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


After an outstanding opening week of bite-sized theatre treats, we are ready to finish our Theatre Festival with our final selection of eleven plays produced by theatremakers from the Illawarra, Sydney and even one play travelling from the Gold Coast to perform with us!

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 remains a powerhouse in global short-form theatre after two decades in production.

Our Illawarra festival, headed by one of 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 week 2 advancing to Short+Sweet Sydney at the beginning of next month at the Tom Mann Theatre Darlinghurst.

Week 2 is almost completely dominated by female writers and directors, with Coniston writer/director Rod Marsden, Pacific Palisades USA writer Seth Freeman and Campbelltown director/actor Julian Levanic the only male writers and directors this week, in what is an inspiring line-up of female leadership and vision.

After taking out gold and silver in people’s choice from week 1, the pathway program from Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre continues, with two more plays given a second life – Sarah Hurnall’s The Judgement Zone and Tegan Ware’s Rest in Peace.

Flying in from sunny Gold Coast is Studio 47’s Over and Out written, directed, and starring the amazing Sally Bedford.

Week 2 will run 22-24 September 7:30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at the Bridge Street Theatre Coniston, home of the Phoenix Theatre Company.

Week 2 Highlights

Week 2 opens with The Judgement Zone written for Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre by Illawarra writer/director Sarah Hurnall. Returning on stage is co-director Julian Levanic and Steph Mcauley, while Rachael Adair Connolly joins the play for the first time. Several passengers are awoken to find themselves on a very unusual train, where things are not what they seem.

Returning for her second Short+Sweet Illawarra, this time sitting in the director chair, is respected actor/direct Sally Evans who directs The Holiest of Sacraments written by USA writer Patricia Connelly and starring Lilly Savelli and Rod Parker – who is acting in three productions this week. He's heard a lot of confessions in his time as a priest, but one seven-year-old girl is about to stop him in his tracks.       

Short+Sweet Illawarra regular director Karen Beavis returns to direct Robyn and Clive written by Bowral writer Pamela Waugh. Barbara Weir returns for another Illawarra festival, and we welcome the talented young actor Xavier Do – a standout at our Short+Sweet auditions this year. Robyn met Clive at the very beginning of her new career. Clive an intern, thought Robyn and her career was much more interesting, exciting, and lucrative than working in a bank.

From the pen of Jamaica Plain USA writer Andrea Clardy is Code directed by (and starring) Stanwell Park’s Kelly-Maree Michael who returns to week 2 after writing/directing Blood Moon Rising in week 1. Joining her is Salle Evans for her second creative contribution of the week along with Rodney Parkers second acting role. Who will watch the watchers? In an office where the workers keep tabs on human movement and behaviour, a subordinate questions her superior about the ethics of constant surveillance.

Next up is The Rose written and directed by Wollongong writer Rod Marsden. A mystery is created when Sydney James puts it in his will that his niece, Joan, is to give a woman, Kat, a white rose. Starring loved Illawarra regular actor Tom Hadley, returning actor Penelope Murphy and former Australian Model of the year Jasmin Shojai, who is traveling from Canberra for the second year in a row to perform with us in the Illawarra.

The final play of our first half of week 2, is the fourth play from Black Box’s 24 Hour Theatre, Tegan Ware’s Rest In Peace with returning actors Ashleigh Magoffin and Sophie Baylis – who is also taking on 3 plays this week (2 as an actor, 1 as a director). She is dead. To Casey she was a best friend. To Molly she was a bully. Now they are both at her funeral trying to reconcile the two different versions of her.   

Established Short+Sweet writer Pauline Turner’s Godfrey’s Project restarts proceedings after interval under the enthusiastic direction of Katie Roach, who has recently stepped in to a cast with a great familiarity, having shared time together in last year’s festival. Returning with Katie are Dani Rollason and Rodney Parker for his final performance of the night. A talented but lazy student presents his end of time universe-building project. The results will affect billions more than just himself.

Landing in Sydney from the Gold Coast to join us for our Illawarra festival is the magnificent actor/writer/director Sally Bedford in her one-woman piece Over and Out from Studio 47. Her story, albeit rather ordinary, is a story that needs to be told. It highlights the fact that this seemingly mundane life is actually quite extraordinary, and that one should give oneself permission to move to the next chapter in life when the time is right.

Talented young Illawarra director Gabriela Gonzalez takes on the honour of directing the work of one of Short+Sweet’s most established and celebrated writers – American writer Seth Freeman from Pacific Palisades California in The Tea Test starring Sophie Baylis and Georgia Chatzivasiliou. When friendships are built upon superficial social standings and polite behaviours, it's hard to know if you can truly trust the other to be honest with you. What happens when you can't trust each other? And what happens when being polite isn't an option anymore?

And wrapping up not just week 2, but our 2022 Theatre Festival, is Sweet Spot written by Monica Carroll (Hackett ACT) and directed by Sophie Baylis, one of the most promising emerging talents of our festival this year. Starring Belinda McKenzie and Christopher Draw. We come to know ourselves not through freedom, but through restriction.   

Short+Sweet Theatre opens at the Bridge Street Theatre, Coniston on 22nd  September and runs through to the 24th with performances to start at 7:30pm. Tickets are $22 adult, $17 Concession/Student/Youth and $12 for pensioners/disability/children.