Belated Updates from the NTC Committee

The Committee has been very busy this year, and somewhere along the way, we forgot to update everyone with many of the decisions we’ve made. If you want the full details, you can always read the Minutes, or, if you’re really interested, attend meetings (1st Monday of the month, 7:30pm).

In no particular order, here are some of the decisions. To:
• reduce the size of our seasons back to 8 shows from 2015;
• continue to pursue approvals from Council for various improvements;
• revise the manuals / folders for Directors, Production Managers and Stage Managers;
• revise the mentoring relationship for new directors;
• revise publicity options for our productions;
• continue to support the CONDAs;
• revise the audition process;
• revise membership;
• continue to raise money for improvements at, and maintenance of NTC;
• organise working bees at bump outs and provide a brunch for workers;
• revise bump out / bump in procedures;
• revise security (especially after several break ins); and
• continue to deal with matters that arise as smoothly as possible for all concerned.

Again, in no particular order, here are some of the actions (on top of the many activities that are ongoing). In 2014:
• the Stage Manager’s Manual has been updated;
• the Production Manager’s Manual has been updated;
• a clear policy has been written re the roles and relationship of a Mentor Director working with a beginning Director;
• security has been investigated and improved;
• the Repartee newsletter has been replaced with this blog;
• the New Membership form has been updated – and now clarifies actors’ commitment to ushering;
• a survey has been written for all members when renewing membership so we can ensure we have up-to-date information (more to come soon);
• various publicity initiatives have been sought and discussed and we hope to be able to implement some of these soon. Volunteers are needed – can you help?

Directors & Auditions
Finally, the 2015 directors got together for a debrief re various changes that include:
• auditions at the earliest occur 16 weeks before Opening Night (with a few exceptions). However, earlier call outs asking for an expression of interest will be okay.
• All cast and crew must be financial members before they attend their first rehearsal [especially important for insurance issues].
• Directors and Production Managers are reminded to be flexible with audition times when actors are unable to make initial dates.
• If directors wish to pre-cast specific / pertinent roles, they must seek approval from The Committee first. If approved, only the other roles will be announced for auditions.

Obviously there are also other things we are working on. Stay tuned because there will be more to come, in smaller doses.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to volunteer to help out in any capacity, don’t be shy.

Debra Hely

CONDA nominations

Robyn and I are just back from the announcement of the CONDA nominations for 2014. It was probably the best announcement event I’ve seen. Agosti’s was a cut above the usual theatre foyer.
I’m very much in favour of Shane Bransdon’s call for the CONDAs to be seen more as a celebration of theatre in the region and less of a competition. But a little bit of competition’s not a bad thing, right?
It’s been a bumper year for nominations at NTC. Calendar Girls received nominations for best dramatic production, lighting design (Sarah Jane Judge), excellence by a female actor (Janet Gillam and Jan Hunt), excellence in a supporting role (Arlene Richards) and direction (Isobel Denholm).
Continuing through the season, James Chapman was also nominated for an acting award for Sleuth.

James Chapman in Sleuth. Photo by Amy Wilde.

James Chapman in Sleuth. Photo by Amy Wilde.

Emma Wood’s Mr Bennet’s Bride was nominated in the best new play category. Julie Black was nominated for direction and the whole company was nominated for best ensemble acting. Dean Blackford, Tracey Gordon and Alison Cox all have nominations for acting awards.
God of Carnage also has a slew of nominations. Directing, acting and ensemble nominations for John Wood, Richard Murray, Linda Read, Rosemary Dartnell and Michael Byrne.
The ensemble of Company was also nominated, with Stephanie Priest earning an acting nomination and Kieran Norman nominated for musical direction.
Nicholas Thoroughgood and Alex Waye were both nominated in the excellence by a male actor under 18 category. Alex Waye also earned a nomination for the lighting design on Lost in Yonkers. Nola Wallace was nominated in the excellence by a female actor category.
Closing out the year’s nominations, Mick Byrne and Amy Wilde were both nominated for The Boys.
Well done to all our nominees. To see the full list of nominees from all companies, click here.
Naturally we’ll all have ideas about the list and what else should be there. But let’s not let that detract from the moment. Congratulations to all our nominees, and to those from other companies. I’m looking forward to CONDA night!

From the Executive Meeting

As part of the ‘keep everyone in the loop’ process, here’s a quick summary of what we discussed at yesterday’s executive meeting.

1. We’ve talked a fair bit about the major theatre improvements that need to be done. Particularly the idea of putting a shed out the back for major scenic pieces. On top of this, there’s a need to rationalise costumes and improve storage facilities for them and there’s work to do on the front of the old theatre. We’ve decided to have a major theatre improvements working bee in January. I’m suggesting the weekend of the 10th or the 17th. Feedback please.
2. Our Christmas party is on at the theatre on Wednesday, 10th of December. Tickets will be $35 per person for a pre-show get together plus the Wednesday performance of Season’s Greetings. Catering cost is $20, so cast members and those who already have a ticket need only pay for the catering. It’s a ‘bring your own’ function, starting from 6.00.
3. There’s some logistics that go with all of that – it’s still a public performance, it’s likely that people will stay around to meet the cast and share a celebratory after-show drink – and we talked through the details. I won’t write them here but please discuss any issues with us.
4. John McFadden is happy to take responsibility for marketing and promotions and has a range of good ideas. He’s also volunteering to edit Repartee! I’ll be chatting with him soon.
5. We agreed that given the cost of running the CONDA awards that we would offer to sponsor a CONDA. The glass things with wings cost around $350 each. Oh, I’ll be at the announcement of the nominations this evening. Watch this space!
6. Newcastle City Council. No further movement here. I’m still working on getting the senior Development Officer out for a site inspection.
7. We talked in detail about what we wanted to get done in 2015. I’ll present this at the Executive meeting.
8. We talked generally about some custom and practice issues. How flexible should we be with time when auditioning, for example? (Our view was that we should do our best to accommodate people who can’t make it to a set audition time.)
All in all, it was a busy meeting – nearly two hours. The minutes will be with committee members soon.

Stewart McGowan


Looking for volunteer power

Our last Bunnings barbeque, two weeks ago now, was nearly a disaster. Despite the best efforts of Viv, Cheryl, Natalie and Amanda, we went into the barbeque day without a full roster. Amanda came to the rescue, pulling a double shift but missing an important family event to keep things running. I’m guessing Natalie put in an extra shift as well. On an exceptionally hot day. Of course, many of our regular people were unavailable. Richard Murray and I were at HSC marking, David Murray, Tracey Gordon and several other barbeque regulars were unavailable as well… but this is still an issue.
Could I first of all thank most sincerely the people who made the barbeque work, particularly Amanda and Natalie. And now, the hard part: could I ask other club members to have a think about giving up some time to be more involved. It’s difficult, I know, trying to find a balance between life and theatre. I don’t think anyone expects people to give up weeks of their time. But every time someone volunteers some time, it means that the theatre runs more smoothly and we can keep moving the company forward.
Coming up in the next few months there’s a lot to enjoy. I was at the opening of Sherlock on Saturday and had a great time. I dropped in on the rehearsal of Season’s Greetings which promises to be a fantastic season closer, especially on the Christmas Party night.
But there’s also a lot to do. Over January, we’d like to get some work done out the back of the new theatre, improving our storage so that we don’t have to carry everything up and down from the old theatre. We want to cull a lot of our costumes. There’s other work to be done building set pieces to replace ones that have become badly worn. We still don’t have a Repartee editor – I’m supposed to be just filling in.
What the committee would like is more involvement. We’re going to keep using facebook and e-mail to ask for people to help out but we’d also like our members to take the initiative and start looking for the things that need doing. When the AGM comes around in February, we will need more committee members than we’ve got this year to organise front of house, productions and theatre resources. Committee members working on a project are likely to phone members directly to ask for their help with a project. If you have some time and expertise, please let us know. Debra Hely is currently working on updating our member information so that we have a clearer picture of who is free to do which job, when. And who has particular skills to volunteer. So let us know – an e-mail to the company would be a good start.
Helping out with something at the theatre is a great way to stay in touch with people and to get to know what’s happening at NTC. You’ll be hearing from us. We hope we’ll be hearing from you, too.

Stewart McGowan


Famous in Newcastle!

Seen at the launch of Newcastle Theatre Company’s 2015 Season!

Arlene Richards introduces Gaslight

Arlene Richards introduces Gaslight

Beyond Therapy Pearl and James

Beyond Therapy. Pearl and James perform the opening

Gaslight launch

Gaslight excerpt. Rosemary and Alison

Blaxland launch

Michael Blaxland introduces Lady Windermere’s Fan

Brian Wark launch

Brian Wark introducing Cactus Flower

Gaslight launch 2

Richard and Rosemary on stage together in Gaslight


Janet Nelson launch

Janet introduces Dancing at Lugnasa

Isobel Denholm launch

Isobel Denholm introduces Female of the Species

Howard Rawlinson launch

Howard Rawlinson peruses the wine list

John Wood launch

John Wood introduces Doubt

All photographs by Debra Hely

Season 2015 Launched!

Newcastle Theatre Company has launched its 2015 season. (Actually, we launched it two weeks ago but the editor of Repartee has been busy working fourteen hour days!)
In 2015, Newcastle Theatre Company has eight plays in its season. It’s also supporting three return performances of Mr Bennett’s Bride ahead of its tour to Sydney and Canberra.
The season is put together by our Artistic Development team, who read extensively and then vote on the plays to be included. It’s a tough job, but the success of our last few seasons is due in no small way to their work.
Noel Grivas put together the 2015 brochure – thanks Noel. The brochure is reproduced below.
Season 2015 1
Season 2015 2Season 2015 3Season 2015 details