Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
The best of the West in theatre
A sudden gap in the production schedule five years ago caused the Production Manager of Marloo Theatre to suggest that the club should mount a one-act festival for country and Perth Hills clubs between the Bunbury Festival and the ITA's Dramafest.
Taken as a stop-gap measure the Hills Festival of Theatre has gone from strength to strength, its net ever widening to include clubs from the flats and metro as well as rural clubs.
This year the Hills Festival of Theatre has a tremendous range of plays on offer for the discerning Perth theatre-goer. Comedy, drama, absurdism and black humour and all to be found.
A growing feature of the Festival is the increasing number of plays written by local authors – no fewer than six this year, two by renowned Perth playwright, Noel O'Neill. His plays Holly and Ivy and Snow and Ash are presented by different companies, a testament to his wide-spread appeal.
This year the adjudicator will be Peter Clark, a well-known face in community theatre over the past few years. Peter trained at the Academy of Live & Recorded Arts in London. He graduated with a full scholarship and worked professionally in England for over six years within theatre, television and radio before moving to Perth.
His work included seasons with the RSC, various repertory theatres and musicals. Since arriving in Perth he has been involved with many theatre companies, both as an actor and director.
Last year he directed Elton John & Tim Rice's musical AIDA at Marloo and appeared in Serial Productions Open All Hours. In 2011 he produced and directed Someone Who'll Watch Over Me for Lawson Productions, directed Twelfth Night at New Fortune Theatre and performed as Barney in Last of the Red Hot Lovers (2011 Best Production Finley Awards). Earlier this year he directed Mel Brook's The Producers at Playlovers and will be performing on stage this October in Serial Productions Blackadder Goes Forth at Old Mill South Perth.
Next year in April he will be directing A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Shakespeare Festival at Marloo.
Peter's comments after the session and at the formal adjudication on Sunday will be invaluable for both directors and actors.
Harry MacLennan, Melissa Scott and Alex Sutton at a tense moment in "Political Correction", one of the plays in the Hills Festival of Theatre (Photo by Steve Scott)
The Festival runs from Friday evening of the 20th September to Sunday the 22nd, ending with a bbq and the prize and certificate awards. Darlington Theatre Players are the only festival with cash prizes and reward local efforts in a tangible way.
The Hills Festival of Theatre is not only a chance to see good theatre, it is an opportunity to meet people from other clubs and meet actors and directors whose work you may have admired but also to exchange ideas, thoughts and views with fresh minds and opinions with fellow devotees of theatre.
The Festival is at Marloo Theatre, 20 Marloo Road, Greenmount. Sessions of three or more plays cost $10 or a season ticket for the whole festival costs $30 and bookings may be made by ringing Gwyne on 9255 1783.