Theatre review

THEATRE REVIEWBedPencil Case Productions, at The Royal Exchange, Newcastle.Ended Ended SundayBRENDAN Cowell’s play is literally set in one bed after another, as an old man, Phil, recalls the partners, male and female, who played the most significant roles in his life. His relationships with each of the five people are revealed in short episodes, with each seen three times and those watching learning the impact they had on him by their last appearance.
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The intimate Royal Exchange was an ideal venue for the story, with the actors and backstage crew swiftly moving around the beds (two singles that occasionally became a double) and audience members close to the characters. And while I felt that the play, at 85 minutes, was repetitive and overlong, the performances and the direction by John Wood kept me engaged.

Michael Byrne, who was never offstage, was an excellent Phil, moving backwards and forwards between ages that ranged from early teens to the 60s and showing in his words, expressions and body movements the feelings he had for the lovers at different times.

Oliver MacFadyen brought out the eagerness of his 14-year-old schoolmate, Kane, to do “the thing” with Phil, trying hard to get him onto a bed when they repeatedly skipped their school sports afternoon.

Pearl Nunn’s Daisy, a 19-year-old fellow university student who refuses to let go when she becomes infatuated with him, was genuinely passionate, gushingly talking about making him the subject of an art work shrine.

Linda Read’s wife, Grace, was pointedly unhappy about having to stay home to look after a child, telling Phil sternly that she was fed up with the infant waking up every morning at 4.37am.

Benjamin Louttit’s sharply observant party boy Drew gave him sensible advice, noting in a comment on his increasing weight that “You have no definition in your arms”, and delivering one surprise after another. The audience also got a shock surprise when Drew departed.

And Katy Carruthers’ Flo, the 50ish woman who became his late life partner, vibrantly delivered jokes that helped to ease his worries. When Phil, for example, asked her what she would do when he was gone, she replied, in a jolly manner, “Go to the pub.” But Flo’s jokes helped to brighten the increasingly ailing Phil’s life, and her affection for him came through in her words and voice.

Support for new network

Wendouree MP Sharon Knight has thrown her support behind the new Ballarat Bus Network despite a series of complaints around the new timetable and the change to bus stops throughout the system.
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Backing the services: Wendouree MP Sharon Knight, Buninyong MP Geoff Howard and PTV chief executive Jeroen Weimar at the network unveiling in December last year. Picture: Kate Healy.

The new network which was unveiled on January 31 consolidated the region’s 19 bus routes into 15, with services boosted on the remaining lines to provide an average of one bus every half an hour.

In the weeks since the network was unveiled residents from a number of suburbs including Golden Point, Wendouree and Lake Gardens have expressed concern at the new arrangements.

Ms Knight said while there had been some negative feedback in the wake of the roll-out, the reaction was inevitable given the magnitude of the changes. Public Transport Victoria and the state government also added 10 V/Line train services to and from Melbourne.

“There has been a mixed response but it’s a huge changeand the bus system hadn’t been reviewed in a long time so we knew it was going to be a big job,” Ms Knight said.

“We knew we needed to get more trains to thestation for commuters and we need to service that with more buses and there’s whole areas not even being serviced by the existing bus service.”

Ms Knight and Buninyong MP Geoff Howard will meet with PTV on Tuesday to discuss some of the complaints which have been made about the new system.

The Bus stop placement in Humffray Street near the corner of Water Street, connectivity to Central Square and the route connecting Wendouree to Ballarat North were among the issues which had been raised.

Ms Knight said she had been in regular dialogue with PTV and Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan since the service was unveiled at the end of January and was confident some of the faults could be ironed out in the coming months.

“We have already sent through a list of common complaints we are getting and we have also got a meeting with CDC planned because I want the perspective of the bus drivers who are ina great position to help us.”

The changes to the network have led to the creation of 36 new driver jobs due increase in services. Thirteen new buses were also built in Victoria to accommodate for the increase in traffic.

“CDCBallarat has created a significant boost to the local economy through employing 36 new staff to date as a direct result of the Ballarat Bus Network Upgrade,” A CDC spokesperson said. “The spread includes bus drivers, mechanics and operations staff.”

A PTV spokesperson said “The new bus network has been informed in consultation with the Ballarat community who overwhelmingly called for more direct routes with more frequent services and better connections with trains”.

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Tassie’s new side backs in ANL title win

QUICK HANDS: Cavaliers centre Shelby Miller passes off during a training drill in Launceston ahead of the Tasmanian Magpies’ ANL season. Picture: Scott GelstonStar Tasmanian Shelby Miller said the state’s new-look Magpies entity believe they can snare the Australian Netball Leaguepremiership in its inaugural season.
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The Launceston centre said the rookie teamis riding confidence ahead of facing Queensland Fusion after its season openeragainst the seven-time ANL winners.

While all the talk in the national media has been about Collingwood Magpies’ premiership favouritism for the maiden Super Netball title, Tasmania’s new netball side exceededexpectations in their debut appearance.

The state’s Magpies that included five Victorians for Collingwood’s feeder side delivered justVictoria Fury’s second defeatsince 2012.

“We stated at one of our team meetings before we played any games about goal-setting that our goal was all about winning the premiership,” Miller said.

“So I think in every game, no matter who you play, you have to go in expecting to win.If you’re not expecting to win that your mindset is not of a winning team.

“We definitely expected to do well and win that game.”

Miller, while studying year 11, last played ANL for Tassie Spirit in 2014 before heading ona hiatus to focus on study during the side’s last season.

FULL STRETCH: Shelby Miller finding it hard to keep her feet on the ground during training ahead of the Tasmanian Magpies’ ANL season. Picture: Scott Gelston.

Though Tasmanian Magpies dropped their second game the next day against the Fury, Miller said coach Jon Fletcher has convinced the girls of the right mentality before runningout on court.

“We talked about how they were the benchmark team of the competition; now we decided we’ve made ourselves the benchmark team of the competition,” she said.

“We can now build on that and hopefully other teams feel we are the benchmark.”

The Cavaliers 19-year-old said the Magpies shouldbe better prepared for the weekend’s second-leg in Brisbane against theQueenslanders.

Both sides are allowed to bring down unplayed Super Netball players from overnight for Sunday’s game.

“As our coach always says, it’s always two different games on each day; the team can vary a lot like it varied last week,” Miller said.

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Widdop to learn from 2016

Ready to lead: St George Illawarra captain Gareth Widdop has made 72 appearances in the Red V since joining the Dragons from Melbourne in 2014. Picture: John VeageThe 2016 season was a tough one for Gareth Widdop but the St George Illawarra captain is hopeful of using what he learnt last year to become a better player –and a better leader.
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Widdop endured a difficultseason as the Dragons struggled in finishing a disappointing 11th in his first year as skipper.

But a new season, new signings and a fresh approach has given Widdop cause for optimism heading into round one.

“The Dragons is probably one of the biggest brands in the game. They’ve had a lot of success over a number of years,” he said.

“And fans obviously demand success, it just comes with the territory of playing for the Red V. As players there’s not much we can do about that, we just have to go out and try and perform.

“I learnt a hell of a lot from last year. We didn’t have much of our leadership [group] lastyear. Obviously Benny Creagh had to retire due to injury and Benji [Marshall] didn’t play many games.

“We didn’t have too many experienced players out there but I worked really hard on that over the off-season. We’ve got a leadership group together. Like I said, I learnt a hell of a lot last year which I’ll be better for this year.”

With Marshall having left the club for Brisbane there is now a vacancy as Widdop’s halves partner. Josh McCrone has been mooted, as has young under-20s star Jai Field.

McCrone started the Charity Shield loss to South Sydney while Field played the second half of that clash and was outstanding in the Auckland Nines.

Whoever gets the nod for round one, Widdop is keen to see how the Dragons’ new look side –with new signings Paul Vaughan, Nene Macdonald and Cameron McInnes –handle the well-fancied Penrith Panthersat UOW Jubilee Oval on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s good we get a home game up at Kogarah.Obviously it’ll be a tough battle against the Panthers. They had a great year last year and they’ll want to improve again this year. It’ll be a good test to see where we’re at,” he said.

“They had a great team last year and they’ve only made it stronger this year with the signings they’ve got. They’re going to be a tough team to beat this year but for us it’s just about focusing on what we can do and make sure we’re doing everything right to give ourselves a chance.

“Every game you want to go out and play well and that’s exactly what we’ll try to do.

“Cameron McInnes I think has been great for us. Paul Vaughan has been great. We’ve all trained really hard over the pre-season, now it’s about going out and performing.”

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PHOTOS| Central west students build their interest in merino industry

Trangie Central School students Jacana Powell, Demi Dunn and Abbie Fraser. Photo: Taylor JurdIncreasing students knowledge of the merino industry and giving them the opportunity to explore the agricultural industrywas the aim of the School Wethers Challenge.
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Held at the Dubbo TAFE campus along Narromine Road, on Monday, February 20, the students and their agricultural teachers were split into four groups which focuses on wool, nutrition, breeding and an industry overview.

Over 200 students from across the central west took part in the challenge.

This was the first time Tullamore Central School have participated in the School Wethers Challenge andagriculture teacher Natasha Shankelton said taking part would give her students a lot more exposure to merino wool and the meat industry.

“It’s our first year in the Challenge and it’s just a great opportunity to be a part of,” she said.

PHOTOS| Central west students build their interest in merino industry Gilgandra High School Ellanorah Matthews, Aysha Tobin, Mitchell Carlow, Matthew Coddington, Rabobank National Merino Show and Sale president. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Gilgandra High School Andrew Dinsey, Connor Whiteman, YR 11. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston.

Forbes High School Tye Stewart, Vanessa Cole, Mitchell Jack, Jack Piercy, Jack Hodges-Lockwood. Photo: Gabrielle Johnstone.

Greg Sawyer, AWN, Condobolin High School Kenny Dodds, Cameron Charles, Clifford Lanyerie, Dave White, teacher Anne Farney. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, Dubbo, Abbey Cusack, Jenni Tink, Angus Bodlan, Brett Cooper, AWN. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Gunnedah High School, left, Haylee Murrell, Lucy Moore, Helena Pease, front right, Philip Tydd, agriculture assistant. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Red Bend Catholic College, Matthew Mitton, Oliver Squire, Clinton Hooper, Hugh Squire, Grace Frazer. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Tullamore Central School Jack Darcy, Angus Porter, Lachlan Curr. Photo: Gabrielle Johnston

Trangie Central School students Jacana Powell, Demi Dunn and Abbie Fraser. Photo: Taylor Jurd

Gilgandra High Scool students Robyn Holland, Tianna Watt and Shanae Shepherd. Photo: Taylor Jurd

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Illegal ‘ice’ and pharmaceuticals are ‘Not Our Way’Video

The NSW Police have launched a new campaign in Dubbo aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of illegal drug use in Aboriginal communities across the state.
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‘Not Our Way’ has been developed by the NSW Police Drug and Alcohol Coordination team in conjunction with Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs), key health industry stakeholders as well as local Aboriginal elders and community members.

The campaign consists of dual videos that address the rising issue of methylamphetamine (‘ice’), the illegal use of pharmaceuticals, and the associated health and safety risks to both individuals’ and the wider community.

Additional educational resources – including youth-focused story books as well as brochures on health services that specialise in drug and alcohol recovery support – have been created as part of the campaign.

NSW Police Corporate Sponsor on Aboriginal Communities, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said the campaign aims to highlight and address the challenges facing local Aboriginal communities.

“Research shows that Aboriginal communities are at greater risk of developing harmful long-term drug use than the general population, and both ‘ice’ and pharmaceuticals have shown the biggest spike more recently,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“The use and distribution of illegal drugs is not only against the law but it’s incredibly harmful to your health and can lead to many serious consequences including the breakdown of families and local communities.

“The rise in recreational pharmaceutical usage also shows that drugs don’t have to be illegal to be lethal and they can prove to be just as dangerous as their illicit counterparts,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“Both trends are of great concern so we’ve decided to get on the front foot and work with the Aboriginal community to address these specific challenges together, before people are faced with possible jail time and serious health effects.”

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said the campaign seeks to educate people on the dangers of ‘ice’ and illegal pharmaceutical use by discussing their short and long-term effects while illustrating warning signs for friends and families of those possibly affected.

“Importantly, this is an initiative for and by Aboriginal people – it’s absolutely crucial that we work closely with one another to foster relationships and build stronger, safer communities that acknowledge key challenges while working collaboratively on solutions,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“The campaign videos also feature two individuals who speak candidly about their path to recovery and their associated experiences. Our hope is that their voices transect the community and let people know that help and support is available.

“Following today’s launch the campaign resources will be progressively rolled out across the state to send a positive message on behalf of the community that dangerous drug use is ‘Not Our Way.’

Members of the community can contact ADIS at any time for confidential information, advice and referral services.

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Baby Bulls selection picture becoming clearer

The Central West colts squad is coming together and coach Dean Matthews expects to get a real idea ofwho to take to the Country Championships following this weekend’s trial againstManly.
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Matthews is one of four coaches, the others being Mark Stanford, Rob Bond and Jason Coyle, in charge of the Baby Bullsthis season and it was Stanford who helped organise the trial, having made contacts during his time coaching in Sydney.

A trial against Sydney opposition has not been seen in recent history and Matthews is certain he’ll gain a lot from Saturday’s pre-season hit-outat Cumnock.

“We probably just want to see the combinations,” he said.

“How the nine and 10 work, and the 12 and 13, how the forwards work together for a unit and how the set pieces are.

“Hopefully the boys have all been doing their own (fitness) thing but the Sydney boys have been training together for a couple months and we’ve only been together three or four weeks so we’re expecting them to turn up to play.”

Matthews has been impressed with what he’s seen in the limited sessions he’s had with his squad.

Gathering players from the central west and from West Wyalong right through to Coonabarabran hasn’t been easy but a foundation has been placed.

“They’re a good bunch and there’s some very talented footballers,” he said, before joking about their priorities.

“It would be better if not as many were doing year 12 and could commit more but there’s some really handy footballers in the central west 20s competition.”

He added he and his fellow coaches have an idea of the squad they will take to the Championship, with a number of players already impressing.

Saturday will also give both squads the chance to bond, with Manly making a trip of it by having the city boys set camp and stay at a shearers’ quarters just outside Molong while both sides will gather for a barbecue after the game.

“It’s good for our blokes to see how they are,” Matthews said.“Manly are a semi-professional club and they’re excited too.”

The senior Central West side is also in action on Saturday, taking on the Canberra Royals at Cowra.

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Group seeks all sorts to build a community

Jennifer Burns The more the merrier: Reverend Jennifer Burns hopes to encourage adults of all abilities and disabilities to join the Merewether Allsorts group for fun and friendship.
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THERE is a sign in the Merewether Uniting Church hall that says: “We are all people, we are all equal.”

“All of the activities that happen in this hall live up to that,” Reverend Jennifer Burns said.

“And that’s what we’re trying to do with the weekly Merewether Allsorts group.”

Each Tuesday between 10am and 2pm, a group of people of all abilities and disabilities come together to talk, to mingle, to learn and to have fun.

“Previously in this time slot on a Tuesday we had the New Ways Stroke Group here,” Rev. Burns said.

“And initially we just had the people who attended that group coming along, but now they are quite excited about welcoming people with other disabilities and abilities to come and join us.

“It’s called ‘allsorts’ because we want people of all abilities, people who might have lost some abilities, and lost different abilities, to come to this group and spend some time together.

“That would make it a true reflection of community, if everyone was involved.”

There is a program of activities that varies over the course of a month.

A fourth year occupational therapy student attends to run exercises and games for group members.

A physiotherapist, a Tai Chi instructor, and an artist host different sessions, and there is an ongoing – and rather competitive – game of bocce that continues throughout the year.

“There is always something different,” Rev. Burns said. “And then once a month we also have some entertainment as well.”

While the group is aimed at creating a community for people with disabilities, it is also about giving their carers some time out.

“It’s important for the carers to get a break,” Rev. Burns said.

“People love coming to the group, and the carers need to have the opportunity to get to their own appointments and do the things they need to do as well.”

Carol Hill, of Cooks Hill, has been a familiar face at the church hall for more than 12 years.

She began attending the New Ways group after having a stroke about 13 years ago.

Warm welcome: Carol Hill, of Cooks Hill, with Merewether Uniting Church minister Jennifer Burns at the Allsorts group session on Tuesday.

Mrs Hill was pleased the group had expanded to include people of all abilities and disabilities.

“It’s nice to go somewhere where you can talk to people,” Mrs Hill said.

“You can go to the shops, and go and have a coffee, but it can be lonely, if you let it. The idea is to keep your brain active, and to be able to converse. It’s something I look forward to every week. All people are valued and loved.”

Rev. Burns hoped more people would come along to join the Merewether Allsorts each Tuesday. To find out more, call49614525.

Illegal ‘ice’ and pharmaceuticals are ‘Not Our Way’Video

The NSW Police have launched a new campaign in Dubbo aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of illegal drug use in Aboriginal communities across the state.
Nanjing Night Net

‘Not Our Way’ has been developed by the NSW Police Drug and Alcohol Coordination team in conjunction with Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs), key health industry stakeholders as well as local Aboriginal elders and community members.

The campaign consists of dual videos that address the rising issue of methylamphetamine (‘ice’), the illegal use of pharmaceuticals, and the associated health and safety risks to both individuals’ and the wider community.

Additional educational resources – including youth-focused story books as well as brochures on health services that specialise in drug and alcohol recovery support – have been created as part of the campaign.

NSW Police Corporate Sponsor on Aboriginal Communities, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said the campaign aims to highlight and address the challenges facing local Aboriginal communities.

“Research shows that Aboriginal communities are at greater risk of developing harmful long-term drug use than the general population, and both ‘ice’ and pharmaceuticals have shown the biggest spike more recently,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“The use and distribution of illegal drugs is not only against the law but it’s incredibly harmful to your health and can lead to many serious consequences including the breakdown of families and local communities.

“The rise in recreational pharmaceutical usage also shows that drugs don’t have to be illegal to be lethal and they can prove to be just as dangerous as their illicit counterparts,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“Both trends are of great concern so we’ve decided to get on the front foot and work with the Aboriginal community to address these specific challenges together, before people are faced with possible jail time and serious health effects.”

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said the campaign seeks to educate people on the dangers of ‘ice’ and illegal pharmaceutical use by discussing their short and long-term effects while illustrating warning signs for friends and families of those possibly affected.

“Importantly, this is an initiative for and by Aboriginal people – it’s absolutely crucial that we work closely with one another to foster relationships and build stronger, safer communities that acknowledge key challenges while working collaboratively on solutions,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“The campaign videos also feature two individuals who speak candidly about their path to recovery and their associated experiences. Our hope is that their voices transect the community and let people know that help and support is available.

“Following today’s launch the campaign resources will be progressively rolled out across the state to send a positive message on behalf of the community that dangerous drug use is ‘Not Our Way.’

Members of the community can contact ADIS at any time for confidential information, advice and referral services.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

This is the night

ONE of harness racing’s biggest meetings on the calendar will take place at Menangle on Saturday night and Bathurst trainers will be out in force against some of Australia and New Zealand’sstrongest pacers.
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Bathurst trainers might have missed out on a spot in the night’s coveted $750,000 Miracle Mile but there’s still strong representation across the rich meeting –where every race holds at least Group 2 status.

It’s in the three-year-old Group 1 classics, the NSW Oaks and NSW Derby (both 2,400 metres), where the city’s trainers have the biggest presence.

Runners trained by Bernie Hewitt, Amanda Turnbull and Steve Turnbullwill have a massive task on their hands across the two events.

Hewitt’s Royal Story and Taylors Reason along with Amanda Turnbull’s former Pink Bonnet champion Eliza Dushku all snuck into the Oaks final.

Punters have already labelled the Oaks a two-horse battle between Mark Purdon’s unbeaten Breeders Crown champion Partyon and Michael Stanley’s Victoria Breeders winner Petacular.

Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said it will take something special to beat the two best-backedrunners home.

FIRED UP: Atomic Red is part of the Bathurst-trained contingent taking on Saturday night’s prestigious Miracle Mile meeting. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

“I think it’s a pretty strong field. Bernie’s horse both ran fourth to qualify for the final, so it’s going to be tough,” he said.

“If any of them can land a top four spot I’d say that’s a great effort. They’ve all shown they can run the distance as well, with the heats being the first start over 2,400m for all of them.”

Steve Turnbull lines up former Australia Pacing Gold runner-up Atomic Red and NSW Breeders Challenge champion Conviction in the Derby.

Even with those titles and good form to their nameit’s going to be a big battle for the duo in Saturday’s$200,000 final.

Atomic Red turned heads with his heat victory thanks to a 2,400m world recordwinning mile rate of 1:54.4.

A similar performance on Saturday could put him in the mix.

“Atomic Red came with pretty big wraps as a two-year-old …and he’s finding that form again,” Dwyer said.

“His heat win was a bold drive and a great win.”

Ashlee Grives takes both Ameretto and My Lucky Belle into the night’s Group 1 Ladyship Mile (1,609m).

Ameretto qualified for the race thanks to a runner-up finish in the Robin Dundee Classic withan amazing comeback performance.

Despite breaking in the score up, and finding herself eight back on the pegs with just 400m left to run, Ameretto flashed home to take second.

“That was one of the biggest runs I’ve seen in a long time. She was travelling as good as anything I’ve seen when she hit the line,” Dwyer said.

“It was a bit unusual for her to gallop so hopefully she’s got that out of her system.”

My Lucky Belle battled on well in the same race to finish fourth and book her spot in Saturday’s race.

Amanda Turnbull’s chances continue with Tact Tate in the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal Free For All (2,400m).

Nathan Hurstrounds out the Bathurst representation at the meeting when he contests the Group 2 Carnival Of Miracles Stakes (1,609m) with Saloon Passage.

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