Season 2015 – Auditions for ‘Doubt’

NTC is pleased to announce the first production in its 2015 season will be ‘Doubt: A Parable’ by John Patrick Stanley.

‘Doubt’ (winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony for Best New Play), is set during the 1960’s at a Catholic school in the Bronx. The school’s long standing and deeply conservative Principal, Sister Aloysius, has fears of misconduct by the recently appointed Father Flynn, a progressive and personable parish priest. With the young and naive Sister James by her side, Sister Aloysius seeks out the truth on whether Father Flynn has preyed on the school’s first African-American student. It’s a strong play that deals with how far we go to confirm our suspicions when the power of those higher up can limit our reach.

‘Doubt’, directed by John Wood and assisted by Sally Davies, will run from 31st January to 14th February 2015.

NTC is holding auditions for the major three roles of the production (the ages listed are a guide only):

– Sister Aloysius (50-60). The stern and deeply conservative school principal with unwavering convictions.
– Father Flynn (30-40). The new priest. Popular with parishioners, he wishes to change the negative outlook of the church and be more welcoming to the public.
– Sister James (20-30). A young teacher whose inexperience and naivety make her vulnerable to being swayed by those around her.

Auditions will be held at NTC on 13th and 14th of October from 6-9pm, with each auditionee allocated 15 minutes.
Those wishing to apply for an audition package, please email johnpond_1989@hotmail.com with a preferred rehearsal date and time.

Editor’s note: details of the new season will be revealed soon – the launch is on in late October!

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Farewell Emma and Fidds

Today is Emma and Fidds’s farewell – they’re off to Canberra to enjoy the delights of the nation’s capital. So I’ve put together a bit of a retrospective. Most of the photos are by Debra Hely but there’s a couple from Noel Grivas, too. My favourite’s the one from Arcadia! Yes, I’m breaking social media rules by including about 14 photos in a single post but I know that a lot of you will take time to scroll through.

Play In A Day 1. Note the exhausted writer designer stubble.

Play In A Day 1. Note the exhausted writer designer stubble.

At Richard and Stewart's 50th birthday

At Richard and Stewart’s 50th birthday

Emma Fidds 50th 2

Pack of Lies. Photo by Noel Grivas

Pack of Lies. Photo by Noel Grivas

Pack of Lies. Noel's photo.

Pack of Lies. Noel’s photo.

Pygmalion (photo Noel Grivas)

Pygmalion (photo Noel Grivas)

At the Christmas party, 2011

At the Christmas party, 2011

Season launch 2011

Season launch 2011

Em Fidds headshot

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Theatre Royalty - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Theatre Royalty – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

At the opening of Water Child with Henry

At the opening of Water Child with Henry

Em Fidds Water Child opening 2

AGM, 2012

AGM, 2012

Club Night, 2013

Club Night, 2013

When the Rain Stops Falling

When the Rain Stops Falling

With the cast of When the Rain Stops Falling

With the cast of When the Rain Stops Falling

Arcadia, 2011, Cast and crew

Arcadia, 2011, Cast and crew

Challenging play, challenging responses

Source: Maitland Mercury, Wednesday September 9th 2014

Source: Maitland Mercury, Wednesday September 9th 2014

The Maitland Mercury yesterday published this very good photo and an article about our upcoming production of the boys. You can read the full article here: http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/2543618/anita-cobby-murder-takes-centre-stage/?cs=171
What’s most interesting, though, is the responses that we’ve got from readers of the Mercury on their facebook page.. Most articles attract one or two comments. This one has attracted over thirty comments and replies.
The tone of a lot of them is negative, versions on the theme, ‘How dare someone do a play about such a terrible story!’ A few of us have weighed in (politely) in the play’s defence. For me, it reinforces exactly why we should take on challenging work like this. The criticisms in the paper seem to be suggesting that we should brush issues like the ones dealt with in The Boys under the carpet and hope they’ll go away. Clearly that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
The challenges being presented by this play are significant. It asks questions about our society, the men in it, poverty and the effect of shocking events on others in ways that go beyond tabloid newspaper headlines. I’m looking forward to our production. Here’s hoping some of the facebook critics come to their senses and maybe even come along and see it!

The Boys – Gordon Graham’s challenging play.

The Boys is a profoundly disturbing play which examines both the events that lead up to an appalling climax and the aftermath; shedding light on a sadly dysfunctional family of a mother and her three sons and their girlfriends.

The Boys DLThis is a courageous play that we should be proud to call Australian It has a lot to say about a society that can accept the dogma that the very rich just seem to get richer and the poor have little hope of ever changing their life’ s path. Be brave and come and meet the Sprague family, you may be shocked but won’t be disappointed.

John Wood directs a highly talented NTC cast, led by Michael Byrne’ s power hungry Brett and Cheryl Sovechles, playing his worn down mother; the cast is completed by Amy Wilde, Craig Lindeman, Natasha Steggles, Duncan Gordon and Cherie Mackinnon.

The play was an AWGIE award winner. The film based on it won four AFI awards

WARNING: THE PLAY CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AND ADULT THEMES .

Bookings are essential.

www .newcastletheatrecompany .com.au or phone (02) 4952 4958 between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Friday .

Season’s Greetings – Ayckbourn’s ‘Perfect’ Christmas

Here is Mr Ayckbournʼs recipe for the ʻperfectʼ family Christmas. Ingredients:

untitled>Take three dysfunctional married couples, (two with five children between them! who are present in the house but never seen or heard). Neville and Belinda, Eddie and Pattie and Bernard and Phyllis (who really enjoys a drink).

Add a young, attractive, charismatic novelist, Clive, invited by the virginal, spinster sister of Belinda, Nevilleʼs wife.

Combine with an unbelievably inappropriate, bigoted, emotionally violent, racist ʻuncleʼ, who watches TV throughout Christmas……Uncle Harvey.

Include Belindaʼs less than fulfilled sister……Rachel, and copious amounts of ʻChristmas cheerʼ.

Method: Combine all the ingredients, allow them to come together and form a potentially catastrophic explosive mixture……….gradually all the adults will revert to childlike behaviour.

This is a play about a family Christmas you want to hope you would hope to never have but you can never be quite certain…..can you?

The jokes are continuous as these exquisitely drawn middle class English characters reveal their worst traits. The laughter is so infectious you have to be careful not to miss something!

Under the tree you’ll find a fine cast of NTC actors, with a number of delightful and experienced fresh faces, directed by Brian Randell. Decorations in a setting designed and built by Matthew Lockyer. Donʼt miss this wonderful play which will put you in a fabulous mood for Christmas.

Christmas party bookings attract very favourable ticket prices depending on the numbers.

Cast: Peter Murray, Tracey Ebbetts, Sandra Monk, Michael Smythe, Patrick Campbell, Heidi Bush, Ben Martin, Pearl Nunn and Alex Jacobs.

As Samuel Becket bleakly observed…….”nothing is as funny as other peopleʼs unhappiness”.

The Newcastle Theatre Company season runs from Saturday December 6th to 20th.

Matinees: Sunday December 7th and Saturday 13th at 2.00 p.m.
Details of performance days and times and BOOKINGS! from the NTC Box Office (phone 4952 4958….Monday to Friday 3-6 p.m.)

Online booking also encouraged

Rabbit Hole Review

Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire
NTC July 12–26 2014
A review by Debra Hely

RH Cast n Crew

A minimalistic but evocative set welcomed the audience. As I sat there absorbing the atmosphere, I must confess to some trepidation as to how the subject matter would be handled, even in the hands of the wonderful Kathleen Warren. In no time at all, any concerns were totally allayed as an ensemble cast presented performances in keeping with the set. With seemingly little effort, they took our emotions on an enthralling adventure, often sad, but with enough humour to steady us.
The lights came up to reveal a woman, Becca (Amanda Woolford) folding a small child’s clothes into a laundry basket. A natural act, yet Becca was slightly hesitant – was it because she was listening to the other younger woman? Izzy (Emily Ralph) was rambling on and on about the pub and an incident with a total stranger who became aggressive. Slowly it transpired that Izzy was not only “the other woman” as far as the stranger was concerned, she was also pregnant.
Becca’s reaction set the quality for the rest of the play. She was pleased but again, somewhat hesitant. Before long the audience knew that she and her husband, Howie (Drew Pittman) had lost their only son, Danny, and the clothes she was folding were his, being prepared to give to charity. By the time Howie came home, and tensions were mounting, Danny, (voiced by Georgia Pittman) had chased his beloved dog onto the road (through a gate accidentally left open) and was hit and killed by a car.
It wasn’t too long until Becca’s mother, Nat (Sue McEwen) joined the family, constantly comparing the loss of Danny to her own son. Becca has no time for her brother’s life story – he was a drug addict, and a loser and old enough to know better, unlike her own innocent son. Tension kept building, the family kept trying to avoid serious conversations by talking about everyday things, but the everyday quickly became metaphoric. The unspoken was booming with clarity.
There were poignant moments: as when mother and daughter found common ground in Danny’s bedroom; when Howie watched a family video; the discovery that the dog had been banished to Nat’s care; how Emily deeply loved her sister but managed to keep saying the wrong thing at the wrong time; and Jason’s short story as well as his letter of apology.
Jason, (Heathcliff Stubley) was the young driver who in swerving to miss the dog hit Danny. His guilt of being over the speed limit of 50, doing maybe 51 or 52, kept eating at him. Still at school, he wrote a story he dedicated to Danny, after seeking permission via a letter to Becca. When Becca read the story aloud, we understood the title of the play.
This play could have been a drawn out disaster dwelling in pathos; instead it was a powerful and moving drama, full of beautiful nuanced writing equally matched by the performances. Being in the audience was a bit like being a voyeur, it felt so real, and had us leaning forward more and more (when we weren’t discretely wiping our moist eyes). Fortunately there were many moments of humour, which allowed us to breathe again, not realising until then how rapt we were, or that maybe we were holding our breaths.
It was obvious Becca and Howie still loved each other, but each had a journey of grief that excluded the other. The play took place at a time where they were either going to split apart forever, or find their way together. And the audience truly cared, as evidenced by the gasps, tears, silences and body language.
Kudos to each cast member for bringing depth and life to each character. Amanda’s poise, hesitation and hurt were nicely balanced by Drew’s portrayal of Howie’s growing frustration and anger. When the very scared but determined Jason arrives, the body language of the cast was perfect. Heathcliff captured that awkward time in teenage life, caught between childhood and adulthood and clearly feeling the weight of Danny’s death upon him.
Emily brought the right amount of energy into her role, moving through clownish moments to equally serious ones. Sue, who battled laryngitis, kept the reins in on what could have been an over-the-top character, instead she revealed a woman of depth deserving of our sympathies.
Kathleen Warren obviously deserves the praise I’ve given the actors too, as she was the Director and fine-tuned their performances. No doubt having the delightful Lynda Rennie on board as Assistant Director only added to the mix, likewise all the designers involved in the production. Everything pulled together, nothing jarred: no inappropriate sound / music and no shadowy faces, all lit and easy to see.
Congratulations Kathleen and the cast and crew for the artistry you gave us. It made me very proud to be a member of a theatre company that can produce work like this.