best website creator

SHARYN DONOGHUE -
DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHER

Sharyn has been involved in theatre for over 20 years, both professional and amateur, having shared the stage with Bernard King and Sean Kramer. Her favourite roles include Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Sheila in Chorus Line, the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz and Gladys in Pajama Game. Whilst she still enjoys alighting the stage, her skillset has been extended to include direction and choreography. After a 7 year break from theatre, whilst focusing on building a successful Zumba business, Sharyn returns to Sandgate in Song Contest – The Almost Eurovision Experience, giving her the opportunity to combine her unique comic flair with her love for dance, song and the genre of musical theatre.

DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE

What amazing fun it has been bringing this wonderfully written musical to the Sandgate stage. Our small cast of twelve has risen to every challenge having to work not only on vocal prowess, but the skills of dancing and acting in the diverse roles of competitors from eleven different countries. They have rehearsed accents, acquired costumes, practiced traditional dance moves and developed the physicality and gestures indicative of the country of origin…..they even learnt to sing in German! Their commitment to making this show an incredible experience for the audience in unsurpassed and their dedication is shown in this amazing resultant production. It is with great pride that I am able to say I have been involved as Director and Choreographer of this musical. I am sure that the audience will enjoy the interactive nature of the voting procedure which makes this a musical like no other, and one you are sure to thoroughly enjoy!


HAYLEY MARSH -
MUSICAL DIRECTION

Hayley is excited to be a part of Song Contest: The Almost Eurovision Experience and is passionate about supporting local community theatre. She has a strong background in classical and choral music, completing her Bmus majoring in music theatre at the Central Queensland Conservatorium. Hayley is in demand as a workshop facilitator, vocal clinician and educator. She is the current director of Stella Voce at the Queensland Show Choir, and is the senior choral conductor at Bardon State School. Hayley enjoys keeping one foot in front of the conductor’s podium and one behind; you can catch her onstage next at the Brisbane Chamber Choir’s 20th anniversary concert on December 2nd & 3rd. 

PAT JAMES -
HOST BETTINA BITJAKOKOV

Pat James began treading the floor boards since the tender age of 6, and has performed in over 40 shows ranging from gothic one act plays to full scale musical productions. In 2011 Pat discovered the performance art of drag and has since been performing on stages across Brisbane as both himself and his fully realised alter ego character Jenny Vennom (Ms. Vennom is your feel nasty).

Pat/Jenny is so very excited to be the first ever drag queen in history to tackle the role of Bettina in this production of 'Song Contest: the Eurovision Experience'. "My aim is to show the world that Drag is a legitimate part of theatre, whilst putting on one hell of a show at the same time, and what better time in out countries history then right now to do so"

FIONA SMITH -
ENSEMBLE CAST

Fiona loves dancing - moving, sweating and feeling alive.

She started dancing as a child with calisthenics - a multi disciplined competitive dance sport which she did into her early 20s. After emigrating to the USA, she found salsa aerobics which was later popularised into zumba. She became an instructor and taught briefly but was totally smitten by samba no pe after seeing a Day of the Dead performance. She worked with Austin Samba for four years, performing at Carnaval, street parades, private and public events.

Returning to Australia three years ago, she performed at Bomshell Burlesque concerts before moving into musical theatre and cabaret. Fiona loves doing comedy dance routines and trains hard for these with lots of cardio at local zumba classes.


JUDY HOWARD -
ENSEMBLE CAST

I have been involved in theatre for a number of years and performed with several theatre groups including PRIMA, Brisbane Arts, La Boite, Queensland Musical Theatre and now of course, Sandgate Theatre Group. Along the way I’ve performed in straight plays, Theatre Restaurants/Concerts and Musicals and played everything from good time girls to nuns, and once even an aristocratic ghost! Even though I have been in many straight plays my first love has always been music and musical theatre.

Living on the north side of Brisbane I got tired of always having to travel considerable distances to rehearse and perform in theatre groups such as Brisbane Arts, La Boite and Queensland Musical Theatre. So in 2004 myself and a couple of other like-minded “north-siders”, decided to establish a musical theatre group in the Pine Rivers district - Pine Rivers Musical Theatre (PRIMA). I’m proud to say that this group is still going strong and along with other groups such as Sandgate Theatre Group is providing quality theatre for the northside of Brisbane.

I’ve really enjoyed being part of  'Song Contest: The Almost Eurovision Experience'. The talented group of people involved and the sheer fun of this production have made the whole experience delightful.


KATIE FLETCHER -
ENSEMBLE CAST

Katie is an engineer by day and ‘wannabe’ Demi Lovato by night. You may recall her from such performances as PRIMA’s 90s Theatre Restaurant in Burpengary and Act 1 Theatre’s Cruise Club Theatre Restaurant at Strathpine. A relative newbie, that’s the entire extent of her experience on stage!

Katie’s musical background is primarily instrumental including the National Youth Wind Orchestra, Gold Coast Symphonic Orchestra, Queensland State Honours Band and every other group available to her at Somerset College playing bassoon and clarinet.

For Katie, the most exciting part of 'Song Contest: The Almost Eurovision Experience' will be the number of characters she gets to play. From belting divas with wind-blown hair to polish romantics and girl bands.


KIRSTIN MCLEAN -
ENSEMBLE CAST

“As a little girl I always wanted to be a rockstar…” A self proclaimed Eurovision junkie, Kirstin has spend many good times with friends glued to the finals on SBS, little realizing that she would have her time to shine on the Song Contest stage. Cinderella, get on your sparkles - your time has come to make a stand for little girls with big dreams and lots of sequins everywhere.

Returning to stage after a career break, Kirstin is fresh from the principal role of Elle Sattler in Brisbane Atrs Theatre’s Jurassic Park the Musical, ensemble roles in Prima’s 90’s dinner theatre, and Phoenix’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and behind the scenes efforts on Phoneix’s La Cage aux Folles, and Brisbane Art’s Theatre’s, A Christmas Carol. “Bring your clackers, your glitter, your good humour and your friends and enjoy the magical experience that is the ‘Song Contest’”.

ELKE GORENFLO -
ENSEMBLE CAST

Before moving to Australia 10 years ago, Elke was already involved in amateur theatre and choir music in Germany and she can play several instruments.

Shortly after arriving in Australia Elke got involved with Mousetrap Theatre through a friend, playing a small role in the musical "High Society". This lid her fire for performing on stage again. Several more productions followed, such as "Lady Godiva", Guys 'n Dolls and Murder Mysteries.

Coming from Germany and following the Eurovision Song Contest for many many years, now being able to be a part of the musical is very special and exciting.

To stay fit Elke enjoys cycling and to stay sane practises Yoga.


STEPHANIE WIMPENNY -
ENSEMBLE CAST

Stephanie Wimpenny has been passionate about performing arts since a very young age. She did her first ever solo performance at the age of seven where she proudly sang her very own song acapella, in front of her entire school. Since then, it's fair to say that Steff has been hooked on performing and never looked back, even using her skills in performance to help her Real Estate clients sell their properties for record prices and in record times! Steff has danced since the age of 6, sung since she could talk, drummed in bands, played clarinet, conducted choirs, directed and choreographed shows and played a variety of roles in several popular musicals and dramas.

She is also very academic not only holding a scholarship in her University Choir, but topping her degree in Bachelor of Teaching/Arts in 2012. Steff has a deep love of combining all three art forms of (singing/ dancing and acting) at the same time and loves nothing more than being on stage and bringing her audiences immense joy! "For me, theatre is the best form of escapism. I love that for the brief time you're in the theatre you can switch off from the pressures and stresses of the world and completely immerse yourself in a totally different world”.

STEPHEN SMITH -
ENSEMBLE CAST

My name is Stephen Smith. I have worked in numerous theatre companies across Brisbane over the past 15 years and this is my first show with Sandgate Theatre Company – it has been worth the wait! Having actively undergone intensive research for all of the countries I will be performing in (dating women from those countries counts, right), I am most looking forward to performing for you in Italy as it combines my love of mustaches, beautiful women and fast cars.

However, there is more than just fame and fortune to being a Song Contest performer - I want to show you all the ins and outs, not just the veneer but the essential truth behind the glitter. Europe is like a Rubik’s cube, once the colours are mixed it would take a genius or a madman to separate them out again. So lets all enjoy the melting pot together.

SUSIE BUSHNELL -
ENSEMBLE CAST

A move to Brisbane from Far North Queensland in 2008 saw Susie join the music variety/cabaret style production group ‘Guys n’ Dolls Revue’ in 2008 performing in their show annually for six years and thus began a love of the stage. Since then she has performed in the ensemble & leads in both plays and musicals in various theatre companies around Brisbane.

She has also performed as lead singer for the bands ‘Nixx’ and ‘Set 2 Rock’. Last year saw her enter for the first time in the One Act festival circuit around Brisbane, which was another wonderful experience.

Between shows Susie enjoys taking off in her caravan with her husband and two dogs, spending as much time enjoying any dog friendly beach or river they can find.

This will be Susie’s seventh production with ‘Sandgate Theatre’ and she is thoroughly enjoying working with an incredibly talented production team, cast and crew.


DOUGLAS BRISTOW -
ENSEMBLE CAST

A lover of music and showmanship from his early days, Doug Bristow has experimented with music of most genres, ranging from folk and blues to hard rock and heavy metal, to develop a unique and quirky style. No stranger to the stage or spotlight, he has performed on stages and in front of crowds across south east Queensland in various bands.

But just playing music wasn’t enough, so now he has turned his attentions to a different stage, and where better to unleash his own brand of colourful craziness and cross-genre abilities than a musical theatre production that explores many genres in the weirdest of ways. Song Contest: The Almost Eurovision Experience gives Doug the opportunity to captivate a whole new audience with his stage-craft and chameleon-like personality.

ROYCE LEIVESLY -
ENSEMBLE CAST

Royce has been actively involved in the local theatre scene for the last twenty years, including himself in various duties such as set design and construction, which he has done for this production of 'Song Contest: The Almost Eurovision Experience'. A fan of comedy and strong character roles Royce also enjoys the theatre restaurant format.

He admits that whilst he was caught a little off-guard being asked to take on roles in 'Song Contest' as he has limited experience with singing or dancing roles previously, he does find some excitement and challenge in pushing past his comfort zone, and hopes that everyone joins in for the laugh.

GEORGIA GLEESON -
ENSEMBLE CAST

Georgia has been involved in theatre since she was nine years old. Now at eighteen years of age she has performed in a multitude of shows, competitions and festivals. Some of her performance credits include Dorothy in the ‘Wizard Of Oz’ pantomime (ROAR performing arts), Laurey Williams in ‘Oklahoma Jr’ (ROAR), Mabel in ‘Pirates of Penzance’ (ROAR), Juliet in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Mousetrap Theatre), Frenchy in ‘Grease’ (Redcliffe Musical Theatre Youth), Belle U/S (RMT Youth), the Artful Dodger in ‘Oliver!’ and Nessarose U/S in ‘Wicked’ (RMT).

Some of Georgia’s most recent performance accolades include shared Best Actress award at the Brisbane Arts Theatre drama festival open section, an All Star award for two years in a row at Junior Theatre Celebrations Newcastle and more. This is Georgia’s first show with Sandgate Theatre.