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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Culture in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning April 25th, 2019

Latest News

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Interview with Janet Swain

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PM forced

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Women Like Us at the Dunoon Sports Club

Women Like Us

Dunoon Sports Club  |  Saturday 1 June  |  8pm  |  $35

Women Like Us, Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs’s smash hit show, was a hit at Adelaide Fringe Festival where they performed two sold-out shows and garnered two 5-star reviews from festival reviewers, being officially declared ‘Goddesses’ by the Weekend Notes writer, who asserted that ‘everything they say and do is the absolute word of sacred truth!’

Glamadelaide declared the audience ‘barely had time to draw breath between the hearty laughs’ and ‘it’s not just women who love this hilarious crowdpleaser’.

With over 100 shows at festivals from Adelaide to Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne, and a tour planned for New Zealand and the UK, the girls love performing on home turf, and are getting the big undies ready for Dunoon Sports Club.

The show is two hours of standup, 60 minutes apiece by these powerful, tell it how it is pin up girls for what they call Real Women. ‘We want our comedy to demystify a lot of the garbage that we’re fed about being women,’ says Briggs. ‘We tell everyday stories about our struggles, our failure to parent, the beauty industry, getting fatter, strange surgeries, obsessions, frustrations, and at the end of the day, ‘who unpacks the dishwasher’.

They call themselves ‘the bogan woman’s thinkitng woman and the thinking woman’s bogan’.

‘It’s not a show just for women,’ says Ellen Briggs, who appeared recently on Hughsey We have A Problem. ‘In the same way a comedy show by two men would never be seen as a bloke’s-only show. Women Like Us is about making our experiences universal rather than ‘niche’. And as it turns out, there are a lot more Women Like Us out there than we ever realised. There’s even a growing tribe of Men Like Us too!’

Mandy Nolan is a columnist for The Byron Shire Echo, and writes regularly for Mamamia – and she is the host of their new podcast The Split. Ellen Briggs is a national finalist for RAW comedy and winner of Foxtel Comedy Channel’s Be A Comedian.

The two women have well over 30 years of comedy experience between them, and this year they released their book Women Like Us nationally.

Women Like Us is standup at its best, where Ellen and Mandy talk about housework, chickens, love, big undies, disappointment, resentment, sex when you’re drunk, fit bits, yoga farts, and being a menopausal woman dealing with teenage angst. They’re overworked, overweight and over it…

It was perhaps the 27-year-old reviewer from Adelaide Fringe who really got what Women Like Us was all about!

‘I’d be offended if they weren’t considered pioneers of comedy, because they know their shit and do that shit damn well!… Heck, it should be part of a woman’s right to be able to be blessed by Briggs and Nolan!’

Dunoon Sports Club on Saturday 1 June. Tickets $35 at the Club or online at womenlikeus.com.au. Doors open at 7pm – show at 8pm.


Alan Glover supporting Mark McConville at the big gig

Big Gig Comedy: Mark McConville, Alan Glover, S Sorrensen

Ballina RSL  |  Friday  |  8pm  |  Free

Having headlined and emceed all of the major comedy clubs around Australia as well as regular corporate engagements and cruise-ship bookings, Mark McConville has comfortably become known as ‘one of the most reliably funny comedians in the business’.

As a storyteller Mark can keep an audience enthralled as he peppers them with punchline after punchline littered throughout real-life true stories from his own experiences.

Mark has been seen on all of the major commercial TV channels, and radio stations haven’t escaped his attention either, where he’s been heard around the country under the Home Grown Humour banner, but to be fully appreciated, he has to be seen live.

Mark also holds a genuine belief that the comedy industry has a significant role to play in regard to helping reduce the current rates of societal stress, anxiety, depression, and suicides.

Mark is joined by Alan Glover as support – a man who has been referred to as one of the ‘elder statesmen’ of Australian comedy. He’s been performing standup since 1983 and he’s not about to sit down. Alan’s act includes a variety of sound effects, silly voices, physical humour, and some very clever one-liners! John Knowles from Drum Media says ‘His material just keeps getting better’.

This month the Big Gig will be hosted by S Sorrensen, the funniest man in a sarong for well over 100 kilometres. Please note that owing to ANZAC Day’s falling on the same day as the Big Gig would have been on, the BIG GIG is on Friday. 8pm. Free. rsl.ballinarsl.com.au/big-gig-comedy


Open Studio’s Art Trail: Ballina, Byron and Beyond

Open Studios Art Trail

Ballina Byron & Beyond Open Studios Art Trail  |  27/28 April & 4/5 May

Ever wondered what goes on inside an artist’s studio? All over our region potters, painters, sculptors, and makers devote themselves to their craft.

It’s a real revelation to see where artists work, what they’re working on, what inspires them, and what they’ve achieved. Once a year Open Studios allows the community into these creative sanctuaries. Open Studios is a weekend for ‘non-commercial’ galleries and showings and means many commercial galleries are excluded from the trail. The idea is to show the public what’s possible in a home, shed, or garage studio. All the artists are happy to sell their own work! It’s a bit like the thrill of buying milk directly from the farmer!

All artists have been asked about their artwork, ‘How do you do that?’

Open Studio’s Art Trail: Ballina, Byron and Beyond: 27 & 28 April and 4 & 5 May. Find out more about this artistic adventure ON Facebook. facebook.com/OpenStudiosBBB/


michael Veitch

Real Live Radio Drama: Mystery in the Air

Byron Theatre, Community Centre  |  Wednesday 1 May  |  7.30pm  |  $25/30

Michael Veitch is back doing what he is loved for – original comedy. Simon Oats joins him onstage as the perfect matinee idol rogue, dashing former Squadron Leader, Tony ‘The Ace’ Hamilton. Set in a 1940s radio station, the original radio plays Flash Gordon and The Wax Works Museum are performed, but there are even more dramas onstage from the shenanigans.

Sharply written intelligent comedy that crosses politically correct boundaries but manages to hold the audience by their heart strings. A much-loved fading star is feeling the heat from a dashing newcomer. Talent versus stability, old versus new… the drama doesn’t just go live to air – the laughs come from everywhere!

This is without a doubt a terrific night of entertainment with big laughs at a cracking pace. Don’t miss out – one performance only of Mystery in the Air!

byroncentre.com.au or call 6685 6807


In true Melbourne City Ballet fashion the company brings a feast of movement to the stage.

Melbourne Ballet: Alice in Wonderland

Byron Theatre  |  Sunday 1.30pm & 5.30pm  |  $36–42

There is nothing more evocative I think than Alice in Wonderland. It’s a children’s story, but is it? The curious symbology of mushroom-eating hookah-smoking Alice is seared into my memory. I remember that topsy-turvy world of childhood, that dreamlike state where I tried to make sense of the adult world. Of good and bad, of right and wrong. When I felt too big. Or too small.

When I couldn’t work out which side of the mushroom would make me ‘just right’. And whom to choose for one’s allegiance?

Nothing is ever as it seems! It’s darkly twisted, and I think all great children’s stories are. I detest the feelgood moral tales of ones that aren’t. A classic children’s tale introduces children to our dark side – to our eternal battle with who we are and how we think.

Two of Australia’s leading choreographers, Melbourne City Ballet’s Michael Pappalardo (artistic director) and Brendan Bradshaw (artistic associate), collaborate to pay homage to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with a ballet complemented by a Tchaikovsky arrangement.

Join the White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, and the Mad Hatter as Alice ventures through Wonderland. This all-new ballet is perfect for all ages and is a magical portrayal of the classical story, over a year in the making. Melbourne City Ballet is set to entertain across Australia and New Zealand and bring a smile to both ballet audiences with its exquisite choreography and non-ballet audiences through its dynamic storytelling. With 40 unique costumes and newly designed tour-able sets, this ballet is sure to be a colourful and playful rendition on this story.

In true Melbourne City Ballet fashion the company brings a feast of movement to the stage.

Byron Theatre on Sunday at 1.30pm and 5.30pm. Tix are $42–36 at byroncentre.com.au.


Cherry Pop-Up Drag Night at Locura in Byron on Thursday 2 May

Cherry Pop Drag Night

Locura Byron Bay  |  Thursday 2 May  |  7pm  |  $45 +

When I was 17 I went to drag shows. I was often one of the only women in the club. I just couldn’t get enough of drag queens. I loved their biting wit. I loved their putting shit on everyone. I loved that they could be beautiful and mean. I loved how they satirised gender. I was under age, but no-one ever checked. It was a different era. Drag queens taught me everything I know about dealing with hecklers! It’s so much fun, and if you have never been you should! Make it a tick on your bucket list! Join the crew at Locura in Byron on Thursday night for a night of drag queen performances for their very fabulous Cherry Pop night. Dance to funky disco tunes by Vinyl Ritchie.Entry includes a cocktail or beer!

Thursday 2 May at 7pm at Locura in Byron. Tix are $45

www.eventbrite.com.au/e/cherry-pop-tickets-60050025242/amp 


Looking dangerously poetic

Dangerously Poetic: Political, Poetical

Regent Cinema, Murwillumbah  |  Sunday  |  2–4pm  |  $10 donation at the door

For election season, Dangerously Poetic is offering Political, Poetical, an afternoon of music and poetry. It will be held at the Regent Cinema, Murwillumbah, on Sunday from 2 till 4pm. The afternoon is open to all and will feature Beat Jam, an ensemble of poets and musicians performing Beat poets such as Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Levertov, and others as featured on Bay FM’s Bohemian Beat. For the open section, the audience is invited to share their own or a favourite political poem. Bongos and rattles are welcome to help keep the beat! Suggested donation to keep the poetry flowing is $10


Melbourne International Comedy

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow

Ballina RSL  |  Friday 10 May  |  7.30pm  |   $35

Looking for a laugh? The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow is coming to town. Forget I Spy, Spotto and stale servo snacks; this road trip is jam-packed with a crew of fantastically funny comedians, specially selected to bring the fun of the festival to towns and cities around the nation.

For 20 years the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been touring far and wide, bringing giggles, guffaws, and good times to Australia and farther afield. Whether you’re in Katherine, Quirindi, Kyneton, or Cairns you can still experience Australia’s largest and best-loved comedy festival in your own backyard.

They’ve got over 80 destinations on the laugh-laden schedule, and a lineup of artists to tickle anyone’s funnybone. The Roadshow really has something for everyone! Grab a mate, grab a date… grab a ticket to the Roadshow!

Friday 10 May at the Ballina RSL – featuring Danie Connell, Jane Hatings, Josh Earl, and Rahul Subramanian. Tix $35 at ballinarsl.com.au


Joel salem goofy

FAMILY SHOW: Talking Dogs – Joel Salom with Erik the Dog and introducing Allen!

Byron Comedy Fest  |  Byron Surf Club  |  Saturday 18 May  |  3pm  |  $20

International Man of Circus Joel Salom presents Talking Dogs on Saturday 18 May at the Byron Comedy Festival. It’s every kid’s dream come true, a playful, interactive show where kids get onstage with Allen (the shy soft dog), do stunts with Erik (the mean robotic one), and Joel, the crazy human man-child who tries to keep it all together! Joel’s creation Erik the Dog was a grand finalist on Australia’s Got Talent. Allen has never done a show before but Joel has performed in more than 25 countries as a world-class juggler so he’s bound to know how to keep his balls in the air (dog balls that is).

For more information about workshops and shows, ticket purchase, and programming, go to byroncomedyfest.com.

Byron Comedy Fest at the Surf Club In Byron Bay 17–19 May. 


Macbeth at the palace

Macbeth Cinema opera and ballet program

Palace Cinemas Byron  |  Sunday 1pm Wednesday 11am

Palace Cinemas’ opera and ballet program presents Macbeth, Harry Kupfer’s smash-hit staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s vivid take on Shakespeare’s classic featuring operatic icons Anna Netrebko in a signature role and Plácido Domingo, led by legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim.

After winning in battle, Commander Macbeth receives a prophesy that he will one day become king of Scotland. Influenced by the whisperings of his wife, he literally stops at nothing to fulfil the prophesy. But racked by guilt, the Macbeths soon sink into delusions and become victims of their own thirst for power. This is a new production captured live in June 2018 during a sold-out run at Staatsoper Berlin on the historic boulevard Unter den Linden, once the largest opera house in Europe. Destroyed thrice over the years, the 1955 post-WWII rebuild was recently renovated, reopening in 2017 as a modern, 1,356-seat venue.

Macbeth screens at Palace Byron Bay Cinemas on Sunday at 1pm, and Wednesday 1 May at 11am. Tickets available at the cinema or online at www.palacecinemas.com.au.


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