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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Culture in and around the Byron Shire for the week beginning May 16, 2019

Latest News

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Dusty Rich, in the comedy debate

Comedy Debate: Women Rule the World

Mandy Nolan, Ellen Briggs, Dusty Rich, Jonathan Atherton, Greg Sullivan, Lindsay Webb  |  Byron Comedy Fest  |  Byron Surf Club  |  Sunday  |  4pm  |  $35

In the era of #MeToo, in a time when women are pushing for quotas in government and the private sector, where women over 55 are the first generation of women to earn their own money, where women’s voices are finally being heard in a patriarchy that drowned them out for well over 2,000 years, it could be said that Women Rule the World! They certainly do when it comes to comedy. It was just over a decade ago that Christopher Hitchens wrote an article for Vanity Fair claiming ‘Women Aren’t Funny’. Well, he’s dead and guess what? Women are funny!

Writer and social commentator Jane Caro believes that women are funny BECAUSE they have got in touch with their anger. ‘In the past the only [people] permitted to be angry were men. In the home, being angry belonged to Dad. But women are getting in touch with their anger, and they have a lot to be angry about!’ Caro believes that most of women’s comedy is an ironic re-positioning of their rage!

The Byron Comedy Fest steps into the ring with two powerhouse performers and angry women: Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs heading up opposing teams on the Comedy Debate: Women Rule the World. Nolan and Briggs tour nationally with their smash-hit show Women Like Us – pulling sellout crowds wherever they go. ‘We tell our stories – women’s stories. This puts our experience, our perspectives in the spotlight. People used to believe we were ‘niche’ but that’s bullshit. We’re half the population and our stories are as universal as men’s! We’re lucky though because they’ve been telling their stories for centuries, and we’ve only just started!’ says Mandy Nolan.

Expect this to be a fiercely competitive fight for ideological and comedic supremacy! In fact there’s not much some of these comics won’t do to win. Briggs and Nolan have assembled a few blokes for comedic ammo – with Nolan taking globetrotting multilingual comedian Jonathan Atherton and South African comedian Dusty Rich, who came to attention by supporting international superstar Trevor Noah on his tours. Ellen Briggs’s team is Lindsay Webb – the master of improvisation, and Greg Sullivan, whose penchant for thinking outside the box makes him comedy’s best-kept secret weapon.

The Comedy Debate will be the closing event for the Byron Comedy Fest – Sunday at 4pm. Tix are just $35 and it’s going to be a satirical fight to comedy death For tix and program info go to byroncomedyfest.com

Jutta Pilz, one of the artists involved with Garusa pop-p gallery

Pop-up Exhibition

Garasu Art Gallery  |  Level 1, Mercato on Byron  |  10am–5pm daily

Garasu may be a pop-up gallery but there is nothing pop-up about its artists.

Award winning, internationally recognised, and dedicated to the development of art in Australia, 10 artists from the region but new to Byron Bay have united to open Garasu Art Gallery.

Ian Tremewen, Ilia Chidzey, John Turton, Jutta Pilz, Lorraine Abernethy, Leisa O’Brien, Mal Leckie, Manuela Pilz, Otto Schmidinger, and Stephen Baxter are the artists whose work is on show.

The gallery is staffed by the artists. You don’t only get to buy an original piece of art but meet the artists. The gallery is a pop-up so it won’t be there much longer – come in and see the incredible work on display.

Garasu Art Gallery, Level 1, Mercato on Byron – open seven days. 10am–5pm. For enquiries call 0403 188 154

Gaugin Paradise Lost

Gauguin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost

Art On Screen at Byron Theatre  |  Sunday 26 May  |  3pm  |  $18/20

In 1891 Gauguin left Marseille for the Pacific, marking the beginning of a journey towards the essence of life and art, and forging his destiny as one of the greatest modern painters who ever lived.

The film Gauguin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost follows the story that has become myth. Through Tahiti and Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia to the landscapes that inspired Gauguin, living among the locals whom he loved, in the places where he built houses with bamboo and leaves, and discovered light and colours that changed his painting forever.

An exotic journey from Tahiti to the Marquesas Islands on the trail of a story that has become legendary. Screening Sunday 26 May at The Byron Theatre at 3pm. Tix at byroncentre.com.au

All About Eve tells the story of Margo Channing.

NT Live Screening: All About Eve

Byron Theatre, Community Centre  |  Wed 29 May at 6pm  |  Saturday 1 June at 1pm  |  $23/25

Gillian Anderson (X-Files, NT Live: A Streetcar Named Desire) and Lily James (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) lead in All About Eve, filmed live for cinemas from the West End in London.

All About Eve tells the story of Margo Channing. Legend. True star of the theatre. The spotlight is hers, always has been. But now there’s Eve. Her biggest fan. Young, beautiful Eve. The golden girl, the girl next door. But you know all about Eve… don’t you…

This is a National Theatre Live Screening at Byron Theatre. Wednesday 29 May at 6pm & Saturday 1 June at 1pm


NORPA’s Dreamland at Bangalow A&I Hall 15–1 June

NORPA: Dreamland

Bangalow A&I Hall  \  Wed 15 May – Sat 1 June, 7:30pm  |  Matinee – Saturday 25 May 3pm  |  $20–49

Owing to the season’s being almost sold out before they even opened the doors, NORPA have extended their homegrown show Dreamland that will be showing at the Bangalow A&I Hall from 15 May till 1 June. ‘I’m often asked why NORPA makes original theatre when it would be so much easier to just stage a classic play. Creating new Australian theatre inspired by our place, our stories, and our experiences – this is what we’re passionate about. People want to see stories created from their experience of living in regional Australia and they know if it’s a NORPA work it’s going to be adventurous and fun,’ says artistic director Julian Louis.

‘It’s also what our audiences are passionate about and it’s been proven time and again. Original works that reflect the “culture of place” are more popular than anything else in NORPA’s season,’ he said. ‘There’s also a lovely sense of adventure and camaraderie that comes with going to a show outside the theatre. It builds curiosity and makes theatre more accessible to new audiences.’

Dreamland is a world where time overlaps, where the ghosts of our country halls come to life to tell a joyous and powerful story of community, change, and renewal across generations. A new resident wanting to hire the local hall interrupts the ubiquitous hall committee meeting. A hilarious crash course in local history ensues. Axes fly to clear the Big Scrub, young men are lost to war, and love is found on the dancefloor. Dairy farmers, Aquarius hippies, tree-changers – the country hall bears witness to them all. Performed with a live band in a beautiful old country hall in Bangalow, Dreamland is a life-affirming celebration of place told through story, song, dance, and humour.

Running Wed 15 May till Saturday 1 June at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday 25 May at 3pm. Bangalow A&I Hall – tix are $20–49 at www.norpa.org.au or 1300 066 772

The Lismore Theatre Company present their Winter Cabaret at the Rochdale, 30 May – 2 June

LTC presents Winter Cabaret

Rochdale Theatre Lismore  |  30 May – 2 June Thurs–Sat 7.30pm, Sunday 2pm

Lismore Theatre Company’s upcoming production is A Winter Cabaret at the Rochdale, 30 May till 2 June.

Following the sell-out success of Breast Wishes, LTC presents Winter Cabaret as the next instalment in their 2019 season.

Six accomplished musicians join together to bring you an elegant evening of musical theatre that will delight Lismore audiences. Vocalists Veronica Lovejoy, Beans Goodfellow, Lee Millward, and Brian Pamphilon will fill the little theatre with sensational solos, delectable duets, toe-tapping trios, and fabulous four-part harmonies.  

The four performers will sing an array of musical theatre numbers, solos, duets, and group songs. The singers will be accompanied by Benjamin Ryan (on piano) and Lissa-Kathe (on piano, harp, accordion, and cello).

Performances are May 30, 31 and June 1, 2. Thursday, Friday, Saturday night performances are at 7.30pm and the Sunday matinee is at 2pm. Tickets are $23 full price and $18 concession with 10 per cent of all ticket sales going to Beyond Blue. Tickets available online now: bit.ly/LTCticket

Women Like Us: Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs bring their smash it national touring show to Dunoon Sports Club on Saturday 1 June

Women Like Us

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

Women Like Us’s middle-aged mouthy mamas of mirth, Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs, have just returned from 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 crowd pleaser’.

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.

With seven children between them they’re as adept at delivering laughs as they are babies, and the two solo standups are renowned for their rapid-fire standup. It’s not just relentless, it’s an ab workout!

Women Like Us was born when the two women comics decided to step away from the male-dominated comedy scene into venues where women’s stories and experiences are centre stage.

The show is two hours of standup, 60 minutes a piece by these powerful, no-holds-barred, tell-it-how-it-is pinup 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 thinking 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 blokes-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 then we ever realised. There’s even a growing tribe of Men Like Us too!’

The host of the new Mamamia podcast, Mandy, says, ‘Our show is standup so there are much broader strokes, but in our book we go a little deeper. We really delve into the stories and experiences that have made us who we are’.

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!’

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

16 Legs showing at the Palace Cinema in Byron on Sunday

16 Legs with Q&A with DR Niall Doran

Palace Cinema Byron  |  Sunday  |  2pm  |  $18–20

16 Legs is an utterly unique nature documentary. Hidden beneath the World Heritage mountains of Tasmania, giant prehistoric spiders the size of dinner plates seek kinky love in the dark. Featuring Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, Tara Moss, Adam Hills, Mark Gatiss, and scientific researchers and experts from around the globe, and with music by Kate Miller-Heidke, 16 Legs looks at the challenge, humour, and science of capturing something never before filmed, against all the odds!

As the world rapidly descends into the next period of global mass extinction, a message of hope comes from an unlikely hero: a creature, often unfairly reviled, that has survived prior mass extinctions and climatic change in a magical ecosystem in one of the world’s last great wildernesses. With spectacular imagery and a dark-fantasy twist by master storyteller Neil Gaiman, this real-world ‘Charlotte’s Web’ brings a story of stability and solitude into our world of rapid change.

Award-winning cinematography documents 25 years of scientific research into animals that outlasted the dinosaurs, survived the splitting of the continents, and have endured the entirety of human civilisation in Australia’s deepest caves. From the visually stunning wilderness of Tasmania to an underworld few people have seen, this film excites and inspires modern audiences with the joy of adventure in the natural world, and celebrates the wonder of an ecosystem that preceded us and may still outlast us.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Dr Niall Doran, the scientist behind the original research highlighted in the film and the film producer/co-director, speaking with Dione Green, presenter of Bay FM program Make a Change.

16 Legs screens at Palace Byron Bay Cinemas on Sunday at 2pm. Tickets $18–20 available at the cinema or online at www.palacecinemas.com.au

Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock N Roll screens at Palace Byron Cinemas on Wednesday 22 May

Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption & Rock’n’Roll

Palace Cinema Byron  |  Wednesday 22 May |  7pm  |  $18–20

Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock’n’Roll tells the story of the long-troubled town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, and how the power of music can unite a divided community. A once-storied seaside resort, Asbury Park erupted in flames during a summer of civil unrest, crippling the town for the next 45 years and reducing it to a state of urban blight. In a town literally divided by a set of railroad tracks, the riot destroyed the fabled Westside jazz and blues scene, but from the flames of the burning city emerged the iconic Jersey sound.

The film returns native sons Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, and David Sancious to the legendary Upstage, the psychedelic after-hours club where they got their start.

This major theatrical event will also include a bonus feature of never-before-seen interviews and footage.

Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock’n’Roll screens at Palace Byron Bay Cinemas on Wed 22 May at 7pm. Tickets $18–20 now on sale at the cinema or online at www.palacecinemas.com.au

SHIT Kate Foster, Kate Horsley, Claire Atkins, by Lynden Foss


Drill Hall Theatre  |  10–25 May  |  $22–25

The latest Drill Hall production SHIT opened at the Drill Hall the other night to an ecstatic crowd, garnering an impressive review for this very intense 3-woman offering. Here is some of what Marika Bryant said on Australian Stage.

‘Drill Hall Theatre on a Friday night for the official opening of SHIT, a play by one of Australia’s best playwrights, Patricia Cornelius. There. I’ve said it. Opening paragraph and Patricia Cornelius is a brilliant playwright: I salute her on so many levels. How to review this play? How do I do it justice? How will my words evaluate what I have just witnessed and give fitting praise to the playwright, the actors, and the director (Georgia Martin, take a bow, and Marcus O’Mullane, assistant director, well done). And all the crew who can bring such a powerhouse of a play to a local theatre, exposing us all to contemporary confrontation on so many platforms?

‘Employing a minimal cast and set, garnering maximum momentum from the first words uttered, SHIT is cutting-edge theatre – succinct, provocative, evocative, packing a punch from the moment the three actors set foot upon the stage. Sam (Claire Atkins), Billy (Kate Foster), and Bobby (Kate Horsley) burst onto this well-imagined set, menacing and milling around in a cacophony of gutter-speak. This is the language of the disenfranchised, sorting out their situation through liberal use of every swear word and tough-rough stance imaginable (and they have wicked imaginations!). With body language filling in the gaps (no gaps here, move away NOW!) the momentum builds, the angst heightens, and the stories within stories unfold. How can such women, from such spare backgrounds, traverse any other life than the one earmarked for them from birth? Cornelius knows the human condition only too well, with contemporary issues dealt with (and not dealt with) in front of our very eyes. Wow. The audience responded accordingly, laughing at the string of cusses and curses from the go-get, where the scene is set and no way of backing down now… let the fucks fly and land at the feet of everyone – this is the ONLY way to get this point across and it is brilliant. The comedy within tragedy is palpable and the “no-swear challenge” at the onset is an air-clearer. Laugh? Oh yeah. Vignettes, innuendo, stories unfolding to the “boo hoo, never mind” and powerful performances by each “lady” in the cast. Claire Atkins, Kate Foster, and Kate Horsley are totally convincing, from every strut and stance they conjure.’

Drill Hall Theatre Company presents SHIT by Patricia Cornelius, director Georgia Martin. Venue: Drill Hall Theatre, 10–25 May 2019. Tickets: $25–22. Tickets at at Mullumbimby Bookshop or drillhalltheatre.org.au

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