Short+Sweet Celebrates its 20th Anniversary, and returns to the Illawarra for its fourth season of bite-sized theatre.
All-new short, tasty theatre treats this week from 15th to 17th September at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston
This year’s line-up of tasty treats has two programs that change each week including a slew of local, interstate and international entries.
Short+Sweet has spread the popular 10-minute format in theatre, dance, cabaret & comedy across Australia and the globe with festivals as far afield as India, Malaysia, Dubai the UK and NZ. Its Hollywood festival is the world’s go-to showcase for actors, writers and directors for stage and screen, and our Sydney flagship festival still remains a powerhouse in global short-form theatre after two decades in production.
Our Illawarra festival, headed by one our most experienced festival directors and Wollongong local resident Luke Berman, has quickly become one of our most dynamic little festivals - offering not only a season of twenty plays, but a film festival too.
The 2022 theatre festival will again feature judges’ voting and the People’s Choice audience votes – with the best two plays of each of our two weeks advancing to our flagship festival, Short+Sweet Sydney later this month.
Our first week of ten-minute live theatre features a strong representation of local scripts. Eight of our first batch of eleven short plays are indeed from the pen of Illawarra writers – an impressive achievement given the strength of our international scripts that directors had to choose from.
Week one also features an impressive six writers who are also directing their own play, including traveling directors Rosalind Dixon (Sydney) and Vee Malnar (Canberra).
Joining us for a second life are two plays that were recently produced as part of Black Box Production’s 24 Hour Theatre showcase, as well as two plays produced from our festival hosts The Phoenix Theatre Company. Joining them are plays produced by Gabatwa Studios, Crackerjack Entertainment and Rock Chikz.
Week 1 Highlights
Week 1’s offerings kick-start with Innocent by veteran writer/director and our incoming International Literary Manager Vee Malnar (Canberra) from Rock Chikz. Her cast, Tammy Kisela and Michael Thompson are acting opposite each other in not just one, but two plays this week (It’s Not Whether You Win Or Lose). In Innocent, an investigation takes place to uncover the truth behind a possible murder where no body is found.
Traveling down to the Illawarra from Sydney is Twins – written and directed by Rosalind Dixon with strong performances from Tara Buckley and Shreya Smith. A meditation from 2 twins on eating disorders, intellectual disability, guilt and family love.
One of two plays this week flying the flag of our hosts, The Phoenix Theatre Company is It’s Time from the pen of Wollongong Writer/ director Linda Campbell. Starring popular Illawarra theatre scene actors Cathy Bates and Paul Hamilton. Even in the best families distant relatives can cause upsets.
Black Box’s first of its four plays in the festival from the 24 Hour Theatre Illawarra to Short+Sweet Illawarra pathway program, is the energetic comedy Blood Moon Rising written and directed by Stanwell Park’s Kelly-Maree Michael. Beware the blood moon’s curse … it comes but once a month. Its energetic cast includes Adam Wade, Clara Saddi, Tammy Kisela, Nurina Simpson and Olivia Mayer.
In Hand on the Barre by award winning Wollongong writer Katrina Samaras, A dancer returns to her love of ballet later in life and remembers what always remains is the love for the dance. Produced by The Phoenix Company, this play features a strong solo performance by Monique Elyse.
The Horny Gentleman, written and directed by Johnny Sumelj from Crackerjack Entertainment kickstarts our second half of plays with a bang. Set in 1890s London, the wealthy Lord Farquhar meets with a beautiful young woman in secret to escape the thought of his marriage and satisfy his libido. Lighting the fuse on stage for this one are experienced Sydney Musical Theatre actors - husband/wife duo David Verdejo and Alisia Verdejo, as well as the talented UOW performance student Sophie Brunner. Writer/Director and UOW Graduate Johnny Sumelj also features on stage in a most delightful cameo.
Acting duo Tammy Kisela and Michael Thompson return on stage again with sparkling youthful chemistry, in the moving piece It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose – written by one of our most experienced Short+Sweet writers, and recent Shellharbour resident, Dona Parise. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you dance together without music.
Written on a single flight to Italy, and reuniting a professional relationship stretching back over a decade between actors Monique Elyse and Gabe McCarthy (also writer/director), is Shrinking Together from Gabatwa Studios. Two people. In a psychiatrist's office. You’re never quite sure who is treating who.
Closing our opening week of the festival is our second entry from Black Box Productions’, the moving drama Keep with memorable performances by Sydney’s Cathy Bates and Illawarra actor Andrew Gobran. In an old house Cath sits and waits for the removalist to clear out her life for good.
Short+Sweet Theatre opens at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston on 15th September and runs through to the 17th with performances to start at 7:30pm. Tickets are $22 adult, $17 Concession/Student/Youth and $12 for pensioners/disability/children.