Calling all budding actors, directors and musicians – here is a fantastic opportunity for you!
Valley Productions is producing a huge community event at Bungaree leading up to Armistice Day, called ‘It’ll Be Over by Christmas”.
The script for the performance has been written by well-known Australian director, Roland Rocchiccioli, after liaising with Anthony Kennard of Valley Productions.
“The script has a narrator, and songs from the World War I period, and has dialogue based on factual letters and diary notes and follows the story of three brothers,” Anthony said.
“It has you laughing with them and crying with them – it’s a real epic.”
“Armistice Day is very important, so we are aiming to make this an annual event, with four shows leading up to, and then one on, Armistice Day, and only ever to be held at Bungaree.”
Anthony has found the perfect location for this outdoor event – an old quarry at Bungaree – with works already started on clearing and levelling the quarry site.
“A permanent stage that looks like the inside of a trench will be built there, along with seating and lighting – basic things in the first year – but it will be developed as a major performance venue over the years,” he said.
“We are in the process of contacting all local community arts and theatre groups, and bands, and are looking for an enthusiastic bunch of actors, directors, singers and musicians, who would like an opportunity to be involved with this project,” he said.
“This show will be promoted not only locally, but nationally and to New Zealand, as it is part of ANZAC,” Anthony said.
Anthony said the dedicatee of this year’s performance is Vietnam veteran, Errol Noack, the first conscriptee killed in Vietnam.
“We would like to hear from relatives of any war veterans for future dedications.”
All profits from this production and other events, go to Valley Arts Trust, a charitable trust set up to help fund local and regional arts events.
Anthony, who retired to Snowtown in late 2017, has had a long career in the music and theatre industry.
“I grew up in Streaky Bay, went to boarding school and then uni to study law,” he said.
However he found he was spending more time at the music conservatorium than studying law, so left uni and moved to London to study music composition at the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama.
“My main claim to fame is I was the first person to hear Bananas in Pyjamas by Enid Blyton’s nephew, Carey Blyton, my professor, who wrote it,” he laughed.
After studying, Anthony moved back to South Australia and worked for a time as a volunteer for Aboriginal legal aid.
He then moved to Melbourne to work for BASS, mainly working with the Victorian State Opera, before moving to work for the Ballarat Opera Festival.
“I also started up my own company, Cygnet Productions, writing and providing corporate entertainment for banks, etc, with hilarious shows specifically focused on the relevant industry,” he said.
That company was later sold, and Anthony headed to the USA where he started another company, Ark Enterprises, to develop up and coming talent.
“This company is still going, developing a broadway musical on Carmen Miranda, a current project.”
Anthony moved to Snowtown for a ‘quiet life’, but after attending an ANZAC Day service and the ‘Anything Goes’ performance at Port Pirie in 2018, he started thinking again.
“They were the catalysts for me – I’m not a performer, I’m an ideas man,” he said.
Now Anthony has countless plans on the go, including a touring show leading up to Christmas of ‘A Christmas Carol’, with Red Cross as the beneficiary of funds raised.
Vivaldi in the Vines is coming up from May 24-26 at St Aloysius Church, Sevenhill, with three candlelit performances (see story in the Plains Producer on March 20).
In March 2020, Anthony also has plans for Shakespeare Festival with the local location to be confirmed.
A major announcement regarding the theatre will be made shortly.
“We will have 14 performances each of the two shows across the month– the traditional Macbeth with a twist – along with an hilarious version of the Merry Wives of Windsor, featuring Loretta Swit from MASH as Mistress Quickly,” Anthony said.
“We will be bringing out international stars for the top three roles, and will have afternoon shows with lunch before or dinner afterwards and the big shows will all be filmed for DVD release – it’s going to be huge for the Clare Valley.”
“We aim to put on really affordable shows, and want to encourage and promote the performing arts in the region, provide more jobs in the industry and maybe make someone a star!”
If you’d like to be involved, please contact Anthony via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0423 054 353.
• Pictured: Anthony Kennard, of Valley Productions , is on the lookout for local talent to feature in his production “It’ll Be Over By Christmas”, written by Australian director, Roland Rocchiccioli (inset).