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Culture Roundup for the Shire: 6 September 2018

Shirley Nelson is one of the storytellers at Stories in the Club at the Mullum Ex-Services on Sunday.

Stories in the Club- It’s a Mad Mad World

Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club | Sunday 9 September | 4-5.30pm | $10

A year in, Stories in the Club are on a roll. This month’s theme for tellers is It’s a Mad Mad World. Storytellers include Gabby Le Brun, who has a Masters in Drama, majoring in Contemporary Performance and currently a member of the Cassettes Flashmob troupe. Her most recent role was in Bangalow Theatre Company Little Shop of Horrors.

Cyd Crossman has lived for 19 years in the Byron Shire. She is a visual/performance artist, a certified sexological bodyworker, a somatic sex educator, realist, workshop facilitator, speaker, and MC.  Her story engages with the way unexpected events can be the catalyst for extraordinary creative expression to manage madness.

Dan Sanderson, who was one of the presenters on popular Men’s Show on Bay FM.

Shirley Nelson arrived in Byron Bay in 1970; an English-trained nursing sister, she was appointed as matron of Byron Hospital. She immediately began transforming the hospital and healthcare across the region. Her story is about an old man who had a wish and a dream.  

Louise Harrison is the president of Toastmasters and coaches young speakers in the Gavaliers Club and will share her journey through post-natal depression. 

Jenni Cargill-Strong, curator of the event, will share short fables and folktales on the topic. 


With more new faces than the front bench,
Mandy’s newest class of comedy wannabes is definitely not to be missed.

Mandy Nolan’s Stand Up Comedy Virgin Sacrifice

Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club |Monday 17  September | 7pm | $10-15

The latest crop of Stand Up Comedy Virgins are ready for their five minutes of fame! After six weeks of intensive training and a hell of a lot of over-sharing, some of the region’s brightest and boldest are lining up to see if they have what it takes to bring a smile to your dial!

Standup comedy as an offering at the Byron Community College is now in its 22nd year and with more than 1,500 graduating students it’s become something of a cult event! 

MC Mandy Nolan. Tix at the door and are available online www.mandynolan.com.au. 


Art by Kids

I love kids’ art. Kids still have the ability, and the permission, to use art as a medium to communicate ideas without this idea that you have to be ‘an artist’ to do so. The Byron Community Primary School present their annual Art Fair this coming Saturday, a wonderful community event that sees student art displays, activities, face painting and some really amazing recycled art. The students have been exploring natural and recycled material as subject matter for their artwork to make 2D and 3D pieces. The idea behind many of the artworks is an awareness of environmental issues and the impact of plastic usage in our modern lives. Students have created fun pieces to raise awareness and create change.


A girl’s path to womanhood

Sisonke Msimang was born in exile, the daughter of South African freedom fighters. Her new book Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home  is the story of a young girl’s path to womanhood – a journey that took her from Africa to America and back again, then on to a new home in Australia.

With razor-sharp insight, Sisonke Msimang reflects candidly on growing up stateless, the naive, heady euphoria of returning at last to her parents’ homeland – and her disillusionment with present-day South Africa and its new elites. Sisonke is a bold new voice on feminism, race and politics – in her beloved South Africa, in Australia, and around the world.

She is in conversation with Russell Eldrige for the Byron Writers Festival at the SAE Theatre on Thursday at 6pm. Tix are $10 or free for Byron Writers Festival members. Bookings to byronwritersfestival.com.


Spring Poems

It’s springtime for poets in Byron with the Writers at the Rails spring show on Sunday afternoon. The features will be popular ‘from the jungles of Lillian Rock’ poet Christine Strelan and newcomer Murwillumbah performance poet Sarah Temporal.

Show starts around 2pm with open readings and ends with a poetry slam. Free entry.


Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize

The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is back for another year, and on display at the Lismore Regional Gallery until 23 September. For the first time the award is open to all media, meaning the finalists on display incorporate sculpture, video, photography and of course painting and drawing. This year the prize was judged by the director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Dr Michael Brand. In naming the winner of the work, Nicole Kelly, Dr Brand cited the artist’s various influences including Pierre Bonnard and Grace Cossington Smith. Kelly’s work, Jumaadi + Clouds + Rain, which now enters the gallery’s permanent collection, is of Indonesian-Australian artist Jumaadi. The painting depicts references to Jumaadi’s landscape paintings, as well as his practice of shadow puppetry. Also on display is a major solo exhibition by local Bundjalung artist Albert (Digby) Moran. Moran was born in Ballina and raised on Cabbage Tree Island, and is one of the region’s most highly regarded artists. His life is divided into two parts: before he started painting, and after. He worked in agriculture, and even as a boxer with Jimmy Sharman’s boxers, before he turned his hand to painting. In 1991 he undertook an art course through TAFE that launched his career as an artist. Painting provided a vehicle to express his stories with a strong focus on his time at Cabbage Tree Island. He says, ‘Those were my happiest years growing up there’. As a storyteller, Moran accesses traditions passed on to him by his paternal grandfather, using this as his inspiration to paint and express his Bundjalung heritage. Moran’s studio was badly affected by the 2017 Lismore floods and he lost most of his materials and much work. This exhibition is the result of a burst of creativity Moran has undergone since the floods, and will be a true celebration of an artist with undeterred resilience.

Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize, Lismore Regional Gallery On show until 23 September


A book about people power saying NO to CSG

Communities around the world are standing up to mining companies to try to stop coal seam gas mining. It heralds a return to a belief that people can make a difference. One person who knows this to be true is John Watts, who has penned his battle in Gloucester. And guess what? They won. On 4 February 2016 gas giant AGL issued a media release telling the world that it was going to abandon plans to construct a 310-well gasfield in the beautiful countryside just to the south of the township of Gloucester, NSW. Thus ended a long and sometimes bitter battle between the Gloucester community on the one side and AGL and a complicit state government on the other.

Retired barrister John Watts has now written a book that tells his own story of that battle and how Gloucester residents used ‘people power’ to fight and finally defeat AGL and the government. The book is titled The Town that Said NO to AGL. How Gloucester was saved from coal seam gas. 

The book contains a foreword by Peter Hannam, environment editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, in which he writes: ‘… John Watts’s timely book explains the motivation and plots the unstinting efforts of a bunch of volunteers in the small town of Gloucester’.

‘Their group, Groundswell Gloucester, took on AGL energy, one of Australia’s oldest companies, and a firm long used to getting its own way, particularly in the state where it was founded, NSW.

‘Against the odds, Groundswell won, heading off a plan to puncture the verdant upper Manning River with what would have been hundreds of coal seam gas wells linked by a steel lattice of pipes and pumps.

‘Just how they succeeded will be of interest to other communities (and other developers).’

To find out more about the book look online at thetownthatsaidnotoagl.com


Viral: winner of the 2016 Matilda for Best Independent Production

Viral is a story about Art and Zane, two boys who seek to attain internet ‘fame’ in order to become more popular at school and to make some money. It examines the role of social media and technology and how it affects the way we record, communicate and think about events of racism, abuse, and violence in our community. It investigates the line between dissociation and raising awareness about such events.

Inspired by true events, Viral uses physical theatre, multiple role-sharing, verbatim, political theatre, AV, and an evocative musical score to create a visceral and dynamic theatrical experience.

Viral was inspired by a number of true events and broader societal changes facing all of us. The show explores desensitisation, responsibility, and the role of social media in our modern world,’ said directors and performers Hayden Jones and Sam Foster.

‘During the development of Viral we engaged with various demographics and cultural groups on the Gold Coast to hear a diverse cross-section of perspectives concerning the themes and issues in the play. This process, along with our own research, raised many interesting ethical and moral questions about the role of technology, the internet and the media.

‘We wanted to create a show that raised these themes and issues in an interesting and thought-provoking way by combining episodic action that is held together by a strong narrative.’

Viral is an example of Shock Therapy Productions’ signature style of doing as much as possible with as little as possible.

NORPA at Lismore City Hall, Wednesday 12 September 7.30pm, www.norpa.org.au or 1300 066 722. Ages 13+.


Pop-up comedy at Bangalow Bowlo!

Hey it’s Popup Comedy at the Bangalow Bowlo! Mandy Nolan’s new Popup Comedy is a comedy night with a twist featuring S Sorrensen and five tried-and-tested local comedians. S Sorensen is a local comedian himself, worth his salt, having been a performing comedian for almost 20 years. S’s ongoing midlife crisis is the comedy gift that just keeps giving, providing endless material for his sharp comedy mind to translate into hilarious gags for his audiences. Supporting S are five talented local comedians. These aren’t first-timers; these are artists, hardened comedians who know how to write a joke and to deliver a punchline. It’ll be a laugh a minute with this crew that includes RAW comedy QLD state finalist Lisa Sharpe, Bay FM’s Danny Salfield, Byron’s most famous recently retired cab driver and host of  Sticky Wicket Comedy,  Rudi, the dry self-deprecation of Brisbane-based Dooney and the recent winner of the Sticky Wicket Open Mic Competition, John Peacock!

Hosted by Mandy Nolan, one half of the national smash hit touring show  Women Like Us.  Bringing it back to Bangas! Thursday 20 September 8pm. $10 at the door or mandynolan.com.au


Empowering women in India: Shakti Women’s Empowerment Festival

The Shakti Women’s Empowerment Festival will be held on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 September at The Byron Theatre.

The Shakti Women’s Empowerment Festival is an initiative of ARD (Australia) Inc, a local charity that has been supporting women in rural India since 2005. Currently they are running a Reproductive and Child Health program and they have since established eight literacy centres for adolescent girls who otherwise would receive no formal education. The Shakti Women’s Empowerment Festival is happening at the Byron Theatre and includes a concert of women artists: Meninas da Lua, Sarah Temporal (Poet), Parissa Bouas, Sharny Russell, Clancy Menzies, Sophie Ozard, The Loveys and Abbie Cardwell. Over the weekend panels will explore art, environmental justice and classical dance. This is a great opportunity to explore, celebrate and promote women’s empowerment and to bring active awareness of the insight, capacity, and strengths of women in our society today, while at the same time supporting a local program that is empowering women in rural India. www.weiv-india.org


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