Integral Ita

Paula Xiberras
16.08.12 8:42 am


‘She was also described as sweet and winning in her address, prudent in word and work, constant in mind, and firm of purpose. But her femininity is not merely compliant or submissive. A strongly individualistic character is glimpsed in the legends of Ita’ (

The above quote is referring to the sixth century saint by the name of Ita, but it could also easily refer to Ms Ita Buttrose. I had the pleasure of speaking to Ms Buttrose on the occasion of a recent visit to Tasmania and the launch at Fullers Bookshop of her updated biography ‘A Passionate Life’.

Ita tells me that Tasmania is one of her favourite places and she tries to get here at least once a year and she recalls many happy times spent with her children on holiday here in Tassie.

Ita will be back later in the year to do some work for Life Education Tasmania for which she is a patron. There is also another connection to Tasmania. Ita’s work of fiction ‘What is Love’ has featured as a text on the university of Tasmania’s English syllabus and indeed the idea of writing more fiction is a potentially on Ita’s agenda.

The name Ita is not commonplace, which suits such an individual Australian icon as Ita. The name means thirst and that perhaps is the perfect reference for Ita with her thirst for knowledge and it’s manifestation in her career of publishing.  Attributes Ita shares with her sixteenth century saint namesake are her winning address, firmness of purpose and strong individualistic character and yes, her ability to remain feminine while not being compliant or submissive even though she worked with some of the most powerful men in publishing. Ita is also a contradiction, being the force behind both the more wholesome ‘Womans Weekly’ and the little more risque ‘Cleo’ magazine

A woman of integrity Ita gets disappointed by journalism that doesn’t have those high standards.

Most recently Ita has been on our TV screens, firstly as a commentator for last year’s royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton where Ita provided one of the most telling insights of the event. When the bride returned from the church many royal commentators were wondering why the bouquet hadn’t been left at the grave of the unknown soldier following the tradition of the Queen mother who placed her bouquet there as a tribute to her brother who had been killed in the first world war, Ita suggested that perhaps Catherine had decided to lay the bouquet as a loving gesture at the resting place of William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

Ita is not new to covering royal events one of her earliest journalistic assignments was to cover Princess Alexandra’s tour of Australia. Ita believes that with the two handsome princess William and Harry and the vivacious Catherine at the forefront of royal watching the royals will continue to be version of Britain’s Hollywood and continue to fascinate us for some time yet.

Secondly, Ita has become a regular contributor on the Today Show’s segment ‘Girl’s on the Grill’.

Ita has been involved with many good causes over the years including sponsoring a young girl in Africa. Ita was shocked by the fact that the woman was always the last ones in the family to eat and were in danger of becoming malnourished.  Ita was also concerned by young women being tied into marriage contracts at too young an age. By sponsoring a young woman she gave her a chance to have a life of choices.

As well as launching her updated biography ‘A Passionate Life’ Ita was in Tasmania to talk about one of those passions of her life, her focus these days, that being the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Ita wants to get us out of the mindset that dementia is a condition that is an inevitable part of ageing. The facts are it can be prevented. Ita lists having a low fat diet, consuming fish oil, abstaining from smoking and excessive alcohol and getting regular exercise, importantly, for both the physical and the mental can keep the condition of dementia at bay.

Ita’s book ‘A Passionate Life’ is out now.

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Arts | Books | Media

School Bell

Paula Xiberras
16.08.12 8:37 am


Last week I spoke to actor John Adams who will be in Tasmania soon with the Bell Shakespeare Company and their production of ‘School for Wives’.

John tells me it is almost 20 years since he has been in Tasmania and that was with either ‘Hamlet’ or ‘The Merchant of Venice’. He’s not sure which play. Other work and family commitments explains his absence but he’s thrilled to be back and also thrilled that Launceston is also included on this tour. John’s also looking forward to a little time to peruse the state and maybe visit a wine region or two!

Ironically this year’s production by the Bell Shakespeare is not Shakespeare at all but a French contemporary in Moliere. The company is hoping to branch out with some more quality drama in addition to their staple Shakespeare.

Moliere wrote this play at a time when events in his own life were mirroring the situation of the play. He too, like his protagonist was involved or in Moliere’s case already married to a younger woman. The main protagonist Arnolphe played by John is a man desperate to keep his young charge Agnes innocent of the ways of the world and he thinks by doing so he will also keep her innocent of the desire or way how to cheat on him. This plan however backfires and in due course he is made a cuckold of!

The play was controversial at the time, not for the fact it was dealing with an older man younger woman scenario or that the man would appear chauvinistic by today’s standards. As can be witnessed by some of the comments about how a woman is insignificant apart from basking in the man’s shadow and how she should be eternally thankful to have him in her life. Rather Moliere’s was considered controversial for writing a comedy for a time when drama was considered the only true theatrical art form. However, Moliere endears himself by making himself the butt of jokes and he is forgiven the fact he wrote a comedy.

Indeed John says the response so far for the play has been spectacular with the audience emitting ‘tidal waves of laughter’.

John who plays the protagonist says he is on stage for most of the duration of the play, but like many actors he is finding his latest charge is his favourite. John will be busy with this play steadily until November.

You can see ‘School for Wives’ at the Theatre Royal 29th August to 1st September.  Also at Theatre North, Princess Theatre, Launceston 3rd to 4th September 2012.

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Arts | What's On

Devonport Regional Art Gallery: Open Late

Astrid Joyce
16.08.12 8:30 am


From 5pm August 30, 2012
Special Guest: Katrine Elliot
The Devonport Regional Gallery is celebrating its 28th Anniversary at its current location - the former Baptist Church in Stewart Street Devonport. We invite you to celebrate this milestone with us on the 30 August 2012 from 5pm.
In 1984, on a cold August night, the former Baptist Church was filled with a ‘congregation’ of 150 people who came to celebrate the official opening of the Gallery - then known as the Devonport Gallery and Arts Centre. Entertainment included Devonport’s Renae Singers and a brass trio. The Governor of the day, Sir James Plimsoll, opened the Gallery observing ‘ it was essential every city should have a centre where art could be displayed’ and he pointed out the importance of a gallery being close to the city. The opening exhibition was a retrospective of Edith Holmes and Dorothy Stoner’s paintings and drawings.
Much has changed since the official opening 28 years ago – Directors have come and gone, exhibitions have toured and new programming has ensured a constant stream of local visitors and tourists. Walls have been added, flooring replaced, and new additions such as The Little Gallery and The Little Shop have served to make the Gallery an enriching experience for all who visit.
So rug up and join staff and Friends of the Gallery with a glass of champagne and cake to celebrate the rich and diverse life of our Gallery on Stewart Street.

Astrid Joyce
Education and Public Programs Officer
Devonport Regional Gallery 45-47 Stewart Street Devoport 7310

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Arts | What's On

Moonah Arts Centre: Friday 17th August : Ethereal

Michael McLaughlin Community Cultural Development Officer Glenorchy City Council
16.08.12 8:25 am

Friday 17th August : Ethereal

Ethereal, Hobart’s premier ambient music ensemble, will perform their unique ‘Aqua’ concert on Friday August 17 at Moonah Arts Centre in collaboration with well-known Tasmanian artist Roger Imms.

Ethereal’s original, emotive music, played on harps, flute, alto flute, cello, didgeridoo, and including singing bowls and verse, weaves a rich multi-layered storyline enhanced by the moods of Roger Imms’ stunning seascape paintings.  Included in the concert is Roger’s powerpoint presentation, adding a layer of richness to Ethereal’s intensely powerful soundscape. This combination takes the audience on a journey to discover a world of natural beauty through sound and music.

Saturday 18th August : Moonah Nights

Three generations of musicians from Tasmania’s emerging, culturally diverse communities will come together on Saturday the 18th of August for a unique night of live world music as part of the Moonah Arts Centre’s special events program.

Moonah Nights is a development showcase for culturally diverse musicians, keen to share their cultural traditions and develop new audiences for their unique style of music.  See and hear contemporary and traditional musicians and vocalists from Iran performing in Farsi; maybe get your first taste of Karen Burmese pop; or thrill to the dance and vocal traditions of the Dinka speaking community. Madi speaking Adunga players will present from both the traditional repertoire of this popular African string instrument as well as contemporary compositions. Hear generations of vocalists from the great musical traditions of the Congo and Zimbabwe.

Your weekend of live music at the Moonah Arts Centre

Where: 65 Hopkins St.  Moonah
When: Friday the 17th and Saturday 18th August
Times: Doors open from 7pm for a 7:30pm start both nights
Entry by Gold Coin Donation

Michael McLaughlin
Community Cultural Development Officer
Glenorchy City Council
Ph (03) 62166312
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The 2012 Works Festival on Elwick Bay
Thurs. Nov 8th to Sun. Nov 11th

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Arts | What's On

Shepherd of the hills

Paula Xiberras
15.08.12 7:46 am


It seems fitting in this season of the Olympics to perhaps chat about a person that demonstrates all, and more, of the courage of an Olympic athlete and continues to inspire. Even though she never made it to an Olympic games to perform as an athlete this potential Olympian has proven to be a gold medal winner in the stadium of life rather than sport.

I had the pleasure of chatting to Janine Shepherd earlier this year on the publication of her new book.

For those that don’t know Janine was preparing for the 1988 Calvary Winter Olympics and touted to be Australia’s first ever medallist in the Winter Olympics as a skier when she was hit by a truck while riding her bike on a training ride in the blue mountains. The outlook of the doctors was bleak. Janine’s neck and back were broken and she had massive blood loss, a damaged abdomen and had sustained internal injuries. Her leg had been torn open and her ribs and collarbone were fractured.

But Janine proved the doctors wrong and slowly began rehabilitation. At a time when she was struggling to walk Janine’s answer was she would learn to fly, gaining a licence and if that wasn’t enough she became an aerobatics instructor as well as becoming Australia’s first female director of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority! Janine has always been a goal getter as we;; as a goal setter and talented in many sports. She encourages others to go after their goals too.

Janine has became a prolific author, penning four books on her experiences and her story was also made into a telemovie.

Janine realised her dream of taking part in an Olympics when she was torch bearer at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney and since then as continued to evolve as an athlete including dabbling in dressage.

For all her achievements Janine has had many awards bestowed upon her including an order of Australia and is very involved in the public speaking circuit.

Something that Janine always says and that is bought to the fore in her new book of inspirational quotes is that:

“You have to love the hills but not necessarily like them.”

It encourages us to learn to love the challenges even if we don’t particularly like them!

Janine is a living example of believing in oneself to overcome the odds and indeed she shows it can be done. Of course Janine was an athlete at peak fitness at the time of the accident so perhaps this higher than average physical excellence gave her a strong chance of overcoming the challenges before her, but Janine believes we all have the ability to harness that energy within us and it all starts with being able to accept where we are and work from there. It is part of being human to accept some things will be a struggle but by accepting them we are on our way to overcoming, achieving and working through the hard times to get to the good ones.

Janine is in high demand on the talk circuit in Australia and now America also beckons for some of Janine’s inspirational wisdom.

Janine is a admirer of Deeprak Chopra and one wonders with the spirituality surrounding her if that symbolism of her name is not a coincidence. With her inspiration and encouragement for others Janine really is a shepherd leading her flock into believing in their own strengths and ability to overcome obstacles and by loving those obstacles or hills learning to take them in their stride.

Janine’s new book ‘The Gift of Acceptance’ is out now.

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Simon says

Paula Xiberras
15.08.12 7:44 am


This week I spoke to Simon Shapiro the bass player for 1927 . Simon is also a solo artist who has performed with Boz Scaggs and Belinda Carlisle among others, but for the moment is content to be performing with 1927.

1927 tour Tasmania nearly every year and have been here twice since re-forming in 2009.

When visiting the state Simon says the guys usually hire cars for drives through scenic Tasmania and of course they also like searching out bargains and Tassie treasures at Salamanca Market.

This years coming tour will be one of their biggest yet as they will sing all of their famed ‘ish’  and other past albums as well as showcasing their new album.

Through all of 1927’s history front man Eric Weideman has been the mainstay of the band as it underwent a number of evolutions.

Simon was a friend of Eric’s and was asked by him to join the band. Simon enjoys writing songs with Eric and being part of the band that created songs like ‘If I could’ an oft chosen song for weddings that have entered Australia’s musical make up.

Simon says music is a great equaliser, whoever you are and whatever your background you can be affected and respond to music.

Simon also does some work with disability services for kids and believes in the power of music to reach out and it’s ability to communicate with all. He enjoys performing, but realises when you are there performing you are to an extent giving the audience what they want. Writing is special to him because he doesn’t have to put on an act but can be himself.

One of the curious things we touch on during the conversation is how the numbers 1927 have hovered around the band’s everyday happenings. When touring, ironically one band member once got a room 19 and another, room 27. Another coincidence was the performance in a theatre founded in 1927. This theatre was the theatre used in their comeback concerts! Almost as if they were receiving some universal affirmation for their return.

It may be coincidence but it could also be a case of synchronicity that is telling the guys this is where they are meant to be and for now Simon for one is happy to let things stay that way.

You can see 1927 perform at the Country Club show room on Friday 14 September and at the Wrest Point Casino on Saturday 15 September. 

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Arts | What's On

The Easy Day Was Yesterday: Not just another story about an SAS soldier ...

Sharon Evans Big Sky Publishing - Marketing and Communications
10.08.12 7:05 am


“This is a story about a life of struggle and adventure, about looking for the next challenge, about getting out of difficult situations and about making the best of the ordinary hand you’re dealt. This is my life story and it’s told simply and without exaggeration. This is me. I begin my story with my arrest in India for a simple, honest mistake. I only spent 24 days in that rat-infested toilet, but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do (and I’ve been through a fair bit of shit in my time). During my stay in prison I had a lot of time to think about my life, what I’d done, what I’d seen and what I’d been through.” 

The Easy Day Was Yesterday is a no holds barred look at the life of, ex-Australian SAS soldier, international security adviser and author Paul Jordan - a man who in his career has seen a life’s worth of tragedies and is currently often found working in high risk locations throughout the world.  Told from his cage in a putrid Indian goal in his new book he reflects on a life lived on the edge and the decisions that have led him to this moment in time.  Told with an undercurrent of humour this is an extraordinary true story of a tough, hardened fighter - fast paced, brutally honest and raw. 

Author and Book Information

“I was an SAS soldier — a warrior, the best of the best. While I was sitting in my cell I reflected on the SAS selection process, how I got there and how bloody tough it was. I thought about my childhood and how my father abandoned the family to a life of poverty and a daily struggle just to make ends meet. I thought about my brother’s death when I was 11 and how that had an impact on the direction my life took. I thought about the jungles of Borneo and how hot it was. But it was hotter trying to sleep in the police station on the night I was arrested.”

Deeply affected by the loss of his father and his brother, Paul’s childhood led him to become a young man hell bent on being the best of the best – an ambition he achieved by being selected to join the elite Australian SAS.  As an SAS soldier he saw firsthand the horrors of war including the genocide in Rwanda. In his current role as security advisor he often travels into hot spots all over the world including pursuing bandits in Papua New Guinea, protected CNN crewmen during the Iraq, and facing death on a massive scale as he accompanies reporters into the devastated Indonesian town of Banda Aceh, flattened by the Boxing Day tsunami. 

On the last day of a job training Nepali journalists - one mistake, a rickshaw ride in the wrong direction, would result in Paul being incarcerated in a stinking jail in India for 24days, an event that would challenge all his previous concepts of the hardest ‘thing’ he’d been through.  In his words the reality of this situation seems unbelievable, ‘How has this become my life? I’m in prison for .... sake. I’m in prison in the poorest state in Indian for something utterly ridiculous. I thought I was better than this.  Man, I really ......  up this. Big Time’.

The core of Paul Jordan’s eventful life is the ability of the human spirit to survive even the direst adversity.

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Goodbye Tiger in Tasmania

Paula Xiberras
10.08.12 6:56 am


Richard Clapton is returning to Tasmania soon for performances in Hobart and Launceston and I recently chatted to him about this and his new album ‘Harlequin Nights’.

The title ‘Harlequin Nights’, Richard explains has nothing to do with the theme of the album,as it was chosen quite randomly by an associate when Richard couldn’t decide between the 70 possible titles he had come up with. Richard does however say the title will be very appropriate for the cover photography which was taken at Luna Park.

Richard is looking forward to getting back to Tasmania as he has fond memories here, but because of the cost effectiveness of the tour there will be little time for extra curricular activities this time around.

As well as a new album Richard has been working on his autobiography of recent times but finds it difficult to knuckle down to writing and still has another 20 years to write about! He got a good start to the book when he took a break away with his laptop in the middle of nowhere and with his lap top managed to write half of his autobiography!

Richard is a perfectionist and although he has written some songs in the past quite quickly to meet a deadline his advice to songwriters starting out would be to take as long as you want in writing your song until you are happy it is complete. Although we could argue that Richard has achieved perfection in his song writing, he still says coming back to some songs he feels they are incomplete. Songs like ‘Girls on the Avenue’ (which only took an hour and a half to write),  ‘I am an Island’ and ‘Capricorn dancer’ have become part of Australia’s soundtrack.

Richard believes his time working as a producer on INXS’s second album and learning about rhythm from John Farris helped him become more open to ideas about music and move away from solely being a singer in the fashion of Bob Dylan and Neil Young where the focus was on melody and lyrics.

Richard went on to talk to me about ‘Goodbye Tiger’ written in a fishing village in Denmark , perhaps best known for the fact Bridget Bardot once had a house there. In the atmosphere of snow falling and a blizzard it was quite a contrast and perhaps a symptom of homesickness that he would write about Australia and the images it evokes such as the red and yellow flags of Bondi beach.  ‘Deep water’, one of the songs, is a song in homage to both Bondi and the Northern Beaches.

One interesting fact is that Richard is possibly the only rock artist beneficiary of a grant to travel and write songs.

You can see Richard perform at the Launceston Country Club on Friday 31 August and at the Wrest Point Casino on Saturday 1 September 2012.

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Arts | What's On

Andrew’s wish (of the) heart!

Paula Xiberras
10.08.12 6:52 am


Andrew Wishart has the perfect name. Of all the contestants in last year’s X factor he most definitely had the most heartfelt wish, or wishing heart, for a career in music, more so when you realise he has put his savings into fulfilling that dream.

I recently talked to Andrew and asked him how often he gets down to Tassie and was surprised to hear he was in Tassie 18 months ago, not in his new found role as full time singer, but for some work he did for an advertising company in the North Coast. Andrew is very much the professional musician and doesn’t like the allusion focusing on his day job as a vendor as was perpetuated on his TV appearances.

Andrew has embarked on a national tour and if he had it his way he would be doing so all the time travelling around Australia to the regional areas that often miss out on music acts and playing his acoustic set inspired by such musicians as John Cougar, Diesel, John Farnham and Dire Straits.

Andrew was the runner up in the competition just missing out on victory by 1 per cent of votes, and has not been able to secure a recording contract like many of the top contestants from the show, but with determination he has brought out an album on his own steam and his lovely coach Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who had such a strong faith in Andrew throughout the competition, was one of the first offering to buy his album. Even though her great tutelage made her worthy of a free copy.

Andrew arrived at X Factor after years of saying to his family that he could sing as good as many of the musicians that featured on TV and at his family’s insistence he finally took the plunge arriving at the Moonah Valley auditions and the rest is history.

He has even given the music bug to his family, the kids can sing and so it might well be the Wisharts transform into a von Trapp singing group!

Andrew is publicising his new album, of both new material and covers of songs he admires. He wants his concerts to seem like the audience are sitting at home in a comfortable chair. The tour has been a great success with crowds coming out with their support. At last Andrews dreams are coming true and so the title of the album rings true ‘Never too late’ as Andrew inspires all those that have procrastinated to believe they to, can go out and take a chance. A friend, tongue in cheek, said to Andrew the album should be called ‘About bloody time’ and we have to agree it’s about time Andrew gets his time in the limelight because there are not many that deserve it more.

Andrew is appearing at Wrest Point Casino on Friday 7 September and Saturday 8 at the Launceston Country Club.

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Arts | What's On


Anne Robertson, PGAV Executive Officer, Public Galleries Association of Victoria
09.08.12 12:55 pm

The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) is pleased to announce it will hold its annual conference at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) on 30 & 31 August 2012.FUTURE VISION: The Public Gallery in the 21st Century will consider the impact of MONA on the sector and map out a future vision for public galleries across Australia.

“Whilst visitation at public galleries continues to rise, the sector is still the poor second cousin to the performing arts when it comes to government support at all levels (local, state and federal) as well as private, philanthropic and corporate support. This is partly due to the identity crisis currently facing the sector. Is it eletist, stuffy and bitchy or inspiring, engaging and dynamic? Now is the time for public galleries to put petty jealousies aside and collaborate to create truly inspiring visual arts experiences.” said PGAV spokespersonDr Jody Evans.

FUTURE VISION is a call to arms for all those interested in creating inspiring visual art experiences. The conference brings together public galleries, arts agencies, government supporters, philanthropists and corporate supporters. Presenters include:

Sam Meers, President, Nelson Meers Foundation (NSW) who will discuss the critical role of private support in enabling innovation in the visual arts.

Nicole Durling, Senior Curator, MONA who will discuss curation in the 21st Century

Kate Ryan, Curator, Children’s Art Centre, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art who will outline strategies to engage youth audiences.

The PGAV is the peak body for the public gallery sector in Victoria. We represent over fifty public galleries across the state. This is the first time the PGAV has held its conference outside of Victoria and included a national audience. “We are thrilled to be bringing the public gallery sector together at MONA to map out our future vision.” said Julie Adams, PGAV president.

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Arts | What's On

National Bookshop Day Saturday August 11

Rachel Edwards, Events Manager Fullers Bookshop
09.08.12 12:48 pm

11am-2pm, Fullers Bookshop Hobart

On Saturday 11th August 2012, Fullers Bookshop asks you to support your community by joining with them to celebrate National Bookshop Day.

In locations all across Australia, bookshops will be celebrating. Buoyed by the success of the inaugural National Bookshop Day in 2011, Fullers will showcase its place in the community by hosting community leaders in store and a sausage sizzle (gold coin donation for Indigenous Literacy).

Community leaders have selected their favourite books and will be trying their hand at bookselling. Confirmed so far are Andrew Holman, editor at the Mercury, Heather Francis, CEO of the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation, Dale Campisi, editor of Island, Craig Joel, local author, Rebecca Fitzgibbon, Mercury culture columnist and Craig Mackie, managing partner of Mackie Crompton Barristers and Solicitors.

The Recyclibrarians will also be setting up their innovative free book exchange nearby and there will be a live blog of the day’s celebrations on social media.

Supported by the Australian Booksellers Association, bookshops will be reinforcing their message that local bookshops are an integral part of the Australian way of life.

Throughout Australia, hundreds of shops will be holding events and having activities, or simply saying thank you to the readers, writers, libraries and schools that support them.

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Books | What's On

The Amazing Asha

Paula Xiberras
08.08.12 4:26 pm


Asha Martin is a delightful young woman and her name suits her as the name Asha means ‘hope’ and also means ‘light’ in Swahili.  With such an optimistic meaning to her name, as you would expect, her literature speaks of optimism, and being fantasy fiction her writing makes us believe anything is possible including a world replete in magic and inhabited by magical creatures. Equally Asha’s book is based in the real world and reminds us of how the strength of friendship and love can believe all things.

I met Asha and her mum, and sometime illustrator, June recently to discuss Asha’s new book ‘The Amazing Prism’.  Asha already has a volume of poetry to her credit which includes poetry about everyday life and the fantasy world.

Asha has a vision impairment but any impairment in seeing seems to have made her inner sight even more acute and made her more open to visualising an amazing world. Asha achieved a professional children’s writing diploma from the Australian College of Journalism in March 2001 and is also the recipient of the Shugg Memorial Award from Tascare. The award is given to people who enhance or influence others with their positivity.

She works as a teacher’s aide at Richmond Primary school and so is pretty clued in to what children want in literature. She tells me she read the book to the students and they gave it the thumbs up. Asha’s mum also tells me that Asha did a fantastic job on all the voices of the various characters.

Asha became interested in writing when she became hooked on a cartoon program. Each week she would devise what she thought would happen and even if when she had found out what the next episode offered didn’t necessarily align with her own interpretation.

‘The Amazing Prism’ may be fantasy fiction but ultimately it is about friendship. Two girls who move close together physically and become neighbours, but also metaphorically become closer as friends through a shared magical experience. The girl’s story mirrors the story of the two sisters, one of whom lived in the house one of the friends has moved in to. In fact there are clues in the story the girls are as close as sisters as a comment is made that they are ‘mistaken for sisters’.

The girls become amateur detectives in their quest to discover and understand the amazing prism and to give it a fitting conclusion.

Asha says there may be a sequel to the book although at the moment she has another book in the works.

You can meet Asha at the launch of ‘The Amazing Prism’ at Fullers Bookshop’ this Thursday at 5.30pm and you can also join her reading group at Richmond in a lovely environment to foster fantasy fiction writing and discussion as the area possesses an amazing maze where you can lose yourself and maybe find the genesis of that next novel!

Earlier on Tasmanian Times: FULLERS: The Amazing Prism by Asha Martin, Thursday, August 9, 5.30pm

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Arts | Books | What's On


The Hobart Bookshop
08.08.12 2:37 pm


Bloodhouse reveals the previously-untold real story of Australia’s most amazing jail escaper, Darcy ‘Houdini’ Dugan, and exposes high levels of political and police corruption in NSW in the late 1900s.

A career robber, Dugan escaped from custody six times, mostly from ‘escape-proof’ circumstances. He once went through a ceiling, the roof and sneaked over the outer wall at Sydney’s Long Bay Jail in daylight, 30 metres away from an armed guard, only 25 minutes after being imprisoned.

Most of Bloodhouse is written by Dugan from notes he smuggled out of jail and gave to then-journalist Michael Tatlow, who has written the final chapters. It also features 16 pages of graphic illustrations, including numerous front page stories and letters Darcy wrote to Michael from prison.

Tatlow, honouring a promise to Darcy Dugan, had to withhold his manuscript for the book until corrupt enemies they exposed had ‘turned to dust’. Once ‘Mister Big of Crime’ in Sydney, the late Leonard McPherson, for instance, threatened Tatlow at gunpoint never to write a book revealing what Dugan had told him.

The book’s title Bloodhouse, is the nickname for notoriously brutal Grafton jail, where Dugan spent a record eleven years of torture, despite him never being a murderer. Ironically, the prisons department, in July 2012, announced that Grafton jail would soon be closed. Michael Tatlow has said, ‘Heck, they must have heard that the book is coming!’

Bloodhouse tells of a conspiracy in 1970 by then Premier Askin, three Sydney detectives and McPherson to get freed Darcy Dugan back in jail to stop his public accusations of high-level corruption, later proven accurate by the royal commissions.

Dugan was a counsellor at Sydney’s Wayside Chapel when the police told newspaper baron Sir Frank Packer that Dugan planned to kidnap Sir Frank’s grandchildren, Kerry’s children James and Gretel. And that Michael Tatlow knew about it.

Packer believed it, stopped the Daily Telegraph’s support for Dugan’s claims, and sacked his young Chief-of-Staff and Pictorial Editor, Tatlow, who was writing Bloodhouse.

Betrayals of Dugan by McPherson, and convictions for crimes he evidently did not commit, added seventeen years to Dugan’s time in jail.

Darcy Ezekial Dugan was a career robber and brilliant jail escapee. In later life he became a rehabilitation officer, until he died from Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Michael Tatlow was Chief-of-Staff and Pictorial Editor at the Daily Telegraph, News Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and Acting Editor of The Bulletin. He also worked as Producer and Chief-of-Staff for ABC-TV News in Tasmania. Michael has published four previous books.

Bloodhouse | Darcy Dugan with Michael Tatlow | HarperCollins | 9780732295523 | $29.99

The launch will be at the Hobart Bookshop, Salamanca Square, at 5.30 p.m. Thursday, August 9.

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Arts | Books | What's On

HOBART BOOKSHOP: Bob Brown launches David Day’s Antarctica: A Biography

The Hobart Bookshop
08.08.12 9:57 am


Please join us as we celebrate the launch, by Bob Brown, of David Day’s new book, Antarctica: A Biography.

When: Monday August 20, 5.30pm
Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square

A groundbreaking history of human interaction with Antarctica, the last continent on earth. For centuries it was suspected that there must be an undiscovered continent in the southern hemisphere. But explorers failed to find one. On his second voyage to the Pacific, Captain James Cook sailed further south than any of his rivals but failed to sight land. It was not until 1820 that the continent’s frozen coast was finally discovered and parts of the continent began to be claimed by nations that were intent on having it as their own. That rivalry intensified in the 1840s when British, American and French expeditions sailed south to chart further portions of the continent that had come to be called Antarctica. Antarctica: A Biography draws upon libraries and archives from around the world to provide the first, large-scale history of Antarctica. On one level, it is the story of explorers battling the elements in the most hostile place on earth as they strive for personal triumph, commercial gain and national glory. On a deeper level, it is the story of nations seeking to incorporate the Antarctic into their national narratives and to claim its frozen wastes as their own.

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
P 03 6223 1803 . F 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Books | What's On

Winter Dance School

07.08.12 6:50 pm

Tasdance are hosting a Winter Dance School in Hobart, beginning Monday 13 August and running until Saturday 25 August. One of our company dancers, Malcolm McMillan, will be conducting a series of classes open to the general public and dance enthusiasts.

If you are interested in trying contemporary dance for the first time, are a seasoned dancer, or know someone who would be interested in attending, please register for classes at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by calling Tasdance office on 6331 6644.

Please see attached pdf for information on class times, and feel free to distribute the information to anyone you know who might be interested.

Classes are only $10, so come on, register now!

Don’t miss out!

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Arts | What's On

FULLERS: The Amazing Prism by Asha Martin, Thursday, August 9, 5.30pm

Rachel Edwards, Events Manager Fullers Bookshop
07.08.12 2:48 pm

The Amazing Prism by Asha Martin will be launched by the Mayor of Sorell, Carmel Torenius, at Fullers Bookshop on Thursday, August 9 at 5.30pm.

Author Asha Martin, who was found to be vision impaired soon after her birth, attained a Professional Children’s Writing Diploma through the Australian College Of Journalism when she was 16 years of age.

This is her second book and it tells the story of best friends, Julie and Alley and what they discover in the attic of the new house. The discovery will test their friendship and change their lives. 

The Amazing Prism is a light-hearted fantasy, filled with action and adventure and suitable for readers aged 10-14

All are welcome to attend this free event.

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Master to reveal gripping story secrets in new writers’ course

07.08.12 6:46 am


Aspiring writers can hone their story-telling skills with an award-winning writer in a new course, running fortnightly in Hobart from 19 August.

Run by the non-profit Tasmanian Writers’ Centre, the short story course will be taught by author Philomena van Rijswijk, a winner of the National Year of Reading short story competition last year.

Writers’ Centre Director, Ms Chris Gallagher, said the course welcomed participants who are new to writing short stories as well as those with experience.

“The short story is the closest literary art form to story-telling, and is becoming even more relevant and popular,” she said.

“Philomena is an experienced author, teacher and judge of national short story competitions, so the expertise she brings to this course will be outstanding.”

‘A series of six sessions allows writers time to explore, craft and refine their work.’

The course will run fortnightly on Sunday mornings. Topics covered include:

* The shape of the short story - why suspense and twists are a cop-out

* The poetry of the short story - hinting at hidden depths

* Authenticity in your stories - place, time, language, dialogue and paradox

* How loving your characters means loving real people

* Where to start a story - not with a bang and not with a whimper

* Where to finish a story - handing over, and leaving room for the reader

Ms van Rijswijk said she was excited about working with aspiring and experienced writers in Hobart. 

‘Writers need to be nurtured,’ she said. “We will work in a non-judgemental, encouraging atmosphere.”

“This workshop will explore the wonderfully creative act of writing a short story, as well as understanding craft and technique.

“I’m hoping that writers will be enthused to go home and try the different ideas that we will develop throughout the course.’

Philomena van Rijswijk is a Tasmanian novelist, poet and short story writer whose work has been published throughout Australia, in Ireland and India, and in Hindi translations.  She is an experienced teacher and judge of national short story competitions. Philomena has published reviews of fiction and poetry and has been fiction editor of “Coastlines”, an Australian/Indonesian literary magazine.  Her novel The World as a Clockface is described as “an impressive Australian historical fantasy… Van Rijswijk’s style owes more to Garcia Marquez and Borges than to English-speaking writers. … her story is ethereal, quirky and complex.”  (Scratch Pad 68, 2008)

The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre’s short story writing course, A Fireside Companion, with Philomena van Rijswijk, will be held fortnightly from 9.30am to 12 noon on Sundays, beginning on Sunday 19 August, at the Salamanca Arts Centre Meeting Room.  Fees are $264 for the six sessions, plus membership fee from $25. Payment in two instalments can be requested. The Centre is also offering two scholarships for people aged 25 or under, the fee for these is $200. For bookings, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone 6224 0029.  Full details are at

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06.08.12 1:13 pm

The Grim Experience  

Best Kept Secret

Facebook film fans can win free passes to the 2012 Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) to be held November 8-11 in Launceston and Hobart by voting for their favourite short film in the “Essence of Tasmania” People’s Choice.

In the “Essence of Tasmania” competition, run by BOFA and Tourism Tasmania, film makers were asked to tell a story that captured the essence of Tasmania in less than three minutes.

The seven best short films can be seen on the BOFA Facebook page, and film lovers are invited to vote for the one they think best captures the essence of Tasmania.

Everyone who lodges a vote before August 31 will be able to purchase half price tickets to BOFA 2012, and five lucky voters will win a free pass to the full festival.  Winners will be announced in early September.

Festival Director Owen Tilbury said that he had been delighted with the standard of the entries, which showed innovative, fresh and creative approaches to film making.

Tourism Tasmania awarded prizes of $5,000 to three of the films and will use them for online promotion of the state.

Tourism Tasmania CEO Tony Mayell said that the short films had been creative, entertaining and effective.

“We are delighted by the way the entries presented such different views of Tasmania. Each captured an essence of Tasmania that went beyond the predictable,” he said.

The seven finalists were:
• Nick Stranger: A Portrait of Tasmanian Surfing – Simon Treweek
• Mr Thomkins’ Pies – by David Broadfield
• My Tasmania – by Saige Dingemanse
• The Grim Experience – Andrew Quaile
• The Tigers – by Tristan Klein
• Best Kept Secret – David Pyefinch
• Heaven of Spirituality, Home of Peace – by Shung Yiu Wong
To view the seven winning shorts and vote for your favourite go to the BOFA Film Festival Facebook page and click on the Short Film Competition box.

In 2012, BOFA plans to showcase over the Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 November, international and Australian feature films/documentaries,  short films,  cinema related exhibitions (in partnership with Queen Victoria Museum),  master-classes and parties, but, as well, is adding a new Make a Difference Day (Sunday 11th November) incorporating a free community open day, a major Big Ideas debate (in partnership with The St James Ethics Centre), screenings of a Make a Difference Day short film competition, features/documentaries, several master-classes run by industry experts, and writers’ festival speakers all on Make a Difference themes. The Make a Difference Day will be the culmination of the festival and will highlight the purpose of inspiring “positive change”. 

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HOBART BOOKSHOP: Last Days of The Mill

The Hobart Bookshop
05.08.12 4:22 am


The Hobart Bookshop and 40 South Publishing are pleased to invite you to the launch (by Tim Thorne) of Pete Hay and Tony Thorne’s new book, Last Days of the Mill, a story in poetry and images of the closure of Burnie’s pulp mill.

For seven decades ‘The Pulp’ constructed the social, economic and environmental circumstances of life on the North-West Coast. In 2011, on the last day of its operation, artist Tony Thorne went on site armed with sketchpad and camera. And writer Pete Hay came to Burnie armed with notepad and recorder, to talk to displaced mill workers. The result is this extraordinary collaboration of dramatic monologues in the vernacular voice of the mill floor and artworks of stark, confronting beauty that vividly capture the dying days of an industrial colossus.

For more information about the book (including a recording of a reading by Pete Hay),

visit the website: .

What: Tim Thorne will launch Last Days of the Mill (Pete Hay and Tony Thorne).
When: Thursday August 16, 5.30pm
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

Free event, all welcome.

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These ladies have wings to fly!‏

Paula Xiberras
02.08.12 3:17 pm


I sat down with theatre director Chris Hamley this week to have a chat about his latest directorial project, ‘Waiting in the Wings’, the Noel Coward play.

‘Waiting in the Wings’, a play about a retirement home for former actresses, was received without much joy at its debut, possibly because of its subject matter, Chris explains it is short on ‘action and beautiful young things’ and the subject matter may make some people feel uncomfortable as it deals with ageing and its manifestations, it’s a pity because as Chris says it is a rare thing indeed to find a vehicle for an ensemble of women that are no longer ingénues. Noel Coward thought highly of this his 50th play and this milestone work also in his opinion, contained some of the best written scenes of his career.

For anyone thinking maybe this play is not their cup of tea, consider as Chris said, that you will be able to recognise a lady close to you in the wonderfully drawn characters, whether it be a jolly or kindly aunt or grandmother, or a lady more on the bitter or quarrelsome side.

One of the reasons Chris chose to do this play was because he had previously produced it with his Elizabeth College class who, he tells me did an excellent job of playing 70 plus year olds! No mean feat for a group of 17 year olds.

Chris also says if you are looking for deep interpretation in this play, don’t necessarily do so. It’s a straightforward story of substance about people, people we can all identify with in navigating the course of ageing as we all do and if there is a difference it may be they are facing it with more trepidation than perhaps the average person. The play explores the plight of people who define themselves and their careers by their youth and looks but as Noel Coward says ageing doesn’t need to be such an unpleasant prospect if faced with humour.

The play also touches on another peril of ageing for actors, but in no way inevitable, i.e. the possibility of dementia, and this is poignantly brought to the fore when one of the character’s Almina finds her ability to learn lines fails her and she says ‘her spirit is broken’.

Chris says this is a wonderful ensemble piece with gentle humour not slapstick and full of the wit that we are so familiar with in Noel Coward presentations. Not defined as a comedy or a drama it contains elements of both.

Even though there may not be levels of interpretation to discover in this play it’s tempting to think perhaps the old broken TV set at the retirement home reminds us that although some of these actors may be a little cranky, so not always giving us the most perfect reception, they still possess that vital spark.

Chris is very happy with how this play is unfolding and looking forward to more directing later this year but still ultimately craving the craft of acting which he keeps up with as part of the Louisa’s walk re-enactment. You can see Chris regularly as a part of Louisa’s walk

‘Waiting in the Wings’ plays at The Playhouse from August 3-18.

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Entries for the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Prizes open tomorrow

31.07.12 1:36 pm

Entries for the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Prizes open on Wednesday, 1 August.

Download details:



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Hobart Rotary Charity Art Show at Wrest Point casino

Barbara Etter
31.07.12 7:44 am


Do put 6pm, Friday 10 August 2012 in your social calendars for the artistic event of the year - the Hobart Rotary Charity Art Show at Wrest Point casino. The opening night is only $25 a head and you can be the first to see a display of 400 original works or more by Tasmanian artists. And they will be at affordable prices.

I have done a few pieces for the event particularly for the Birds and Animals category. BEtter Consulting is also a diamond sponsor.

It is for a great cause, so do come along!

If you can’t make it Friday night, the pieces are on display during the day on both Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm in the Boardwalk Gallery and Wellington Room. There will be working demonstrations by unique artists, bands, colouring in facilities for the kids etc.

Hope to see you there.

Booking form available from

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STATE CINEMA: Scarlett Road

Jade Barker Tasmanian Project Coordinator Scarlett Alliance
31.07.12 6:58 am

Scarlet Road, an amazing film that follows the work of Rachel Wotton, a sex worker whose work focuses primarily on working with clients with a disability.

Please take the time to look at the trailer 

Ticket are available to book/purchase from the State Cinema



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Never coming back from Blubberhead Road …

31.07.12 6:05 am



Never coming back from Blubberhead Road …

July 30, 2012

The Steve Earle tune went round in my head as I drove down the muddy track to nowhere in Dover, deep in the south of Tasmania.

It was all part of our weekend away from the hustle of Lonnie and a chance to breathe a little.

Dover is a small village with a rich history and ample fodder for my trusty Canon, although as usual, never enough time to do justice.

It was 704am as my peepers focussed on the clock in our overnight room for the second time that morning and I decided that light would surely be my friend, if I forgot about an extended sleep in on our weekend adventure to the other end of the island.

It was a wee bit brisk as you would expect, with snow falling on higher ground later in the day, and the sky was a cycling spectrum of steel grey cloud, opaque rain, gentle blues, through orange and purples in patches of clear sky.

The light was amazing and I caught what I could, where I could.

I played with some fill flash and shot freehand with some higher than preferred ISO settings, but the experiment is all part of the excitement of the journey.

So enjoy the snapshot into our life as the weekend that was.



And here they are:
a digital photographer



Check these paintings ...yes they are paintings ...

She had a display at The Petty Sessions cafe

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Arts | Society | What's On


30.07.12 1:21 pm

Photo by Bookend Trust: Sophie Warren (left) and Katie Mulder (right) at the summit of Mt Weld, southern Tasmania, who were filmed while making a difference as part of Bookend Trust’s biological survey conducted by summer scholarship students, in partnership with the BayerBoost program and the Australian Geographic Society

BOFA Make a Difference Day

The Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) will this year challenge both filmmakers and the Tasmanian community to make the world a better place.

BOFA 2012 will run from November 8 to 11 at Launceston’s Inveresk precinct and on Sunday, November 11, the final day of the Festival, BOFA will partner with Bendigo Bank, the Rotary Club of Tamar Sunrise and Volunteering Tasmania to stage Tasmania’s first Make a Difference Day.

Festival Director Owen Tilbury explained that, because BOFA was all about films that inspire positive change, this year’s Festival would challenge both filmmakers and the community to get involved in making a difference.

“The heart and soul of BOFA lies in inspiring people to make positive changes at a personal, local and global level. The stories, the film-makers, the community events, the ideas and the debates, are all about leaving the world better than we found it,” he said.

Make a Difference Day will be a free public event at Inveresk, with a farmer’s market, a craft market, healthy foods and local wines, music and children’s entertainment.

Stalls will also explain how people can make a difference personally, locally and globally, with many sporting, environmental and volunteering organisations represented.

Organisations interested in participating should contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or go to the web site for details.

BOFA “Make a Difference” Short Film Competition

In conjunction with Bendigo Bank and Volunteering Tasmania, BOFA 2012 is also challenging film makers to craft a three minute story - documentary or fictional - about making a positive difference.

Stories can be in any genre, but must be shot in high definition, in English or subtitled, and less than three minutes in length.

The screen based stories will be judged on three criteria: excellence in storytelling, excellence in film making, and excellence in capturing the Make a Difference theme.

Festival Director Owen Tilbury said that judges would be looking for creativity, innovation and fresh ways of telling a story.

“It could be about a volunteer in the community, overcoming adversity, improving the environment, human rights issues, or new technology which is making a difference - the short film is only limited by the film maker’s creativity and ability to tell a powerful story with beginning, middle and end.”

Short films can be entered in three categories:
• BOFA Make a Difference Open Award, - $5,000 donated by Jackson Volkswagen
• BOFA Make a Difference Youth (under 25) Award- $2,000 donated by the University of Tasmania and the Launceston City Council
• BOFA Make a Difference Student Award- $1,000 donated by the Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning
There will be free screenings of the best of the short films throughout the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival, and the winners will be announced at the Festival’s most glamorous event, the Awards Dinner on Saturday, November 10.

Competition details and the entry process are available on the BOFA website at  or via withoutabox. Entries close on September 30.


In 2012, BOFA plans to showcase over the Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 November, international and Australian feature films/documentaries,  short films,  cinema related exhibitions (in partnership with Queen Victoria Museum),  master-classes and parties, but, as well, is adding a new Make a Difference Day (Sunday 11th November) incorporating a free community open day, a major Big Ideas debate (in partnership with The St James Ethics Centre), screenings of a Make a Difference Day short film competition, features/documentaries, several master-classes run by industry experts, and writers’ festival speakers all on Make a Difference themes. The Make a Difference Day will be the culmination of the festival and will highlight the purpose of inspiring “positive change”. 

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Arts | What's On

STATE CINEMA: Emerging From Darkness

Matthew Newton
30.07.12 1:14 pm


Emerging from Darkness tells the story of the East Timor Eye Program (ETEP), a voluntary service run by Australians, and aimed at providing eye care for the people of East Timor.

Each year, visiting eye teams from Australia travel to East Timor to distribute spectacles, perform consultations and operations over several 1–2 week visits. The team mainly carries out cataract surgery - the incidence of cataracts in East Timor is very high - but also performs other surgery and provides eye care services as needed. Every year about 700 cataract operations are performed and about 7000 pairs of glasses are provided.

All the surgeons, optometrists and nurses provide their services free of charge to the people of East Timor.

Emerging from Darkness illustrates the scale of need in East Timor following the destruction of property and services in the wake of Indonesia’s withdrawal from the country. But it also tells the story of a brighter future for this tiny new country - for example through the story of 17-year-old Noberto, who hopes to be able to resume his education when his vision is restored through surgery. Noberto hopes to become a doctor, inspired in part by the surgeon who treated him - Dr Marcelino Correia, East Timor’s first qualified eye surgeon.

Emerging from Darkness features interviews with East Timorese President Dr Jose Ramos Horta, ETEP founder Dr Nitin Verma, Dr Marcelino Correia, medical professionals who donate their services to ETEP and some of the East Timorese people whose lives have been changed by the work of the program.

Matthew Newton
Photography / Cinematography
GPO Box 1585, Hobart, 7001
Tasmania, Australia
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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‘Murder in Casablanca” Dinner Theatre

30.07.12 6:56 am


@ Sorell Memorial Hall, Tasman Highway, Sorell
Fri 17 & Sat 18 Aug, 7pm

Sorell on Stage presents a thrilling night of murder, mystery, music and a two course meal!
$30 for Dinner and Show. Group bookings welcome!
Tables of 6 available! Bookings are essential for the catering ladies.

A small group of experienced amateur thespians, bringing quality shows to the community since March 2010.

Sorell on Stage was founded in March 2010 by Robert Thompson. A small group of experienced amateur Thespians answered his call, met, were accepted under the banner of Southern Beaches Regional Arts and decided on its first production/pantomime called “Little Red Riding Hood”
Directed by Ronnie Brello and performed at Sorell School in September 2010.

It was a great success with good crowds laughing, booing and hissing at the antics on stage.

This was followed by a comedy, “Beyond a Joke,” directed by Saakia Itchins and performed at the Sorell Memorial Hall in April 2011. Six new acting enthusiasts joined the group for this production. Four of them had never acted before. There was a wonderful roll up at each performance .

A musical evening, “Welcome Back to the Sixties Man,” directed by Tony Brello in August 2011 was great fun and this was followed by a Variety Concert directed by Trish Evans. She brought together single and group talents from within the community as well as the Rosny Children’s Choir. It was a one off event and the Hall was packed.

“Who Stole the Christmas Puddings” was a Christmas production written and directed by Ronnie Brello. Again, new actors took part and it was well attended.

“The Family Coffin,” written and directed by Saakia Itchins was presented in May 2012 and again, good audience numbers for each performance, and great fun.

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Shoot for the head

Ian Milliss
30.07.12 4:33 am


June 2012 was the 250th issue of Art Monthly Australia and I was one of a number of writers commissioned to celebrate the occasion by writing about “critical art writing”.

My article, which became the lead, was not exactly reverential in tone, in fact I took a fair amount of delight in rubbing in the fact that capital A art is finally dissolving away into a broader culture of everyday life, something I had fought for all my life but which has some very threatening implications for the conventional art world.

The version below is slightly different to the published version because it has some links and a number of minor amendments that never made it into print.

Read the full article here

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Arts | Society

Four-lty Towers

Paula Xiberras
27.07.12 7:26 am


Launceston’s Encore Theatre is in the midst of a sell out season of their production of ‘Fawlty Towers’. In past years the theatre has veered away from its musical origins and taken to playing some classic British TV shows. Last year they performed ‘Allo Allo’ which followed a successful season of ‘Are you being served’. With such success the theatre decided they were on to a winning formula and so this year they are performing four episodes of ‘Fawlty Towers’.

Jamie Hillard is the director of the play and I spoke to him recently about why he thinks these takes on classic TV shows are so successful.

Jamie says most of these TV shows have a cult following and are kept vibrant by the DVD releases. ‘Fawlty Towers’ with only 12 episodes made is a rare gem among British comedies.

Almost everyone knows something about this clever, as opposed to the slapstick of some British comedies. Jamie finds the audiences are so enamoured of the series that they are saying word for word the lines along with the actors as well as being familiar with Basil Fawlty’s ‘goose-step’ and and while some of the time sensitive puns might go over modern audiences heads the image of stick spider basil is universally found funny. 

With another eight episodes for the taking it would seem the group will stay close to their theatrical home and have encore dramatisations of Fawlty Towers in future seasons.

Meticulous attention has been given to these four episodes with an effort to have the cast resembling the original cast as much as possible. There is also a remote controlled rat starring in the infamous rat episode where Manuel’s innocent belief he has a pet hamster causes all sorts of chaos for the restaurant when it gets loose.

A special Sybil Fawlty wig was flown in to take it’s rather overpowering role in the play at the cost of 400 dollars!

There is of course a bit of political in-correctness floating around and landing on people just like the famous moose head but thankfully the moose head at least is light-hearted and made of polystyrene.

There may be good safety conditions on set but the cast has had to really forge ahead with a case of the show must go on as many of them have succumbed to the flu season. Jamie believes the stellar hard work of his cast with long hours has caused a drop in immunity levels and so they have picked up any nasty bugs circulating.

With the success of this ‘Fawlty Towers’ there are plans to bring to the stage more, with ‘Black Adder’ and ‘Dads Army’ on the drawing boards.

Jamie says although they would like to tour with the production the fact that the volunteer cast have their day jobs to think of together with the difficulty in securing accommodation and most importantly a theatre when most are booked out 2 years in advance are also factors which prevent encore touring at the moment.

However you can see Encore Theatre’s production of ‘Fawlty Towers’ at the Earls Arts Centre, Launceston from July 12 to 28.

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Arts | What's On

Girls Gothic Gathering

Paula Xiberras
27.07.12 7:23 am


I recently spoke to actor Maude Davey who will be visiting Tasmania soon with the production ‘The Flood’. The Flood is a Gothic Australian play about the lives of three women, the mother Janet, and her two daughters Dorothy and Catherine.

‘The Flood’ of the title refers to the literal flood that is affecting the land as well as a previous pivotal flood in 1972 when the man of the house Brian, Janet’s husband and the girls father went missing and metaphorically the flood also refers to the flood of emotions and revelations that come to light upon the visit of Catherine to her mother and sister.

Maude Davey has strong Tasmanian connections with her husband David being a Tasmanian and her uncle Richard now living in Strahan. Maude was in Tassie earlier in the year to celebrate with some performances for the anniversary of Salamanca market and next month she will again visit the market as a tourist and also catch up with relatives when she is not making her debut at the Theatre Royal in ‘The Flood’.

‘The Flood’ is Australian Gothic in that it deals with ‘settlers in an alien landscape that is often harsh and unforgivng’.  Jackie Smith the writer comes from rural NSW and is committed to writing about country people and exploring their truths of which this play is to some, frighteningly real. At a question and answer session for the play Jackie found a remarkable recognition by audiences with this story.

The story is about the three woman, the two that remained with a husband and father who cruelly treated the animals as he did humans and some unpleasant incidences of this are recounted in the play . Dorothy the elder sister sent her younger sister Catherine away to protect her and although the two sisters love each other there is often some fierce dialogue between them.

Meanwhile Janet their mother may or may not be suffering from some degenerative disease and is under the belief that she killed her husband. Dorothy encourages her mother to believe this, perhaps in some way hoping the cathartic nature of it will help her mother overcome some of the guilt she feels in not being able to protect her daughters. What really happened to Brian, Janet’s husband is finally revealed.

Maude says the language in the play is so naturalistic the words just fall out of the mouth. The play is not totally grim, there is a fair share of humour which the audience laughs along with but there are also the moments when a more sombre silence is required.

Other elements which increase the Gothicism of the play are the mystery of the identity of the Oleander man , a story which scares children and the representation of the Kraken a powerful spiritual force that originates in the ocean and perhaps provides a fitting metaphor for this drama, itself a powerful piece that originates in secrets and repressed emotions that in time become The Flood

The Flood plays at The Theatre Royal on August 10 and ll.

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