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Actor - Maggie Blinco

Maggie Blinco is an octogenerian who carries with her a life-time of experiences to fuel each character she plays. As an actor, she claims to be in a category ‘all of her own’ as far as roles go; especially when there doesn’t seem to be many roles for actors in her age bracket. She didn’t come to acting until late. Having done theatre at university, it wasn’t until her late 30s that she turned professional. So how has she managed longevity in what can be a pretty tough industry? And what...


Regional Television Variety Compere - Fred Fargher

Long before the availability of 24 hour News cycles, Netflix, Cable networks and Reality TV ….. companion stations to the urban networks existed all over regional Australia. BTV6 in Ballarat was one such station, providing reach to the communities of Ballarat and Western Victoria. It provided local content to service the population – news, commercials and variety. Following in the mould of offerings in the major cities - IN MELBOURNE TONIGHT with Graeme Kennedy, THE DON LANE SHOW, and THE...


Performing Arts Historian/Custodian - Frank Van Straten

Frank Van Straten is a performing arts historian, author and a former director of the Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne. You’ve probably read one of his insightful commentaries on the history of a musical or play, in a program you purchased whilst visiting a theatre. Van Straten was the first archivist of the Performing Arts Museum (now the Performing Arts Collection), at the Victorian Arts Centre, and was the director from 1984 until 1993. For many years he researched and presented ABC...


Acting Teacher - Lisle Jones

I once heard Lisle Jones remark “I am married to the Theatre, but the Ballet is my mistress!” He is a man who relishes any discipline as long as it can produce a good story with clarity, passion and skill. An accomplished actor and director, he is from a school where you served an apprenticeship, learning how to craft your work on the job. By watching senior actors and devouring any experience that came your way. His was a time when an Australian actor would be obliged to travel to England...


Singer/Actor - Maureen Elkner

Maureen Elkner has been singing since the sixties. Carving out a career as a rock/pop vocalist, she began her professional career in a trio called The Chiffons. After singing back-up for John Farnham and providing vocals on Russell Morris’s classic 'The Real Thing', Maureen found her great success with the chart climber 'Rak Off Normie' – the follow up single to Bob Hudson’s novelty hit ‘The Newcastle Song’. Maureen released 7 singles and two albums through the 70s and also found success as...


Biographer - Peter Fitzpatrick

Peter Fitzpatrick has managed to complete the impossible – a double biography of a father and son who were adept at leaving very little personal information. Peter has managed to garner copious information however, through the detective-like approach of the curious biographer. Using these discoveries, he has recorded perfect portraits and also extended our insight, by installing creative but inspired accounts of what it was to be these men, at crucial stages of their brilliant lives. He...


Actor - Tom Campbell

A facebook post from actor Tom Campbell recently gathered much traction. He cited that the entertainment industry was making much-needed advances in embracing racial, gender and sexual diversity in its casting decisions but was failing in its representation of actors he described as having “non-normative bodies”. You see, Tom was born without a hand. Not that this has ever been a concern for him in life, or his pursuit of an acting career. It has posed some interesting obstacles along the...


Musical Theatre Educator - Denis Follington

In 1983, something was happening in the Western states – the birth of a training course focused entirely on the Musical Theatre. There was no music theatre education in the country, and after starting the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Dr Geoff Gibbs made the creation of the course his next goal. For nearly 20 years, Denis Follington was on the staff of this much sought Musical Theatre BA at WAAPA. The course has graduated students including Meow Meow, Eddie Perfect, Lisa...


Director and AD Siren Theatre Company - Kate Gaul

Kate Gaul has been a considerable force in playmaking in Australia over the past 25 years. Directing premiere productions and new Australian works, her directing folio has covered a broad repertoire of stories – The Laramie Project, The Trouble with Harry, Svetlana in Slingbacks, The Ham Funeral and Richard the Third to touch on a few. She has worked with our leading theatre companies and taught at training institutions, including NIDA and WAAPA. A champion of the work of Irish playwright...


Theatre Archivist and Front-of-House fixture - Stuart Greene

When we enter a theatre building, the first point of contact before entering the world of the play - is the front-of-house staff. Those folk who welcome us in, guide us to our seat, or pour us a drink as we give in to the magic of the night. A popular personality behind the bar of Sydney theatres for many years has been Stuart Greene – a devotee of all things theatre, he is a walking encyclopaedia of our theatre heritage, from the buildings to what has graced the stages and screens. A...


Actor - Andrew McFarlane

Many of our favourite television series, have featured today’s guest. Iconic shows that were part of our nightly viewing – defining our identity and celebrating the culture. His performances captured us through an array of quintessentially Australian characters; telling stories of WW2 in The Sullivans, Outback Australia in The Flying Doctors and protecting our boarders in Patrol Boat. Fronting them all was charismatic and handsome Andrew McFarlane. In a career that has encompassed...


Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher - Jane Beckett

‘Dance is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire’ (Martha Graham)– so reads the quote atop Jane Beckett’s extensive CV. A dancer who trained in the classical form, her experiences in Europe showed her the many expressions possible through contemporary dance. A career in Musical theatre and regular employment dancing on television and supporting big names in cabaret – evolved into a career as a choreographer and teacher. Jane talks to us about life as a dancer and the influences that...


Acting Teacher and Blogger - Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson is regarded to be one of Australia’s most foremost acting teachers. Having completed extensive periods managing the former NIDA Acting course and teaching at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, his knowledge and passion for the craft of acting is extensive. He has guided many of Australia’s best and noted actors, with insights and an approach which is direct, firm and fosters discovery. In recent years his passion has extended to the development of an online...


Cabaret and Music Theatre performer - Donna Lee

Donna Lee comes from a long line of performers. Showbusiness is indeed the family business; with Donna being the fifth generation in her family, to embrace performance as a career. As a child she travelled the country and performed with her parents: her father Frank Cleary, a juggler and variety performer; and her mother Gloria Dawn, one of Australia’s foremost actors in music theatre and drama. She has been acknowledged with a Green Room Award for her role as Ado Annie in Oklahoma and...


Drag Performer - Graeme Browning (aka Mitzi Macintosh)

Mitzi Macintosh is a much loved drag identity who worked in all the major Sydney venues over some two decades. Outrageous, subversive, a heart of gold and possessed with immaculate comic timing, she is the drag persona of performer Graeme Browning. Now residing in the UK, Graeme (and Mitzi) were back recently for his first one-woman show – Mitzi Macintosh – My Life in Lipstick – presented as part of the 40th Anniversary Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. His knowledge of drag as an art...


Dance Custodian - Paul Saliba

Paul Saliba was once described as a man of fire. His dance and choreographic work possesses a sense of energy, light and warmth. The man himself is excitable, committed and vital. A conversation with Paul is enlightening and re-affirming. He talks to STAGES about his time with The Australian Ballet, the car accident that could have put an end to his career, his work with The Sydney Dance Company and studying in New York with the iconic Martha Graham. His work is fed by a fascination with...


Director/Playwright - Grace Barnes

In a career encompassing playwrighting, teaching, academia and directing, Grace Barnes has championed the female voice in storytelling. And … working as an associate or resident director on original productions of SUNSET BOULEVARD, MARTIN GUERRE & THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, she has had a seat at the birth of seminal works of musical theatre and observed the creatives that made them. She was even present in the initial weeks of MISS SAIGON on Broadway. So how did a theatre obsessed kid from...


Musical Theatre Leading Lady - Geraldine Turner

Geraldine Turner has chartered a career spanning 4 decades and established herself as one of few bona-fide leading ladies of the Musical Theatre. A repertoire of high octane roles has seen her lead companies of OLIVER, ANYTHING GOES, CHICAGO, SWEENEY TODD and INTO THE WOODS; but there is one role, that has escaped her … she ponders why that may be. An artist at ease in any form, she has mastered cabaret, plays, television and film – and has recently extended her accomplishments as a...


Actor Producer - Trevor Ashley

Trevor Ashley follows in a long line of Australian stage larrikans that include Roy Rene, Barry Humphries and Reg Livermore – talents who created unique performance personas and gave us Mo McCacky, Dame Edna Everage and Betty Blockbuster. They all celebrated the outrageous and the particular of our culture, Ashley continues the biting and hysterical piss-take, serving it up to us in flamboyant and finely realised entertainments such as ‘Fat Swan’, ‘Little Orphan Trashley' and ‘Bodybag’. In...


Opera Conductor - Brian Castles-Onion

Brian Castles-Onion has been described as 'Exceptionally Brilliant', 'Dynamic' and 'Fabulous'. He has been awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship to study conducting in Europe and has worked at The Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Rossini Festival in Italy. A longtime association with Opera Australia, 2018 sees him conduct his seventh Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour - Puccini's 'La Boheme'. He discusses growing up in Cessnock, the art of the Conductor and his production of The...