2018 Newcastle Fringe Festival

COMEDY TRIPLE: Newcastle-based comic and actor Bree Cunningham, who will perform Loser at the Newcastle Fringe Festival.
COMEDY TRIPLE: Newcastle-based comic and actor Bree Cunningham, who will perform Loser at the Newcastle Fringe Festival.

BREE Cunningham has begun to make a name for herself in Newcastle and Hunter theatre, but for many years she saw herself as a loser. And Loser is the name she has given to a Newcastle Fringe Festival show that includes three short plays she tried with mixed results to enter in theatre events in Newcastle and Sydney.

The plays, linked by stand-up comedy routines, have Bree, who also directs, appearing alongside other Newcastle actors Jan Hunt, Bronwyn Kanitz and Anissa Thomas. One play, The Waiting Game, which has three contestants eagerly waiting in the wings of a theatre to appear in a reality TV show and aware they might be losers, won audience applause when written and staged in 24 hours for Newcastle Theatre Company’s 2017 Play in a Day. Another play is about dating and the third looks at a therapy class for new fathers.

Loser, which is one of 11 productions by Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast teams among the 24 shows in the 2018 Newcastle Fringe Festival from March 21 to 25, will be staged at the CBD’s Grand Hotel nightly, except March 25, at 7.30pm.

The variety of the local works is shown by We’re All Dianne Slowly, a comedy song-and-dance cabaret put together by and starring Dianne Slowly (John Collins), which looks at the journey from boyhood to manhood of the title character via a faux womanhood. John Collins is the head of the team which from March 2017 financed and produced all the Islington-staged events for Newcastle’s LGBTQIA community, and is continuing to do that at other Newcastle venues. We’re All Dianne Slowly is at Hamilton’s Gallipoli Legion Club on March 23 and 24, 7.30pm. 

Other Fringe shows: Grand Hotel:Confessions of 2 Fat Show Girls, cabaret with Lia Bundy and Kimberley Dingle, March 23 and 24, 6pm. Royal Exchange:Clark’s Nerdy Science Show, comedy with Clark Gormley, March 22, 23, 24, 6pm. Girls to the Front, charity poetry readings by Girls on Key, March 25, 4pm. Christ Church Cathedral: Bravo Victor, music duo Sophie Aked and Jonathan Burgess, March 23, 7.30pm, March 24, 9pm. Wesley Church, Hamilton: Do You See What I See?, exploration by actor Angela Laurette Michelle of how people see themselves, March 23 and 24, 4.30pm. Catapult Dance Studio, Newcastle West:Amor, love story by Stephanie Rochet in which she uses a computer to talk to her lover in Chile, March 21, 7.30pm, March 22, 6pm. Because There Was Fire, two teens run away to the bush in youth arts company Japuka Productions’ play, March 22, 23, 24, 25,  7.30pm. Raduga Trio, story told through music, March 25, 4.30pm. Hypnotik, comedy with illusion and hypnosis, March 23 and 24, 9pm.



CESSNOCK  Performing Arts Centre will host a session of this year’s Newcastle Writers Festival, with best-selling thriller author Michael Robotham talking on the subject Secrets and Lies on April 7 at 7.30pm. Another renowned crime writer, Barry Maitland, who lives in the Hunter, will host the hour-long session.

Robotham will also talk at a Newcastle session in the City Hall Concert Room on  April 8, from 11.30am to 12.30pm, conversing with Lake Macquarie suspense author Jaye Ford on the subject The Hunter and the Hunted – Exploring This Potent Crime Fiction Dynamic.

Before becoming a novelist, Michael Robotham was an investigative journalist working in the US, Australia and Britain.  He investigated notorious cases such as the serial killer couple Fred and Rosemary West.  He has also worked with clinical and forensic psychologists as they helped police investigate complex, psychologically driven crimes.

Michael's 2004 debut thriller, The Suspect, sold more than one million copies. It is the first of eight novels featuring clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin, who faces his own increasing battle with a potentially debilitating disease. 

Michael has also written four standalone thrillers. In 2015 he won the UK's prestigious Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award with his stand-alone thriller Life or Death.  His most recent book is The Secret She Keeps.

Tickets for both sessions are $25. 

Cessnock tickets can be bought through CPAC, 4993 4266, and Newcastle tickets through Ticketek.