REVIEW: Theatre group filled with passion

THE thing I love about the Plantagenet Players amateur theatre group is their energy.

No matter what the topic of the show is and no matter if someone keeps stumbling on their lines, everyone up on stage wants to be there.

You can see their passion for theatre blazing in their eyes and as an audience member, it is really enjoyable to watch people do what they love.

Sure, there’s a few fourth-wall breaks, prompt-prompting and cheeky winks to family members, but that’s what makes a Plantagenet Players performance special.

It’s their trademark.

Don’t get me wrong – I love theatre shows with all the bells and whistles, but there’s something about a group of people from all corners of the community, getting together to have a laugh, dress-up and just have fun.

That was exactly the case on Friday night when I jumped in the car for an evening trip to Mt Barker to watch Hatches, Matches, Dispatches (and other life snatches!).

Now, I wasn’t too sure what to expect with this production.

I’m pretty hard to impress but the Players had done so before, so I had my fingers crossed that I was in for a good night.

Well, I think the laughter flowing through the crowd around me answered that question.

In traditional Players fashion, the show was comprised of multiple skits, some short and some long.

Each joke was well thought-out with some punchlines weaving through an entire segment before cleverly tying up.

What I love most about shows like this is that, no matter what’s going on in your life, you can rely on the Players to keep you entertained and laughing for a couple of hours.

The theatre itself has a warm and welcoming atmosphere about it, and, of course, you can’t miss the light supper at half-time.

I don’t know what it is about country folk, but they always put on a scrumptious spread of homemade tucker.

It’s the country touch.

If you want to get in on the action, the Players have two more performances this weekend, November 8 and 9, at 8pm.

Get in quick to secure the last few seats by calling 0447 656 105 or by popping into Bub 2 Mum on Lowood Road.

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Hidden talents revealed in doco

ASPIRING filmmakers Bayden and Dylan Redshaw are hoping to lift the lid on how people with a disability live by producing a short film based on Albany theatre production Let’s Shine Brightly.

Produced by Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company, Let’s Shine Brightly is a variety performance starring people living with a disability to give them the opportunity to showcase their public and hidden talents.

The Redshaw brothers have been associated with the company for some time now and were approached by show director Janet McArtney to create a behind-the-scenes documentary film.

It’s all part of a CarersWA campaign called Disabling the Label, aimed at educating mainstream audiences about all the things people living with a disability can do.

“The people in Let’s Shine are very raw, real people, very genuine people; they’re just enjoying themselves and they aren’t here for show, because they’re trying to showcase their talents,” Bayden said.

“So filming them and interviewing them has been quite a natural thing.

“No one shies away from the camera or acts fake when they see it’s recording.”

Bayden said it was a privilege to participate in the project, particularly alongside his brother, as he himself has dealt with disabilities in the past.

He never let them hold him back and he said it’s much the same for other people with a disability – he wanted to highlight that perseverance and drive.

Naomi Lake is performing in Let’s Shine Brightly and will feature in the Redshaws’ documentary, and said she loved being involved.

I love to showcase my hidden talents but coming together? That’s a beautiful thing,” she said.

“To see other people’s hidden talents too… that’s what I love.”

Let’s Shine Brightly will play at Albany Port Theatre on November 30 and December 1 and tickets are on sale now from Paperbark Merchants.

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Sneak preview of theatre offering

PATRONS have the opportunity to get a preview of an upcoming theatre production at this weekends Albany Agricultural Show.

Let’s Shine Brightly, a variety show produced by Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company (ALOTCo), will play on November 30 and De- cember 1 at Albany Port Theatre.

The show has been designed to showcase the talents of people living with a disability.

Emily O’Brien is part of this year’s cast and will be performing her tribute to the Village People’s YMCA at 1.30pm on Friday at the stage located near the food pavilion within the Albany Show showgrounds.

She said she was excited yet terrified to perform at the Show.

But she won’t be alone on the stage – as well as a small ensemble dancing behind her, Ms O’Brien will be performing closely, very closely, with four other dancers.

So close, in fact, you might say they are attached to her.

The unique puppet set-up has been created by ALOTCo’s Sandy O’Doherty and Ms O’Brien felt proud to be chosen to wear it.

“It’s been inspired byan America’s Got Talent performance,” she said.

“When Janet [Let’s Shine Brightly producer] said I could use it for the show, I was gob smacked!”

So don’t forget – Friday at 1.30pm, on the stage near the food pavilion, is where you will find Ms O’Brien performing with her puppet and real co-dancers at this weekend’s Albany Agricultural Show.

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Local returns for WASO show

MOUNT Barker-raised Leanne Glover will return south this week to perform with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

Glover will take centre stage as soloist and Principal Cor Anglais on November 1 with the group she has played alongside for many years.

But before she made a big name for herself, Glover learned all about music at Mount Barker Primary and High Schools with teacher John Bush, later heading to the University of WA to study music and going to Switzerland for four years of postgraduate study.

“He [John Bush] gave us all a great foundation and love for the community found in playing music together,” Glover reflected.

This Friday’s WA Symphony Orchestra performance will be led by Assistant Conductor Carlo Antonioli and feature classical music and the world premiere of a concerto from the MACA Limited Classics concert series.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to learn more about the repertoire and the orchestra at a free pre-concert talk.

Glover will shine in the Ian Grandage Concerto.

“It is a massive highlight in my career,” she said.

“A concerto is a piece of music which features a solo instrument out the front supported by the rest of the orchestra – the process of creating, collaborating on, and performing a concerto written especially for you is both exciting and daunting.

“I hope to do it justice because I really think it’s a wonderful piece.

“It’s both accessible and challenging, fun to play yet emotionally moving.”

The November 1 WA Symphony Orchestra performance at the Albany Entertainment Centre begins at 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at albanyentertainment.com.au.

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Artist goes abstract

DENMARK artist Jen Mitchell is drawing on her Italian-American, abstract-expressionist heritage for an exhibition she describes as the most abstract she has ever created.

Unravelling will open at Albany’s Vancouver Art Centre on November 15 and remain until December 4.

Mitchell defines it as a “neo-Cubist exploration of the human body” and said it is a homage to her Great Aunt Linda Lindeberg, known for her contribution to the American art world as well as for her marriage to Giorgio Cavallon, an Italian-American artist who was one of the founding members of the American Abstract Expressionist Movement.

“This series looks at the way in which our patterns, habits and assumptions are mapped onto the human body to become embedded as knots, which, with the utmost delicacy and care, may be unraveled,” Mitchell said.

“It draws on neo-Cubist influences and plays with the way in which subjects are seen from multiple angles and represent the many facets of a single form.

“These paintings fragment the whole, unravel the stories we tell, and reassemble our bodies in a way that is of our making; they are us, but also something else altogether.”

Mitchell hopes the exhibition can highlight the style and works of her late Great Aunt, as she said like many female artists throughout history, Lindeberg had “slipped into relative obscurity”.

“This is the most abstract work I have undertaken, and it has been a real joy to explore that space which is quite different to my oil landscapes or portraits,” she said.

“For me, creativity is something that feels like it flows through me, not something that I direct in a conscious way, and this series felt like it wanted to be born this year.”

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Exhibition on Noongar history

YUWAALARAAY woman Tahlia Palmer has amalgamated her experiences as a visitor to Menang country in an exhibition opening this week at Vancouver Arts Centre.

Originally from New South Wales but most recently from Perth, Palmer arrived in Albany at the start of the year to explore Albany and its Indigenous connections.

Upon the completion of her exhibition Kinjarling Studies, she hopes to return to her country, Yuwaalaraay country, and create a similar exhibition.

Palmer said she was “really struck” by the beauty of the Albany area.

“I was really inspired and fascinated by the Noongar history here,” she said.

“I wanted to pay homage to that.”

Palmer has done so with the creation of a series of embroidery works, photography and videography.

The Kalgan Fish Traps, The Gap and Porongurup are some of the many locations she visited and gained inspiration from for each of the artworks.

The soundtracks of her videography work – which she recorded while on location in various areas – will be sold separately as a stand-alone album.

“It’s a way for people to connect with the beauty they see here with something a bit deeper than the European history,” Palmer said.

Kinjarling Studies will open this Friday with a special get-together for all to attend from 6-8pm and close on November 21.

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Dance event has right spirit

A DANCE group that prides itself on inclusivity and acceptance is hosting its spring showcase this weekend.

Bonnie Giles Production Company, headed by owner Jade Smith, will present Spirit of Spring this Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 3pm at Antonia’s Dance Studio on Lockyer Avenue.

Ms Smith said she formed the company after she was knocked back from various dance academies and did not want to see that type of rejection occur to anyone else.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ll be damned if I let that happen to other people’,” she said.

“This is a space where people can express themselves; for people who feel rejected and give them a place to belong.

“If people feel they don’t have a place to belong, they have a place here.”

Ms Smith said she’s seen first-hand the difference the performing arts and her inclusive environment has had on people.

“It’s great especially for people who don’t really have any confidence, because you see them start to come out of their shell and they feel better within themselves,” she said.

“And they’re part of a family here, too.”

Spirit of Spring will feature hip

hop, contemporary, jazz, commercial and Latin dance routines in a variety-style show, themed to spring.

“It’s about spring and renewal and rebirth,” Ms Smith explained.

“But with that sometimes comes tragedy, so we have some more serious routines too.

“I just want everyone to see how passionate these people are and see their love for the performing arts.”

Tickets are on sale now from Paperbark Merchants for this weekend’s event and there is a special treat for people who purchase table seats.

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Focus on photos

SNAPSHOTS of Albany and surrounds are displayed throughout Mt Romance Sandalwood Factory for the Southern Art and Craft Trail and have proven so popular, the photographers have been asked to keep their photos in-situ for an additional two weeks.

In The Moment is a collection of dozens of photographs taken by members of Albany Photographic Society.

The group has not exhibited in a while, so member Kate Reynard was excited about how well it all came together.

“I was super-duper nervous, but we’ve had awesome support,” she said.

“We had an open theme for this exhibition because we wanted members to feel comfortable with what they were submitting, and we’ve had an overwhelming response from the group.

“It’s just wonderful.”

Amongst the collection are local landscapes, nature shots, botanical close-ups and a few abstract pieces.

Reynard was proud of the group’s success, particularly as they have been asked to keep their work at the Sandalwood Factory for an additional two weeks after the Trail ends.

“So, if people haven’t had the chance to come and see our work, it will be here until the end of October,” she said.

The exhibition is located at 2 Down Road off Albany Highway and is open daily 9am to 5pm.

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War display at UWA

AN EXHIBITION exploring the lives of university staff and students during and after WWI is now on display at the University of Western Australia’s Albany campus.

The Armistice Project was created by the Perth-based UWA Historical Society and the University Club of WA and features photographs and letters from personal archives, public collections and historical records.

The Albany UWA campus will host a selection of the exhibition, while the rest remains in Perth.

“The university men and women featured in this exhibition have stories that may link and overlap and complement each other, yet each remains singularly poignant in its own way,” curator Holly Langford-Smith said.

“They were friends to some, enemies to others; they were healers, trainers, researchers and soldiers; they were family and they were strangers.

“Most importantly, they were human beings, resilient and real.”

The exhibition is open now until November 1, and then from November 18 to January 31, 9am to 5pm.

Entry is free.

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Players hatch a crazy plot

PEOPLE buying tickets to the upcoming Plantagenet Players show, consider this your official warning – you may need to purchase extra-large incontinence pants because you’re going to wet yourself silly from laughter.

This direct from co-producer Helen Jeffery who with Charmaine Gadenne, has written the comedy variety show Hatches, Matches, Dispatches (and other life snatches!).

Yes, the show will be as wild and as crazy as it sounds – the usual fashion for the hilarious amateur theatre group.

“There’s a bit of dance, song parody, skits … it’s a bit risqué in some parts,” Gadenne revealed.

“There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour, which we both have, that comes out in the show.”

Gadenne said one theatre member’s one-act play will debut at the performance as well.

The cast of 16 will feature new and familiar faces to the Plantagenet District Hall stage and Gadenne encouraged everyone to grab a ticket to experience their talent.

One member of the group agreed that just being at rehearsals made her go home feeling warm inside, and she always left laughing.

Hatches, Matches, Dispatches (and other life snatches!) will play at Plantagenet District Hall on November 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8pm.

Adults are $20, seniors are $15, and a light supper will be provided.

It’s BYO alcohol and viewers are advised of some adult themes.

You can purchase tickets from Bub 2 Mum on Lowood Road or by calling 0447 656 105.

Part proceeds from opening night will be donated to the West Plantagenet Pony Club.

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