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Our New Committee & President's Report

We have finally been able to hold our AGM, originally scheduled for March but delayed for obvious reasons. We have a new committee - made up of some returning members and some exciting new members:

PRESIDENT Neale Paterson
VICE-PRESIDENT Seanne Sparrow
SECRETARY Barry Park
TREASURER Kristine Lockwood


CONMITTEE MEMBERS
Dean McAskil
Eddie Stowers
Thomas Dimmick
Rosalind Moore
Nigel Goodwin
Adam Poole
Arnold Wong


CO-OPTED COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Stephen Lee
Fiona Johnson
Grant Malcolm
Jonno Beckett


Thanks to all who attended, and special thanks to our retiring committee members, for all their support over the last year: Pete Nettleton, Jeremy Heenan and Martin Forsey.


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FROM THE PRESIDENT


This report is an edited and updated version of a report which was posted on Facebook in April, after the cancellation of the AGM due to COVID situation.


Our 2019 Annual General Meeting was held in the Shakespeare Garden of the Arts Building, just after the completion of Lucy Eyre’s production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice - which re-established Grads in the New Fortune after a lapse of several years. It was a successful production, playing to good houses. It was nominated for both Best Actor (Judd Milner as Shylock) and Best Actress (Grace Edwards as Portia) at the Finley Awards, and Judd Millner’s Shylock won in its category. There is no doubt that the New Fortune Theatre is Grads' 'brand'. We are the only group keeping it alive as a theatrical venue, and University Theatre are very happy to support our continued use of it.


In July we experimented by mounting a staged reading, with music, of the locally written historical play Voices From the Tomb, directed by Pete Nettleton, at the Old York Courthouse. Special thanks to Seanne Sparrow for her help with organising this, and to Pete for all his work. It went very well and we actually made a bit of money! I believe that this kind of show offers many opportunities for Grads in the future.


In October we presented Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie in the Dolphin Theatre, directed by Jane Hille. It was a powerful and imaginative production that adopted a challenging non-naturalistic performance style and had an innovative and beautiful set. The small cast was strong and incredibly committed. James Ford, who played young Tom, was awarded a special commendation for Best Youth at the Finley Awards and the cast were all nominated for Best Ensemble.


In November we started planning for our next show in the New Fortune, Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Thomas Dimmick. It was performed in March, and I am sure that all who saw it would agree with me that it was a life-affirmingly inventive, funny and colourful production, with a glorious cast, that used the New Fortune stage beautifully. Ticket sales were not at the level of the previous year's Merchant of Venice, given the uncertain situation at the time and the relatively unknown play, but it was a wonderful production by any account.


The Merry Wives finished its season - and within days we were in lockdown. We were planning to hold our AGM and then to present Alide Chaney's production of 'My Mother Said I Never Should…' in July at the Townshend Theatre in Subiaco. Events forced us to cancel both, of course. However we are very keen to mount Alide's show next year.


The current outlook - at least in Western Australia - at least at the moment - has allowed us to proceed - a little nervously - with our plans for 'The Boys in the Band', to be directed by Barry Park in November. University Theatres has made it possible for us to use the Dolphin Theatre for a two week season. I am very optimistic that the timeliness of the play and our positive association with PrideFEST WA, who are very happy to promote the play as part of their November celebrations, gives us every opportunity for a successful season and a fresh start.


Our next planned show is a summer Shakespeare season in the New Fortune, followed by Alide’s show mid-year, probably in the Townshend Theatre. We are also hoping to work with Grant Malcolm, who has an exciting concept for a series of staged readings of Shakespeare in the New Fortune.


Please join us on this journey...


NEALE PATERSON
President



Annual General Meeting 2020

Please come to our Annual General Meeting!

We encourage all who have an interest in the future of Grads, in these challenging, difficult and exciting times, to attend our Annual General Meeting, on Sunday 9 August 2020, 5pm-6:30pm, at the Arts Lecture Room 4, University of Western Australia.

https://studentvip.com.au/uwa/main/maps/116631

Please join us, to discuss the future of Grads and to elect a new committee - we would be delighted if you would be prepared to offer your assistance.. 

Entertainment and drinks and nibbles will be provided. 

Stephen Lee is unfortunately unable to speak, as previously advertised. In his place, the President of Grads, Neale Paterson, will step in as understudy and speak briefly about his experiences with Grads in the 80s and 90s, leading into an informal discussion of Grads in all its eras and incarnations, old and new, memories and ideas for the future - and then to a brief AGM to formalise things for next year. 

All are truly welcome to participate.

Please send any agenda items you may wish to discuss to bookings@grads.org.au

The Boys in the Band - November 2020


Grads is back! Live theatre is back!  

We will be presenting the 1968 classic The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley, in association with Origin Theatrical, in November 2020, directed by the award-winning Barry Park. Tickets will be available soon. And we have a cast...

Michael - Thomas Dimmick
Donald - Jason Dohle
Emory - Cameron Leese
Hank - Rob Jackson
Larry - Steven Hounsome
Bernard - Eric Bibaeff
Alan - Alex Ripper
Cowboy - Lindsay Crane
Harold - Adam Poole

Now THAT'S a cast! 

The Boys in the Band is a true classic, rooted in a particular time and place - New York, 1968 - but timeless in its powerful, outrageous, tragic, humorous portrayal of what it is to be a man. It was recently revived to great acclaim on Broadway. 

Check back here for more information soon...

Annual General Meeting Sunday 9 August 2020, 5pm-6:30pm

Announcing the Graduate Dramatic Society's Annual General Meeting, Sunday 9 August 2020, 5pm-6:30pm.

It is finally possible for Grads to hold an Annual General Meeting, after the postponement of our intended meeting in March. Please join us on Sunday 9 August at a University of W. A. venue, to be announced shortly, to discuss the future of Grads and to elect a new committee - we would be delighted if you would be prepared to offer your assistance.. 

Entertainment and drinks and nibbles will be provided. 

Please send agenda items to bookings@grads.org.au

Auditions - The Boys in the Band, November 2020

Grads is back!

9 actors are sought for the GRADS (The Graduate Dramatic Society) production of the original version of Mart Crowley’s ground breaking smash hit gay play THE BOYS IN THE BAND, to be directed by award winning director Barry Park, by arrangement with ORiGiN™ THEATRICAL, on behalf of Samuel French Inc. 

Production dates: 4th to 14th November 2020 at a Perth venue to be confirmed.


AUDITIONS: 25th or 26th July 2020
Audition venue: BDA, Level 2, 369 Newcastle Street, Northbridge 
(press bell to ask for access)

For an audition on Saturday 25th July 2020, book an audition at: 

For an audition on Sunday 26th July 2020, book an audition at:

PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY THE DATE, TIME AND VENUE OF YOUR AUDITION



Please prepare a short, contemporary monologue in an American accent or read an extract from the play.

Queries: Production Manager, Dean McAskil: deanmcaskil@gmail.com 0403 939 813 

Rehearsals on Monday and Thursday evenings, Saturday afternoons, commencing Monday 31st August 2020

This is unpaid community theatre

***

This ground breaking American play is the first truly honest portrayal of the lives of contemporary gay men. Half a century later, the play proves to be as entertaining, bold, and inspiring as ever. The Boys in the Band centres on a group of gay men who gather in a posh NYC Upper East Side apartment for a friend’s birthday party. An unexpected guest and a street hustler arrive. The drinks are poured and the music is turned up. The evening slowly exposes the fault lines beneath their friendships and the self-inflicted heartache that threatens their solidarity. Secrets are revealed, arguments are unearthed, and blows are thrown, culminating in a shocking drunken game. This fiercely funny play that shocked mainstream audiences premiered Off-Broadway, at Theatre Four in New York City in 1968, running for 1,001 performances. It was subsequently made into a successful feature film with the original cast. At a time when gay characters were seldom seen in commercial media except as crude stereotypes, this play presented a well-rounded view of what critics of the day referred to as “the homosexual milieu.” Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, The Boys in the Band was presented at the Booth Theatre on Broadway in 2018, winning Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play and Best Featured Actor in a Play. The entire cast of the 2018 Broadway revival are reprising their roles in a Netflix film.



REVIEWS

"A play of real substance, one that deserves to be performed not occasionally but regularly." – The Wall Street Journal
"The Boys in the Band … goes from wittily bitchy to heartbreakingly brutal… " – Out Magazine
"Witty, bitchy, revelatory and dazzlingly entertaining [...] the excoriating wit is still there." – New York Post
"Terrifically thoughtful … The Boys in the Band emerges remarkably universal." – NY1
“A beautifully, fearlessly wrought play.” – The Wall Street Journal

CASTING
Michael (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
The play takes place at Michael’s apartment. Michael is a lapsed Catholic alcoholic who is undergoing psychoanalysis. He is a smartly groomed writer who has sold a screenplay that was never produced. For the most part, he travels the world, running up bills and getting other people to pay them. He is aging, losing his hair (a fact that is commented on several times throughout the play), and seeing a therapist to help him deal with the self-hatred that he feels about his lifestyle. He is well versed in cinema history and has a movie reference for just about every occasion. Early on, he explains to Donald that he has quit drinking and smoking because he is unable to “get through that morning-after ick attack” when he realizes the things that he has said and done the night before while drinking. Later, after the hostility between Emory and Alan subsides, Michael starts drinking again. His behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre and offensive. He eventually makes up a “party game” that is meant to humiliate all of the guests. In the end, in a reversal of the first scene, Michael leaves his own apartment, intending to go over to midnight mass at the Catholic church.

Donald (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
Donald, who has wholesome American good looks, does not really know the other party guests well. He is a conflicted friend of Michael’s who has moved far from the city to spurn the gay lifestyle. He lives in a rented room in the Hamptons, where he has worked scrubbing floors since he dropped out of college. Donald comes to town on Saturday nights to see his psychiatrist, and then he stays at Michael’s apartment.

Emory (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
Emory is the joker of the group and the most flamboyantly gay. He is always referring to himself and to the others as “girls” or “Mary.” He is the one who made most of the food for the party. It is his light, whimsical, girlish attitude that infuriates Alan, leading him to punch Emory at the end of the first act. During the game at the end of the play, Emory chooses to phone Delbert Botts, an older boy whom he had a crush on in junior high school and high school. Emory once embarrassed himself, begging Delbert to be his friend and buying him an expensive present, only to find out at the senior prom that Delbert had been laughing about him to others and was engaged to be married.

Hank (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
Solid, athletic Hank left his wife and two children to live with Larry. He is a schoolteacher. Alan, noticing the wedding ring on Hank’s hand, feels close to him, raising the possibility that Alan’s attraction is not erotic but is because he identifies with Hank as the only other heterosexual in the room. In act 2, when Alan is feeling sick, Hank stays with him offstage. At the end of the play, when it is his time to phone the person that he loves most, Hank phones Larry, even though he knows that Larry has a difficult time committing himself to just one man.

Larry (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
Handsome Larry is a commercial artist. He has had an affair with Donald in the past, although it was impersonal: they had sex but never even learned each other’s names. As Larry explains it, “We haven’t exactly met, but we’ve... Seen... each other before.” Although he lives with Hank, Larry is reluctant to commit to a monogamous relationship, feeling that such a thing is unrealistic.

Bernard (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
Bernard is an African American who still pines for the wealthy white boy of the house where his mother was a maid. He has a small part in the play until the end when Michael initiates the Affairs of the Heart game. Encouraged to phone someone he loves and tell him that he loves him, Bernard chooses to phone Peter Dahlbeck, the son in the household where his mother worked as a domestic. Once, when they were drunk, Peter and Bernard were intimate with each other in the pool house, but they never spoke of it again. When Peter’s mother answers and says that he is off on a date, Bernard spends the rest of the play angry at himself for having been so stupid as to have phoned. He is nice-looking and dressed in Ivy-League clothes.

Alan (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
Alan is an aristocratic old college roommate of Michael’s. Alan did not know that Michael was gay when they were in college, so Michael tries to keep it from him. Throughout the play there are several strong hints that Alan has homosexual feelings that he is trying to suppress. Alan is crying when he phones, asking to come over. Michael is afraid that Alan will find out that he is gay, a secret that is lost when Alan enters the apartment to find all of the men dancing together. Alan bonds with Hank after noticing the wedding ring on his finger and stays around him during much of the play, telling Michael when they are alone, “That Hank is really a very attractive fellow.” Alan claims to be straight but becomes a little too emotional when his manhood is threatened and who is strangely reluctant to leave each time he says he is going. After a few drinks, Alan becomes enraged at Emory and lunges at him, threatening to kill the “little mincing swish,” the “freak.” Late in the second act, Michael insists that Alan call Justin Stuart, a man who had a gay affair with Alan in college. It seems that he is acknowledging his homosexuality when he phones and says “I love you,” but when Michael takes the phone, he finds out that Alan has called his wife and committed himself to his heterosexual relationship.

Cowboy (stage age twenties but older actors will also be considered)
The Cowboy is a handsome, well built young man, a male prostitute dressed in a cowboy outfit, hired for twenty dollars to sing “Happy Birthday” to Harold and spend the night with him. Unfortunately, he shows up early, before Harold arrives. He wants to get home early and get to bed because he hurt his heel while doing chinups. Throughout the play, he asks naive questions, unable to keep up with the witty banter of the rest of the group. He leaves with Harold in the end.

Harold (stage age thirties but older actors will also be considered)
It is Harold’s birthday, and he is the last character to arrive, at the very end of the first act. He is a former ice skater, morose at losing his youthful good looks. Harold copes with the depression and self-loathing that he feels by taking drugs: when he arrives, Michael mentions his being late and high on marijuana, and he explains, bitterly, “What I am, Michael, is a thirty-two year old, ugly, pock-marked Jew fairy.” Later, commenting on the issue of beauty, he mentions his soul and notes, “if I could, I’d sell it in a flash for some skin-deep, transitory, meaningless beauty.” Michael announces to the group that Harold is hoarding depressant drugs so that he can commit suicide before becoming old, a claim Harold does not deny. The Cowboy, who is beautiful and almost completely devoid of any intellect whatsoever, is attractive to Harold.

DIRECTOR
Barry Park

Barry is an experienced director and actor whose productions have achieved considerable success. He recently won the Finley’s Director Award for his Playlover’s production of August: Osage County, which also won Robert Finley Best Play Award and several others. His production of Present Laughter was also ranked in the Top Ten Plays at the Awards, won the Best Costumes Award and was nominated for several others. His production of A View from the Bridge for GRADS, also nominated for four Finley Awards, was Runner-up Best Play. His production of Other Desert Cities for Playlovers, nominated for six Finley Awards, won the Technical Achievement Award. His production of Design for Living for The Old Mill Theatre won the Best Set in a Play Award. His GRADS production of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly won the Finley Director Award, Best Play Award and several other awards. His GRADS productions of The Real Thing, Broken Glass and All My Sons were all nominated for several Finley awards and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won several Finley awards. Overseas, his productions of Death of a Salesman, The Golden Masque of Agamemnon and The Life and Death of Almost Everybody won several National Theatre awards. Among other shows Barry has directed are: Agnes of God, Songs from the Shows, Snoopy! The Musical, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds, Blythe Spirit, On Monday Next, The Fantastiks and Lord of the Flies.



PLAYWRIGHT
Mart Crowley

Mart Crowley was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and educated at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. After graduation from the drama department he went to New York to pursue a career in the theatre and landed jobs as production assistant to the directors Sidney Lumet and Elia Kazan. His first play, the groundbreaking The Boys in the Band, opened Off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 to rave reviews.  He wrote the screenplay and produced the film version, directed by Academy Award winner William Friedkin. The 2011 documentary, Making the Boys, explores the genesis of the play and film.  Crowley’s other produced plays are Remote Asylum (1970); A Breeze from the Gulf (1973), which earned a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination for Best Play; Avec Schmaltz (1984), written for the Williamstown Theatre Festival; For Reasons That Remain Unclear (1993), a pre-scandal effort to investigate sexual abuse in the Catholic Church; and The Men from the Boys (2002), a sequel to The Boys in the Band.  From 1979 through 1984 Crowley was the producer/co-writer of the ABC TV series Hart to Hart. He also wrote several television movies and mini-series. In addition, he is the co-author of the children’s book, Kay Thompson’s Eloise Takes a Bawth, published by Simon & Schuster (2002). He is the winner of the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for The Collected Plays of Mart Crowley. He lived in Manhattan and died in 2020.

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Hello everyone. This is an uncertain time for all of us, and the cancellation of our 2020 Annual General Meeting, which would have been held this evening, just about now, is indicative of the many changes and cancellations that are taking place in our lives. The remainder of 2020 is clearly going to be a difficult time for all community theatre organisations. 

For the moment our existing committee remains in place, but we are more than happy to co-opt anyone else who would like to be involved. Our meetings for the foreseeable future will be held online, mostly via email, so the commitment of your time will be relatively minimal. Please contact us if you are able to assist.

This is not an official report, such as would be given at an A.G.M., but an unofficial survey of Grads' last year and its prospects for the future. Please give us your feedback - you can comment below or email us at bookings@grads.org.au

Our 2019 Annual General Meeting was held in the Shakespeare Garden of the Arts Building, just after the completion of Lucy Eyre’s production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice - which re-established Grads in the New Fortune after a lapse of several years. It was a successful production, playing to reasonable houses. It was nominated for both Best Actor (Judd Milner as Shylock) and Best Actress (Grace Edwards as Portia) at the Finley Awards, and Judd Millner’s Shylock won in its category.

In July we experimented by mounting a staged reading, with music, of the locally written historical play Voices From the Tomb, directed by Pete Nettleton, at the Old York Courthouse. Special thanks to Seanne Sparrow for her help with organising this, and to Pete for all his work. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend, but by all accounts it went very well and we actually made a bit of money! I believe that this kind of show offers many opportunities for Grads in the future.

In October we presented Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie in the Dolphin Theatre, directed by Jane Hille. It was a powerful and imaginative production that adopted a challenging non-naturalistic performance style and had an innovative and beautiful set. The small cast was strong and incredibly committed. James Ford, who played young Tom, was awarded a special commendation for Best Youth at the Finley Awards and the cast were all nominated for Best Ensemble.

From a financial perspective, we lost about $2,250 in 2019. This was more than we lost in 2018, although about half of the loss was due to expenses carried over from 2018 shows. Making a profit in the Dolphin Theatre is proving very difficult, and we will have to give serious consideration to whether we can afford to continue using it. We have been here before, and we'll be here again! I will post a fuller financial report shortly, when an official audit is complete.

Our use of the Dolphin is complicated by another factor: University Theatres now requires us to pay upfront for use of venues, less any money taken by advance ticket sales. This means that we have to make a significant payment in advance, which given our financial situation is going to get harder and harder. It makes a two week season almost impossible. It is in itself a reasonable requirement, but one that was not enforced in 2018. It has been suggested that we approach the Latvian Centre, where Barry Park recently staged a successful show for Playlovers, as a venue for future shows.

In November we started planning for our next show in the New Fortune, Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Thomas Dimmick. That show has now finished, and I am sure that all who saw it would agree with me that it was a life-affirmingly inventive, funny and colourful production that used the New Fortune stage beautifully. Ticket sales were not at the level of Merchant of Venice, given the current situation in the world and the relatively unknown play. We are awaiting a financial reconciliation from University Theatres.

This year we were planning to present Alide Chaney's production of 'My Mother Said I Never Should…' in July at the Townshend Theatre in Subiaco. Events have forced us to cancel, of course. However the Townshend Theatre, along with the Latvian Centre, definitely seem to be promising venues for future productions. 

We were also planning a two-week season of 'The Boys in the Band', to be directed by Barry Park in November, initially at the Dolphin Theatre, but, given the expense of making an upfront payment for two weeks, we were considering the Latvian Centre as an alternative. We have not yet made a decision as to whether we can proceed.

It is my personal opinion that Grads should do everything in its power to maintain its connection to the University of Western Australia, at least as far as continuing to use the New Fortune on a regular basis. In this we are supported by University Theatres, who are keen for it to continue in use as a theatrical venue, for which they need a group like Grads - but whether we can leverage this to make it a financially feasible option remains to be seen.

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for your support for Grads. We will be considering our future options over the next few weeks, but there are so many unknowns! Please comment with any observations or suggestions you may have, and again - thank you!

NEALE PATERSON

OUR ANUAL GENERAL MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED


The Grads Annual General Meeting, which was scheduled for next Sunday afternoon, from 5 to 6:30 at the Fox Lecture Theatre, has been cancelled. We are hoping to reschedule it very soon, but in an online environment - details to be announced. These are strange times

This is obviously going to be a difficult year for all community theatre groups, and we hope you will continue to follow and support us. We will be there for you when the world feels better! 

One way to help us might be to nominate for the committee. Due to the current environment we will not be calling physical meetings of the committee for some time, so your involvement would be limited to occasional online engagement.  

If you would like to be involved, or have a comment to make, please let us know here or email us at bookings@grads.org.au