puberty blues 2

I appeared on Puberty Blues tonight (Season 2, Ep 7).  I played a drunken dad who abuses Judy Vickers (Claudia Karvan) only to be pegged down a notch or two by husband Martin (Jeremy Lindsay Tailor).  A fun little role where I got to wear the shortest shorts I've worn in a long time!

trusting the actor

I'm in London and yesterday I had the great pleasure of meeting Brian Astbury. Brian co-founded South Africa’s first non-racial theatre and arts centre, The Space. In the 1970’s The Space produced theatre, dance and exhibitions which broke apartheid taboos while also winning critical acclaim abroad. After relocating to London, Brian went onto teach in some of the UK's best drama schools and headed the pioneering project, Arts Threshold.

Over the years, in his quest to understand actors and acting, Brian developed a series of exercises that he uses in his teaching. Recently, at the request of past students, Brian put these together in his book, Trusting the Actor. Part diary, part text, Trusting the Actor is an acting book like none other and a must read for all actors.

"If you think this book is just going to be about ‘acting’ you would be very wrong…
Brian Astbury could easily have titled this excellent book ‘Everything you need to know about Acting’ and even then not have come close to describing it’s worth
."  Stephen Moyer (True Blood)
"An idiosyncratic, challenging and practical guide to the craft of acting." Richard E. Grant

I got to spend about two hours with Brian and over multiple coffees he shared some extraordinary life stories with me. It was a pleasure to meet him.

To buy his book. To follow Brian on Twitter.

poor poor school

Whilst in London, I attended a 'four day acting course' at The Poor School. It was the only acting course I could find to squeeze in over the time I was there. What became obvious as time passed was this course is a selling tool for places in their long term programs.

The Poor School appears just as its name suggests: a run down venue with limited facilities and a challenging floor plan, to say the least. I'm not fazed by this though - NIDA originated in tin sheds and we all know constraints can help boost creativity. In general the staff were professional and experienced (especially voice coach Christian Fellner), but Paul Caister, The Poor School's founder and director... I don't believe so much in mollycoddling actors. Acting's a tough game and training should be challenging. But I do believe when I teach it is my responsibility to create a safe atmosphere where actors will develop freely and confidently. Paul Caister rules over his kingdom with impatience and sarcasm. Not at all my style. 

In the last session on the last day, players gather to have their efforts brutally critiqued and places are offered to those worthy of the The Poor School's Two Year Training Course.  In a way I admire their pluck. To have operated since 1986 in the heart of London's Kings Cross, they must be doing something right - albeit preying on London's desperate wannabe actors. I won't be taking the place in the Two Year Training Course that I was offered.

burnie acting workshop

Heather & Catherine.jpg

I've spent the last week running an acting workshop with 23 students from four schools in Burnie, Tasmania.  The workshops were held at Burnie High School where they have a new performing arts facility.  Not all the students knew each other so we began by creating an ensemble, and then spent the week on acting skills that lead to a presentation Friday evening.  The week was a great success and it was a great privilege to take my skills and experience to those who don't have access to the things city teens take for granted.

Heather Polden & Catherine Segger pictured.

sceggs invalid reading


Today I visited SCEGGS Darlinghurst where drama teacher Vivienne Rodda is directing my play The Invalid Rehearsal.  With a cast of 10, which includes three boys from Cranbrook and Sydney Grammar, we had the first cast reading of the play.

Today I visited SCEGGS Darlinghurst where drama teacher Vivienne Rodda is directing my play The Invalid Rehearsal.  With a cast of 10, which includes three boys from Cranbrook and Sydney Grammar, we had the first cast reading of the play.

The Invalid Rehearsal was originally written for and performed by the National Institute of Dramatic Art's Drama Studio in 2010.  It is one of the three short plays I'm publishing this year.  The Invalid Rehearsal, Beth and Grounded will be available mid 2012 in a single volume, GRIT: 3 Plays for Teenagers.

Head of Drama Inga Scarlett said she was so excited to read The Invalid Rehearsal and believes it will work really well at SCEGGS.  It will be performed on the 26th and 27th July.  Good luck to Vivienne and the cast - I can't wait to see the results and look forward to popping in along the way.
I'm pictured with Vivienne Rodda, director The Invalid Rehearsal.

charlotte joins creative state

I'm thrilled to welcome Charlotte Salusinszky to Creative State.  Charlotte has come on board to help me take Creative State to the next level and beyond.  She has only just started and I'm thrilled with what we have achieved in a short amount of time.  We've designed week-long acting workshops for actors at varying levels of experience, we've created a safe haven for actors to regularly practice their craft and much more.  We'll be sending out a newsletter shortly to bring you up to speed with what's happening in the year ahead and I'm very excited by the direction we're taking things.

Charlotte studied drama at school as well as acted in and directed theatre productions.  She has studied acting through NIDA's open program and is presently attending NIDA's 'The Actor'.  She brings with her passion, energy and a great sense of humour.

Welcome aboard Charlotte!

filming at plc

Tamara Sweetman, drama teacher at Pymble Ladies College brought me in to assist a group of students with a film project.  The six students from years 9, 10 and 11 were entering a film competition and I spent two days helping them prepare for the shoot.  On day one we brainstormed ideas around the competition brief and each student devised their own film concepts around our findings.  The students pitched their ideas to the group and then voted for the idea they liked most.  Over the next week they wrote the script before I returned for day two.  We then story boarded the film and created a shot list and a multitude of props that were required for the shoot.  I was told the shoot went well and they're presently editing the film.  Good luck in the competition girls!
I can't wait to see the end result.

tricky business

I just spent two days playing a guest role on Channel Nines new TV series Tricky Business.  Obviously I can't give away any details about the show and its story lines but I had a lot of fun playing the role.  My scenes involved series regular Kip Gamblin and he was great to work with.  Look out for 9's new show which airs early to mid 2012.

congratulations rhys

Congratulations Rhys Keir!  Rhys is continuing his acting journey at Actors' Centre Australia, ACA.  I recently coached Rhys on his drama school auditions.  Throughout a handful of sessions we worked up a few monologues including Biff from Death of a Salesman and Mark Antony from Julius Caesar.  Rhys was successful on his first audition for ACA and he begins soon on the two and a half year course.  I wish you every success Rhys!

congratulations brooke

Congratulations Brooke McElligott!  Brooke is continuing her acting journey at the Victorian College of Arts, VCA.  I met Brooke in my Bundaberg workshop earlier this year and it was clear she was a talented young actor.  Because of distance I wasn't able to coach her with her auditions for Australia's top drama schools so I mentored her through the process.  I met with her a couple of times and also her parents to discuss options.  It was then I recommended she include VCA in her audition list, as she hadn't thus far.  I'm thrilled she did - her audition, which was her first for VCA gained herself a place at the prestigious institution and she's off to Melbourne soon to begin a great adventure!


Over the last three years I've been the core tutor of NIDA's Drama Studio - a one year course for teen actors.  Each year I have written and directed their end of year performances.  This year has been my last in this role and I've finished with my third short play for young actors, Grounded.

Grounded has a cast 7 female and 5 male characters.  It begins with a group of girls heading off into the bush to have a party that none of their parents know about.  The play deals with the ramifications of doing so.  It performed at NIDA's Parade Studio on Sunday 11th and was a great success.  The students felt it was a unique opportunity to play people their own age but in circumstances quite far from their own experience.

Grounded will be published along with Beth (2009) and The Invalid Rehearsal (2010) in a book of my short plays. The book will be published by Creative State and available for schools in 2012 - watch this space!

40 years of youth theatre

The Bundaberg Players, which has been operating since 1950, have been running a youth theatre group for 40 years and it's time to celebrate!  The celebrations have taken place over the last four days.  They began with a series of workshops in musical theatre, improvisation, acting and screen acting.  All of the workshops were run by past members of the youth theatre who have gone on to work in the arts: Rebecca Hutchins, Adam Williams, Trevor Green, Colin Thrupp, myself and Trevor Hunter.  The festivities ended with a dinner, performances by present youth theatre members and a puppet show by David Hamilton.

It was great to return to where I got my first acting role as Louis Leonowens in the King and I some thirty years ago and I also got to catch up with some old friends.  The youth theatre productions produced over the years include Man of Steel, King Macbee and the Walking Trees, Sheerluck Holmes, Pinocchio, Bugsy Malone and The Dracular Spectacular.

plc readings

I had the unique opportunity of hearing two of my plays read by a group of students from Pymble Ladies College and Knox Grammar.  Tamara Sweetman, drama teacher at PLC organised the readings.  The two plays were Beth and The Invalid Rehearsal.  I wrote and directed the plays for NIDA's Drama Studio in 2009 and 2010 and as I'm publishing them for schools in 2012, I jumped at the chance to hear them once again before a final rewrite.  It was not only good the hear the plays but to get both Tamara's and the students' feedback.  I benefitted greatly from their feedback and questions and the plays have both improved immensely.  Thank you to to the students and especially Tammara for organising the reading.

If you'd like to be kept up to date about the release of the book of short plays, contact me.

coaching laura

I was recently approached by a mother from the Coffs Harbour region.  Her daughter Laura was having difficulty selecting a HSC solo performance piece and suspected she may have difficulty polishing her performance to gain a good assessment result.  On purchasing Individual Performance, my book of 20 original scripts for HSC students, Laura selected Deing Julia, the first script in the book about a teen's struggle being dyslexic.  Laura chose the script because it spoke to her - she has had some learning difficulties and has a friend who is dyslexic - she felt it was familiar.

Laura's mother then brought her to me in Sydney for a 4 hour coaching session on her performance.  Laura had rehearsed her performance and came to the session well prepared.  We played with the piece, improving it bit by bit and finished giving Laura specific work to do on her return home.  I recently heard from Laura's mum:

Just thought you would like to know that Laura has just performed her Individual Performance at the Eisteddfod. She came first in her division with a mark of 91%.  Thank you so much for your help. Laura has really appreciated it.  Will stay in touch as it progresses towards the final performance.

And Laura said:

Thanks Paul, you are a true champ!


Today I ran a screen acting course for the Australian Film Television and Radio School, AFTRS, Open Program.  The course was for young actors and started exploring camera techniques before focusing on screen acting skills.  I used a few of my favourite screen acting exercises which resulted in the students not only having a great time but developing confidence in front of the camera.

To organise a screen acting course in your school, contact Creative State.

drama nsw group devised project

Today I ran a Professional Development workshop for teachers and members of Drama NSW.  It was held at the New Theatre, Newtown - a great character filled space.  It was a large group of teachers who threw themselves in head first right from the start.  My experience to date is that teachers are always so desiring new approaches to drama and new exercises to run in their own classes, that they easily throw their innabitions away. Throughout the day we explored

  • impulse
  • entry points
  • brainstorming
  • scene building

I received some amazing feedback from the teachers involved.  To organise a GP workshop at your school contact me.

nsc 2011

I took off to Victoria this week to attend the National Screenwriters' Conference.  Three days of presentations and discussions with successful Australian and international screenwriters.

Shane Brennan is an Australian screenwriter and producer who's experienced a meteoric rise to the top in the cutthroat world of American television drama. Shane is Executive Producer of NCIS, and Creator and Executive Producer of NCIS: Los Angeles, currently the number one and two scripted series on American television, achieving viewer numbers that the U.S media has hailed as 'gravity defying'.

Nicholas Meyer is a U.S screenwriter, director and producer. He is best known for his Oscar nominated screenplay The Seven-Per-Cent-Solution, based on his best selling novel of the same name. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his teleplay, The Night That Panicked America. In recent years Meyer has written the screenplay for The Human Stain and has also teamed with Martin Scorsese to adapt Edmund Morris' biography of Theodore Roosevelt, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. He is credited for revitalizing the Star Trek franchise and has published The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood.

Jimmy McGovern is a U.K. television writing legend. Cracker, The Lakes, Hillsborough, Dockers, Priest, The Street - explore different genres, themes and big ideas, but unifying them all, is a specific regional voice rich with the flavours, characters and stories of the north of England working-class. Using The Street as a case study we talk to Jimmy about what informs his choices of subject matter, how he creates characters, themes and structure, and how the culturally specific can find a universal audience. Jimmy's Liverpudlian humour, honesty and generosity are sure to delight, inform and inspire.

With many others speakers, a tribute to the amazing life and work of David Williamson and a dinner among the fig trees, it was a spectacular weekend.  I met Greg MacLean, director of Wolf Creek, and discussed one of my film projects.  Greg inspired me to take the reigns and write and direct the project myself - watch this space!

hsc drama monologues


Individual Performance

20 Original Scripts for HSC Drama

Written by Paul Caesar

Individual Performance contains 20 scripts.  The scripts are written specifically for HSC Drama students and meet the criteria of the Individual Project: Performance assessment

  1. performance skills
  2. character development and sustainability
  3. dramatic structure and coherence.

The 20 original scripts draw on both real stories and fictitious characters.  12 scripts are written as female characters and 8 as male, but some can easily be adapted to change the gender.

Dramatic roles, comic roles -Individual Performance has it all for HSC and high school drama students looking for solo performances pieces.

Script Titles:

Deing Julia, Beast, Nyami, Heart Ache, Jacinta, Adopted, The Wish, Crash, Away from home, Queen Kayla, Bridezilla, Gran Elda, Troup, Impatient, Rich, A.J., Cop That, Bewildered, Humpty Dumpty and Stage Fright.

the invalid rehearsal

I'm currently directing a short play I wrote for NIDA's Drama Studio - The Invalid Rehearsal.  It is a combination of Molière's The Rehearsal at Versailles and The Imaginary Invalid.  The Rehearsal at Versailles is a short play Molière wrote to perform for King Louis XIV about Molière and his actors putting on a play for King Louis XIV.  I've then written a second act in which... I won't give it away but will say it's a lot of fun.  The Invalid Rehearsal has a cast of 10 and performs this Sunday 12 December at NIDA at 12:15 and 3pm.  If you're interested in seeing The Invalid Rehearsal contact me.

individual performance - 20 original scripts for hsc drama


Available for pre-order now!

Are you a HSC Drama student?  Do you teach or coach HSC Drama students?  For the first time ever, you can buy a book of 20 original scripts written specifically for the HSC Drama Individual Project: Performance assessment.

Individual Performance - 20 Original Scripts for HSC Drama

12 scripts are written as female characters, 8 as male with some easily adapted to change the gender.  It's available now for pre-order, so to guarantee you get a copy of the first print run, buy now.