Aussie celebs profess their love for Paris in new campaign

The French Tourism Board has revealed just how much Australians adore Paris in an online campaign that features a host of famous Aussies professing their love for the region.

The digital Visit Paris Region campaign, J’Aime Paris, is spearheaded by a short video and is being rolled out with the aim of encouraging Australians to visit the gems of Paris Region. Created in partnership with the Paris Region Tourism Board, the French Tourism Board asked seven Australian celebrities to declare their love for Paris on screen, and they happily obliged.

Featuring actor Paul Hogan, two-time Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, Chef Guillaume Brahimi, Director Baz Luhrmann, Designer & Producer Catherine Martin, Fashion Designer Collette Dinnigan, and internationally renowned singer Tina Arena, the video provides one minute of wanderlust inducing declarations of love and imagery of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

Showcasing iconic monuments and original ways to discover the City of Lights, the campaign also aims to highlight the region’s cultural offerings, history, and of course the city’s incredible food and wine scene.

Closing with a heartfelt address from Valerie Pécresse, President of Paris Region, the video serves as a warm welcome to Australians from Paris.

France receives more than 1.2 million Australian tourists every year* and the J’Aime Paris campaign will no doubt reignite a passion for Paris in those who have already been, and spark a desire to visit for those who haven’t. The Visit Paris Region website provides an essential overview of the area from the well known attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge to lesser explored aspects of the city including green spaces, golf, excursions, shopping tips, and even theme parks.

For those who want someone else to do the planning, the site also offers itineraries, themed guides, and lists of top experiences to consider.

Source: Visit Paris

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT Hayes Theatre Co - full cast announced

Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, SPAMALOT re-tells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Guided by the fabulous belting diva The Lady of the Lake, the knights battle their way past various cows, killer rabbits, and French people in pursuit of claiming the legendary Grail.

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT was a smash hit in both New York and London, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Now the show comes to Sydney for the very first time, in a production that re-defines the word ‘epic’. Really, really re-defines it.

A diverse, cross-gender cast of heroic/foolish actors (and their assistant stage manager) embrace the satirical, home-made spirit of the original movie and the Monty Python TV series, enlisting the help of some carefully-chosen backdrops, a CD player, and – when all else fails – a large dose of meta-theatrical humour. From the minds of the director and choreographer of 2017’s smash-hit Calamity Jane – audiences should hold on tight, expect the unexpected, and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

“I’m really excited to mount this brand new production of Monty Python’s Spamalot – the anarchic, rule-breaking, hilarious world of Python is such a great fit for the Hayes”, said Director Richard Carroll.” “I’m especially excited to take the raucous meta-theatrical language we created in our production of Calamity Jane, and push it even further in this show. Plus, in 2019 we know that comedy knows no racial or gender barriers, and I’m excited to see a new generation of diverse performers (including some gender-swapped casting) bring new life to this beloved material. Thanks to the audience, it will be different every night – which I believe is what makes theatre so exciting.”

Source: Hayes Theatre

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to partner with Make-A-Wish Australia

Producers John Frost and Craig Donnell have announced Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is partnering with Make-A-Wish® Australia to bring hope, strength and joy to children facing life-threatening illnesses. 

As the official charity partner of the Sydney musical production, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will host a Gala Performance on Thursday 21 February 2019 at 7:30pm with the proceeds from 500 ticket sales going directly back to Make-a-Wish. Tickets can be purchased at 

The funds raised from the 500 Gala performance ticket sales, plus other initiatives on the night, will be donated to Make-A-Wish, helping to fund the wishes of critically ill children Australia wide. 

Producer Craig Donnell said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with Make-A-Wish as our chosen official charity partner on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One of the major themes in this production is the power of ‘pure imagination’ allowing your wildest dreams to come true. We hope to help many deserving children get that opportunity. Just as Charlie Bucket finds his golden ticket and changes family’s life, it’s our hope that this partnership will raise vital funds to give as many children as possible a chance for their wishes to come true.” 

Make-A-Wish Australia CEO Sally Bateman said, “We are delighted to partner with the Gordon Frost Organisation on this fabulous production. Each year, thousands of Australian children are diagnosed with critical illnesses, and like Charlie Bucket, wish to escape their current reality.

Make-A-Wish works with sick kids, their families and medical teams to deliver unforgettable wish experiences that help kids imagine a future beyond their illness. With more than 700 families currently on their wish journey, we rely on the generosity of our partners, donors and volunteers to make these incredible wishes happen.”

Make-A-Wish Australia creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Since 1985, more than 10,000 wishes have been granted thanks to the generous support of partners and supporters in the community. When a wish is realised, a child discovers that despite their situation, anything is possible. Find out more about our wish program and the impact of this important work at

Step inside a world of pure imagination. Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the perfect recipe for a delectable treat: songs from the original film including “Pure Imagination”, “The Candy Man” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket”, alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is perhaps Roald Dahl’s best-known story and has proved to be one of the most enduring children’s books of all time. The story of Charlie Bucket, the five Golden Tickets, the Oompa-Loompas and the amazing Willy Wonka has become firmly embedded in our culture since it was first published in 1964. Conservative estimates suggest the original book has sold over 20 million copies worldwide; it is now available in 61 languages.

Source: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

ABC and Screen Australia announce new drama series Les Norton starring Rebel Wilson

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Screen Australia have today announced production funding for a new 10-part drama series Les Norton, based on the best-selling novels by Robert G. Barrett. The series is a Roadshow Rough Diamond production with Sonar Entertainment handling international distribution. 

Set in 1985, the series will follow the exploits of Les Norton, a country bloke from outback Queensland. On the run from a troubled past, he blows into Sydney where he lands a job as a bouncer at a notorious illegal casino in Kings Cross. A classic fish out of water who’s desperate to get home, he soon finds himself seduced by the city’s illicit charms and dragged into a web of underground criminality. 

International comedy star Rebel Wilson (Isn’t It Romantic, Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids) and audience and critic favourite David Wenham (Romper Stomper, Wake in Fright, Top of the Lake) headline an exciting cast who’ll bring 1980s Kings Cross to life, with the series’ eponymous hero to be played by up-and-coming actor Alexander Bertrand (Australian Gangster, Hyde & Seek).

Les Norton will be directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker, Proof), Fadia Abboud (Australian Gangster), David Caesar (Dead Lucky, Underbelly) and Morgan O’Neill (Drift, Solo). It has been created for television by Morgan O’Neill, working alongside writers Christopher Lee (Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo), Samantha Winston (Wentworth), Shanti Gudgeon (Wolf Creek), Malcolm Knox (Romper Stomper), and Jessica Tuckwell.

It will be produced by Daniel Edwards and John Edwards from production company Roadshow Rough Diamond, who produced 2017 drama series Romper Stomper and the upcoming series Australian Gangster. ABC Head of Drama, Comedy & Indigenous Sally Riley will work as Executive Producer with Andrew Gregory; Deeper Water Films’ John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz; and John Singleton and Jack Singleton.

“Les and his reprobate mates are caught up in a Sydney that was at its most debauched in the ‘80s, and the show’s blackly hilarious as a consequence,” John Edwards said.

ABC’s Sally Riley says: “We are over the moon that Les Norton has lured such a stellar cast and creative team to bring the novels to life. Les Norton is shaping up to be an enviable addition to the ABC’s 2019 drama slate”.

Head of Content at Screen Australia, Sally Caplan said: “Les Norton is an affable character that has proven popular with audiences in the best-selling book series. What excites me about this TV adaptation is that the creative team have included a slew of new female roles to go head on with the male characters established in the books.”

Create NSW Acting Director of Screen Investment, Engagement & Attraction Sally Regan said, “This adaptation of Robert G. Barrett’s classic Aussie larrikin character will undoubtedly bring a smile to a wide audience across the country. Backed by a strong production team, Robert’s popular books are perfect for screen adaptation and we look forward to seeing Les’ ‘fish out of water’ escapades unfold.”

Source: Screen Australia

Producer guru Michael Cassel hosts fab Christmas drinks

Leading Australian theatrical Producer, Michael Cassel, hosted his annual festive drinks after, yet again, another successful year in the big wide world of musical theatre.

The man behind successful productions like Beautiful: The Carole King story, Kinky Boots and of course next years huge blockbuster – Harry Potter – Michael’s group is also taking on the international producing world in a big way.

The high-profile crowd included some of the countries leading theatre and entertainment names including:

Lisa Wilkinson
David Campbell
Ryan Phelan
Simon Burke
Sami Lukis
Tim Davies
James Thane
Brian Walsh
Blainey North
Lucy Turnbull
Rod McGeoch
Kate Fitzpatrick
Susie Elelman
Tim Chappel

And then musical theatre stars like Mat Vervis (Helpmann winner), Lucy Maunder, Alina Edmonds, Barry Conrad and Marcus Corowa.