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FOOTROT FLATS

Book by Roger Hall

Music by Philip Norman

Lyrics by AK Grant

Based on original characters created by Murray Ball

Directed by Chrisjohn Hancock

Musical Director Mary McGregor

Choreography by Stan Henderson

By arrangement with Playmarket

November December 2007

Welcome to our end of year Christmas production Footrot Flats, a challenging show for our company but ultimately a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy watching the cartoon characters come to life and seeing their antics as Wal and his trusty boarder collie Dog, deal with the daily struggles of farming life and the temptations of Cheeky Hobson.

 

Footrot Flats was a comic strip written by New Zealand cartoonist Murray Ball. It ran from 1975 until 1994 in newspapers around the world, though the unpublished strips continued to be released in book form until 2000. Altogether there are 27 numbered books (collecting the newspaper strips, with additional material), a further 8 books collecting the Sunday newspaper strips, and 5 smaller 'pocket' books of original material, plus various related publications. As well as this stage musical version there is an animated feature film called Footrot flats: the Dog’s Tail Tale and even a theme park in New Zealand. The strip reached its peak of popularity in the mid 1980's, with the books selling millions of copies in Australasia. At various times, Ball cited different reasons for quitting the strip, including the death of his own dog, and his displeasure with the direction of New Zealand politics.

 

Footrot Flats was first performed at the Court Theatre, Christchurch on 26th November 1983

 

With apologies to our many New Zealand friends we have chosen to set this play in Australia.

Cast

Josh Waters

Dog

Martin Sanders

Wal

Melissa Chandler

Cheeky & Ewe 2

Polly Hazelton

Pongo

Cathy Crawford

Dolores

Muffy Hedges

Ewe 1 & Aunt Dolly

Anne Gaul

Ewe 3

Bethany James

Jess

David Rayner

Cecil & Prince Charles

Dale Chalker

Major, Horse & Cooch

Greg Seckold

Boris & the Man

Blair Woodcock

Dog Trials MC

 

Directed by Chrisjohn Hancock

Musical Director Mary McGregor

Choreography by Stan Henderson

 The play is set in Wallace Footrot’s farmyard

Musicians

Mary McGregor – piano

Isabella Smith – percussion

Act One

  1. Dawn Chorus                                       All
  2. Why I love Wal                                    Dog, Major, Ewes, Jess
  3. Scones Pikelets, Pavlovas                     Dolly & chorus
  4. I get a Feeling                                       Dolores
  5. We don’t need Words                          Wal & Cheeky
  6. Rattlin your Dags                                  3 Ewes
  7. Man is a Dog’s Best Friend                  Dog, Major, Jess, and

Prince Charles

  1. I’ll be Firm                                           Cecil & Dolores
  2. On the Prowl                                        Horse
  3. Town Vs Country                                 All

 

Act Two

  1. Work Song                                          Wal and All
  2. The Earth We Share                             Cooch
  3. Wear yer Dry-as-a-bone                      Wal, Cooch, Dolly & Dog,
  4. We Don’t Need Words                        Dog & Jess
  5. No Blue Singlets anymore                     Dolly
  6. I am a Canine of Taste              Charles
  7. Baying at the Moon                              Dog, Pongo, Ewe, Dolores

and Prince Charles

  1. Lambing                                               3 Ewes
  2. Finale                                                   All 
Production

 

Stage manager

 

Greg Seckold

Assistant Stage managers

 

Josh Churchill, Andrew Rayner

Wardrobe

 

Pauline J Mullen

Assisted by

 

Cindy Kitt Vogelsang, Jen Nell, Lee Gray, Doreen Mullen

Lighting operator

 

Judith Boyd

Sound operator

 

Shane Daly

Recordings by

 

Blair at Eagle FM

Paper mache experts

 

Shelly Taylor, Emma Kileen, Kim Coll, Tayla Dunne, Ashleigh Chapman, Corbey-lea Hunt, Josh Churchill

Set design & construction

 

Chrisjohn Hancock

Set construction assistants

 

John Hartnett, Colin Simson, Greg Seckold, Stuart Medway

Scenic Artist

 

Lee Gray

Assisted by

 

Photos

 

Tina Milson

Tickets

 

Doreen Mullen

Flier

 

Judith Boyd

Newsletter Editor

 

Greg Seckold

Front of House Management

 

Colin Simson & Lee Gray

 

The Lieder would like to thank

Michael Connolly Chemmart for taking advance bookings, Goulburn Mower and Chainsaw Centre and Marulan Rural Supplies for inkind support, and all those who have loaned costumes, props and assisted on this production.

CAST

Joshua Waters – Dog

Josh has been busy this year playing major roles in Equus directed by Judith Boyd and The Cripple of Inishmaan. He completed a mentorship at the Lieder in 2005 topping it off with electrifying performances in Fireface and assisting to organise Exchange & Change - the 2nd Gathering of Regional Youth Theatre People highlighted with an Acrobatic Fire Show.  In 2006 he starred in the Blue’s Festival Acrobatic fire Show, line-danced on stilts with the LYT to set a world record, lion danced for the Chinese New Year celebrations in Goulburn, assisted in teaching acrobatic classes on Monday afternoons, played Ferdinand in The Tempest and the title role in our Christmas pantomime Aladdin directed by Stan Henderson. His previous productions at the Theatre have been Picasso’s The Four Little Girls, Away, Hating Alison Ashley, Babes in the Wood, Treasure Island, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow and Inheritance. His hobbies include circus skill training in juggling, unicycle, diabolo and collecting badges. Next year Josh starts teacher training in Canberra.

 

Martin Sanders – Wal

Martin first trod the board in 3rd class, performing for a retirement home but was last seen here in the return season of our topical and moving Tolkein production of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth in the Lieder Foyer theatre in August this year. His most recent Lieder mainstage show was The Cripple of Inishmaan and before that in Judith Boyd’s hilarious comedy Round and Round the Garden. Or you may remember his role as the pitiful Caliban in our Shakespeare production of The Tempest. Other performances at the Lieder include Treasure Island, Shatterproof, Oliver Twist, Blackrock, Babes in the Wood, The Removalists, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Forks’n All, Pinocchio, La Dispute, Dracula and John Spicer’s production of Hamlet. Martin assists with maintenance and repairs to our Lieder Theatre and has just completed repairing the bargeboard at end of the building. His hobbies include reading, jewellery and horses. He is of course a country lad.

 

Melissa Chandler – Cheeky, Ewe 2

Melissa joined the Lieder in 2002 to perform in our Christmas pantomime Pinocchio and since then has been involved in many Lieder production since. She performed in the rehearsed reading of The Man Who and in our community peace festival at St Saviour’s Cathedral Forks’ n All (a feast for peace) She has performed in Stan Henderson’s production of Old Time Music Hall, Away, Hating Alison Ashley, stage managed Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and operated lights for Dead One Dome and Minefields and Miniskirts before taking time out to become married in 2004.  She operated the sound for the Youth Theatre’s Acrobatic Fire Show for the Blues Festival in February 2005 and returned to the Lieder stage as Mrs Melissa Chandler in Judith Boyd’s hilarious Christmas comedy The Odd Couple (female version) in November 2005. Last year Melissa played Catherine in Memory of Water.

 

Polly Hazelton – Pongo

Polly was last with us at the Lieder in our 2005 Christmas production of Babes in the Wood and participated in clowning gigs with the Lieder Youth Theatre. She is currently in year 8 at Goulburn High having connections with the Lieder through her mum and times she has competed in Eisteddfods on the Lieder stage. Eisteddfods were her introduction to the theatre and Polly has since performed in the Goulburn Musical Society’s Sound of Music and school plays. Her hobbies include hanging out with her friends and playing guitar. Her favourite rehearsal for the play occurred when we were bragging about our extremely bad wounds and her tiny graze sealed with a wiggles bandaid seemed to receive the most attention.

 

Cathy Crawford – Dolores

Cathy’s first theatrical experience was in the Argyle Society’s production of The Grand Duke. Since then she has performed with them in Salad Days, Who Murdered Lenny the Louse and My Fair Lady. She also sings with the St Saviour’s Cathedral Choir and Goulburn Regional Conservatorium Choir. Footrot Flats is Cathy’s fist Lieder production. Her hobbies include renovating her house, horse riding, gardening and playing the piano. Cathy tells us that despite what she tells us on stage as Dolores she is really a country girl through and through.

 

Muffy Hedges Aunt Dolly, Ewe 1

 Muffy first ventured on stage when she was in the Brownies in 1967 to play an Indian princess. In 1978 she performed at the Lieder in a Goulburn College of Advanced Education production of A Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum and in 1982 worked with Chrisjohn on the Lieder’s Christmas production of Old King Cole. She continued to perform at the Lieder under the direction of John Spicer throughout the 80s and 90s. For Chrisjohn Muffy performed in Away, Dinkum Assorted, Mr A’s Amazing Maze Plays, Indians, Red Riding Hood, Wind in the Willows, Pinocchio and Dancing at Lughnasa In 2002 she was the musical director for  Habeas Corpus. She is an active orchestra member and musician around Goulburn and has been a wonderful help working on the music for this production. Being a country girl Muffy remembers being woken on frosty Bundanoon mornings by her mum to watch lambs being born.

 

Ann Gaul- Young Dibs

Ann studied drama at Goulburn High School. Her first time on stage was in a year 3 production of Annie. She enjoys singing in choirs and plays flute in the Goulburn Society orchestra. She hopes to travel around Australia soon but in the mean time is undertaking a Diploma of Business Management. Her role as young Dibs in our 2005 production of Inheritance was her first play with the Lieder. Anne has also attended acrobatic and youth theatre classes at the Lieder. She is a country girl.

 

Bethany James – Jess

Bethany’s first time on stage was in the Goulburn Eisteddfod when she was 7years old. She joined the Lieder in 2001 for our production of Body Slam, which toured to Sydney and Canberra. Since then she has performed in The Vision of Delight, I=CAN, Acrobatic Fire Shows, 2 Friendly 4 Words and our peace festival Forks’n All. On the Lieder’s mainstage Bethany has performed in Oliver Twist, Once a Catholic, Away, Hating Alison Ashley, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Babes in the Wood, Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. In 2004 she undertook a mentorship with the Lieder funded by the Commonwealth Regional Arts Fund and during that year performed at a poetry evening hosted by the Lieder and was part of a youth theatre gathering representing the Lieder YTC in Canberra. Bethany has just completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts at Wollongong Uni and is currently looking for work as a professional actor. We are grateful that she has had the time to join us in our country comedy.

 

David Rayner – Cecil & Prince Charles

David made his debut on stage at the age of nine in the Rockhampton Little Theatre’s Wizard of Oz. He subsequently appeared on the small screen (briefly) with the crew from Aunty Jack in the ABC’s Flash Nick from Jindavick. David has been an active member of the Argyle Society and appeared in their productions of Godspell, The Grand Duke and La Belle Helene. With the Argyle Society he co-wrote and directed Who Murdered Lenny the Louse, which was so successful it had a return season. David is currently studying drawing at ANU and singing at the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium For the Lieder David has performed in our 2003 Christmas production of Old Time Music Hall directed by Stan Henderson, Away, our peace celebration at St Saviour’s Cathedral Forks’n All (a feast for peace), The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, The Memory of Water and Round and Round the Garden. David admits to being a townie who married a country girl, so naturally he is in the country camp.

 

Dale Chalker – Cooch, Major, Horse

Dale’s first theatrical experience was being in The Fatman of the Opera for Taralga Community productions in the 1980’s. His first time on the Lieder stage was in a Mustardseed production of Hey You playing drums and then touring it around the region. He has also been a regular in CADS productions playing in Music Hall out at Crookwell. For the Lieder Theatre Company Dale has performed in both our productions of the Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow and Treasure Island. Owning his own farm keeps Dale busy and he really does know how to drench and dag those sheep. But he still makes heaps of time for his two boys and just being a good dad.

 

Greg Seckold – Boris, The Man, Stage manager

Greg started performing in his early years as a magician with appearances in shopping malls and on children’s TV shows. A stint in the Carlingford Players Musical Society in the late 70s and 80s saw Greg playing romantic leads, narrators and villains (his favourite). He is currently a domestic engineer building his own house although at one time Greg was an avid go-cart racer and IT expert. His first adventure onto the Lieder stage was in The Odd Couple (female version) directed by Judith Boyd in 2005. In 2006 he performed in The Tempest, The Memory of Water and Round and Round the Garden. This year Greg played Nugget in Judith Boyd’s wonderful production of Equus and has operated lights for The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Homecoming of Beorthnoth. His ambition is to finish building his bloody house! The hand water pump on stage comes from his great grandparents who used it to draw their daily water. Greg has plans to use it as backup for his country mansion once it is restored.

 

Isabella Smith – rooster & percussion

Currently studying violin and ballet Isabella has been a regular at all Footrot Flat rehearsals. She loves making up her own shows and has already performed with the Argyle Society in My Fair Lady. She says that she loves living in the country.

 

Mary McGregor - musical director

Mary was the musical director for Stan Henderson’s production of Aladdin last Christmas at the Lieder and we are glad she enjoyed it enough to return to work on Footrot Flats. She currently teaches in Goulburn after receiving a degree in music education in Sydney. Mary’s first theatrical experience was as a Fairy godmother in her primary school play but has since chosen to stay behind the piano for more recent productions of Cinderella in Wollongong and Sound of Music for the Argyle Society.  Last year Mary was our musical director for Aladdin directed by Stan Henderson. We are most grateful to her for participating in Footrot Flats as her musical skills have been invaluable for this show. Mary prefers living in the country.

 

Stan Henderson (Choreographer) began ballet training with Misha Burlakov in Sydney, further studying with Valentin Zeglovsky and Leon Kellaway. He graduated to Principal Dancer with the Australian Ballet Company. In 1949 he travelled overseas to dance in Buenos Aires then to Paris performing with Les Ballets Monmartre. From there he joined the F.J.B. Theatre as choreographer and principal dancer resident for three years.

He continued training in London with George Goncharov, directing the London production of Yes We Have No Pyjamas, which ran for twelve months. Stan completed drama training with the Guildhall in London, he then taught at Hampshire School of Speech and Drama and Pinelands College. Returning to Australia in 1956 he opened a theatre school in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

Stan directed a vast number of plays and musicals, and worked with opera students at the Canberra School of Music. He has been involved in Film and Television productions of Ginger Meggs, Pharlap, Bodyline and Army Wives and has choreographed for A Country Practice.

At the Lieder Stan has starred in Aladdin, Mother Goose, and Dick Whittington, choreographed Dinkum Assorted, Dancing at Lughnasa and directed Humpty Dumpty and The Farndale Murder Mystery. He last appeared on the Lieder stage in John Spicer’s 2000 production of Dark of the Moon. In 2003 Stan directed A Month of Sundays and directed and choreographed our Old Time Music Hall. In 2005 he directed Blithe Spirit, and last year our most successful Christmas production, Aladdin.

 

Chrisjohn Hancock – Director

Chrisjohn has recently returned from attending a Performing Arts Laboratory in Slovenia with Russian director Sergey Ostrenko. He has been Artistic Director of the Lieder Theatre Company since 1992. He has directed over sixty productions during that time including The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Tempest, The Memory of Water, Inheritance, Away, Peter Pan, Steel Magnolias, Money and Friends, Dinkum Assorted, Hotel Sorrento, Wind in the Willows, Lord of the Flies, Dancing at Lughnasa, Cosi, Under Milk Wood, Blackrock, Grimm Tales, Antigone, Gathering the Dust, Summer of the 17th Doll, Oliver Twist, The Removalists, La Dispute, The Lesson, Skirmishes, Indians and Waiting for Godot. For the Lieder Youth Theatre Company he has directed, Picasso’s The Four Little Girls, tufff..., The Happy Prince, Rolly's Grave, Hot Chips and Gravy at the Blackhole Cafe, G’Day Mate, Hot Air, The Vision of Delight, 2 Friendly for 4 Words, Dead One Done and Ubu. Earlier productions include The Eagle Has Two Heads, Caroline written by Paul Paviour for the Argyle Society, Hey You, Waterhole and Peace in the Street for the Mustardseed Project, Under the Mask and The Little Prince for Coco Youth Theatre, WA, Nuclear Split for the NT Theatre in Education Team and Zigger Zagger and The Fantasticks for Territory North Theatre Company, NT.