Ken Longworth | Hunter Valley Summer Theatre program begins

THE LISTIES: Rich Higgins and Matt Kelly have an interactive night of entertainment for the children.

THE LISTIES: Rich Higgins and Matt Kelly have an interactive night of entertainment for the children.

THE inaugural Hunter Valley Summer Theatre, a nine-week program of diverse shows, will begin on Wednesday with the opening of an Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit, Light Bites & Tasty Treats, at Kevin Sobels Wines in Pokolbin.

The summer theatre festival is the initiative of actress, writer, director and producer Kath Perry, who based it on summer stock theatre in the United States, with rural shows staged in venues such as tents and barns.

Hunter Valley Summer Theatre will be presented in the Sobels barrel room (corner of Broke and Halls Roads) and raised seating for 60 people has been installed.

Kath Perry took Light Bites & Tasty Treats to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. It features nine short plays by Australian writers, with subjects including a couple lost in the bush, two beached whales seeking rescue, and people arguing about modern art. The cast includes Kath Perry, Peter McAllum, Kit Bennett and Ian Runeckles.

Light Bites & Tasty Treats runs from September 28 to October 9, with shows from Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm, and 2.30pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: $48, conc $40. Bookings: www.eventbrite.com.

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre has another Australian show that was an Edinburgh Fringe hit, The Listies 6D (Twice as Good as 3D), as a school holiday attraction on Thursday, September 29, at 11am.

The hour-long production has The Listies, Richard (Rich) Higgins and Matt Kelly, asking children in the audience to name their favourite films. The pair stage scenes dressed as characters such as super heroes and aliens and a stunt-driving ninja nan, with the aid of vomiting puppets and haunted backpacks, and prepare the audience to be members of a film that is made at the end.

The show won a Sydney Theatre Award for best children’s production in 2013.

The Cessnock performance is the only Hunter show on the tour. Tickets: $20. Bookings: 4990 7134.

Hunter TAFE’s Regional Institute of Performing Arts will stage six 40-minute plays, a mix of comedies, dramas and cabaret written and directed by Advanced Diploma in Arts (Acting) students, in two programs in the second week of its Clegg Festival at the Civic Playhouse.

Program 1, Wednesday, October 5, and Friday, October 7, looks at families, mateship and love: Family Ties, by Jackson Vaughan; Lotto, by Jayden Gobbe-Bezzina; Confessions of a Domestic Goddess, by Leanne Sewell.

Program 2, Thursday, October 6, and Saturday, October 8, explores identity and duty: Spy’s the Limit, by Joel Mews; Hung Up on Harrison, by Joel Mews; Propaganda, by Jackson Vaughan. Tickets: $20, students $10. Bookings: 4929 1977.

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