Theatre | Micro Theatre Festival | Ken Longworth

CREATIVE FORCE: Oliver MacFadyen, Carl Caulfield, Bree Cunningham, Maurice Silver, Peter King and Noel Wallace at The Press Bookhouse.
CREATIVE FORCE: Oliver MacFadyen, Carl Caulfield, Bree Cunningham, Maurice Silver, Peter King and Noel Wallace at The Press Bookhouse.

PEOPLE who enjoy theatre will have a rewarding week when the 2017 Micro Theatre Festival is held from August 22 to 26, with 16 short plays being staged at four Newcastle venues. 

The three 2016 Newcastle CBD venues – café Vinyl, book shop and café The Press Bookhouse, and niche art gallery Curve – have been joined by Hamilton’s Studio21 Artspace, enabling an extra four plays to be staged this year.

There were a record 70 entries, with members of the readers’ panel having difficulty in choosing the most engaging works. In addition to new short plays, the Micro Theatre staging team opened the competition to previously staged works that had not been staged in Newcastle. Those being presented include four existing plays.

While some plays have similar titles, they are very different. Novocastrian Tristram Baumber’s comedy Spaceman and Executioner, has a spaceman who is a prisoner on an alien planet trying to romance the woman who has been assigned to execute him, while Space Commander versus the Mud Monsters, by Canberra’s Frank Leggett, has a teen fan of a long-running space TV series corresponding with the ageing lead actor who is looking at retiring.

As many of the plays are being staged in cafe venues, several have people arranging to meet for coffee or meals, but with very different things happening. 

The programs are: Curve Gallery: The End of the Day, by Mark Konik, director Emily Daly; Do Not Touch, by Julia Lewis, director Pearl Nunn; This Morning, by Debra Hely, director Emily Daly; Spaceman and Executioner, by Tristram Baumber, director Allison Van Gaal.   

The Press Bookhouse: Elementary, by Kylie Farrugia and Tracey Dwyer, directors Oliver MacFadyen and John Wood; Grass, by Carl Caulfield, director Maurice Silver; www.seniourdating.com, written and directed by Peter King; The Almighty Bank Home Loan, by Simon Tonkin, director Bree Cunningham.

Vinyl Cafe: History Lesson, by Simon Tonkin, director Louise Johnson; Space Commander versus the Mud Monsters, by Frank Leggett, director Zac Smith; Dinner for Two, writer and director Danielle Asquith; The Interview, by Sally Davies, director Geoffrey Munch.  

Studio21 Artspace: Late, by Helen Hopcroft, directors Lesley Coombes and Guilherme Noronha; The Water’s Edge, by Michael Lill, director Daniel Cottier; He said it was at 12, Sheree Christoffersen, directors Lesley Coombes and Guilherme Noronha; The Pitch, by Kylie Farrugia and Tracey Dwyer, directors Genevieve Lawson and John Wood.

Each venue has performances nightly at 7pm August 22-26. Tickets: $15. Book at microtheatre.com.au.