The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-09-29T21:48:59Z The Mutual Bank Steps into the Future with New Legal Name 2019-09-29T21:48:59Z the-mutual-bank-steps-into-the-future-with-new-legal-name The Mutual Bank has announced the change of its legal name from Maitland MutualBuilding Society Limited to ‘Maitland Mutual Limited’, following a majority vote at theorganisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 26th September 2019.In March Maitland Mutual Building Society Limited commenced trading as The Mutual Bank.Chairman of the Board Trevor Robinson said the changes to the organisations trading nameand legal name are an important step in laying the foundations for the organisation’s futuregrowth and development.“The removal of the term ‘Building Society’ from our name signifies our development as abusiness in alignment with our community and members’ needs. The Mutual Bank has, andcontinues to evolve and our new trading and legal names better articulate what it is we dofor our members and the role we play in the financial landscape of the Hunter Region,” saidMr Robinson.“Our organisational structure and operations will not change as a result, we are and willcontinue to be a member-owned financial institution, with our priorities as an organisationresting firmly on delivering exceptional financial products and services for our members,”said Mr Robinson.The change in The Mutual Bank’s legal name was unanimously recommended by the Boardof Directors and put to a member vote, the greater part being tendered through postalsubmissions and attendance at the AGM and a resounding majority in favour of theadoption of the new name.The use of ‘Maitland Mutual Limited’ as the new legal name for The Mutual Bank willcommence upon registration with ASIC.About The Mutual Bank:Maitland Mutual Limited, trading as The Mutual Bank, is a customer-owned, membercentricorganisation committed to delivering industry leading service and financial productsto the Hunter Region. Established in 1888, The Mutual Bank is one of the Hunter’s oldestfinancial institutions. https://www.themutual.com.au/ WITNESS THE THRILLS AND SPILLS OF THE UPPER HUNTER’S OWN BILLY CART RACE! 2019-06-27T01:13:14Z witness-the-thrills-and-spills-of-the-upper-hunters-own-billy-cart-race-2 WITNESS THE THRILLS AND SPILLS OF THE UPPER HUNTER’S OWN BILLY CART RACE! Come down for a family fun day at Carl Street, Muswellbrook on Saturday 29 June 2019 Our society has lost a sense of good old fashioned fun, and Hunter Life Education want to bring it back. Plans for the second annual Hunter Soap Box Derby, sponsored by Unity Bank, are in full swing. Kids and kids at heart will be racing home-made billy carts downhill in suburban Muswellbrook from 9am on Saturday 29 June, vying for winner’s bragging rights. The PCYC Muswellbrook carpark will play host to much of the festivities, where there will be an event opening ceremony attended and opened by the Muswellbrook Shire Council Mayor and Healthy Harold, food stalls, family attractions like FREE face painting, FREE Chair o Plane for the kids, market stalls, military equipment on display, Fire Engine with hose play, FREE baby animal petting zoo, and of course homemade billy carts whizzing down the hill on Carl Street, Muswellbrook – reaching up to 35km/h! Time Activity Length 9.00am Event Opening Ceremony: Acknowledgement of Country Address from: Sarah Gray, Executive Officer Hunter Life Education Major Sponsor Representative, Unity Bank Martin Rush, Mayor Muswellbrook Shire Council Martin Rush to formally declare event open. Photo opportunity with Healthy Harold. 15 mins 9.15am – 2pm Racing to begin, first carts towed to top of hill start line. Junior Race Emergency Services, Defence and Community Race Mascot Race (approx. 12.30pm) Healthy Harold v The Easter Bunny (Gresford Billy Cart Derby) Corporate Race Senior Race Presentation of Junior/ Senior winners & novelty categories (approx. 2pm) 2.00pm END OF RACE EVENT (Public) The Hunter Soap Box Derby is a fundraising event organised by and for the benefit of Hunter Life Education, working to ensure young people of the Hunter have access to free or subsidised Life Education lessons. These lessons empower young people to lead safer and healthier lives though education. Unity Bank has event naming rights for the 2019 Hunter Soap Box Derby. Local business has provided much support of this event, specifically Muswellbrook Shire Council, Coates Hire Muswellbrook, Regional Australia Bank, PCYC Muswellbrook, Woolworth Muswellbrook, along with many other wonderful event volunteers and supporters. For further information, please contact Sarah Gray on 02 4958 6766 or 0418 281 962. Never A Better Time To Bank With The Mutual Bank 2019-06-06T22:32:43Z never-a-better-time-to-bank-with-the-mutual-bank Never A Better Time To Bank With The Mutual Bank It’s been a busy time at The Mutual Bank with a 0.25% reduction in Home Loan interest rates, confirmation of no interest rate changes to Savings Accounts and the removal of excess transaction fees on Everyday Accounts. CEO, Mr Geoff Seccombe, said that The Mutual Bank seeks to achieve financial sustainability that balances the needs of all members. “Home Loan interest rate reductions present a great opportunity for First Home Buyers looking to enter the property market, and will provide some welcome relief for the many families across our region that are challenged every day with juggling their financial commitments,” Mr Seccombe said. “Depositing members can be assured that this movement in home loan rates will not come with any interest rate reductions to their Savings Accounts and with the removal of excess transaction fees there has never been a better time to bank with The Mutual Bank. Additionally, our Investment Accounts continue to be highly competitive, offering some of the highest interest rates in the region,” said Mr Seccombe. About The Mutual Bank: Maitland Mutual Building Society Limited, trading as The Mutual Bank, is a member owned, member-centric organisation committed to delivering industry leading service and financial products to the Hunter Region. Established in 1888, The Mutual Bank celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, and as such is one of the Hunter’s oldest financial institutions. https://www.themutual.com.au/ Disney On Ice After School Show Announced in Canberra 2019-05-19T22:08:00Z disney-on-ice-after-school-show-announced-in-canberra NEW AFTER SCHOOL SHOW ON SALE Due to overwhelming demand, a new after school show is now on sale - Thursday 20 June at 4pm! Grab your mouse ears and get ready for a worldwide party as Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends skates into Canberra from 19 - 23rd June. This year, the Aussie family favourite produced by Feld Entertainment Inc. will include the highly anticipated arrival of Disney’s Moana. This exciting new ice show has become one of the hottest tickets in town, and the additional shows will help accommodate the numerous box office requests. The 2019 tour celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse and honors Walt Disney’s legacy by bringing acclaimed stories to life on the ice. This year, Mickey Mouse is joined by Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy on a journey to discover his favourite memory of all time. Using Mickey’s “Mouse Pad”, the show’s hosts encourage fans to be part of the action and help the gang venture though Disney stories, sharing memorable moments from treasured tales. Along the way, families sail away with Moana as she displays courage to save her island on a high-seas adventure with the demigod, Maui. Families will continue the journey to the wintry world of Arendelle as royal sisters Anna and Elsa discover true love and experience the mysterious magic of Fantasia as a Sorcerer’s Apprentice makes brooms come to life. Follow the unforgettable Dory through the unexplored seas of the Pacific Ocean, join the Toy Story pals on an exciting adventure and experience the emotional rollercoaster of Inside Out. “Live Your Story” alongside Disney Princesses as they use perseverance, determination and hard work to inspire Mickey and children around the world to share their favorite Disney memories. Tickets from $33* through Ticketek: www.Ticketek.com.au/DisneyOnIce Special ticket prices apply for the after school performance on 20th June at 4pm. Visit Ticketek for details Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #MickeyandFriends YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce Instagram: @DisneyOnIce Media enquiries: Thurnham Teece 4961 6010 Lyn Thurnham lthurnham@thurnhamteece.com.au Tara Fohmsbee tfohmsbee@thurnhamteece.com.au About Feld Entertainment, Inc. Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour (coming Fall 2019). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit feldentertainment.com for more information. *Market Pricing applies on all tickets and are subject to change without notice. Ticket price includes GST and Booking/Inside Fee. Additional Transactions Fees may apply. Feld Entertainment encourage patrons to source tickets through the authorised ticketing agents appointed by our Disney On Ice venues. There are significant risks in buying from other sources. For guidance, see Live Performance Australia’s Ticketing Code of Practice: http://liveperformance.com.au/ticketing_code_practice On Sale 9 am tomorrow - The Ultimate Celebration of Mickey Mouse 2019-03-18T04:50:01Z on-sale-9-am-tomorrow-the-ultimate-celebration-of-mickey-mouse-1 The Ultimate Celebration of Mickey Mouse Kicks Off in Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends Disney’s Moana Takes the Ice for the First Time in Australia with New Ice Skating Extravaganza CANBERRA: 20 – 23 JUNE 2019 Tickets on sale 19 March 2019, 9am Australia, Canberra, 19 March 2019 – Hello Canberra –we’re coming your way soon! Grab your mouse ears and get ready for a worldwide party as Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends skates into Australia. This year, the Aussie family favourite will include the highly anticipated arrival of Disney’s Moana. Tickets are on sale from 9 am Tuesday 19 March 2019. The 2019 tour celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse and honors Walt Disney’s legacy by bringing acclaimed stories to life on the ice. Tom Williams, Australian media personality and Disney On Ice fan, has been confirmed as Australia’s Ambassador for the 2019 tour. “I’m thrilled to be the ambassador for the 2019 Disney On Ice tour. My family and I have always been huge fans of the show, and Rachel and I will be able to share our childhood Disney memories with our girls,” says Tom. “I may not be pitch perfect, but I’ll be singing along loudly to Let it Go and How Far I’ll Go!” The father of two values spending time with his family and is deeply motivated to help create memorable experiences for many Aussie families. Produced by Feld Entertainment Inc., Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends will open in Perth on 31 May 2019 and travels to Adelaide, Wollongong, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney through to 23 July. This year, Mickey Mouse is joined by Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy on a journey to discover his favorite memory of all time. Using Mickey’s “Mouse Pad”, the show’s hosts encourage fans to be part of the action and help the gang venture though Disney stories, sharing memorable moments from treasured tales. Along the way, families sail away with Moana as she displays courage to save her island on a high-seas adventure with the demigod, Maui. Families will continue the journey to the wintry world of Arendelle as royal sisters Anna and Elsa discover true love and experience the mysterious magic of Fantasia as a Sorcerer’s Apprentice makes brooms come to life. Follow the unforgettable Dory through the unexplored seas of the Pacific Ocean, join the Toy Story pals on an exciting adventure and experience the emotional rollercoaster of Inside Out. “Live Your Story” alongside Disney Princesses as they use perseverance, determination and hard work to inspire Mickey and children around the world to share their favorite Disney memories. Tickets from $33* through Ticketek: www.Ticketek.com.au/DisneyOnIce Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #MickeyandFriends YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce Instagram: @DisneyOnIce Media enquiries: Thurnham Teece 4961 6010 Lyn Thurnham lthurnham@thurnhamteece.com.au Tara Fohmsbee tfohmsbee@thurnhamteece.com.au OrCam Technologies chosen as a 2019 Red Herring Top 100 Europe Winner 2019-02-27T01:56:53Z orcam-technologies-chosen-as-a-2019-red-herring-top-100-europe-winner OrCam Technologies chosen as a 2019 Red Herring Top 100 Europe Winner Wearable AI artificial vision innovation company wins prestigious award that previously recognized Google, Facebook, Skype and SalesForce.com Jerusalem, Israel (February 25, 2019) – OrCam Technologies Ltd., the world’s most advanced wearable AI-driven artificial vision innovator, was announced by Red Herring as a Top 100 Europe award winner. The Top 100 forum in Amsterdam, Netherlands recognized leading private startups’ innovations and technologies across their respective industries. Red Herring Top 100 Europe enlists outstanding entrepreneurs and promising companies. It selects the award winners from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the European Region. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these up-and-comers. Red Herring’s Top 100 list has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising new companies and entrepreneurs. Red Herring’s editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Alibaba, Facebook, Google, SalesForce.com, Skype, SuperCell, Spotify, Twitter, YouTube, and Mobileye would change the way we live and work. Thousands of the most interesting and innovative companies have graced the Top 100 list over the years. “In 2019, selecting the top achievers was by no means a small feat,” said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. “In fact, we had the toughest time in years because so many entrepreneurs had crossed significant milestones so early in the European tech ecosystem. But after much thought, rigorous contemplation and discussion, we narrowed our list down from hundreds of candidates from across Europe to the Top 100 Winners. We believe OrCam Technologies embodies the vision, drive and innovation that define a successful entrepreneurial venture. OrCam should be proud of its accomplishment, as the competition was very strong.” Wireless, lightweight and compacted into the size of a finger, the pioneering technology of the OrCam MyEye 2 artificial vision device discreetly reads printed and digital text aloud – from any surface – in real time. Instant face recognition and identification of consumer products, colors and money notes provides increased independence. Magnetically mounted on the wearer’s eyeglasses frame and weighing less than an ounce, OrCam MyEye 2 is the only wearable artificial vision tech that is activated by an intuitive pointing gesture or simply by following the wearer's gaze – allowing for hands-free use without the need of a smartphone or Wi-Fi. "OrCam is honored to be a recipient of the Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award, thereby joining the elite company of previous Red Herring 100 winners which include Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Alibaba," said Dr. Yonatan Wexler, Executive Vice President of Research & Development. "We are deeply appreciative of Red Herring's recognition of OrCam's AI-driven innovations, and our wearable technologies' ability to transform people's lives." Red Herring’s editorial staff evaluated the companies on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technological innovation, management quality, overall business strategy and market penetration. This assessment was complemented by a review of the track records and standings of similar startups in the same verticals, allowing Red Herring to see past the “hype” and make the list a valuable instrument of discovery and advocacy for the most promising new business models in Europe. Following OrCam Technologies' well-deserved win, they are then invited to showcase their company to the US market at the Top 100 North America event in May and later compete internationally for the Top 100 Global in October. Red Herring is dedicated to following OrCam’s path to further success and innovation. OrCam is distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Quantum RLV. https://www.myorcam.com.au/ & https://www.orcam.co.nz/ # # # About OrCam Technologies: OrCam harnesses the power of artificial vision by incorporating pioneering technology into a wearable platform which improves the lives of individuals who are partially sighted, blind, have reading difficulties including dyslexia or reading fatigue. OrCam was co-founded in 2010 by Prof. Amnon Shashua and Mr. Ziv Aviram, who are also the co-founders of Mobileye, the collision avoidance system leader and autonomous driving innovator, which was acquired by Intel Corp. in August 2017 for $15.3 billion. For more information: www.orcam.com and YouTube and follow OrCam on Facebook and Twitter. SIMON GALLAHER TO STAR IN THE WIZARD OF OZ - ARENA SPECTACULAR 2019-02-01T22:00:00Z simon-gallaher-to-star-in-the-wizard-of-oz-arena-spectacular Harvest Rain CEO, Tim O’Connor, is delighted to announce that legend of the Australia stage and screen, Simon Gallaher, will play the much-coveted role of The Wizard in THE WIZARD OF OZ - ARENA SPECTACULAR touring Australia in 2019 – 2020. Simon Gallaher is much-loved by audiences around Australia as a singer, pianist, concert performer and one of our most successful theatre impresarios, having produced record breaking sold out national tours of The Pirates of Penzance, The Merry Widow, The Mikado & HMS Pinafore. This is not the first walk across the boards for Simon as the Wizard, as he previously played Oz in WICKED when it toured Australia. After an exhaustive nationwide search, newcomer Carly Bettinson will don the ruby red shoes in the coveted role of Dorothy. At 19 years of age, Carly is a recent graduate of the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre (BAMT). Growing up in Brisbane, Carly started out as an audience member attending Harvest Rain shows, and that's where her love of theatre first blossomed. "I think it was always a dream in the back of my mind to be in the cast of a Harvest Rain show one day", says Carly. “So this really is a dream come true!" This all-new arena production will be directed by Tim O'Connor and choreographed by Callum Mansfield, with Music Direction by Dennett Hudson. The show features state of the art technology, including a 9-metre tall LED Imax screen that will bring the land of Oz to life in the arena, with wall-to-wall interactive animations by Optikal Bloc, the award winning team whose work was recently seen in the national tour of AMERICAN IDIOT. Says Director Tim O'Connor "Our vision for this production is quite different to the Oz we've seen on stage before. The original 1939 film is one of my favourite movies of all time, but we don't just want to replicate the movie on stage. Playing in the arena gives us the chance to full re-imagine the land of Oz, so our interpretation is a bit grungier and more moody, a little less pantomime and little more steampunk. The technology we're using to bring Oz to life for this production is state-of-the-art and totally breathtaking. There's 9-metre tall LED screens wrapping around the entire set playing wall-to-wall animations throughout the whole show so we really will feel transported into the fantastical land of Oz." Just like GREASE, this new arena production of THE WIZARD OF OZ will feature a large mass ensemble of over 500 young performers who will play Munchkins, Poppies, Emerald City Citizens, Winkies and Jitterbugs throughout the show. Joining Carly & Simon on the journey down the Yellow Brick Road will be Chris Geoghegan in the role of Scarecrow, Michael Nunn as the Tinman and Josh Whitten as the Lion. Aurelie Roque will play Glinda the Good Witch, and Bil Heit will strike fear in the hearts of children all over Oz when she plays the role of the Wicked Witch of the West. Rounding out the principal cast will be Matty Johnston, Zane Powell, Joanna Nash, Bethany Wilson, and Kamara Henricks alongside a large mass ensemble of over 500 young performers who will play Munchkins, Poppies, Emerald City Citizens, Winkies and Jitterbugs throughout the show. THE WIZARD OF OZ - ARENA SPECTACULAR opens at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in April 2019, before heading to Brisbane Entertainment Centre on 13th July 2019, Adelaide Entertainment Centre in October 2019, Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney in January 2020 and Canberra in April 2020. Dates for Melbourne and Perth are to be announced. THE WIZARD OF OZ ARENA SPECTACULAR Directed by Tim O'Connor Choreographed by Callum Mansfield Music Direction by Dennett Hudson, Newcastle Entertainment Centre During April School Holidays 26th – 27th April 2019 Tickets from $39 www.ticketek.com.au www.wizardofozarena.com STOP PARTY DRUG DEATHS Hunter Appeal launched 2018-12-21T00:47:42Z stop-party-drug-deaths-hunter-appeal-launched MEDIA RELEASE – HUNTER LIFE EDUCATION STOP PARTY DRUG DEATHS Appeal launched to boost preventative drug education in the Hunter region amid dance party overdoses and deaths. As we move into the music festival season, childhood health education organisation Hunter Life Education is calling on local residents and businesses to support preventative drug education in a bid to reduce drug related harms in the community. Hunter Life Education today launched the “Stop Party Drug Deaths” campaign, aimed at tackling the problem of drug and alcohol misuse before it begins. Hunter Life Education Executive Officer Sarah Gray said it is vital that children in the Hunter region be equipped with the knowledge and skills to make safe choices in relation to drugs and alcohol from an early age. “We need to teach children about the risks and harms associated with drug and alcohol misuse before it becomes a problem for them and their families and finally the community at large,” Ms Gray said. “Young people often make decisions based on misinformation from their peers. We need to provide them with reliable information about the impact that drugs can have on their bodies, and dispel the myth that ‘taking drugs is cool’. "Evidence shows that if young people have more realistic perceptions about the levels of risky behaviour, and attitudes towards these risky behaviours, among their peers, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviour.” The Hunter region has the highest incidence of methamphetamine (including ICE) presentations to hospital in the state (ref health stats NSW – Hunter New England Health district - Drug Misuse). In Australia last year more than 1700 people – or 32 people per week–died of accidental drug overdose, in addition to this more death occur where drugs were identified as contributory cause. 86 people were taken to hospital from just one Music Festival alone. “While the festival scene is under scrutiny about resolving its culture of drug taking, we as a community need to understand that drugs are a national problem, and the blame doesn’t lie with festival promoters, action should be taken across all levels to help prevent further harm. Preventative health education is a key part of this solution,” Ms Gray said. “Hunter Life Education is asking locals to support more children in the area to access its ‘Decisions’ module, which educates 10-13 year-olds about the effects of drugs on the body, dispels myths around drug taking, and equips them with strategies and skills to be safe. “Starting the conversation about drug related harms early helps prevent problems before they arise. By funding this appeal, children in the Hunter will have the skills and knowledge to make safe and healthy choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol,” Ms Gray said. Ms Gray also urged parents to visit the Life Education website to access free parent resources about how to help education your children about the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse. https://www.lifeeducation.org.au/parents/decisions “It costs $26.00 to equip one child with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy choices about drug and alcohol misuse. In the Hunter region there are around 12,500 years 6 and 7 students enrolled in school for 2019.This means that we need to raise $325,000 to ensure that we can give all children the opportunity attend these valuable lessons. We are calling for everyone to take action including the public and the corporate community,” Ms Gray said. Adopt a Student - $26.00 Adopt a Class - $625.00 Adopt a School - $4500.00 Money raised in the Hunter will be for the Hunter’s young people, and all donations are tax deductible. To support the Hunter Life Education “Stop Party Drug Deaths” appeal visit https://stoppartydrugdeaths.raisely.com/ or www.hunterlifeeducation.org.au or call 02 4958 6766 Media For interviews and further information contact Lyn Thurnham, Thurnham Teece 4961 6010 lthurnham@thurnhamteece.com.au MEET AUSTRALIA’S NEW DOROTHY AND THE CAST OF THE WIZARD OF OZ ARENA SPECTACULAR - NEWCASTLE DEBUT 2018-12-05T22:44:14Z meet-australias-new-dorothy-and-the-cast-of-the-wizard-of-oz-arena-spectacular-newcastle-debut MEET AUSTRALIA’S NEW DOROTHY AND THE CAST OF THE WIZARD OF OZ ARENA SPECTACULAR. After an exhaustive nationwide search, newcomer Carly Bettinson has scored the coveted role of Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ - ARENA SPECTACULAR, which is set to tour Australia in 2019. At 19 years of age, Carly is a recent graduate of the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre (BAMT). Growing up in Brisbane, Carly started out as an audience member attending Harvest Rain shows, and that's where her love of theatre first blossomed. "I think it was always a dream in the back of my mind to be in the cast of a Harvest Rain show one day", says Carly. She's no stranger to arena productions, having performed last year as part of the mass ensemble in GREASE - THE ARENA EXPERIENCE. "I was just pinching myself the whole time that I got to be part of such a huge production. I never dreamed that a year later I'd be leading the principal cast of a major arena show. It really is a dream come true!" Just like GREASE, this new arena production of THE WIZARD OF OZ will feature a large mass ensemble of over 500 young performers who will play Munchkins, Poppies, Emerald City Citizens, Winkie and Jitterbugs throughout the show. Joining Carly on her journey down the Yellow Brick Road will be Chris Geoghegan in the role of Scarecrow, Michael Nunn as the Tinman and Josh Whitten as the Lion. Aurelie Roque will play Glinda the Good Witch, and Bil Heit will strike fear in the hearts of children all over Oz when she plays the role of the Wicked Witch of the West. Rounding out the principal cast will be Matty Johnston, Zane Powell, Joanna Nash, Bethany Wilson, Kamara Henricks alongside a large mass ensemble of over 500 young performers who will play Munchkins, Poppies, Emerald City Citizens, Winkie and Jitterbugs throughout the show. This all-new arena production will be directed by Tim O'Connor and choreographed by Callum Mansfield, with Music Direction by Dennett Hudson, Set Design by Frances Hannaway, Sound Design by John Taylor and Lighting Design by Trudy Dalgleish. Illustrations by Elizabeth Botteand Animations by Optikal Bloc. Says Director Tim O'Connor "Our vision for this production is quite different to the Oz we've seen on stage before. The original 1939 film is one of my favourite movies of all time, but we don't just want to replicate the movie on stage. Playing in the arena gives us the chance to full re-imagine the land of Oz, so our interpretation is a bit grungier and more moody, a little less pantomime and little more steampunk. The technology we're using to bring Oz to life for this production is state-of-the-art and totally breathtaking. There's 9-metre tall LED screens wrapping around the entire set playing wall-to-wall animations throughout the whole show so we really will feel transported into the fantastical land of Oz." THE WIZARD OF OZ - ARENA SPECTACULAR opens at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in April 2019, before heading to Brisbane Entertainment Centre in July 2019, Adelaide Entertainment Centre in October 2019 and Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney in January 2020. More cities to be announced soon. THE WIZARD OF OZ ARENA SPECTACULAR Directed by Tim O'Connor Choreographed by Callum Mansfield Music Direction by Dennett Hudson, Set Design by Frances Hannaway, Sound Design by John Taylor Lighting Design by Trudy Dalgleish Illustrations by Elizabeth Botte Animations by Optikal Bloc. Newcastle Entertainment Centre During April School Holidays 26th – 27th April 2019 Tickets from $39 www.ticketek.com.au www.wizardofozarena.com EMBARGOED UNTIL 11PM SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018 - THE 40TH ANNUAL AWARDS CELEBRATE THE STRENGTH OF THEATRE IN AND AROUND NEWCASTLE 2018-12-01T12:00:00Z embargoed-until-11pm-saturday-december-1-2018-the-40th-annual-awards-celebrate-the-strength-of-theatre-in-and-around-newcastle 2018 CONDA AWARDS 40TH ANNUAL PRESENTATION OF THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE DRAMA AWARDS WESTS NEW LAMBTON DECEMBER 1 2018 EMBARGOED UNTIL 11PM SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018 More info: Ken Longworth, 0402 356 399 THE 40TH ANNUAL AWARDS CELEBRATE THE STRENGTH OF THEATRE IN AND AROUND NEWCASTLE TWELVE very different shows shared the trophies in the 23 categories in this year’s CONDA Awards, with the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which is subtitled “A Musical Within a Comedy”, topping the wins with six awards. And the way the production teams handled the very demanding formats and kept audiences engrossed underlined the impressive growth of theatre in and around Newcastle in the 40 years since the awards began. Thirteen diverse companies and groups were involved in putting together the winning shows, among them a schools training group and experienced opera singers and performers. Likewise, shows that once would not have been considered as attracting audiences played to packed houses and had watchers repeatedly applauding. The Drowsy Chaperone was the first major production of a new company, High Street Productions. It won the trophies for Best Musical Production, Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical – Tyran Stig, Female Actor Under 18 – Zoe Walker, Ensemble Acting, Director of a Musical – Robert Stuart, and Musical Director or Vocal Director – James Laundon. And the quality of the works staged in the judging year – from November 1, 2017, to October 31, 2019 – was reinforced by the judges - Shane Bransdon, Michelle Gosper, Carl Gregory, Ken Longworth, and Guilherme Noronha – also awarding a Musical Director or Vocal Director CONDA to Mercia Buck, the musical director of Opera Hunter’s The Sound of Music. The other shows to win CONDAs were The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit), Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office), Constellations (Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation), We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players), I Love Books (JD’s World of Magic), A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Upstage Theatre), Year of the Rooster (Knock and Run Theatre), Cock (Stooged Theatre), and Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama). The judges noted in their citation for The Drowsy Chaperone’s Best Musical Production Award that “All elements of this musical production were in delightful harmony, perfectly balanced and timed, supporting and enhancing the charmingly wry atmosphere of this show within a show parody”. The musical had an old man who was a musical fan playing an old recording of his favourite show, The Drowsy Chaperone, which premiered in 1928, with the actors coming alive as he recalled the story and occasionally made errors, so that the cast amusingly brought to life his mistakes. The production’s director, Robert Stuart, won the Excellence by a Director – Musical award, with the citation saying that he “commanded and managed a production that rollicked along with snappy and clever set changes, a hugely talented cast, a visual feast of costuming and props and a uniformly indulgent sense of parody and fun from all”. Tyran Stig collected the Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical trophy for his role as the man about to become a bridegroom, which had him roller skating while blinded by a towel in one scene as the old man confused the events, swiftly followed by a tap dancing routine. The judges said that “Tyran demonstrated enormous skill and talent in bringing the character of Robert Martin to life, making him a lovable, genuine, lively, entertaining and humorous oil tycoon while still maintaining the sense of parody of the American Musical of the 1920s”. Zoe Walker won the Excellence by a Female Actor Under 18 category playing the bride-to-be, bringing “skill, maturity and talent to this deceptively complex and demanding role. She was the true triple threat, singing, acting and dancing her way through this musical in a manner that was completely appropriate for the stylistic demands of the show.” And the show’s award for Best Ensemble Acting showed the strength of all the performers, with the citation noting that it had “a brilliant cast of singing, dancing, blind roller skating, slapstick playing talent. All were having a marvellous time with such infectious joy and pure showmanship that audiences were bedazzled, highly entertained and satisfied that they had been in the hands of masters of their craft.” And the same citation given to The Drowsy Chaperone’s James Laundon and The Sound of Music’s Mercia Buck for their Excellence by a Music or Vocal Director awards noted that “The orchestra and vocals were all in perfect pitch and balance throughout the entire production, taking us on an emotional and entertaining journey with aplomb and style”. A second award for The Sound of Music went to Rachel Davies, for Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. The musical is based on the story of the Von Trapp family of singers, who were forced by the Nazi invasion of Austria in the 1930s to flee the country. Rachel played a postulant nun, who was having trouble taking on a religious role, and was sent to look after the children of the wifeless head of the Von Trapp family, and eventually married him. The judges noted that “The role of Maria is a complex and demanding one and Rachel inhabited it with confidence, skill and abundant talent. She brought a genuine warmth and truth to a well known character, ensuring audiences were charmed and convinced by the determination and intelligence of Maria von Trapp”. Two productions each collected three trophies: The Lowbrow Outfit’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the Catholic Schools Office performing arts training group Aspire’s Dark Matter. The Lieutenant of Inishmore won the awards for Best Dramatic Production, Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy and Set and Props Design. And Dark Matter collected those for New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company, Ensemble Acting Under 18, and Excellence by a Choreographer. The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a dark comedy by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh about a former rebel who returns to his small rural community to bury his pet cat after it dies and faces execution by his one-time associates. The judges noted that “From the moment of entering the improvised theatre space at the Art Incubator and being handed a poncho the audience was captivated, appalled and delighted by this production. The stylised and functional set, simple but atmospheric lighting, glorious splattering of fake blood and body parts and marvellously energetic performances all combined to bring to life this black comedy classic.” Lindsay McDonald, who won the leading male acting award, was praised for giving watchers the character Padraic, “the cat loving ‘mad’ leader of the Irish National Liberation Army with an insanely violent temper and a willingness to kill extending even to his own father, in all its paradoxical glory. He plunged into the violence and mayhem of this black comedy with unbridled energy and commitment to the macabre contradiction of a terrorist who could be emotionally distraught over a cat.” And Cooper McDonald and Donny McDonald, who designed and created the set and props, were hailed for delivering “a stunning example of less is more,” with a bare-framed set using trolleys and other simple devices to contain the action that “rollicked along with much torture and fake blood over everyone and everything”. Dark Matter, which was written by its director, Anna Kerrigan, looked at what happened in a secondary school that was put into an unexpected lockdown, with the students, teachers and assistants having very diverse reactions. The Best New Play citation noted that “Anna’s script presents a complex narrative that gives insight into the various characters that inhabit a school setting, exposing the myriad of fears, anxieties and difficulties that many individuals and groups face on a daily basis. It cleverly provides a platform for diverse theatrical techniques and styles as well as keeping plots and subplots rollicking along”. The Best Under 18 Ensemble Acting category is a new one, introduced this year in view of the impressive work done by actors in very different works staged by theatre youth groups and schools. The judges said that “Every member of this challenging work brought strong commitment and belief to the stage, pushing past stereotypes and delivering real and individual characters with maturity, true emotion and depth.” And Lauren Wheatley’s choreography was noted as “edgy, challenging, exciting and highly physical. She worked brilliantly with the set and costuming, constantly surprising and engaging with completely original and inspired moves. The choreography in the girls’ toilets invoked a feminist strength and determination that enhanced the themes and tone of the script.” Constellations, a play by English writer Nick Payne that looked at the different ways a couple who met at a barbecue reacted to each other or could have reacted was staged by Seated Ovation in association with Newcastle Theatre Company and collected two CONDAs, with Emily Daly winning for Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy and Sebastian Winter for Excellence in Sound Design. Emily Daly’s citation said “The rapid fire shifts in script, mood and intention required for the role of Marianne were brilliantly managed and delivered by Emily. She demonstrated an inspirational level of emotional, physical and vocal control, commanding the stage with confidence and aplomb.” And Sebastian Winter, who played a piano onstage behind the two actors, was praised for “The subtle compositions he created and performed on stage which underscored and enhanced the mood, tone and atmosphere of this complex and rapidly shifting play, thus creating a dynamic that completely supported the stylistic demands of the work.” The Metropolitan Players musical We Will Rock You, set in a future world where popular music is banned, won two technical awards, with George Francis honoured for Excellence in Hair, Makeup and Wigs and Jacob Harwood for Excellence in Lighting and Audio-Visual Design. The judges said that “This production was greatly supported by George Francis’ elaborate hair, wigs and make-up. The Killer Queen’s towering red beehive, the platinum wigs of the conformist students, Buddy’s hippy locks and the Bohemians’ shaggy creative hairdos and wigs all assisted to create the futuristic dystopian world of iPlanet.” And that Jacob Harwood made “This a visual feast of lighting that enhanced, supported and transported watchers through the epic journey of the Bohemians in a futuristic Orwellian techno world where Rock music is forbidden. From gentle night time forest scenes, to Killer Queen’s futuristic lair and a derelict Tottenham Station, the lighting developed mood, shadows, focus and shape, culminating in a final audience blinding moment of theatrical rock showmanship.” Renowned Newcastle magician Joel Howlett won the Best Special Theatrical Event category with I Love Books, which he presented through his company JD’s World of Magic. The judges noted that “Joel has created a unique and clever travelling special event for young people that incorporates magic, audience interaction, education, live animals and lots of puns and humour into a show that cleverly informs, motivates and engages his young audiences in an educational context.” The awards for actors in supporting roles went to performers in two very different shows. Phil McGrath collected the trophy for Excellence by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his character Uncle Fester in The Very Popular Theatre Company’s A Mystery Musical, with that work turning out to be The Addams Family. His citation pointed to “Uncle Fester’s Song to the Moon being an absolute delight in a role that Phil clearly totally enjoyed playing. His focused facial and physical command and subtle humour gently pulled us into his masterful and engaging performance.’ And Karen Lantry, winning the trophy for Excellence by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her performance as Dogberry in Upstage Theatre’s presentation of the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, was acclaimed for making the dim-witted character a delight and captivating for audiences through her impressive command of physical comedy, strong sincere characterisation, and sharp comedic timing. Will Parker collected the Excellence by a Male Actor Under 18 trophy for his role in Knock and Run Theatre’s Year of the Rooster as a troubled young man living in a small country town where cock-fighting continues to take place. His citation said that “Will took us on a complete character journey arc, from gormless and downtrodden to confident and cocky, then finally somewhat defeated, yet changed. It was a humorous and skilful performance that demonstrated a mature understanding and command of the stylistic demands of the play.” Mathew Lee was named for Excellence by a Director – Drama or Comedy for his staging of Stooged Theatre’s Cock, a comedy-drama by England’s Mike Bartlett that looks at the relationships between a young man who is increasingly unsure of his sexuality, his gay male partner, and a woman he meets while travelling to work, with the pair attracted to each other. The judges said “Mathew kept this play on its toes by stripping the set to a stark bare space with minimal props, thus essentially removing any chance to relax. Hence, the characters prowled and circled one another in a beautifully evocative and playful manner, creating spaces, simulating sexual encounter and creating constant tension and surprise.” Jennifer Ellicott collected the award for Excellence in Costume Design for her work on Hunter Drama’s Disney’s Aladdin JR. The judges noted that watchers “were immediately transported into the world of a mythical, cartoon Arabia by the brilliant costumes. Individually tailored and detailed, all costumes had to be adaptable to support multiple casts yet still create unique characters for every member of the production. Fabrics and accessories were evocative and finely detailed, and everything worked together to create a flowing swirl of colourful fun.” The Award for Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Newcastle Theatre was presented by the judging team to Out of the Square Media (OOTS), a Newcastle promotional company which recognises the cultural and economic value of our local theatre industry and the need for local businesses to provide support for and promotion of the performing arts. Their philanthropic contribution to the industry has taken many forms. In 2016 OOTS used its professional personnel to develop, launch and manage TheatreNewcastle, a website platform that broadcasts all local productions, auditions and supports practitioner profiles. Since 2014, OOTS has provided the video packages, voiceovers and audio visual elements for the CONDA Awards Ceremony. In 2018 they designed and developed the re-branding of CONDA in conjunction with the launch of the new trophy. They provided an expert on social media to deliver a professional development course at this year’s CONDA Summit. And they have pledged a dollar-for-dollar match for an industry campaign to promote our theatre industry and increase the audience base. The team at Out of the Square are role models amongst the business community. Their contribution and community-minded leadership is inspirational. This award, acknowledges their significant contribution to the Newcastle theatre industry. The awards night also saw the announcement of two CONDA Youth Ambassadors aged 18 or under, one male and one female, under a program that was introduced in 2016 to give younger performers a broader outlook on the role theatre plays in the lives of participants and community members. Thirty-four applicants, all with impressive theatre credits, applied to be youth ambassadors in 2019. The new ambassadors, chosen by the CONDA judges, are Laura McKay and Will Parker. Laura McKay has developed her skills in drama, dance and music, and has a great passion and appreciation for the arts, having worked in all aspects of theatre production for a variety of theatre companies. She demonstrates strong leadership qualities, is confident, reliable and dedicated and regards theatre as an inspiring art form that benefits many lives. Laura believes that youth should be included in the planning for more theatre opportunities and have a greater understanding of how the CONDAs operate and provide opportunities for performers across the region. Will Parker has extensive experience in the region working with a variety of youth and adult companies. He demonstrates strong commitment to and expertise in performance skills and actively seeks and undertakes leadership opportunities in the performing arts arena, having already directed a major production. He wants to gain a deeper appreciation for the skill and dedication of his peers and friends in the Newcastle theatre community and to become more aware of the work of the Newcastle CONDA community with the view to building even stronger working relationships and to become a conduit for the voices of his peers. The Youth Ambassador Program, supported financially by Newcastle theatre promoter Don Mitchell, enables the recipients to attend local theatre company shows on a complimentary basis, be observers at CONDA Inc meetings to learn how the organisation operates, and attend other CONDA functions and the awards ceremony. Support from the theatre industry for young performers is also given by Music Theatre International (Australasia) which sponsors the two CONDA Awards for performers aged under 18. This year’s CONDA Awards were dedicated to the memory of 10 Newcastle region theatre participants who died in the past 12 months: Scott Allan, Luka Burt, Linda Cox, Victor Emeljanow, Carole Frazer, Isaac Lourie, Robyn Thomas, Robert Walker, Ken Walmsley, and Gillian Worthington. The City of Newcastle Drama Awards are presented by CONDA Inc (the City of Newcastle Drama Association) THE 2018 CONDA WINNERS Outstanding Contribution and Achievement in Newcastle Theatre: Out of the Square Youth Ambassadors: Laura McKay and Will Parker Dramatic Production: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Lowbrow Outfit Musical Production: The Drowsy Chaperone, High Street Productions Special Theatrical Event: I Love Books, JD’s World of Magic New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company: Dark Matter, by Anna Kerrigan (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy: Lindsay McDonald, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy: Emily Daly, Constellations (Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation) Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Tyran Stig, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Rachel Davies, The Sound of Music (Opera Hunter) Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Phil McGrath, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Karen Lantry, Much Ado About Nothing (Upstage Theatre) Male Actor Under 18: Will Parker, Year of the Rooster (Knock and Run Theatre) Female Actor Under 18: Zoe Walker, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Ensemble Acting: The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Ensemble Acting Under 18: Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Director (Drama or Comedy): Mathew Lee, Cock (Stooged Theatre) Director (Musical): Robert Stuart, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Musical Director or Vocal Director: Mercia Buck, The Sound of Music (Opera Hunter) and James Laundon, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Choreographer: Lauren Wheatley, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Costume Design: Jennifer Ellicott, Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama) Hair, Make-up and Wigs: George Francis, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Set and Props Design: Cooper McDonald and Donny McDonald, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Lighting and Audio Visual Design: Jacob Harwood, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Sound Design: Sebastian Winter, Constellations (Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF THE WIZARD OF OZ THE ARENA SPECTACULAR OPENS IN NEWCASTLE APRIL 2019 2018-11-28T23:56:31Z australian-premiere-of-the-wizard-of-oz-the-arena-spectacular-opens-in-newcastle-april-2019 AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF THE WIZARD OF OZ THE ARENA SPECTACULAR OPENS IN NEWCASTLE APRIL 2019 The all-new Australian Premiere of THE WIZARD OF OZ ARENA SPECTACULAR will bring to life one of the most beloved fantasy tales of all time at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in April 2019. Starring over 500 performers and presenting three shows only at the Entertainment Centre during the April School Holidays, tickets are on sale now at www.ticketek.com.au Harvest Rain CEO and Director, Tim O’Connor says, "Everyone knows and loves the 1939 film, but for this new arena production, we wanted to take what audiences are familiar with and tip it on it's head. This is a whole new vision of Oz, brought to life on the massive arena stage with state-of-the-art technology and wizardry." ​The stage for the show is the size of three basketball courts (large enough to hold the 500-strong cast) and the entire set has a 9-metre high LED screen wrapped around it where wall-to-wall animations will bring the land of Oz to life in vivid colour unlike any other production of THE WIZARD OF OZ has done before. ​ "This show is a real feast for the eyes," says Producer Megan Whiting. "It has the feel of a rock concert with the charm of a fairy tale, the magic and spectacle of an Olympics opening ceremony and all the heart of the original story that audiences through the decades have come to adore." ​ Choreographed by Callum Mansfield (Grease – the Arena Experience, Hairspray The Big Fat Arena Spectacular), the show incorporates truly imaginative staging techniques to create breathtaking sequences involving hundreds of performers moving in synchronisation across the massive stage. "This is a total reimagining of Oz," says Tim O'Connor, "so if you think you've seen it all before, think again. This show is grungier and more moody than past iterations - a little less pantomime and a little more steampunk. It has a darker edge, but it's very fanciful - a real delight for the young, and the young at heart." The show stars newcomer Carly Bettinson as Dorothy, with Chris Geoghegan as the Scarecrow, Michael Nunn as Tinman and Josh Whitten as Lion. Aurelie Roque plays Glinda the Good Witch, and Bil Heit strikes fear in the hearts of children all over Oz as the Wicked Witch of the West. ​ THE WIZARD OF OZ - ARENA SPECTACULAR opens at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in April 2019, before heading to Brisbane Entertainment Centre in July 2019, Adelaide Entertainment Centre in October 2019 and Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney in January 2020. More cities to be announced soon. THE WIZARD OF OZ ARENA SPECTACULAR Directed by Tim O'Connor Choreographed by Callum Mansfield Music Direction by Dennett Hudson, Set Design by Frances Hannaway, Sound Design by John Taylor Lighting Design by Trudy Dalgleish Illustrations by Elizabeth Botte Animations by Optikal Bloc. Newcastle Entertainment Centre During April School Holidays 26th – 27th April 2019 Tickets from $39 www.ticketek.com.au www.wizardofozarena.com Embargoed 7.30pm 14.11.18 - TWO VERY DIFFERENT MUSICALS TOP THIS YEAR’S CONDA AWARDS NOMINATIONS 2018-11-14T03:26:21Z embargoed-7-30pm-14-11-18-two-very-different-musicals-top-this-years-conda-awards-nominations 2018 CONDA AWARDS 40TH ANNUAL PRESENTATION OF THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE DRAMA AWARDS WESTS NEW LAMBTON DECEMBER 1 2018 EMBARGOED UNTIL 7.30PM WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2018 More info: Ken Longworth, 0402 356 399 TWO VERY DIFFERENT MUSICALS TOP THIS YEAR’S CONDA AWARDS NOMINATIONS THE musicals The Drowsy Chaperone and A Mystery Musical had very different natures, but both were so enjoyable that they had many audience members going to see them a second time. So it’s not surprising that the City of Newcastle Drama Awards judging team gave both shows 13 nominations which include the Best Musical Production category. While they topped the nominations list, the quality and diversity of the 60 shows entered by theatre companies for awards consideration in the year from November 1, 2017, to October 31, 2018, is indicated by 44 of the shows receiving a total of 144 nominations in the 23 awards categories. And the 22 companies and six school and education teams that entered shows all received nominations. The Drowsy Chaperone, the first major show staged by new company High Street Productions, pays tribute to the musicals of the 1920s and early 1930s, with an old man seen playing a vinyl recording of the songs from a 1928 musical with that name and recalling how the songs were staged and the storyline that linked the songs. A Mystery Musical, presented by The Very Popular Theatre Company, had audience members swinging in their seats during the overture, when they realised that it was the theme from the popular television series The Addams Family and that the musical, which had that name, looked amusingly at characters and incidents in the show. A third popular musical, Opera Hunter’s production of The Sound of Music, which is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world's best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II, is also nominated in that category. As nominations in each category are restricted to eight shows or participants, the CONDA judges – Shane Bransdon, Michelle Gosper, Carl Gregory, Ken Longworth and Guil Noronha – found the choice of nominees to be challenging, given the quality of the works staged in the year. Eight productions are up for the Best Dramatic Production award. Circle Mirror Transformation, presented by Theatre on Brunker and The Lowbrow Outfit, looks at the changing relationships of the participants in a six-week acting course, with the title drawn from three of the exercises in the course. Stooged Theatre’s Cock had a young man who was increasingly unsure of his sexuality being attracted to a girl on his way to work, much to the concern of his gay male partner. Constellations, staged by Seated Ovation in association with Newcastle Theatre Company, looked at the different ways people could handle situations they found themselves in. The Dark Room (Stooged Theatre) showed the disparate problems three pairs of occupants of a room in a Northern Territory motel encountered. The Lieutenant of Inishmore, staged by The Lowbrow Outfit, a very dark Irish comedy set in the 1990s when rebels were trying to force Britain to return control of Northern Ireland to the Irish republic, had audiences laughing loudly from beginning to end. Shakespeare’s wartime comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, was set by Upstage Theatre in London in World War II, and presented in an outdoor parkland at Bolwarra, with the audience following a female nightwatch team to the different venues. Newcastle Theatre Company’s Peepshow engagingly showed the interactions of the contrasting residents in four adjoining apartments. And Year of the Rooster, an engrossing darkly funny American comedy that was given its Australian premiere by Newcastle’s Knock&Run theatre company, looked at the impact cock-fighting had on the residents of a small country town, with actors amusingly doubling as residents and roosters. Four very different works have been nominated in the Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company category. Dark Matter, by Anna Kerrigan, which was staged by Aspire, a Hunter Catholic schools organisation, showed the very different impacts a lockdown in a high school had on students, teachers and cleaning staff, with engagingly diverse song and dance routines. I Hope It’s Not Raining in London, by teenager Nicholas Thoroughgood, which shows changes to the relationship of the two young occupants of a flat after other people visit them, engagingly altered the sexes of the central characters at different performances, so that they were either two males, two females or a male and a female. I Love Books, by young and internationally acclaimed Newcastle magician Joe Howlett, which was put together to encourage school children to do what the title says, certainly accomplished that aim, with the mix of magic acts and comedy having the youngsters heading to libraries after they saw the play. And Take Me to Neverland, by Riley McLean, reworked the story of Peter Pan to put that ageless boy into realistic, but still amusing, situations. A new category, Best Under 18 Ensemble Acting, has been included in this year’s CONDA Awards in recognition of the quality of the acting by young people in youth theatre or school productions entered in the awards. The eight nominated shows had large casts which worked well. They are: Animal Farm (Hunter School of the Performing Arts); Annie (Newcastle Grammar School); Annie Kids (High Street Productions); Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office); Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr (Young People’s Theatre); Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (Hunter School of the Performing Arts); Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (St Philip’s Christian College); Elf The Musical Jr (Young People’s Theatre). The awards night will climax with the presentation of the CONDA Inc Award for Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Theatre. There are no nominations for this award. It will go to the person or group the CONDA judges believe made the most outstanding contribution to Newcastle theatre in 2018. The 2018 CONDA Awards will be presented in the Starlight Room auditorium at Wests New Lambton, on Saturday, December 1, at 7.30pm, in a show that will include song and dance numbers from popular musicals staged by Newcastle performers – and with a few surprises. Audience members will be seated at tables with 10 seats. Show tickets are $39.50 and include a programme with photos of the year’s shows. Tickets can be bought at Wests, or by phone 4935 1200, or online: www.proticket.com.au. As this is the 40th year of the CONDA Awards, the presentation night will include events which look at the people involved in judging and trophy recipients. There will be video interviews and the musical numbers staged during the show will be drawn from memorable musicals in the four decades. And the printed program will also have features on the 40 years of the awards. The awards night will be the end of the involvement in the CONDAs by judge Shane Bransdon. He is stepping down because his occupation will have him spending long periods overseas in 2019. He will replaced as a judge by Anna Lambert, who has had very diverse roles in Newcastle theatre. She started acting classes at Young People’s Theatre at the age of 9, and, while she was initially hesitant about joining, her parents encouraged her to “at least try it for one year”. Anna hasn’t looked back since. Anna is very active in Newcastle theatre and has acted with a number of different companies. Her roles have included Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible (2017), Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2016), The Cat in the Hat in Seussical: The Musical (2015), Sir Toby in Twelfth Night (2012), and many more. She is passionate about all areas of theatre and has tried her hand at directing, writing, stage management, lighting operation and stage crew. She most recently co-directed this year Opera Hunter’s production of The Sound of Music and was the assistant director for The History Boys at Young People’s Theatre. She was also a part of the team that created Tamagotchi... the musical?!, and wrote its book. Anna is thrilled to be joining the team of talented judges and looking forward to seeing what the wonderful artists of Newcastle have to offer and meeting those that make this community’s theatre so fantastic. CONDA Nominations, 2018 Best Dramatic Production Circle Mirror Transformation, Theatre on Brunker and The Lowbrow Outfit Cock, Stooged Theatre Constellations, Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation The Dark Room, Stooged Theatre The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Lowbrow Outfit Much Ado About Nothing, Upstage Theatre Peepshow, Newcastle Theatre Company Year of the Rooster, Knock&Run Best Musical Production The Drowsy Chaperone, High Street Productions A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family”, The Very Popular Theatre Company The Sound of Music, Opera Hunter Best Special Theatrical Event The Best of the Best, Theatre on Brunker I Love Books, JD’s World of Magic The One, Tantrum Youth Arts Tramp Steamer Tramp, David Baker and The Smokin’ Chops Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company Dark Matter, by Anna Kerrigan (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) I Hope It’s Not Raining in London, by Nicholas Thoroughgood (Bearfoot Theatre) I Love Books, by Joel Howlett (JD’s World of Magic) Take Me to Neverland, by Riley McLean (Bearfoot Theatre) Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy James Chapman, Year of the Rooster (Knock&Run) Drew Holmes, Cock (Stooged Theatre) Mathew Lee, The Dark Room (Stooged Theatre) Oliver MacFadyen, Ugly Mugs (GNaW Theatre) Cooper McDonald, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Lindsay McDonald, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Phil McGrath, Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre on Brunker and The Lowbrow Outfit Rory Pollock, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Hunter Drama) Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama or Comedy Elise Bialek, Cock (Stooged Theatre) Helen Comber, Lost in Yonkers (Maitland Repertory Theatre) Emily Daly, Constellations (Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation) Leanne Guihot, Relative Values (Newcastle Theatre Company) Jan Hunt, Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre on Brunker and The Lowbrow Outfit) Elise Martin, Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre on Brunker and The Lowbrow Outfit) Claire Thomas, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Newcastle Theatre Company) Allison Van Gaal, Peepshow (Newcastle Theatre Company) Excellence by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical Drew Holmes, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Rory Pollock, Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama) Theo Rule, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Tyran Stig, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Excellence by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical Rachel Davies, The Sound of Music (Opera Hunter) Bec Kynaston, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Maisie Owens, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Rachelle Schmidt Adnum, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Rachelle Schmidt Adnum, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Excellence by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Matt Heys, Ajax in Iraq (Knock&Run) Phil McGrath, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Alex Simpson, All’s Well That Ends Well (Maitland Repertory Theatre) Michael Smythe, Kiss Me Like You Mean It (Maitland Repertory Theatre) Steve Wilson, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Steve Wilson, Ugly Mugs (GNaW Theatre) Excellence by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Maria Bardakos, Kiss Me Like You Mean It (Maitland Repertory Theatre) Jamahla Barron, Lost in Yonkers (Maitland Repertory Theatre) Katy Carruthers, Playhouse Creatures (Newcastle Theatre Company) Katy Carruthers, Ugly Mugs (GNaW Theatre) Charlotte De Wit, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Janet Gillam, Summer of the 17th Doll (Newcastle Theatre Company) Karen Lantry, Much Ado About Nothing (Upstage Theatre) Stephanie Priest, Year of the Rooster (Knock&Run) Excellence by a Male Actor Under 18 Jack Andrew, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Oliver Crawford, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Tim Davies, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (St Philip’s Christian College) Ned Keogh, The Venetian Twins (St Francis Xavier’s College) Will Parker, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Will Parker, Year of the Rooster (Knock&Run) Tom Rodgers, Take Me to Neverland (Bearfoot Theatre) Riley Warner, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Excellence by a Female Actor Under 18 Caitlin Collins, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Belmont Christian College) Emily Poliszuk, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Belmont Christian College) Bridget Ponman, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (Hunter School of the Performing Arts) Zoe Walker, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Jordan Warner, Little Women (Young People’s Theatre and Lindsay Street Players) Best Ensemble Acting Cock, Stooged Theatre The Drowsy Chaperone, High Street Productions I Hope It’s Not Raining in London, Bearfoot Theatre The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Lowbrow Outfit A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Peepshow, Newcastle Theatre Company The Sound of Music, Hunter Opera Year of the Rooster, Knock&Run Best Under 18 Ensemble Acting Animal Farm, Hunter School of the Performing Arts Annie, Newcastle Grammar School Annie Kids, High Street Productions Dark Matter, Aspire: Catholic Schools Office Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr, Young People’s Theatre Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr, Hunter School of the Performing Arts Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr, St Philip’s Christian College Elf The Musical Jr, Young People’s Theatre Excellence by a Director (Drama or Comedy) Andrew Coates, Much Ado About Nothing (Upstage Theatre) Charlotte De Wit, Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre on Brunker and The Lowbrow Outfit) Mathew Lee, Cock (Stooged Theatre) Cooper McDonald, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Riley McLean, I Hope It’s Not Raining in London (Bearfoot Theatre) Pearl Nunn, Peepshow (Newcastle Theatre Company) Allison Van Gaal, Year of the Rooster Jay Wood, Constellations (Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation) Excellence by a Director (Musical) Drew Holmes, Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama) Anna Kerrigan, Dark Matter (Aspire - Catholic Schools Office) Anna Lambert and PJ Willis, The Sound of Music (Opera Hunter) Robert Stuart, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) James Tolhurst, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Excellence by a Musical Director or Vocal Director Mercia Buck, The Sound of Music (Opera Hunter) James Laundon, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Carrie Manen, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Theatre on Brunker and Novocastrian Players) Chris Vidler, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Daniel Wilson, Star Struck 2018 – Connect (New South Wales Department of Education) Excellence by a Choreographer Natalie Baker and Eva Marie Irwin, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (St Philip’s Christian College) Natalie Baker, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Anna Borzestowski and Eva Marie Irwin, This is Christmas (The Grainery Theatre Company) Kirby Leigh Coker, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Annelise Stewart, Beauty and the Beast (Belmont Christian College) James Tolhurst, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Lauren Wheatley, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Rachel Wilson, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (Hunter School of the Performing Arts) Excellence in Costume Design Leilani Boughton, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr (Young People’s Theatre) Sandra Earle, Tracey Rose Sparke and Jo Hathway, Much Ado About Nothing (Upstage Theatre) Jennifer Ellicot, Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama) Kaswyn Hunt, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Coralie Lewis, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Karen O’Neill, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (Hunter School of the Performing Arts) Michele Taylor, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Lauren Wheatley, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Excellence in Hair, Make-up and Wigs Lyn Craney, hair and wigs, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) George Francis, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) George Francis, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Lauren Wheatley, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Kimberlee Wright, make-up, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Excellence in Set and Props Design Chris Bird, Perfect Wedding (Theatre on Brunker) Michael Cooper, Rob Garred, and Jeff Jackson, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Lisa Little, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Cooper McDonald and Donny McDonald, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Lowbrow Outfit) Daniel Stoddart and Marion Giles, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Hunter Drama) Daniel Stoddart, Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama) Nicholas Thoroughgood, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr (Young People’s Theatre) Amy Wilde, Peepshow (Newcastle Theatre Company) Excellence in Lighting and Audio Visual Design Lyndon Buckley, Ajax in Iraq (Knock&Run) Lyndon Buckley, Take Me To Neverland (Bearfoot Theatre) Michael Cooper, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr (St Philip’s Christian College) Michael Cooper, The Drowsy Chaperone (High Street Productions) Jacob Harwood, Disney’s Aladdin Jr (Hunter Drama) Jacob Harwood, A Mystery Musical – “The Addams Family” (The Very Popular Theatre Company) Jacob Harwood, We Will Rock You (Metropolitan Players) Lachlan Thomas, Dark Matter (Aspire: Catholic Schools Office) Excellence in Sound Design Noel Grivas, Peepshow (Newcastle Theatre Company) Sebastian Winter, Constellations (Newcastle Theatre Company and Seated Ovation) The City of Newcastle Drama Awards are presented by CONDA Inc 9 The world's most advanced solution for information access comes to Sydney 2018-11-12T04:31:25Z the-worlds-most-advanced-solution-for-information-access-comes-to-sydney READING FOR ALL EXPO A peek into the world’s most advanced information access solution for blind, vision impaired and those with dyslexia and reading difficulties. Accessing all the information we are presented with each day is becoming increasingly challenging for people with a vision or reading disability. Quantum RLV and Vision Australia will present the latest technology for people with low vision and blindness at a free seminar to be held in Parramatta on Wednesday 14th November, hosted by SPELD NSW (Specific Learning Difficulties Association). Mr Leon Paull from OrCam Israel will introduce the enhanced OrCam MyEye and will offer a peek into the future of this exciting technology. OrCam MyEye is the most advanced wearable device in the world that can assist anyone who struggles to read due to blindness, vision impairment, dyslexia or acquired brain injury; just point and it reads to you. Attendees will include people with vision loss, blindness, students and adults with dyslexia, educators and disability employment agencies. OrCam Australian distributor, Quantum CEO Tim Connell said “About one in seven Australians (1.25 million people) has some evidence of macular degeneration and this number will increase to 1.7 million by 2030, in the absence of effective prevention and treatment measures. It is important that anyone with impaired vision or is blind, has reading or learning difficulties to seek help early to maintain their independence and reduce the risk of accidents. Distance is often a deterrent, which is why Quantum and Vision Australia are pleased to bring this roadshow to Parramatta”. WHAT Reading for All Expo - FREE WHEN Wednesday 14th November 2018, 10:00am-12:00 noon WHERE SPELD NSW Level 1, 52 O’Connell Street, Parramatta NSW Media enquiries and to interview Leon Paull Lyn Thurnham 02 4961 6010 or 0418 490 989 lthurnham@thurnhamteece.com.au Tara Fohmsbee 02 4961 6010 or 0419 805 737 tfohmsbee@thurnhamteece.com.au The world's most advanced solution for information access comes to Perth 2018-11-07T21:35:27Z the-worlds-most-advanced-solution-for-information-access-comes-to-perth READING FOR ALL FREE EXPO The world's most advanced solution for information access Accessing all the information we are presented with each day is becoming increasingly challenging for people with a vision or reading disability. Quantum RLV and Vision Australia will present the latest technology for people with low vision and blindness at a free seminar to be held in Perth on Monday November 12th 2018, during Seniors Week. Mr Leon Paull from OrCam Israel will introduce the enhanced OrCam MyEye and will offer a peek into the future of this exciting technology. OrCam MyEye is the most advanced wearable device in the world that can assist anyone who struggles to read due to blindness, vision impairment, dyslexia or acquired brain injury; just point and it reads to you. Attendees will include people with vision loss, blindness, students and adults with dyslexia, educators and disability employment agencies Sybil Smith who is in her 80’s has been using OrCam for several years and is keen to meet with Leon Paull to experience the latest OrCam features which include facial recognition, bar code and product recognition and much more. OrCam Australian distributor, Quantum CEO Tim Connell said “About one in seven Australians (1.25 million people) has some evidence of macular degeneration and this number will increase to 1.7 million by 2030, in the absence of effective prevention and treatment measures. It is important that anyone with impaired vision or is blind, has reading or learning difficulties to seek help early to maintain their independence and reduce the risk of accidents. Distance is often a deterrent, which is why Quantum and Vision Australia are pleased to bring this roadshow to Perth” WHAT Reading for All Expo WHEN Monday 12th November 2018 10:30am-12:00 noon WHERE The Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, 21 Mounts Bay Road Perth WA Media enquiries and to interview Leon Paull or Sybil Smith Lyn Thurnham 02 4961 6010 or 0418 490 989 lthurnham@thurnhamteece.com.au Tara Fohmsbee 02 4961 6010 or 0419 805 737 tfohmsbee@thurnhamteece.com.au Spend a day at Darling Harbour and lose yourself in China 2018-11-07T21:22:51Z spend-a-day-at-darling-harbour-and-lose-yourself-in-china Chinese Cultural Festival and Tea Expo “Spend a day at Darling Harbour and lose yourself in China” With one in every two Australians 14years plus drinking at least once in an average 7 days, hot tea is one of the nation’s most popular non-alcoholic beverage as found by a 2016 Roy Morgan survey* The finest tea makers from China are coming to Sydney as part of the Chinese Cultural Festival and Tea Expo at the ICC Darling Harbour from the 23rd to 25th of November 2019. Whether you’re in business and want to expand your horizons and opportunities, or just want to spend a relaxing day immersed in Chinese culture or simply sit back and relax with a great cup of tea, this is the expo for you! The harvesting of tea, its brewing and consumption, is a Chinese tradition that dates back more than 5,000 years and for nearly five hundred China has been a major exporter of tea into global markets. Today China is far and away the biggest producer and exporter of green tea, combined with other tea varieties Chinese total tea production accounts for more than 20% of the global tea trade. Though India is often thought of as one of the world’s great tea producers and exporters, China exports almost three times the volume of tea as its south Asian neighbour. Sydneysiders can immerse themselves in this rich tradition at the ICC Darling Harbour with more than twenty tea producers from seven provinces showcase their finest blends. They will be accompanied by ten Chinese Tea Masters who will perform ancient tea ceremonies throughout the weekend. As well as displays and tea tasting, the Expo features ceramics, traditional tea pots, cups and brewing implements all on sale for local tea lovers. Many Australians enjoy the ceremony as much as the taste. For those in hospitality, tourism, hotels, food wholesaling and speciality retailing, the Expo is a great opportunity to brush up on the latest trends and establish connections with the world’s biggest fine tea market. China’s wine and spirits will also be on display with sampling of the Chinese spirit baijiu, including its most famous brand Moutai. By volume baijiu is the world’s most consumed spirit, 37% of global spirit production is baijiu. Moutai is the biggest single alcoholic beverage brand in the world, its market value greater than the combined total of the 120 brands sold by the world’s second and third biggest alcoholic beverage producers (UK company Diageo and France’s Pernod Ricard). 1985 and 1986 were two special years and a cases from that vintage will set you back more than $180,000 while a single bottle of 1958 Moutai recently sold for $275,000. Chinese culture is being celebrated through a host of other activities including traditional music and dance performances and a display of both modern and tradition artworks produced by Chinese and local artists. While the Finance Pavilion will host a number of exhibitors in trade facilitation, import/export and trade financing. There will also be a special Blockchain Information Seminar explaining the ins and outs of blockchain technology, the growth of crypto currencies, the risks and benefits of dealing in such currency – and how Chinese business is positioning itself in this new financial world. China is also dominating the blockchain patent market. Globally, of the top 10 companies worldwide holding blockchain patents in 2017, seven are Chinese. The giant Alibaba holds the most. As well as presentations from the Chinese delegates, the Forum will also feature Australian companies pitching opportunities to investors. Spend a day immersed in China from the ancient to the modern and everywhere in between. Find us at Darling Harbour and lose yourself at the Chinese Cultural Festival and Tea Expo. *Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=14,956 REGISTRATION IS FREE and all visitors can enter the draw to win return air tickets to China, speciality teas and other prizes. Registration: https://www.chineseculturalfestival.com.au/ or www.teaexpo.com.au Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chinese-Cultural-Festival-Tea-Expo-Lifestyle-Expo-1088838514622827/ Dates and Times: Friday, 23rd November, 10am – 6pm Saturday 24th November, 10am – 6pm Sunday 25th November, 10am – 4pm Media enquiries Lyn Thurnham lthurnham@thurnhamteece.com.au 02 49616010 M: 0418 490 989