Ballarat National Theatre

Tuesday 5 December, 2023

We're proud to share Ballarat National Theatre's success at the 2023 Victorian Drama League Awards on December 3. BNT was able to submit one show for consideration in this year's awards and due to timing, the eligible BNT show this year was Terry Pratchett's: Wyrd Sisters. Many cast and crew involved were involved in other performances on the same day as the awards so a group of four members went down to represent BNT and see if we were nominated for any awards.

The evening began with The Passing Parade, which is a presentation acknowledging those members of the Victorian theatre community who passed away in 2023. This included BNT's own Yvonne Downing and we were grateful to the VDL for the opportunity to have Yvonne acknowledged and remembered.

We received 13 acknowledgments throughout the evening for Wyrd Sisters, as well as a BNT member being nominated for their performance with another company. BNT was nominated in every technical category and took home awards in 5 categories including Best Show and Best Director. For the category of Best Actor Minor Role (Comedy) we had three of the five nominations and one of our actors took home the award as well. 

In her award acceptance speech for Best Director (Comedy), Liana thanked the Ballarat Arts Foundation for an out-of-round grant she received at the start of the year which enabled her to undertake the Victorian Drama League's online course for directors. She also thanks the City of Ballarat for the Community Impact Grant that enabled the production to go ahead and present the work of all those who took part in it for consideration in the awards.

NOMINATION - Best Set Design for a Drama or Comedy - Liana Emmerson
NOMINATION - Best Lighting Design for a Drama or Comedy - Mathew Heenan & Tayla Harbour
WINNER (SILVER) - Best Sound Design for a Drama or Comedy - Charlie Hughes
WINNER (SILVER) - Best Costume Design - Liana Emmerson
NOMINATION- Best Prop Design - Shell Pryor
NOMINATION - Best Actor Minor Role (Comedy) - Jack Brown
NOMINATION - Best Actor Minor Role (Comedy) - James Wait
WINNER - Best Actor Minor Role (Comedy) - Barry Kay
NOMINATION- Best Actress Supporting Role (Comedy) - Ruby Penhall
NOMINATION- Best Actor Supporting Role (Comedy) - Reuben Morgan
NOMINATION - Best Actor Lead Role (Comedy) - Joe Appleton
WINNER - Best Director (Comedy) - Liana Emmerson
WINNER (Tied with Torquay Theatre) - Best Production (Comedy) - Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters

Also congratulations to BNT member Casey Bohan for a NOMINATION - Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Drama) for her role in Revlon Girls with Brighton Theatre Company.

The members present had a lot of people coming up to them after the event to say that they felt they should get to Ballarat to see some theatre! We had to agree. We are so happy that the hard work of the cast and crew of the production was so widely recognised and that it sparked interest in the wider Victorian theatre community.

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Wyrd Sisters Witches Death Lancre MapA wonderful and innovative contribution to the Wyrd Sisters’ props has been through 3D printing, generously created by Keen Magpie Prints. This included the model of Discworld in the foyer, moveable torture implements, and Death’s brooch. The Discworld model was painted by cast member and key crew contributor Ruby Penhall.

The map of Lancre was designed by Director Liana Emmerson and created collaboratively by a team of cast and crew members. It was giant, measuring 2.75m x 2.65m! It featured towards the end of Act 1 and was displayed in the foyer during interval.
During our Wyrd Sisters production, we had a giveaway draw for the model of Discworld and the hand-painted, giant map of Lancre. Congratulations to Mark Hayes and Kim Bush, respectively, who took home these one-of-a-kind prizes. The Discworld model and giant map of Lancre will go to these lucky people to live forever in their homes.

Friday 17 November, 2023WVST logo 1500 white

BNT would like to thank our member Benj Beatty for a donation that was made for our September production of Wyrd Sisters, on behalf of Western Victoria Soil Testing.

Benj was one of the cast of the production and also provided some wonderfully practical help during bump in and out by driving the truck that moved our set to and from the theatre. Benj surprised us by covering the cost of the truck hire and we want to say a very big thank you!

Benj does do soil testing and land capability assessments for residential buildings, sheds, extensions, pools, etc. WVST generally cover everywhere from the SA border to the Hume Highway, and from southern NSW to the Great Ocean Road, plus anywhere else anyone wants them to go! If you need soil testing done, please get in touch with them.

Find out more on their website wvst.com.au

IMG 0260 Daria LedovskiBNT board members Robyn Ashmore and Cathy Adamson have stepped down from their roles on the board. 

Previous board member Megan Riedl has returned to her position after taking some family leave this year, and we have also welcomed new board member Daria Ledovski to the team.

Daria has enjoyed performing since childhood and is thrilled to be back, after a long break, in this year's BNT production of Shakespeare's Caesar. A mild-mannered administrator by day, Daria loved the chance to get dramatic with an awesome group of people over the last few months!

These board member changes also mean a change of duties. Please see below for the updated role changes.

President and Treasurer - Liana Skewes
Secretary - Laura Hudson
Vice President - Sue Skewes
Membership Manager - Evelyn Zeven

Find out more about the volunteers on the BNT board here.

Wednesday 15 November, 2023

We have some exciting news regarding the successful Ballarat Connected Communities grant application for a Ballarat National Theatre (BNT) website update

Ballarat National Theatre's background:

  • Established Legacy: Since its inception in 1938, Ballarat National Theatre has played a pivotal role in the Ballarat community. It was founded to address the community's need for local theatre opportunities, giving rise to the National Theatre movement in the area.
  • Continuous Community Service: BNT has maintained continuous operations, serving the community's appetite for arts collaboration. It consistently produces up to four shows each season, providing a unique platform for "straight" theatre in Ballarat.
  • Diverse Repertoire: The theatre's repertoire is incredibly diverse, encompassing original works from local writers, established Australian playwrights, classics, and international playwrights from various eras. Over the years, BNT has produced more than 275 plays in collaboration with the Ballarat community.
  • Vision for Inclusivity: BNT's vision is to be a welcoming hub for the community to experience theatre, created by and for the community itself.

This is an overview of the approved project:

Project Name: Ballarat National Theatre Website Update

Project Description: This website update is a significant step towards enhancing the website's accessibility and security. It ensures that the online platform remains user-friendly for everyone, including those with disabilities, while adopting state-of-the-art security measures to safeguard against cyber threats.

Historical Significance: The BNT website serves as a crucial resource for community members, offering insights into the rich heritage dating back to 1938. It supports family history research and provides valuable historical information about the company and the community it has served.

Enhanced User Experience: The updated website will feature improved navigation and information discovery, making it easier for people to connect with BNT and explore its story. Given the extensive historical content on the site, the migration to the updated operating system is a substantial task, which will be executed by a local web company that currently hosts and maintains the website.

Community Engagement: The website is more than just an online presence; it embodies the vibrant spirit of community theatre, fostering connections and friendships through shared creative endeavours. With numerous participants as members and patrons each year, the website showcases the avenues of engagement and the manifold benefits of contributing to the arts.

Inviting Contribution: It invites individuals to be a part of BNT's creative projects, fostering personal growth, connectedness, and the joy that comes with artistic expression. In essence, the Ballarat National Theatre's website encapsulates the enduring influence of community theatre, celebrating its past, present, and future, while inviting all to contribute to the tapestry of artistic and communal endeavour.

"Ballarat Connected Communities are thrilled to announce that the grant application for this project has been successful, and it's thanks to your support and belief in the mission and vision of Ballarat National Theatre. We look forward to keeping you updated on the progress as we work towards realizing this important enhancement to our online presence."