Professional Theatre, Community Theatre and Community Musical Theatre
The judges on our Professional Theatre, Community Theatre and Community Musical Theatre panels 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 assessments but also for the professional, considerate and ethical manner in which they undertake this role.
Each judging panel operates independently of the others and is responsible for the assessment of all productions registered within its particular Awards 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 any potential conflict of interest might occur, a judge will stand aside from the panel and all judging within that year.
Learn more about our Professional, Community Theatre and Community Musical Theatre judges below.
Best New Writing
TCT offers a Best New Writing award to recognise new, text-based works presented in the Professional Theatre or Community Theatre categories. A separate judging panel is appointed through TCT’s partnership with Australian Plays to assess eligible works. Assessment is based on the script of each work rather than live performance.
JEFF HOCKLEY (CONVENOR)
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 Tasmania in 1972, he has been an active participant in education and theatre and is 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 he has designed the lighting for 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 ‘Graham’ in both seasons of ‘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.
Tony has had over 30 years’ experience in the management and curation of performing arts, events and cultural facilities. Starting as the instigator of Western Australia’s Blue Room Theatre in his 20s, Tony has since gone on to work in leadership roles with the Perth International Arts Festival, WA Museum, Perth Theatre Company, Fremantle Arts Centre, Steps Youth Dance Company and most recently as Director of Festival of Voices. Throughout this period, Tony has been involved in numerous boards and committees, including Artsvoice (the precursor to the Western Australian Chamber of Arts and Culture), the Film and Television Institute, the Australia Council Theatre Fund, Barking Gecko Theatre Company, WA Living Artist week and most recently with Tasmanian Creative Industries Ltd. Between 2009 and 2013 Tony was also a lecturer in Creative Arts Practice (Theatre) at Murdoch University and Arts Management at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
Outside of this activity Tony has had a recognised career as a sound designer and composer for stage, screen and television as well as being a finalist in the WA Film Awards, a recipient of a SPAA award for screen composition and the inaugural Western Australian finalist in JJJ's "J Files" (the precursor to Unearthed).
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 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, The Hutchins School, Rosny College and REACT.
Lian studied for an Associate Diploma in Drama at the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology from 1987 to 1988. From 1989-1991 she was employed by Salamanca Theatre Company as an actor, touring locally, interstate and internationally with plays for children and young adults. She wrote the original scripts Turtle and Cave Clan for the primary show Hopscotch, and was part of the group which devised the plays Highest Mountain Fastest River, Thirst and Fossils.
Lian had two radio plays commissioned and broadcast by ABC Radio National’s Airplay: Inquest into the Disappearance of a Sensible Woman (2004) and Underworld (2002). Her short puppet play for adults, Corpus Nullius, was produced by Terrapin Theatre and had seasons in 1994 and 2001. In 1996 it was shown at the International Festival of Puppetry in Budapest. Lian’s plays for children include I’ve Got Wind (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, 2002), Yolla (Terrapin Theatre, 1994) and Heroes (Terrapin Theatre, 1992-3).
Lian was writer/dramaturge for Invertebrate, a large-scale outdoor performance for the 2004 Tasmanian Mountain Festival, and for Windpiece, a community musical performance for the 2006 Mountain Festival. From 2001-2010, she was Literary Manager for the Australian Script Centre/Australianplays.org.
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. For radio her credits include: 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.
Gillian 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.
NOREEN LE MOTTEE (Convenor)
One of Tasmania’s most versatile veteran performers with a career spanning more than 60 years, Noreen’s love of performance began during her childhood competing on the eisteddfod circuit. An accomplished actor, singer and dancer she has played an enviable variety of roles both professionally and in community theatre across all genres: drama, musical theatre, ballet, opera, music hall and theatre restaurant.
Although credited on film, television and radio as an actor, voice-over artist and puppeteer, Noreen’s preference has always been for live theatre. In January/February 2017 the Hobart production of Wicked marked her 100th major theatre production as a performer, but Noreen has participated in many more in other capacities: stage manager, stage crew, scenic artist, properties, lighting operator and front-of-house manager. In 2005 Noreen was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women for her service to the arts, and in 2017 she was presented with the Theatre Council of Tasmania’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Anne trained at Flinders Uni and subsequently at NIDA, providing her with a broad theatrical grounding. Career opportunities enabled Anne to work in both the corporate and the theatre world. Early on she was retained by the SA government to develop a plan for Drama to be introduced as a component of the secondary syllabus.
Anne’s theatre career started with the SATC and MTC, and regular roles in the series Bellbird, Skyways and The Sullivans. She also enjoyed some early forays into corporate training, and went on to specialise in human resources. She worked in both corporate and consulting roles, including running her own HR consultancy for 12 years. During this time her love of performance kept calling and she returned to theatre, working for a number of Melbourne and regional companies, on TV in Neighbours and MDA, and the award winning feature films Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (Korea) and 41 (Australia).
Since moving to Hobart, Anne has performed in Tasmanian Theatre Company’s White Rabbit, Red Rabbit and An Inconvenient Woman, LoudMouth’s The Island of Dr Moreau and Hobart Rep’s The Taming of the Shrew and In The Next Room. She assisted TTC director Charles Parkinson on the set of The Berry Man and produced and co-directed e-baby for TTC as part of Ten Days on the Island.
Anne was a voice and monologue coach, and is a reader in the Actors’ Equity Foundation project “Storyville”, aimed at encouraging reading in primary schools.
As a child and teenager, Robyn performed at the local Eisteddfod, sang in concerts, acted in skits and plays and performed with her local church choir and youth group. She toured Tasmania as part of the cast of two modern Christian musicals appearing in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie before moving interstate. Once her children were older, she resumed her love of theatre joining the Werribee Mansion choir (Victoria), securing the lead role in a local play.
Moving back to Tasmania in 1994, Robyn began a ten-year involvement with the Devonport Choral Society via committee roles as President and Treasurer, a member of many production teams and as a performer in Cabaret, Oliver, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Fiddler on the Roof, The Mikado and the King and I. Robyn was also the Manager and Treasurer for the Devonport Eisteddfod Society from 2000 to 2001. Numerous stage roles in musicals and children's pantomimes followed with Ulverstone Repertory and the Burnie Musical Society, with acting and directorial roles combining with committee work for the Devonport Repertory Theatre Society over many years. From 2008 to 2011, she performed in various duos, quartets and quintets, in an Opera ensemble (Amahl), sang a duet with Michael Lampard and was a soloist for Your Voice Productions in many concerts.
In 2012, Robyn started jazz performance and stage work with Salon Northwest appearing in Three Different Women, Writing Home, Gert and Daisy, My Home in Tasmania as Louisa Ann Meredith's ghost and recently in Just Painting Protea at the Hobart One Fest and delivered an award-winning monologue at the Deloraine Drama Festival. She was thrilled to be the Stage Manager/Chauffeur for Annie Phelan's tour to the East Coast in 2015. Robyn has been directing a local-based choir, Resonance, since 2011 and the Port Sorell U3A choir since 2014 with both groups helping to raise funds for local charities such as hospital projects, Flood Relief and the Cancer Centre in Burnie. She is a graduate of ANZCA (Australian New Zealand Cultural Arts) and holds an Associate Performer Diploma in Modern Singing.
Mary Machen is a passionate supporter of the arts throughout Tasmania and has immersed herself as a volunteer to actively support cultural institutions, performance spaces, visual artists and festivals, particularly in the north of the state. For seven 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 strengthen her understanding of what it takes to "build" a successful stage production.
Mary has been a judge of Community Theatre for the Theatre Council of Tasmania for two years. She was a founding member of Friends of Theatre North at the Princess, a group that actively works to support Launceston's Princess Theatre and Earl Arts Centre, and has been co-convenor of that Friends' group for the past two years. Other roles within Northern Tasmania's cultural sphere have included being on the committee for Friends of Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, a board member of Junction Arts Festival, and committee member of the Tasmanian Art Award at Eskleigh. Most recently Mary was appointed president of the biennial Tamar Valley Writers Festival.
Pat has had a lifelong active interest in and love of theatre: acting, directing and organising. . Her involvement in community theatre groups began in the early 1960s at University with Old Nick Co and then in local theatre groups in the northern suburbs of Hobart. Throughout her career as a teacher with the Education Department she has encouraged students to participate in drama festivals and productions and her love of Shakespeare has been passed on to countless students. When she married Geoff Woods it was the fact that Deloraine had such a strong and vibrant drama society that contributed to her agreeing to live in his home town.
Pat is a Life Member of the Deloraine Dramatic Society and has been strongly involved in all aspects of DDS activities particularly in acting, directing, organising and publicising. Her favourite acting role was Sarah in the Alan Ayckbourn trilogy The Norman Conquests. One of her main roles for DDS has been as the founder and organiser of the Festival of One Act Plays which has become an institution on the Tasmanian theatre calendar. That’s thirty six years of watching an average of fourteen plays (in the one weekend) per year and listening to the assessments of adjudicators!
Although she believes that being involved in theatre is for the love of it, she has seen – with the Deloraine Festival of One Act Plays, earlier in her life with participating in the Australian Intervarsity Drama Festivals, and now with the Tasmanian Theatre Awards – that competition raises standards and focuses interest, and so she has been delighted to be involved as a judge, initially on the Community Musical Theatre Panel and now with the Community Theatre Panel. Tasmania has such incredible talent and enthusiasm; it is wonderful to see the recognition of these qualities being made.
Community Musical Theatre
NICK TANTARO (CONVENOR)
Nick is a founding member of the Italian Theatre of Swinburne; a graduate of Swinburne Film & TV School (Special effects/animation) and AFTRS (Producing); and holds a BA in Media Studies (Screenwriting). Along with heading the ground breaking Street Video Project that targeted young people from more than 30 ethnic backgrounds, he has taught all aspects of film and digital production at tertiary level for eight years including writing, directing, producing, editing, sound and lighting.
Nick has trained in several forms of dance including competition ballroom and hip-hop, has dabbled in flamenco, and enjoyed learning and performing tap routines. Nick has performed as a film and community theatre actor but his passion is writing and directing, leading to both amateur and professional credits for over 100 dramatic short films. These have appeared at prestigious festivals including Cannes, Palm Springs, Bilbao, Dresden, and Los Angeles and Nick has international awards from the Malta, Barcelona, and Columbus (NY) film festivals. Nationally, he achieved Best Director for Watch My Shorts (voted by SBS Movie Show), the national Nescafe Short Film Award, an AFI nomination and a Mobie award.
Nick has designed and managed over 40 events from a pop-up performance (traffic-stopping Giant Bunny Rescue) to larger-scale spectacles attracting 40,000 people (Cabramatta Lunar New Celebrations). He was creative director of the three-day Sydney Indigenous Film Festival in 2004. Nick is recently retired as the Examiner’s independent theatre reviewer.
Suzie first trod the boards as a teenager in South Australia. She also trained in Dance there; in Highland, Ballroom, Tap and Jazz. She has choreographed productions such as Camelot and The Pyjama Game. She then moved to Tasmania and majored in Contemporary Movement while undertaking a B.ED specialising in English, Speech and Drama. She also took Classical Ballet classes with Kenneth Gillespie.
Suzie has danced in many productions such as the world first community theatre production of Evita presented by the Launceston Players. She has directed many successful productions, including Rock Eisteddfod and was Stage Manager for Tasdance’s community production of Illuminations, which was performed at the Gorge. Suzie 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. She has performed in too many amateur productions to mention in Tasmania over the past 30 years and has also worked professionally for theatre, TV, and voice overs.
Suzie has written Dance Reviews for The Examiner Newspaper and was also a member of the Individual Grants panel (Dance and Theatre) for the Tasmanian Arts Board for a number of years. She was Co-Convenor of The Friends at Theatre North for 2014-15 and Convenor of the Community Theatre panel for the Theatre Council of Tasmania for 2015-2016. She was also a member of the Physical Theatre panel for 2016.
Jane is a singing teacher in Hobart, specialising in both classical and music theatre voice. As a singer, she has performed at every major Australian festival, with all our symphony orchestras, and as a long time member of the Song Company. For many years Jane was Lecturer in Voice at Sydney Conservatorium, and prior to that at Wollongong University. Most recently she was Coordinator of Classical and Music Theatre Voice at the Conservatorium of Music, UTAS.
Jane can be heard in the Oscar-winning film Shine, Swoon Collection CDs, and on numerous other solo releases. She was a regular soloist with the Australian Brandenburg and Australian Chamber Orchestras, and appeared with Victoria State Opera, Stockholm Bach Choir, Brodsky Quartet and Danish Radio Choir. She is especially regarded for her interpretations of early music and chamber repertoire, giving many world premieres for leading composers including Andrew Schultz, Paul Stanhope, Michael Smetanin and Andrew Ford. Jane’s performance of Ford’s Tales of the Supernatural received the AMC/APRA Australian Vocal Composition Award for 2005.
Jane’s teaching studio has produced many singers who have been finalists and winners in major Australian competitions. A number have progressed to international success, including Young Artist, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Young Artist, Opera Australia, Principal Artist, English National Opera and Opera Australia, and finalist, Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Jane is in demand nationally for adjudication, masterclasses and consultations, and examines to Fellowship level for the Australian Music Examinations Board. She has assessed and advised for the Australia Council Music Board, Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board, Marten Bequest, Ten Days on the Island Festival, IHOS Opera, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Freedman Fellowship in Classical Music, ABC Classic FM Choir of the Year Competition and Helpmann Awards.
Theatre has been a life-long passion for Maggi following involvement 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 Eisteddfod 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, and works as an external examiner for pre-tertiary Drama courses, a UTAS assessor for the Conservatorium’s Outreach Music Theatre and an adjudicator at the Deloraine and One Fest drama festivals.
Angela Ireson is one of Tasmania’s most experienced dance teachers and choreographers and has been training dancers as well as choreographing musicals and Eisteddfod dance routines for over 30 years. Angela received her training locally with Jill and Wendy Baron and Sonny Jose as well as overseas at the Pineapple Dance centre in London and at Carnegie Hall and ‘Steps on Broadway’ in New York.
Prior to her teaching career, Angela spent many years working extensively as a dancer /singer/ choreographer in musicals, cabarets, television (local and national), revues, conventions and in theatre restaurant. She competed in many dancing competitions locally and nationally and was the recipient of many awards including the state Championship Award in tap dancing. She was also awarded life membership of the Old Nick Company for her services to the company as a choreographer over a period of 11 years.
Angela was employed by the Department of Education as a teacher of dance from 2002-2010 and has been running her own dancing school, the Angela Ireson Dance Theatre for the last 25 years, however she also enjoys freelance teaching with other dancing schools. In 2007/08, she was employed by Billy Elliott Australia Ltd to act as a tapping and ballet instructor for the musical Billy Elliott that ran in Melbourne and Sydney. Angela is a member of Federal Association of Teachers of Dancing.