Ballarat National Theatre

trifle mainBy Peter Nethercote

Performed 21 February to 1 March 1975

About the Play

This fanciful trio of interwoven love stories is a figment of the imagination of one of Ballarat’s most talented young men, conceived when he and his wife, Helen, were living in London. Written largely in the Library of London University, it was inspired by his own experience of life during their two-year visit to England. For the first two months of their “working holiday,” they submitted themselves to “the machinations of the accommodation agencies,” and ate out regularly at their favourite spot, “Kath’s Café.”

Writer and Director Peter Nethercote

A prolific writer, director, designer and actor, Peter is one of Ballarat’s most well-known theatre identities, and is constantly in demand for a wide variety of theatrical enterprises. “Trifle” is Peter’s second musical. His first musical was adapted from Trollope’s “Barchester Towers,” and was a departure from his straight plays including the very successful “Unsuspecting Bachelor” which premiered here at the National Theatre.

Peter directed “The Boy Friend” for Lyric Theatre, “The Unsuspecting Bachelor,” and two productions for Ballarat and Queens Grammar School, “The Skin of Our Teeth,” and “Camelot.”

His set and costume designs have delighted Ballarat audiences in such musicals as “Oliver,” “My Fair Lady,” “Brigadoon,” “White Horse Inn,” and “The Boy-friend,” while his National Theatre sets include “Dangerous Corner,” “Pools Paradise,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Parker,” “The Unsuspecting Bachelor,” and “Macbeth.”

It’s not surprising that he doesn’t have much time to spare for on-stage work, but he has turned in some excellent performances which drew such critical acclaim that he won National Theatre’s Best Actor Awards for his roles in “For Better, For Worse,” and “Happy Days.”



Gwen Jenny Cochran
Polly Sue Newton
Amanda Jane Walter
Abigail, Vanessa, Tea Lady, Audrey, Cleaner, Iris, Kath, Nora Lightfoot (A Star) Lois Walter
Sheila, Miss Bulstrode, Mrs. Sweet, Ada, Mrs. Worthington-Drew, Madame Sforzando Pat Earnshaw
Rosemary, Veronica, Typist, Nurse, Cleaner Paula Freeman
Man, Examinee, Young Doctor, A Waiter, Philip ( A Photographer) Roger Lemke
Husband, Examinee, Old Patient, Derek (A Director) Ian Buerckner
Wife, Mrs. Stubbs, Ursula, Typist, Deidre, Cleaner, Miss Tchaikowsky Anne Nott
Doleful Man, Examinee, Scottish Doctor, Athol, Roberto Stuart Maiden
John Graeme Day


Writer and Director Peter Nethercote
Stage Manager Val Sarah
Assisted by Judy Holyhead
Backstage Staff Carmel Allen, Jim Allen, Philip Batch, Natalia Dennison, Glen Foster, Gail Fraser, Betty O’Donnell, Maria Ryan, Enid Todd, Jean Wardlaw, Dana Frantz
Properties Alec Ball
Assisted by Russ. Carey, Peter O’Donnell, Trevor O’Donnell, Ray D’Arcy
Prompt Emmy Thomson
Curtain Debbie O’Donnell
Set Design Peter Nethercote
Set Construction Jim Allen, Jenny Cochran, Peter O’Donnell, Roy Walker, Trevor O’Donnell, Peter Nethercote
Sound Albert Dulfer, Ted Jorna
Lighting Greg. Tinkler, Geoff. Paddle
Hairstyling and Make-up Lucy Newton, Barbara Snibson
Publicity Joy Smith
Photography Basil Dawson
Poster and Programme Design Val Sarah
Front of House Rev. J. Smith and helpers
Stall Marj Drew and helpers


Accompanist Irene Laidlaw

Brought up by a grandmother devoted to music, Irene and her twin-sister were accomplished pianists by the age of 12, when Irene took her A.Mus.A. Having gained her Teachers’ Diploma at the Sydney Conservatorium, Irene taught in Corowa, gave recitals for the ABC as soloist and accompanist, and had her first taste of theatre work in Wagga. Her credits in Ballarat include Half a Sixpence, The Boyfriend and Hello Dolly. She is currently engaged in the formation of a Chamber Music Group in Ballarat to indulge her love of classical music. Ballarat National Theatre is fortunate to secure the services of such a talented pianist for the current season of Trifle.

From BNT 40th Annual Report 1974-1975

Peter Nethercote followed this with the World Premiere of his own musical entitle Triffle, which he had scored and designed himself and which created a minor sensation in Ballarat for its vitality and catchy music.  It was something different we needed and was an ideal vehicle for showing how versatile many of our acting force are.  Triffle ran to full houses from February 21st to March 1st 1975 and could easily have been extended had it been possible for everyone concerned. 

Production Program

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