The Wedding Singer opens at the Criterion Theatre tonight.
The Wedding Singer opens at the Criterion Theatre tonight.

Stage set for huge season at Criterion Theatre

IT WAS great to see theatre-goers appreciate the calibre of what Clarence Valley has to offer with sold out audiences at both Criterion Theatre and Pelican Playhouse in 2018.

I genuinely feel proud to be part of such a dedicated and positive committee at the Criterion and we have even higher expectations for this year.

The whole Clarence Valley is welcome to join us at the 2019 season launch on Friday, February 22 from 6-9pm.

NO. 30: Desan Padayachee.
NO. 30: Desan Padayachee. Adam Hourigan

The first show of the year is Oliver! The Musical, from March 28 to April 7 and directed by myself.

Of the 32 in the cast, 22 are under 18, which we are totally excited about because our plans at the start of last year was to have at least one show each year that encouraged a lot of youth involvement.

It's awesome to watch some of Grafton's finest seasoned performers including Kate Joseph, Charles Chegwidden, Misty Fisher and Karla Hubbard really rub off on the younger members of the company.

Also this year there are three mother and daughter combinations. For me personally it is my first show ever with my whole family, and in one scene my wife Misty, daughter Paisley and myself all get to be on stage together.

I have to be in it as the character Bill Sykes, because a certain Bill who I wanted to cast in the role was unavailable.

It's worth a mention that "unsung hero” Dan Fahey has come to the forefront as musical director.

Tickets went on sale last week and already there are over 100 tickets sold.

Mareia Cowper will direct Festive Spirit, which will be a Chirstmas in July show from July 18 to 28. Keep an eye out for audition notices in the DEX and on the Criterion Theatre Facebook page.

It will be just the second time the play has ever been performed. The playwright, Newcastle's Sally Davies, will actually be coming along to the opening night of that show.

There are also plans afoot for a one-night-only show on October 27 during the Jacaranda Festival.

The last show for the year is Monty Python's Spamalot to be directed by Anne Newbold, from November 28 to December 8.

The theatre will also be used for Clarence Valley Anglican School's musical Back to the 80s at the end of this month, plus keep your eye out for details about felt and mosaic workshops this year.

At the season launch we will also be announcing the 2018 Ewan Award winners. They were created by Anne Newbold in honour of Ewan Stephenson, who was a popular member of the Criterion who passed away in 2015. The awards are named after some of the larger than life characters that he played.

The awards to be handed out are:

  • Newan Award for an actor's first time on stage;
  • Wyrd Duke Felment Award for extra effort and contribution to a show;
  • Prospero Award for the best character development;
  • Wild Bill Award, from Ewan's final appearance in Calamity Jane, for director's choice for best all-rounder;
  • Grand Ewan, which is equivalent to a Gold Logie, for the best performance.

Tickets to shows at the Criterion Theatre (149 Oliver St, Grafton) can be bought from or Buckleys' Music Group next to Saraton Theatre in Prince St.

Bill North

Power Point is dedicated to sharing the thoughts and views of The Daily Examiner's Power 30. As influential people in the Clarence Valley, by definition their voices matter. When they speak, people listen. This week's Power Point comes from Criterion Theatre president Desan Padayachee, who was No.30 in the 2018 Power 30.