Out & About

The view from Sydney’s “Ensemble Theatre” is one of Sydney’s hidden delights, both from the restaurant below, and the bar upstairs. Even though the theatre has been there for over sixty years, I’m guessing most Sydney-siders have never visited “The Ensemble”.

View from the bar at Sydney's Ensemble Theatre
View from the bar at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre

“There is , however, a large, loyal subscriber base”, I told the guy I got chatting to, as we waited for this afternoons late afternoon sold out matinee of “The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race“. (The play is about the real life story about a group of women who campaign for equality in the prize money awarded in the annual “potato race”.)

“I was on a wait-list”, the (very cute) American guy (a recent arrival) told me, “…and I only got a call about half an hour ago”. “I know the playwright, Melanie Tait, and that’s how I scored a ticket”, I told him. Throughout the play I looked over to the other side of the theatre a couple of times, (did I mention he was cute?) and saw him laughing loudly, even though there were some parts of the play that had some very “Australian” references.

Set for the Appleton Ladies Potato Race at Ensemble Theatre

There were also lots of references / opinions / views that I could strongly relate to, as someone who had spent about half his life living in the country. There were a few moments when it was just me and a couple of others having laugh out loud moments at some in-jokes for those of us who knew life in the country. “It was a little too real sometimes”, I said to Melanie in a text message.

One of the things I really loved about the show was that it was an authentic representation of modern life in country towns. It wasn’t all “CWA and Cliched-Blokes”, as you sometimes find in representations of “country life” both in the media and the arts, generally. There was the reality of a refugee family in the town. There was the reality of a prominent lesbian. There was the reality of the person who went away to Sydney, and returned, who found some things about returning inspiring, and some things troublesome. It was real.

The audience loved the show, and so did I.

Gumnuts at Kirribilli
Gumnuts at Kirribilli

Since I last posted, I’ve been reasonably busy.

One of the definite highlights of the last couple of weeks has been meeting Andrew from Melbourne who writes “Highriser“. We’ve been reading and commenting on each others blogs for a number of years. Though I felt like I already “knew” him, we had never met. A few months ago I suggested we should meet up when I was next in Melbourne or he was in Sydney. When he said he and his partner, R were in Sydney to see “West Side Story” on Sydney Harbour, I was pleased.

The meeting occurred 24-hours after we had initially planned. I had my first “senior’s moment” by replying in an email to myself with planned details. Obviously he never received the email until I realised the error of my ways, and re-sent the invite.

It was terrific to catch up with fellow blogger, Victor, and to meet both Andrew and R for a couple of glasses of wine, before they ventured down to Sydney Harbour.

Another highlight of the last couple of weeks has been catching up with a group of fellow residents of Surry Hills to put in a joint application to the City of Sydney’s 2050 consultation process. Organised by Karina (second left), who I know through the Surry Hills and Valleys website, we had lots of ideas about how our neighbourhood could both change, and stay the same as we look to the future.

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