Cold call for actor

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN actor and Albany-born Simon Woodward is returning to his theatrical roots this week to embark on a unique performance that has taken the world by storm.

The Blue Heelers star and seasoned theatre performer will take centre stage at the Albany Entertainment Centre tomorrow as part of Nassim, the creation of Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.

The performance features a new actor for each show, who reads from a script they have never seen before the moment it lands in their hands on-stage, exploring the freedoms and limitations of language.

Woodward (pictured) said he did not hesitate to accept the of- fer of being the Albany actor for Nassim as part of the Albany Arts Festival Season.

“John Doust dobbed me in,” he said. “He got me on the phone with Drew Dymond and

I met with him, and he explained it was a cold read. “I jumped at that, as soon as I heard it was a cold read. “I like the surprise of a cold read, and I like

sharing that first experience with people. Interpreting something without thinking too much is exciting.”

The actor said his only apprehension of the perfor- mance was “the unknown”, but believes that is an element of Nassim’s design as a theatre performance.

“I haven’t done any preparation for this because I think the spirit of it is to be as unprepared as possible,” he said.

“The temptation was there to look at his other per- formances, but another part of me said not knowing was part of it.”

You can still get tickets to Friday night’s performance of Nassim by calling the AEC Box Office on 9844 5000 or booking online at Ticketek.

Doors open at 7.40pm for an 8pm start.

Photo: Ashleigh Fielding

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Have fun at fair

GNOWANGERUP citizens are in full swing preparing for their upcoming Summer Fair after successfully receiving funding for the second year in a row.

The Act-Belong-Commit Gnowangerup Summer Fair will be held next Saturday, February 17 at the Gnowangerup Sporting Complex from 10am to 4pm, and Community Resource Centre manager Deanne Noakes said the fair will be a great opportunity for the community to come together.

“The fair was an idea that came from a discussion of CRC committee members who wanted to bring something back to town that was no longer available,” she said.

“Historically, the town held annual events to bring the community together, but slowly over the years the events have gone by the wayside, due to lack of people being involved or being available to volunteer their time.

“This is the second year we have received funding from Healthway, Road Safety Commission and the Shire of Gnowangerup, and this year we also have many local sponsors who have donated time, money or merchandise to the fair.

“This has enabled us to improve on last year’s fair and continue to provide the fair as an annual event for the community and surrounds.”

It will cost you just a gold coin to enter the fairground, and activities start from just $2.

The games and rides are valued by tickets; for example, it will cost you two tickets to go on the big bouncy castle.

Each ticket is $2 and can be bought from the ticket tent on the day.

Ms Noakes said there will be a classic car display, an art exhibition, baking and decorating competitions, a toy library, show bags, face painting, Reptile Haven, Laserscape, a climbing wall and many more rides and fun family events at this year’s Summer Fair.

“The Fair was a great event last year and brought the whole community together in many different ways, and forged alliances that will benefit all for the future to come,” she said.

“We encourage everyone to come along this year and have a great time with friends and family.”

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Swing by cinema for Harvest

YOU need not worry about your plans for Wednesday nights this month, because Film Harvest Great Southern has got you covered.

Three big movies will be hitting Orana Cinema screens for February every Wednesday at 6.15pm, and there’s bound to be something to sate everyone’s taste.

The Florida Project will play on Valentine’s Day and features a cast of rising stars.

The tale follows six-year-old Moonee and her mother living week-by-week in a motel near Disney World, and the journey they take to make ends meet.

The cinematography of the film depicted in the trailer is absolutely stunning; this movie is not to be missed.

Australia’s beloved Kylie Minogue is making a comeback to the big screen in Swinging Safari, screening on February 21.

The preview of this film makes me think loveable-larrikin, cheeky and quintessentially Australian – a movie that you’re bound to fall in love with.

Alongside Minogue are Australian superstars Guy Pierce, Asher Keddie, Julian McMahon and Radha Mitchell.

I, Tonya will play on February 28 and looks to be one of Margot Robbie’s most interesting roles.

Based on true events, the film follows figure skater Tonya Harding and her link to the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.

The film uses mockumentary techniques as well as fourth-wall breaking, and has earned itself several award nominations and wins.

Tickets to the Film Harvest movies are available online or at the Orana Cinemas box office, and will cost you $16 for adults and $13 for seniors and children.

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Le secret night out

A GLOBAL dining experience taking the world by storm is coming to Albany.

Le Diner en Blanc started in France and is the latest in flash mob activity.

Participants purchase a ticket to the dinner, and armed with only instructions to wear white and bring their own table settings and food, are told just days before the event of the secret dinner location.

The result is a sea of white taking over a sector of town, to wine and dine under nature’s gaze.

This globally popular event will take place in Albany in late February or early March as a fundraiser for Sailability and Fishability, local groups who give disabled and disadvantaged people the opportunity to sail and fish in Princess Royal Harbour.

Organiser Clive Walker said the event would take place within a 10km radius of Albany, and participants would be emailed or texted with the top-secret dining location.

“This could be iconic for Albany,” Mr Walker said of the inaugural event.

“An event like this hasn’t happened before in Albany; it’s an ideal opportunity to raise money and give people a relaxed, fun afternoon.”

Mr Walker explained that the rules of Le Diner en Blanc state participants have to bring their own table, chairs, tablecloth, cutlery, food and drinks, describing the scenario as a type of ‘upmarket community picnic’.

If you would like to purchase a table ticket to the Albany Le Diner en Blanc or want more information, you can contact Mr Walker on 0428 735 343, his wife Georgie on 0428 425 293 or via email at

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Generating fashion

COUNTLESS hours of work fulfilling their dream will be celebrated when Albany’s Lynette Robinson and Kylie Apostoles launch their new beauty, fashion and lifestyle magazine GenerAte on Friday.

The locally-produced magazine will be distributed through more than 1000 stores nationwide and promotes attainable and affordable style and fashion.

Robinson and Apostoles spoke with The Weekender ahead of the launch and said the inspiration to produce the quarterly publication came from the combined 45 years of experience in the beauty and fashion industry.

“Both myself and Kylie are hairdressers; I worked and toured with the UK hairdresser Lisa Shepherd for years,” Robinson said.

“So I learned a lot about hair and fashion as we toured. Kylie is trained in makeup and worked in the film industry as an artist.

“We’ve been surrounded with hair, beauty and fashion for years.”

Robinson said with their experience came a desire to make a publication centred around fashion that would be more achievable in price than other glamour magazines.

“I’m a really visual person by nature, so I wanted to bring what we see on social media into print form,” she said.

“I think people still want to be influenced by print, so we made GenerAte for people to keep rather than toss after a while.

“We wanted a clean organic aesthetic to be our theme while exposing local artists that don’t normally get exposed.”

From the final concept being developed in early 2017, Robinson and Apostoles worked tirelessly to move their plan into print.

The pair of busy mums juggled small business ownership with their new project and took delivery of their first edition in December.

“Kylie and I have worked well together since our teens, and this new project is evidence of our capabilities as a powerhouse duo,” she said.

“With a vested interest in fashion and beauty, we recognised the unrealistic prices featured in other popular women’s magazines.

“These publications promote a dream rather than relate to the everyday woman who values style and luxury at prices within reach.”

Aspirations for the future of the magazine are being kept humble, despite the growing excitement around its launch.

“We’ll just take it as it comes really. It’s a new thing for both of us,” Robinson said.

“We’re in contact with agencies in Perth to have a wider range of models for the next few issues, so that’s exciting.”

Apostoles said the 100-page publication can be found at Paperbark Merchants, Clarks Newsagency and Denmark Newsagency.

It retails for $12.95.

“It will get distributed to more places in town, but if you can’t find it anywhere else it should be at those three shops,” she said.

GenerAte’s next edition is set to be published in April for the autumn edition.

Fashion and lifestyle fiends and friends are encouraged to attend the launch celebrations for the magazine at Fredericks Café in Albany from 6pm tomorrow, February 2.

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Lore returns to Katanning

HEADLINE act Murphy’s Lore will return to vaguely familiar surrounds when they hit the stage for the Katanning Concert in the Park next weekend.

Murphy’s Lore bassist Shaun Street said an old friend approached the band to join the concert.

“This isn’t our first time performing in Katanning,” he said.

“Believe it or not, the three Murphy brothers all lived in Katanning between 1984 and 1986.

“We do like to still get out on the road but it’s less often after we got married and started churning out babies.”

Street said concert goers can expect some classic pop and rock hits from the ages.

“We try to cover a fairly big range of eras and tastes. We do anything from the Beatles to Bruno Mars and most things in between,” he said.

“Courtney’s even been known to pull out Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights on occasion.

“We can’t wait to rock out with the local Katonians.”

Alongside the popular band, crowds can expect local acts on stage from 4.30pm, including the Katanning Primary School Choir.

Event organiser Doug Cherry said last year’s concert will be hard to beat.

“Even though we had to move the concert date last year because of the rain, it turned out to be a great event,” he said.

“There was a spectacular sunset last year over the lake. We’re hoping we’ll have the same again this year.

“It will be a great start to the school year, with lots of family things to do and children’s songs.”

Entry is free to the Katanning Concert in the Park.

More information on the event is available on the Facebook page.

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Local stories laid bare

SELDOM in my life do I experience the rollercoaster of emotions that I did on Friday night, watching Great Southern locals brave the stage for the Barefaced Stories event at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

Barefaced Stories gave a platform for amateur storytellers to test their talent for words and wow, did they exceed expectations.

The crowd was laughing one moment and shedding tears the next, clinging on to every word each of the performers spoke.

ABC presenter Andrea Gibbs was a great host, keeping the audience on a cliff-hanger whenever she could by revealing snippets of her own story.

The talent of local performers was outstanding and boy, did they have some stories to tell.

The audience learned of the bra-ing of local politician signs during the 2017 elections, and how the idea was carried out between a young lady and her partners-in-crime.

Another powerful story revealed how indigenous people were discriminated against in a small country town 30 years ago, and how the local hotel owner created a darts night specifically for indigenous people at his hotel.

For me, the outstanding performance of the night was from a mother of four.

She told the audience of her worst Christmas, when gastro went through her family and led to her baby daughter’s horrifying experience with gastro-induced seizures.

Seeing this woman tell her story, holding back tears and evidently going back to that night in her mind, had the audience hanging on every word.

You could have heard a pin drop.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the unique format of Barefaced Stories, but it was one of the best shows of local talent I have seen in this style of story-telling.

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for its return.

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Emerging talent on the fringe

A FULL spectrum of the arts will be showcased next month for the inaugural Fringe Arts Regional Festival at Vancouver Arts Centre.

The FAR Festival will run from February 2 to 24 and feature four weeks of workshops, concerts and exhibitions across poetry, dance, music, visual arts and the performing arts.

Arts development officer Marianthe Loucataris said the event will give emerging artists the chance to give and receive feedback and support, as well as encourage a younger audience of art lovers to embrace VAC as an arts platform.

“We really want to support emerging artists and give them a place to make art and showcase their work,” she said.

“There will be some cutting-edge work; we are hoping to make this an annual event.”

The FAR Festival will include the likes of Beads Friends Forever, Gods of the Stadium, The World’s Tiniest Zine Fair, Casus Circus and The Presence of Wool.

For more information on the festival, you can contact Ms Loucataris on 6820 3740 or au.

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Beyondblue fundraiser

THE memory of legendary Albany guitarist Glen Wellman will again be honoured at the Stirling Club on Saturday night with a line-up of five bands taking to the stage for the annual beyondblue fundraiser.

Wellman was a respected musician and constant force in Albany’s thriving pub scene from the early 90s until his untimely death.

He was a member of leading rock bands including Southern Exposure and later Toy Boyz.

It is the third year the memorial fundraiser has been held and the line-up includes Dig the Dust, Tre Amici, Blue Suede, Trash Pandah and The Dave Price Band.

The event was a success last year, with local musos and fans packing into the Stirling Club to celebrate the life of Wellman and his contribution to live music in the region and included a moving tribute from family members he left behind.

The gig runs from 6pm to midnight upstairs at the Stirling Club and there is a $10 cover charge.

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Eurogliders’ wall of fame

GOLD records are not the usual adornment of choice for the living rooms of most 93-year-olds.

But in the loungeroom of Mavis Bennetts’ Albany home, the gold record for Perth-bred ’80s pop band Eurogliders’ album This Island takes pride of place.

The glittering trophy for hard-won sales from the 1984 album is a little out of tune with the rest of the room’s décor, but it’s there for good reason.

It was given to Mavis by her son – Eurogliders’ drummer John Bennetts who worked his way from the beer-soaked carpet of Albany’s live music scene to the world stage during the height of ’80s pop music.

While the gold record hangs rather comfortably on the wall, it now has a new companion – the West Australian Music Hall of Fame award that was bestowed on Eurogliders late last year, 29 years after the original band dissolved.

The Mount Barker-born Bennetts reflected on his musical career with The Weekender while on holiday on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Bennetts said he got his first drum kit and guitar when he was nine years old, started performing in bands at Mt Barker High School when he was 13, and had a residency at Albany’s old Esplanade Hotel in his late teens.

“Those days were such fun, innocent times,” he said.

“I didn’t start my professional music career till I was 22, in Perth.

“I was late to begin, but fast to move to bigger things.”

Bennetts recorded two albums with The Stockings, had several appearances on ABC Countdown, and joined Eurogliders in 1982.

“It was an awesome time of my life,” Bennetts said.

“I can, without doubt, tell you that everything you hear about the rock and roll industry is true.

“We toured constantly, saw lots of the world playing sold-out concert tours and met so many amazing musicians.”

The drummer said he had many career highlights, but without a doubt, his favourite was performing at the 1985 MTV New Year’s Eve ball at the Manhattan Centre in New York City.

“I’ll never forget that night!” he said.

“It was broadcast live around the world and was an awesome line-up of ’80s bands, including Frankie Goes To Hollywood, UB40, Joan Jett, and we headlined.”

Upon reflection of winning his gold record and his WAM Hall of Fame induction, Bennetts said his parents were his biggest support throughout his career.

“Getting the first gold album was so exciting; it means you’ve been ‘accepted’ by the public,” he said.

“It was an awesome moment and it was so special. I gave it to Mum and Dad.

“I honoured it to them for supporting me and putting up with my guitar and drum playing when I was a kid.”

Bennetts now resides in England with his wife and has one son.

He is in the process of purchasing a new drum kit to finish an album he has been working on for several years.

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