The Tasmanian Theatre Awards judges bring a high level of skill and experience to their roles, gained over many years working within the performing arts sector. Our judges take on considerable responsibility, not only for the amount of time they volunteer in travelling around Tasmania to complete their judging assignments but also for the professional, considerate and ethical manner in which they undertake this role.

Each judging panel operates independently of the other three and is responsible for the assessment of all productions registered within their particular Award category. TCT policy requires that no member of a particular panel can be personally involved in, or connected to, any production which comes before that panel for assessment during that year’s judging period. Where this potential conflict of interest might occur, a judge will stand aside from the panel and all judging within that year.

There are four judging panels taking responsibility for assessment of the 2017 Awards categories, as follows:

Professional
Theatre

Gillian Unicomb
Jeff Hockley
Alwyn Lewis
Bill Pearson
Jane Polley
Kym Weatherly

Community Theatre

Christine Bailey
Anica Boulanger Mashberg
Chris Cabalzar
Christine Green
Karissa Lane
Mary Machen

Physical
Theatre

Lesley Graham
Jamie McDonough
Laura Purcell

Community Musical Theatre

Maggi Gillham 
Suzie Bower
Patricia Kempa
Anne Morgan
Nick Tantaro
Patricia Woods


Professional

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Gillian Unicomb (CONVENOR)

Gillian Unicomb was a professional actor, designer and writer who is now so called retired. Highlights from her stage career include: Merry Widow with June Bronhill, Gallant Imposter with husband John Unicomb, Spring and Port Wine with Alfred Marks, School for Scandal with Sydney Conabere. TV includes Homicide, Division 4, and several series of Crackerjack. Radio: the ABC Children’s Hour and Argonauts Club; a new drama every week, and, on moving home to Tasmania, presenter and producer of ABCs Good, Bad and Indifferent. She wrote scripts for ABC Programs and Education and was a columnist for The Mercury newspaper. Part of the original Tasmanian Theatre Company, she worked in a number of capacities, including designer and publicist. Moving into education, she was until recently actively involved in the evaluation and accreditation of Tasmanian Independent schools.

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Alwyn Lewis

Alwyn is a playwright, writer, actor, performer, lyricist and producer of many years standing. For 30 years she was the Australian co-correspondent for the New York music magazine Cadence, completing over sixty interviews with high-profile musicians. Alwyn wrote the lyrics for The Sense of Wonder CD featuring Australian singer Heather Stewart, winning five stars in the US with two songs in the Australian Song Awards. Alwyn’s writing credits include a book of short stories, three books of poetry, a novel and a biography, but a chance personal meeting with Alan J Lerner led to her foray into writing plays. Her plays have enjoyed good success interstate and in Tasmania and include Zeke!, Gert and Daisy, Six Thirty for Seven, It’s Called A Saxophone, Writing Home, Three Different Women, Bertha and Saxman, Second Sight and Just Painting Protea. In Melbourne, Alwyn and her husband established reading salons with well-known actors - Helen Morse and David Tredinnick and hope to repeat that success with their Tasmanian venture - Salon Northwest having already toured Annie Phelan and Tony Barry, and with a successful regional season of David’s The Man Who Was Drowned. Alwyn’s next project is a Words and Music Festival for 2017.

JEFF HOCKLEY

Jeff’s qualifications include a Bachelor in Teaching (Adelaide), Post-graduate certificate (Educational technology, York University), Master’s degree (Education, Indiana University) and Graduate Certificate, Dramatic Arts (Voice Studies, NIDA). He taught drama and lighting design at TCAE, TSIT and UTAS, and has directed in the USA, UK and Italy. Arriving in Tasmanian in 1972, he has been an active participant in education and theatre -probably best known as a director and a lighting designer. His directorial credits include Les Misérables, Amadeus, Dad’s Army, Rent, Spamalot, Avenue Q;  musical director credits for My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Cabaret and the world’s first community production of Evita; and has lit design numerous theatre productions in Launceston and Devonport. Jeff has performed in The Pillowman, Dumb Show, Travels with My Aunt, The Phantom of the Opera, Are You Being Served, Waiting for Godot, Twelve Angry Men, and Noises Off.  Film & TV credits include Governor Arthur, Tourism Tasmania features, TV commercials, and ‘Graeme’ in ‘Rosehaven’. Jeff was VP and classical music presenter for Launceston City Park Radio for six years, served as a member of the Arts Council of Australia (and the State Executive) and as an inaugural Theatre Council of Tasmania committee member. In 2000, Jeff received the Citizen Award for Community Service for outstanding services to the arts (National Australia Day Council). In 2016, he was awarded the Paul Harris Award for outstanding community engagement.

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Bill Pearson

Graduating from NIDA in 1965, Bill spent ten years working as an actor with major Australian theatre companies including the Old Tote Theatre, Nimrod, Ensemble Theatre and Jane St Theatre. He appeared in all early Australian Television shows before heading to England where he worked with many leading Rep companies as well as London’s West End. Returning to Australia in 1981, he continued acting in television and stage in Sydney, moving to Hobart in 1989 to join Tasmanian Theatre Company (later Salamanca Theatre) where he wrote, directed and appeared in their first educational programs.  Bill’s playwriting credits include: An Evening With Walter Plinge, Christian and Miller, Comparing My Life To A Book, Conversation With A Geisha, Last Tank From Tiananmen, We are Gathered Here Today, Trybe, and How I Wonder Who You Are. Bill co-wrote the Rock Musical Glen and wrote scripts, lyrics and music for ABC’s Radio Educational program. He directed: Hamlet’s Half Hour and The Pre Dole Farewell (UK); Will I Still Hear The Water Lapping (Sydney Opera House). Locally, he directed Hating Allison Ashley and Peter Rabbit (Mummers),  Shakespeare for (Azulykit) and has taught acting for Redroofs Drama School (London) and locally with Apprentice, Mummers, Hutchins and Rosny College, and REACT. 

 

Jane Polley

Jane hold a Bachelor of Education (Deakin) with majors in Dance and Drama and Master of Drama Education (Honours) from Griffith University. As an actor she worked with numerous interstate and local companies including Cloudburst Theatre, Darwin Theatre, Corrugated Iron Roof, Zootango, Salamanca Theatre, Chasing Spaces, Gudju Gudju and Woolly Jumpers. She has done regular voiceover work for local companies Blue Rocket, Red Jelly and Clemengers.  Jane is an educator in theatre and well-credentialed academic of national and international standing having presented numerous papers on drama with a particular focus on related topics in feminism to Australian forums as well as overseas. She first taught high school drama in 1990 and is currently the coordinator of Dance and Drama (St Michael’s Collegiate) amassing substantial directing credits in pre-tertiary drama including, Cosi, Secret Bridesmaids’ Business, Steel Magnolia, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Play It Again Sam, 48 Shades of Brow’, Playhouse Creatures, Be My Baby, 48 Shades of Brown, Small Poppies, Love, Loss and What I Wore, and Mean Girls. Jane has choreographed Rock Eisteddfod, Wakakirri and Dance Eisteddfod items. Jane has been an advisory board member of the Theatre Royal (2010 to 2016) was Director of Communications for Drama Australia (2010) has served in various committee roles for Drama Tasmania. 

KYM WEATHERLY

Kym began performing in Hobart in 1993 in community theatre having started a few years before in the live music scene. She has recently returned to Hobart with her husband and 2 young sons having spent 12 years in Sydney working and playing in performance and production across the music, theatre and television industries. In 2010 Kym extended her skills, completing a Master’s degree in Music Therapy and has since worked in paediatrics, private practice and consulting, while continuing with writing , singing and songwriting. For now, she satisfies her love of theatre by attending everything possible, reading plays, theatre reviews and autobiographies, and getting ‘that’ project out of the desk drawer at intervals for a dust off, dream and draft."


Community Theatre

CHRISTINE BAILEY (Convenor)

Christine has been involved in the entertainment industry for 25 years and - as a professional singer - has worked in the jazz scene in Tasmania and interstate. She has also worked as leading co-ordinator and music co-ordinator on many jazz festivals both in the north and south of the state, particularly the Suncoast Jazz Festival and Hot August Jazz in North Hobart. Chris dipped her toe in the theatre world 16 years ago and within 12 months she found herself in the position of production manager for a string of major musicals at the Theatre Royal, Hobart followed by continuing stints as a co-producer / production manager for various productions including the Hobart Comedy Festival. Christine has been a board member with Big Monkey Theatre for ten years and helps to produces the annual summer family show in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Very recently retired from full-time work, Christine is hoping to now have more time for music, theatre and life in general – that’s the plan anyway.

Anica Boulanger Mashberg

Anica holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts, an MA in English and has extensive experience in many aspects of professional and community theatre in Tasmania and interstate. She has worked with several Tasmanian theatres as a director, actor, playwright, stage manager, voice-over artist, musician and crew including Directions Theatre Company, Blue Rocket Productions, Hobart Repertory Theatre, the Old Nick Company and Mainstage. In addition to theatre performance and technical aspects of theatre, Anica is a writer with training and experience in theatre assessment and feedback. Her Professional development in writing credits include Blue Cow (Cowshed), arts@work’s Critical Acclaim project (in association with Ten Days and Dance Massive) and, a residency with STRUT Dance (Perth) working with contemporary dancers on interdisciplinary, improvisational methods and performance. She is a founding member of the critical arts reviewing collective and blog, WriteResponse, has been a regular theatre reviewer for the Mercury and other commercial publications. She has worked as a drama adjudicator for many Eisteddfods in Tasmania. Anica has taught undergraduates in communications and creative writing at several universities, including lecturing and tutoring in Scriptwriting at the University of Tasmania and, has judged and selected scripts for performance, mentoring several young writers in a semi-formal capacity. 

CHRIS CABALZAR

A graduate of UTAS (Bachelor of Education), Chris has been a Media, Drama and English teacher at Newstead College since 2001. He has been technical director for college productions such as Cats (2008), Jesus Christ Superstar (2009) and Peter Pan (2011) and Godspell (2014). He directed Pippin (2015) and Little Mermaid (2016) for Launceston Musical Society. Chris has been an active member of the Launceston theatrical community for many years including as a board member and actor with CentrStage for 20 years, acting with Launceston Repertory Society and Launceston Players. Directing, reviewing and presenting quality theatre has always been part of his passionate interest in the performing arts. 
 

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CHRISTINE GREEN

Christine is an experienced actor, director, writer, business consultant and is an emerging producer for children’s television. Her career began as a child star on BTQ 7 TV, performing on-stage and screen in pantomimes, children’s shows, musicals and advertisements.  Christine trained under Joan Whalley at Twelfth Night Theatre, worked in ensemble with Frank Gallacher, Barry Otto and John Stanton for La Boite, Twelfth Night and Brisbane Arts Theatre. She went professional and worked on ABC radio, commercial stations as a voice-over performer and had her own radio show on Radio 4NA in the ‘80s. She was also a leading dancer with Queensland Ballet Theatre.  Chrissie’s TV credits includes Stingers and Secret Life of Us. A Production Manager for the first ever “Theatre in Education” team in Australia, Christine wrote, directed, produced and performed in shows that toured Queensland schools becoming the first appointed Drama Specialist. In Japan (Shikoku), Christine wrote and directed English school and community productions for Japanese audiences. Chrissie’s qualifications include a Teaching degree (Drama Major with Honours) Griffith University, Ballet: ARAD (Inter), Tap (Gold Bar) and she has completed Robert McKee’s screenwriting seminar, Story and many other short courses over the last 15 years. Chrissie is also a qualified chef.
 

KARISSA LANE

Karissa is a professional actor based in Hobart with fourteen years of experience in theatre, film, television and voice-over work. She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, with a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts (Performance) in 2002 before working for multiple companies around the country (theatre and screen). Her work over this period includes Major Barbara for the Sydney Theatre Company under the guidance of Robin Nevin, TV credits include Stingers (Channel 9), Fireflies (ABC) and Last Man Standing (Channel 7). In 2008 a move to the UK allowed extensive work at the Actors Centre London, where she studied with renowned actor, trainer and director - Di Trevis. Since 2012, Karissa has worked with most major professional theatre companies locally. Her performances include Don Juan and 100 Reasons For War (Blue Cow), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Tasmanian Theatre Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Directions Theatre) and Wheelers Luck (The Southside Players). Throughout this period she has also worked at the Female Factory for Live History Hobart performing in both Her Story and Louisa's Walk. Recent screen & television credits include The Kettering Incident and Rosehaven.  Karissa has also spent time mentoring students as an acting teacher at ExitLeft Performance Academy. 
 

MARY MACHEN

Mary is a passionate supporter of the arts throughout Tasmania. For six years Mary was the arts editor and writer for The Examiner, until she opted for semi-retirement in early 2016. As arts writer for The Examiner, Mary built a trusted rapport with drama, dance and musical companies in the state's North, earning her the privilege to be offered "sneak peeks" at rehearsals - invaluable in further strengthening her understanding of what it takes to "build" a successful stage production. At the same time as writing about the arts, both in the performance and visual spheres, Mary has immersed herself as a volunteer in Launceston's vibrant arts scene, supporting various community groups, institutions and festivals. She is a founding member and co-convenor along with Danny Gibson of Theatre North Friends, a group that actively works to support Launceston's Princess Theatre and Earl Arts Centre. Other roles include being treasurer of Launceston's Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, a board member of the annual Junction Arts Festival and a new committee member of the Tasmanian Art Award at Eskleigh.


Community Musical Theatre

Maggi Gillham (CONVENOR)

Theatre has been a life-long passion following involvements with the Launceston Players while still at school, with Old Nick and Hobart Rep during university and with later roles in Revue, numerous musicals and community theatre. Maggi studied voice with Elizabeth Darvell, achieving her Licentiate AMEB, a B.A (English Literature) &  Dip. Ed in 1968 and continued her professional development with other courses (Direction and Design) with WAAPA and NIDA.  She has designed for several large local productions, including Oliver! (Theatre Royal), Cabaret and Summer of the Aliens (Hobart Rep), and Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Old Nick) and, performed in/directed numerous musicals and plays across various companies and genres. A teacher since 1967, Maggi has taught Drama in schools (public and private), directed and choreographed ten Rock Eisteddfods entries, eighteen musicals and nearly fifty school plays. She has trained students in direction, choreography, design, costume, stage management, lighting, sound, and general technical support. Maggi has been an integral part of the Rosny College Performing Arts team for 20 years, wrote the year 11 and 12 courses in Drama, Theatre Performance and Technical Production, works as an external examiner for pre-tertiary Drama courses, a UTAS assessor for the Conservatorium’s Outreach Music Theatre and as an adjudicator at the Deloraine and One Fest drama festivals    
 

Suzie Bower 

Suzie Bower has been involved in theatre for over 40 years. In that time she has been an actor, singer, dancer and choreographer in many stage plays and musicals, both in Tasmania and interstate.  She has also worked professionally as an actress for TV advertisements, radio and Voice overs. Suzie has also been actively involved back stage as a Make-up artist and Lighting Designer for many shows. She has directed many successful productions, including Rock Eisteddfods, has worked for Tasdance as a Stage Manager for their community production of Illuminations, performed at the Gorge. She has been an Artist in Residence in Italy, for a Theatre Festival conducted in English and was also invited to assist with the National School Theatre Championships held in Pavullo in Italy in the same year. Suzie has written Dance Reviews for The Examiner Newspaper, was a member of the Individual Grants panel for the Tasmanian Arts Board for a number of years and was co-Convenor of The Friends at Theatre North for 2014-15. For the initial two years of the Tasmanian Theatre Awards, Suzie was the convenor of the Community Theatre panel and was also a member of the Physical Theatre panel in 2016. Her strong background in dance and musical theatre suggested a move to the Community Musical Theatre team which she joins for the 2017 Awards season. 

Patricia Kempa

Patricia Kempa (PK) has been writing, producing and directing shows since she was fifteen. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1984, and has been involved with Drama in Education ever since. PK has produced or directed dramatic productions and educational forums for clients as widely diverse as Moorilla Museum and the Bell Shakespeare Company. In 2001, PK directed her first show for Hobart Rep, the popular and successful, psychedelic tribal love rock musical, HAIR. She then directed David Williamson’s Brilliant Lies, Hannie Rayson’s Falling From Grace, An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, as well as Noel Coward’s Private Lives. PK taught Drama and Theatre Performance at Guilford Young College for nineteen years and directed fifteen major musicals for the College, as well as over forty dramatic productions. She is delighted to be associated with the Theatre Council of Tasmania and is loving every minute of the marvellous Musical Productions that this state produces!
 

ANNE MORGAN

Anne’s passion for Musical Theatre was inspired by her uncle’s many performances. She became repetiteur for her first show (Salad Days) aged 12 and was “hooked!” Later Musical Director/Conductor roles included Cats, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, The King & I, Oliver, The Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods, The Boyfriend, Beauty & the Beast, Singing in the Rain, Barnum, The Pirates of Penzance, Trial by Jury and Salad Days. Anne has done many smaller shows, written cantatas for children and has given organ recitals across Australia, England and France. A graduate of NSW Conservatorium of Music (Majoring in Pipe Organ and Choral Conducting), UTAS (Education) and Trinity College London (Organ and Piano) Anne’s further study included Choral Conducting (Rodney Eichenberger, Ward Swingle, Peter Phillips of the Tallis Scholars and, The Idea of North). Anne was Head of Music at Launceston Church Grammar Junior School before relocating to St Michael’s Collegiate School, Hobart in 1996 as Head of Music, then as Head of Expressive Arts from 1999 to 2014. Currently she is Head of Music at the Hutchins School and Director of Music at All Saints Anglican Church, South Hobart, and occasional conductor at St David’s Cathedral. Anne loves music – Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Swing Jazz, 60’s girl groups and all styles of Musical Theatre.

Nick Tantaro

Nick is a graduate of both the Swinburne Film & TV School (now located at VCA) and the Australian Film Television and Radio School and also holds a BA in Media and Screenwriting. He has taught all aspects of film and digital production at tertiary level and was the first coordinator of the ground breaking Street Video Project based in Cabramatta, NSW. His short films have been exhibited at many prestigious festivals including Cannes (Official Selection), Palm Springs, Bilbao, Dresden, and Los Angeles. Local awards have included Best Director in Watch My Shorts (voted by SBS Movie Show) and an AFI nomination. Nick has an extensive knowledge of film history and has served as a judge and an assessor for various festivals and agencies. He was the creative director/coordinator of the 5th Sydney Indigenous Film Festival. His current freelance writing includes completing two feature films and a play as well as serving as a theatre reviewer for the Examiner newspaper. Nick has trained in several forms of dance including competition ballroom and hip-hop. While he has dabbled in flamenco, the last few years he has enjoyed learning and performing tap routines.
 

Patricia Woods

Patricia has a lifelong love of theatre. She has enjoyed acting and directing since she was a child. Her formative years were influenced considerably by being in Old Nick Co and especially Uni Revue. As a teacher in the Education Department she involved her students in productions and entry in the Deloraine Youth Drama Festival. She is currently teaching English at Launceston College. Patricia is a Life Member of the Deloraine Dramatic Society in which she has been involved with directing, acting and organising the annual state wide Festival of One Act Plays which she began in 1981
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Physical Theatre

Lesley Graham

Lesley holds an MA (Dance Studies) and has been active in dance and dance education for over 30 years.  Currently employed at Ogilvie High School, she has assisted in the development of the Australian Curriculum (ACARA) Arts Advisory Panel, has contributed to/reviewed the writing of every version of Arts/Dance curriculum documents in Tasmania, and many in other States.  Her partnership with Australian Ballet Company Out There Education Team will bring their program to Ogilvie and local Primary schools.  Lesley created education resources for Bangarra Dance in partnership with Education Services Australia and was recently engaged by Education Services Australia to write online support material for the ABC Splash project including a Dance Digibook. Lesley’s academic credentials are extensive - Lecturer in Dance Education/Course Coordinator External Dance Studies, QUT; Lecturer in Dance TSIT; Lecturer in Dance, Conservatorium of Music and Faculty of Education, UTAS, (currently Adjunct Lecturer); taught at Salamanca Arts SPACE Certificate IV and Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management courses to name a few. Lesley represented Ausdance at the inaugural Arts Summit in Taiwan as co-chair of World Dance Alliance Asia’s Status and Welfare Committee. She recently completed a four-year term on Ausdance’s Australian Dance Awards panel and has served as a Peer for the Australia Council panel. Lesley writes for The Mercury and Dance Australia. 

JAMIE MCDONOUGH

Jamie has extensive training in the discipline of Dance and is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (Bachelor of Dance, 2014) where she was the recipient of the Agnes Robertson Dance scholarship.  At VCA she worked with choreographers - Anna Smith, Stephanie Lake, Rebecca Hilton, Phoebe Robertson and Lina Limosani, leading to her in-depth understanding of different choreographic processes and performance outcomes in contemporary dance. Jamie is currently undertaking her Masters of Teaching (secondary education, Dance) and volunteers at Newstead College with the level 2 and 3 dance class. In 2016, she co-choreographed The Little Mermaid for Launceston Musical Society. Trained in various dance styles including ballet, jazz, hip hop, character, national and highland, Jamie’s preferred genre is contemporary dance. She finds great appreciation in the artistic thought that goes into this style and its allowance for creative and abstract expression. In 2016, Jamie opened her own dance school in Launceston area where she teaches ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, acro-dance, adult dance, stretch and conditioning. She is a member of the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dance, employing their ballet and jazz syllabus at her dance school. Jamie is passionate about dance and the positive effects in can have on people and enjoys sharing her love of movement.

Laura Purcell

Laura’s 20 years’ experience in the arts has seen her practice across disciplines of performance, puppetry, visual art and dance where she has devised, constructed and directed solo and collaborative works. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) 2010, Bachelor of Performing Arts (Theatre) 1997 and Contemporary Dance (Cert. IV) 2014. Laura has worked as an actor/performer with Tasmanian theatre and art companies including Contemporary Art Tasmania, Salamanca Arts Centre, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Devonport Regional Gallery, is theatre ltd, Second Storey and Big Monkey. Laura trained and performed in improvisational theatre and devising of performance with is theatre ltd and continued professional development with Dumbtype (Japan) and Andrew Morrish (Aust).  She has also trained with Legs on the Wall and Tasdance and was involved in creative development with VCA led by puppetry artist Petr Matasek (Czech Republic). Laura has trained, improvised, devised, run workshops and toured locally, nationally and internationally as a puppeteer/performer. Her performances with Terrapin Puppet Theatre included Explosion Therapy, Ned, Heartburn Hotel, The Storytellers Shadow and The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip. Laura also trained in stop-motion animation puppetry in film (Czech Republic) receiving a scholarship to attend the Eugene O’Neill Puppetry Conference (USA) and developed a new performance work guided by Pam Arciero (USA), Alice Gottschalk and Raphael Mürle (Germany).