CURRENT PRODUCTIONS

12 Days of WOWFest
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.... Over 500 hundred young actors from within the Hunter Dama family to get you feeling festive! Join us to celebrate the achievements and talents of all of our students in this festive variety of plays, musicals and story-telling. For some, it will be their first time treading the boards, for others, they'll be right at home in front of a crowd. For both, one thing is certain, it’s sure to be an exciting and thrilling showcase to round out the year! Scholarships will also be presented during this festival of festive-ness.

Christmas isn't a season, its a feeling.

Where: Civic Playhouse Newcastle & Cessnock Performing Arts Centre
Performance Dates: 4th-11th December 2021 (Civic Playhouse) & 13th December (Cessnock Performing Arts Centre)

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Alice In Wonderland JR.
Originally planned for our 2021 season, we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Hunter Drama’s original production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR. Based on Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic novel of the same name, Alice in Wonderland invites you into a topsy-turvy musical wonderland, where nothing is as it seems and curious creatures defy logic at every turn. With method in the madness, Alice’s fantastical adventure unfolds with the discovery that no matter how “curiouser and curiouser” the world becomes, she will ultimately always be Alice!  Join Alice as she falls into the madcap world of Wonderland and meets an extraordinary carnival of characters, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, and the frantically late White Rabbit. Featuring updated songs from Disney’s thrilling animated motion picture, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR. is a fast-paced take on the classic family tale. 

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We're all mad here.
Where: Cessnock Performing Arts Centre
Performance Dates: January 21st-22nd, 2022
Times: Matinee and evening performances.

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Oliver
Consider yourself part of the family, and join us for Oliver!, the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens’ novel. The streets of Victorian England will come to life on the iconic Civic Theatre stage in Hunter Drama's grand staging of this well-loved classic. Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker – he escapes, finding acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pick-pockets led by the elderly Fagin. When Oliver is captured for a robbery that he didn’t commit, the benevolent viction, Mr Brownlow, takes him in. Fearing the safety of his hideout, Fagin employes the sinister Bill Sikes, and the sympathetic Nancy, to kidnap him back – threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family. Featuring songs such as Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, Where Is Love, Oom Pa Pa, As Long As He Needs Me, and more. Oliver! is one of the few musicals to also win an Academy Award for Best Picture, and is widely hailed as a true theatrical masterpiece by actors and audience members alike.

Please sir, I want some more.

Where: Civic Theatre
Performance Dates: 10th-13th March 2022

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Bring It On The Musical
With music and lyrics by Broadway  acclaimed Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights, Hamilton, Moana), this Tony Award nominated musical is set against the backdrop of the cut-throat world of cheerleading, high school politics, and budding romances. In an unexpected turn, Campbell a senior and cheer-royalty at Truman High School has been forced to move to the neighbouring hard-knock Jackson High. With no cheer squad to speak of, against the odds Campbell helps to transform the local dance crew into a powerhouse squad for National Championships. Bringing together a multi-talented cast of performers drawn from Hunter Drama's own Senior musical theatre ensemble, audiences will be treated to vivacious vocals, cut-throat chore and cheerleading stunts tossed in for good measure!

These Truman girls, are superhuman girls.

Where: Civic Playhouse Newcastle
Performance Dates: 13th-16th April 2022

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Kid Frankenstein

Newcastle Premiere

When Doctor Frankenstein's ancient secret book arrives from Transylvania, science nerds Frankie and Irving are whisked into a sci-fi fantasy of time-warped, weirdly scary and lively adventure! To compete in the upcoming Science Fair, Frankie needs a brain for his new monster. To complete the creation, Frankie’s friends, Irving and Helga, sneak into the science lab to grab a monkey brain! Hilarity ensues, as they mistakenly collect the brain of poor Fluffy, a sweet little puppy dog. As a result, a surprising monster is presented to the Science Fair! As the Monster terrifies the entire village, science teacher, Mrs Newton, comes to the rescue. For only she can stop the terrible brain transference!   With a cast full of nutty characters, providing frightfully funny laughs, will the villagers be able to return Frankie’s lovable monster and restore order before it’s too late?  
It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!!!
Where: Civic Playhouse
Performance Dates: 21st-23rd April 2022
Times: Matinee and evening performances.

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The Sound Effects Show

A MID-YEAR WOWFEST EVENT

The world around us is a very noisy place. It’s full of sounds: wind, talking, chainsaws, laughter, YouTube, a running shower, message alerts, a strumming guitar, a crackling fire, car horns, barking dogs and, if you listen very carefully, you can even hear the silence. Each group of students will be given a random sound effect to use as a stimulus point to create a short 10 minute performance to be presented as part of The Sound Effects Show. Guided by their tutors, students will work with their classmates during term 2 and explore the world of playbuilding. With a focus on ensemble work and building the fundamentals for performing in front of an audience, a simple sound effect will bring the stage to life! Being on stage in front of people is one of the most nerve-racking things you can do in life, and for many of our students this will be their first time. For others more familiar with the stage, they will be nervous to try something new or to take a risk. But as we say to them all the time: if you want something, you better make some noise! 
A VISION IS A CLEAR SOUND IN A NOISY WORLD
Where: Civic Playhouse Newcastle & Cessnock Performing Arts Centre
Performance Dates: 14th June (Cessnock Performing Arts Centre) & 18th-26th June 2021 (Civic Playhouse)

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Normal - Actor's Company
An urban detective story in which the investigator is a teenage girl and the body is her own. Poppy has developed a tic. A twitch. A spasm. It spreads through her body, then her group of school friends and before long, the whole town. Nobody can explain it, but as the disease spreads, the community begins to fracture along lines that turn into deep fissures. Who or what is to blame? And how are they going to fix it? Inspired by the true story of ‘The Town That Caught Tourettes’, this new work by award-winning Australian playwright Katie Pollock is dark, provocative and theatrically inventive. Written by Katie Pollock, Normal is the winner of the Inscription/Edward Albee Playwriting Scholarship and the Ingenious Grant from Town Hall Theatre, MA (USA).

The town that caught Tourettes.

Where: Civic Playhouse Newcastle
Performance Dates: 30th June-2nd July 2022

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Seussical

BASED ON THE WORKS OF DR. SEUSS

Coming to the Civic Theatre mainstage for the very first time (at a time when we need it most), this full length production of Seussical will be a full blown musical adventure through The Jungle of Nool, perfect for the entire family.  Join us, as the most famous of Cats in the most iconic of Hats guides us into the world of Dr Seuss, where Horton, the kind hearted elephant, discovers a speck of dust on which the civilisation of Whoville exists. There JoJo lives, a Who child sent to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton is thrust into an urgent battle to protect the speck of dust and the residents of Whoville, while at the same time protecting an abandoned egg left to his care by the lazy Mayzie la Bird. Unable to convince the other animals in The Jungle of the existence of the Whos, Horton is ridiculed and put on trial for insanity, with only a loyal few who never lose faith in him.  One of the most widely produced musicals in the world, Seussical weaves a story of friendship, loyalty, and love. Despite all odds, Horton and Gertrude band together to save the Whos, free Horton, and restore peace and unity to the Jungle of Nool.  For anyone who has ever felt too small to matter, or ever felt unheard, this all new production, directed by Daniel Stoddart, is sure to warm the heart, provoke a gleaming grin, and remind us of the importance of fighting for your beliefs.  For a strictly limited season in the July school holidays. DIRECTOR - DANIEL STODDART MUSICAL DIRECTOR - ALISON HODGE CHOREOGRAPHY - LAUREN HARVEY MUSIC BY - STEPHEN FLAHERTY LYRICS BY  - LYNN AHRENS
IT’S POSSIBLE! ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE!
Where: Civic Theatre Newcastle
Performance Dates: 14th-16th July 2022
Times: Matinee and evening performances.

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SHE KILLS MONSTERS

NEWCASTLE PREMIERE

A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games! In this high-octane dramatic comedy, laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and 90s pop culture, acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all. She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans, a young woman grieving for her deceased sister. The Evans sisters never were especially close, but after Tilly’s death, Agnes discovers a notebook containing a game scenario created by her sister. She discovers Tilly was a well-known Dungeons and Dragons player, who was passionate about online fantasy gaming. In order to unlock more secrets about her mysterious young sibling, Agnes recruits a “dungeon master” named Chuck, to help her understand and grieve Tilly.  Chock-full of supermodel elves, dominatrix warrior women, and nasty ogres, She Kills Monsters is a surprisingly sweet tale of friendship, loss, and acceptance. This is a story in which girls wield swords, queer kids are cool and nerds rule the earth.
A STORY ABOUT KIDS WHO MAKE UP STORIES
Where: Civic Playhouse
Performance Dates: 25th-27th August 2022
Times: Matinee and evening performances.

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ELF THE MUSICAL JR

BASED ON THE BELOVED HOLIDAY FILM

Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn't even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, Elf JR. features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) and Chad Beguelin (Disney's Aladdin on Broadway), with a book by Tony Award winners, Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear. BOOK BY THOMAS MEEHAN AND BOB MARTIN MUSIC BY MATTHEW SKLAR LYRICS BY CHAD BEGUELIN CHOREOGRAPHY & MUSICAL DIRECTION - BROOKE LIDBURY
SANTA! I KNOW HIM!!!
Where: Cessnock Performing Arts Centre
Performance Dates: 7th-8th October 2022
Times: Matinee and evening performances.

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WALLS - Actor's Company

A NEW WORK PRESENTED BY THE ACTORS COMPANY

A girl and a young boy who have been known to each other are suddenly separated. Just as unexpectedly, their paths cross once again. She knew their connection made sense. It was simply due to the fact that his clever complexity allowed them to fit together like a puzzle. Only, their unique combination seemed to unfold again and again in entirely new ways.  A mother struggles to watch her son grow. How can she reconcile who she is, while grappling with her fear of difference. Will she be able to find more and more of herself by accepting there are lessons to learn from her son?   And . . . an intuitive boy discovers the secret to being comfortably unique. A society watches on curiously, as he charts his course, demonstrating to others what it truly means to be “ok” with yourself. With wisdom beyond his years, he knew fear only mirrored what was inside of oneself. These stories and others ask the question: where do we find ourselves in this big beautiful world? How does one navigate their true authentic journey through life with a differently wired brain? Complex and beautiful minds, search for real connections with people, patterns and community. Is it an impossible plight, or do they just need to adjust their perspective? Or is it actually everyone else whose perspective needs to shift? How far do we shift before we become unrecognisable to ourselves?  This exciting new play by Alli Van Gaal weaves short stories and vignettes together with emotional physicality. It is  about how to fathom and make sense in a world that often says you don’t.
WE BUILD TOO MANY WALLS AND NOT ENOUGH BRIDGES
Where: Newcastle Art Gallery
Performance Dates: 2nd-5th November 2022

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WOWFEST: HEROES AND VILLAINS

AN END OF YEAR WOWFEST EVENT

Superpower?    CHECK Cape?     CHECK Disguise?     CHECK Anything else?!? What does it take to become a hero? And isn’t a villain just a victim whose story hasn’t been told? We are surrounded by a cinematic universe of heroes, but if you look closely, heroes are actually all around us. A small deed can create a hero as much as a superpower. But a superpower in the wrong hands can create a villain. People are not born heroes or villains; we’re all just ordinary people making choices that result in consequences.  Using the skills accumulated over the course of the entire year, each group of students will present a short 10-minute performance as part of WOWFEST: HEROES AND VILLAINS. Guided by their tutors, students will work closely with their classmates during terms 3 and 4, to rehearse their own unique take on heroes and villains. With a focus on assembling a team of unstoppable actors, standing side by side, working together to become something more! Together, there will be no room for Thanos - er, we mean Nervous! The Playhouse stage will become the battleground where nerves will be defeated, performance superpowers flexed and a hero made of each and every actor brave enough to get on stage! 
EVERY VILLAIN IS A HERO IN THEIR OWN MIND
Where: Civic Playhouse Newcastle & Cessnock Performing Arts Centre
Performance Dates: 29th November (Cessnock Performing Arts Centre) & 3rd-11th December 2021 (Civic Playhouse)

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