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March 6, 2021

Culture Roundup: Thursday September 28, 2017

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Not going gentle

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Do Not Go Gentle, the award-winning play by Patricia Cornelius, with title borrowed from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas sets the tone for collaboration. Collaboration not only between the Welsh-Australian writers within the actual title, but ‘across the boards’ when it comes to actors ‘plying their trade’ between countries.

Mullumbimby Drill Hall Theatre, in collaboration with The Everyman Theatre, Cardiff, are stretching their wings and taking flight, landing in both countries (not at the same time!) to perform this Australian play, with a season opening in Cardiff earlier this month and then returning to Mullumbimby for six performances from 13 October. The play employs the metaphor of Robert Falcon Scott’s long and ultimately fatal trek to reach the South Pole in 1912, with the reality of the ageing process, ultimately our own fatal trek Patricia Cornelius’s gentle heroes are elderly characters who inhabit the polar explorers’ expeditions, even taking their names. Scott, Bowers, Wilson, Oates and Evans grapple with life’s big questions, pitting their wits against the dying of the light as they trudge across an alien landscape… questions emerge… about the nature of their fragile world and who they really are.

Michael Borenstein, president of The Drill Hall Theatre Company, explains: ‘This coproduction between two amateur companies from different hemispheres is an amazing achievement. We never imagined that the Drill Hall would become an international touring theatre company.’ The Drill Hall is committed to producing works from the canon of Australian plays. Performances – Fridays–Saturdays 13–22 October.

Tickets $25 & $22 at the bookshop Mullumbimby or online www.drillhalltheatre.org.au.


From The Office to The Opera House to Byron Bay!

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Direct from his headline performance at the Sydney Opera House for Montreal Just For Laugh’s Showcase UK comedian Greg Burns makes his way to the northern rivers for one show only at the Byron Services Club. Currently in Australia as guest host on NOVA broadcasting out of Sydney, Burns is one of London’s most well-known and accomplished broadcasters. With support from one of the rising stars of Indigenous comedy Matt Ford (NITV & Melbourne International Comedy Fest Roadshow) and hosted by much-loved local funny woman Mandy Nolan, this is sure to be a night of world-class laughs.

Byron Services Club on Saturday 21 October at 8pm. Doors 7pm. Tickets $25/30 online at mandynolan.com.au, at the club or book on 6619 0529.


First Tuesday Funnies

The word on the street is that the first Tuesday of the month is the night to find yourself  at  the Ocean Shores Country Club for Country Club Comedy! Comedian Mark McConville is the latest headline for Ocean Shores. Mark brings to the table more than 16 years of performing experience coupled with a genuine interest in helping build and unite the comedy industry in the pursuit of helping to reduce societal stress, depression and suicides. Having headlined and emceed all of the major comedy clubs around the country as well as regular corporate engagements and cruise-ship bookings, Mark has comfortably become known as ‘One of the most reliable comedians in the business’. As a storyteller Mark can keep an audience enthralled as he peppers them with punchline after punchline littered throughout with real-life true stories from his life.

Presented by MC Mandy Nolan and supported by Paul McMahon. Find yourself at the Ocean Shores Country Club this Tuesday for the best  free action you’ll get on the coast! 7pm.


Art Club for Kids

Following numerous requests from parents of aspiring young artists, Byron School of Art are launching weekly after-school classes commencing next term for young people who love art. Afternoon Art Club invites school-aged artists to the BSA studios in Mullumbimby for creative afternoons, exploring art materials and techniques under the guidance of artist and qualified art teacher Jacqueline Smith. Byron  School of Art is offering two after-school classes commencing in October (Term 4); one for 9–12-year-olds on Wednesdays at 3.45pm till 5.30pm, and another for 12–15-year-olds on Thursday afternoons at 4.45pm till 6.30pm.

All classes will take place in Byron School of Art studios in Mullumbimby. Bookings are essential. For more info visit  byronschoolofart.com.


Normal Schmormal

Hosted by the Ethical Advisors Coop, Normal is Over is a compelling and visually rich film directed by award-winning investigative TV journalist Renée  Scheltema. Her film chronicles the way humans have inadvertently imperilled our planet: species extinction, climate change, the  depletion of critical natural resources, and industrial control of our food production. Ticket proceeds will go to Zero Emissions’ Byron Project. Screening followed by Q&A and door prizes – three copies of Tim Flannery’s book Sunlight and Seaweed.

Brunswick Picture House, Thursday 5 October, 7pm.


Comedy stars on the rise

Just last month comedian Hannah Gadsby won Best Show at Edinburgh Festival. This is an extremely prestigious award coveted by every comedian on the globe. And guess what, she started out as one of Mandy Nolan’s comedy students. The world recognised Hannah Gadsby as she did her first gig at the Byron Services Club after an adult community education course. For teacher Mandy Nolan this was an amazing result. ‘You always want people you have taught to do well,’ says Nolan, ‘but Hannah’s accomplishments are off the charts.’

While Nolan believes Gadsby always had what it takes to be a standup comedian, if she hadn’t done the course perhaps she would never have known. ‘I often think of Hannah and wonder whether she would have even done comedy if she hadn’t had access to a comedy course. The whole group thing makes doing something as scary as comedy feel a lot more accessible and less intimidating, as you share the fear!’ says Nolan. ‘And I teach the fundamentals that can take a long time to work out on the circuit if you are trying to do it without instruction.’ Nolan’s latest course features a whole new crop of potential world stars. ‘We even have a guy who paints portraits of people with his penis,’ says Nolan. ‘Nolan’s latest crop of comedians also includes a retired investment banker, a trauma therapist, a tradie, a macadamia farmer and a whole lot more. The 6-week comedy course ends with a live performance aptly titled The Virgin Sacrifice. Headed up with Nolan as MC, these nights have become something of a cult event with local community packing in to see their friends or family, or perhaps an unknown stranger, do their first comedy performance.

Monday at the Byron Ex-Services Club. Tix are $10/15 at the door or can be booked on 6619 0529 or by emailing [email protected].


International Comedy for Big Gig!

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Mandy Nolan is at it again!  More than 10 years and still getting better!

This month Mandy has pulled out all the stops and has been pulling the strings and cashing in favours to bring to you at the Ballina RSL a real-life international comedy star. Mandy has secured for this month’s Big Gig at the Ballina RSL none other than the multi-award-winning British comedian Jeff Green, who first graced our golden shores back in 1996 with a widely acclaimed one-man show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Since then he has notched up a wide and diverse list of credits alongside his name, from Spicks and Specks to Good News Week, numerous appearances on the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala (Ten) and more recently Jeff’s own comedy show: Jeff GreenUp West and Back from the Bewilderness were shown on consecutive primetime across Australia on ABC.

Now an Australian resident to get some time out from the throngs of his crazed fans across UK, Europe and Asia – his standup comedy background is impressive: A solo West End season and three full-length UK TV comedy specials. Jeff is also a best-selling author selling more than 300,000 copies of his books and is a well-regarded presenter and comedian on UK radio and TV; his BBC Radio 2 comedy series The Green Guide To Life attracted audience averages of more than three million radio listeners. His recent UK TV appearances include Celebrity Masterchef (twice), Michael Mcintyre’s Comedy Roadshow (both BBC1) and as team captain on Bill Bailey’s Birdwatching Bonanza (Sky 1). Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see one of the current great international standup talents cherry pick from his endless list of hilarious takes on life love and all things ridiculous, with decades of experience in the international comedy industry.

Supported by Aaron Pratt, hailing from across the ditch in NZ, with Mandy Nolan heading it up as MC. Thursday, 8pm at Ballina RSL. Free.


That’s Not Me

Polly has a problem: She’s an actor with big aspirations, but it’s her identical twin Amy who is scoring all the good roles and screen time in the career they have in common. It’s humiliating and it hurts, being ‘the other one’, mistaken for a rising-star sibling and rejected when her true identity is revealed. Polly’s parents, her agent, even lovers make their preference clear, in not so subtle ways. Alice Foulcher  does a brilliant comic job as the fall girl in That’s Not Me, one of the comedies screening at the Byron Bay International Film Festival in October.

When Polly decides to make the most of her sister’s celebrity, and seize some of the perks of fame for herself – free clothes, booze, casual sex – she’s headed for trouble.

Then, against all good advice and realistic hope, she flies to Hollywood. Foulcher and husband Gregory Erdstein – Victorian College of the Arts alumni – collaborated on this, their first feature, which has been called ‘a deceptively sophisticated character study about   a person coming to terms with their dreams’. It’s hilarious and heart rending at once; economical, astute, and with a nice line in satire on the shallowness of ‘the industry’. Featured is an Australian actor who really is ‘making it’ in Hollywood – Isabel Lucas (Home and Away) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), who plays Polly’s glamorous LA-based actor friend Zoe.

That’s Not Me screens at the 11th Annual Byron Film Festival 6–15  October. Tickets are on sale now via www.bbff.com.au.


Trash Test Dummies

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Looking for something to do with the kids? Catch the acrobatic mayhem of The Trash Test Dummies, about as much fun as you can have in a wheelie bin. Full of creative daring and physical feats of insane upside-down strength, this is fun for the whole family. A favourite on the national festival circuit and at the Byron Theatre, at the Community Centre on Tuesday at 11am. Tickets available at byroncentre.com.au


Namatijira – the story we all should know

From the remote Australian desert to the opulence of Buckingham Palace catch Namatijira, the story of the iconic Namatjira family, tracing their quest to regain the copyright to their grandfather’s artwork. Albert Namatjira was the first Indigenous person to be made a citizen by the Australian government. However, Namatjira was caught between cultures – paraded as a great Australian, and at the same time treated with contempt. He was wrongfully imprisoned and in 1959 he died a broken man. In 1983 the government sold his copyright to an art dealer. Today his family fight for survival, justice and to regain their grandfather’s copyright.

At Brunswick Heads Picture House on October 11 at 7pm. The screening will be followed by a Q&A – get your tickets now.


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