDL). It’s perhaps best known for the services it provides in promoting community theatre – they hold their annual awards night at the end of the year; they have an excellent monthly publication (Theatrecraft) full of great stories and reviews; their website CLICK HERE  has a terrific ‘What’s On’ section and lists upcoming auditions; and they have an extensive play library which provides a borrowing service for its members. 

Recently, the VDL has really ‘stepped up to the plate’ as the peak body for community theatre companies, in setting some expectations for its member companies to aspire to. In the August edition of Theatrecraft, the VDL’s hard working Secretary Alison Campbell-Rate wrote of the need to ensure that companies “create a culture of respect and safety in our theatres”.

The VDL presented a motion, agreed by its committee, of management which recommends that:

Member companies develop a statement of values around proactively creating a culture of respect and safety and to publish this statement to its membership

Member companies ensure that all key personnel (including but not limited to Director, Assistant Director, Wardrobe, Stage Manager) have current Working With Children Checks where minors are involved in productions or events

Member companies establish an appropriate complaints process for dealing with complaints of abuse, harassment or sexually inappropriate behaviour and to publish this process to its membership."

This resolution was accompanied by a preamble, which in part reads:

“Just as amateur theatre companies have to meet a range of legal obligations concerning public liability, Occupational Health and Safety, provision of first aid, copyright, music licensing, etc, companies also need to be mindful of creating a safe and respectful environment for all participants.  This is particularly relevant in the light of current heightened community concern over the issues of bullying, discrimination, sexual abuse, violence, child sexual abuse and exploitation through pornography.  

Institutions and organisations are coming under increasing scrutiny for the way they respond to claims of abuse and, more broadly, for how they proactively shape their values, culture and processes to prevent abuse, respond to victims and contribute to a community wide culture of respect.”

Williamstown Little Theatre is delighted that the VDL has taken such a strong leadership role in ensuring that community theatre companies have standards in place which we can hold each other accountable to.

In the next edition of this esteemed publication, we will include an article on how WLT is responding to the VDL’s motion above. I would welcome any input from WLT members as to how we can better contribute to the VDL’s vision for a safer and more respectful theatre community.

In the meantime, enjoy spring – and enjoy Buffalo Gal!!

See you in the foyer.


Mind Your Language!


Thanks to Judi Clark for sharing the following piece from "This England" of Autumn 2014. Whatever the situation the English have a word or phrase to describe it. Adam Jacot DeBoinod, former researcher for the BBC television program QI, uncovers some of the more unusual ones here and related to theatre and thespians!

Sitting in a corner with a mere book has never been enough for one particular creative group.

OYSTER PART - an actor who appears and speaks or acts only once (like an oyster he opens but once).

NAP-NIX (c. 1860) - an amateur playing minor parts for experience.

DICKY BIRD - an actor who can only sing.

BELCHER (1930s) - a performer with a frog in the throat.

CRAWK (1930s) - a performer acting as an animal imitator.

CABOTINAGE (1894) - behaviour typical of a second-rate actor or strolling player, implying a tendency to play to the gallery or overact.

COME BACK TUESDAY - cliched pieces of pseudo-friendly advice from theatrical directors and management to hopefuls meaning to "go away!"

FLAG-FALLEN (16th Century) - unemployed (used first of actors: the playhouse flag was lowered where was no performance).

Kids Summer Hols Activity

VDL's Theatrecraft Youth Unlimited Performing Arts School

2016 Summer Performance Project

Here's something for your aspiring thespian children to get involved with this upcoming summer.

CLICK HERE for full details. 


Members & Friends

Following the lead of other jet-setting WLT-ites two of our Life Members, one a Committee Member and the other Cues & News Editor; Ellis Ebell and Frank Page, respectively, flew out yesterday for Greece. We heard they had lots of cash on hand as the impacts of the Greek debt continue to bite. They'll have an election to contend with but all should be well before they fly home via Sri Lanka. We might get a report from them for our October edition.


We mentioned last month that Tony Tartaro, another of our hard working Committee members, was travelling to Germany and Austria. Tony has found a spare moment in his busy schedule to give us a quick update on some of his exploits. We've also had a Paparazzi tagging him and are delighted to share this image as he disports in his brand new Lederhosen!

Tony writes:

Have seen some great sights and enjoyed many beers in good company and have stuck to the mantra, "don't mention the war!" Actually the Germans are very honest about owning what happened and determined to never go there again. Apart from the cakes I can give traditional German cuisine a miss. Can't face another potato dumpling.

Went to Oberammagau planning a tour of the theatre and its museum and costume collection but, wouldn't you know it, it was not open that day. I found the theatre in Munich where Visiting Mr Green played..well tripped over it really. Once again, not open but I'll have another go tomorrow when I'm back in town. 

Had a fun "oomp-pa-pa" night at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, the world's oldest beer hall. German brass played by young men in tight lederhosen and beer served by busty wenches in traditional dirndls and tables of old men singing traditional songs with gusto but off key which got more-so with each litre of beer consumed. 

Off to Austria tomorrow for Strauss, Mozart and Sound of Music country.

Diary Dates

Buffalo Gal Bump out
Tuesday 29 September from 5.30/6.00pm onwards
Dinner provided

Set Construction Over the River and Through the Woods
Commencing Saturday 3 October and ongoing Saturday afternoons from 1pm until completed.
Contact Brian Christopher for details if interested 0458 134 469

Buffalo Gal
By A.R. Gurney
Director: George Werther

Until 26 September

Over the River and Through the Woods
By Joe DiPietro
Director: Helen Ellis

Open Rehearsal: Sunday 18 October 3.30pm
Season: 19 November - 6 December

With spring very much in the air we reproduce this gorgeous scene of a cherry blossom orchard which you'll find used to great effect on the Buffalo Gal stage, thanks to Laurice Banwell and reproduced in the program by Erin Austin
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Consider yourself invited to


Thursday 15 October to Friday 23 October 
Geoffrey McComas Theatre,
Scotch College, Hawthorn.

Barb Hughes is currently directing Oliver! for OSMaD. With a cast of over 50 including 20 children, Barb is having great fun (and going even more bonkers than usual) bringing this classic musical to life. Oliver! reunites the same production team that brought WLT A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 2013, with choreography by Jenny Vincent-Green and with Janet Provan as Assistant Musical Director.  The cast includes Angelo DeCata(Compleat Female Stage Beauty) as FaginColin Morley (Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks) as Mr. Sowerberry and Colleen Johnson(Forum) as Widow Corney. Janet also plays Mrs. Sowerberry.

Tickets are $45 for Adults and $40 Concession. For bookings go to or phone (02) 6253 1454.

Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

Copyright © 2015 Williamstown Little Theatre, All rights reserved.

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