Meet the Cast of Tumbulgum & the Countdown to Midnight…

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Ari Ehrlich as the CHANTER | Murwillumbah

Growing up in Germany, Israel and Australia and hearing Polish spoken by his parents, Ari developed a facility for language and a keen interest in other cultures. He enjoys chanting (especially overtone harmonics) and performs solos of sacred chant songs and performance poetry. He has had basic suffi singing training and has been a tenor in two choirs in the Northern Rivers. Ari’s experience was with the physical performance group Gravity Feed since 1992. He has choreographed movement and voice in the Sideshow company directed by Michael Matou and was a tenor in The Café of the Gate of Salvation gospel choir for nine years, he participated in several commercials, two films, performed at WomAdelaide and produced a CD. Ari lives on a rural property with his wife, cat, five horses and two donkeys and is involved with the local Caldera Environment Centre team coordinating the annual World Environment Day Festival. Ari has not yet learned to read music.

Lincoln Jamieson as MAN #1 | Tweed

At just 17 Lincoln has been on stage since he was only 6 years old, performing in numerous musicals/productions on the Gold Coast including the Tweed Theatre Companies production of Oklahoma, Hairspray and playing ‘Pip’ in a musical rendition of 7 Little Australians. He is a skilled singer, dancer and actor, and has performed in Disneyland and Disneyworld in the U.S. with the Johnny Young Talent School. Lincoln is currently training in all styles of dance while training for a Cert. III in Assistance in Dance Teaching whilst still attending school at St Joseph’s College. He one day hopes to be able to fully support himself through his performing.

Sean O’Hara as the FERRYMAN | Murwillumbah

Sean has been involved in dance and theatrical productions, both onstage and behind the scenes, ever since he was a child. Music has been a great love and source of strength, and during the last 10 years he has learned to play guitar, piano, and has sung in choirs, a pop group, and more recently a bluegrass duo. Performance highlights include a part in the Sydney 2009 production of Purcell’s ‘The Fairy Queen’, and singing onstage at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2012 as part of a massed choir. Along with a healthy regard for the bizarre and subversive, and the endless desire to connect with others through art, Sean’s passion for music, composing and performance continues unabated.

Katie Rutledge as the MOTHER | Lennox Heads

Katie moved to the Northern Rivers Area with her Husband and two sons in 2006. Graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University with a Bachelor of Music (Voice) in 1999 and a Graduate Diploma of Music Education from Southern Cross University. Since 2002, Katie has performed with the Opera Queensland Chorus and has enjoyed the opportunity of performing in productions as Andrea Chenier, Un Ballo Maschera, The Marriage of Figaro, Romeo and Juliet, Madam Butterfly, Tosca, Carmen, La Traviata and in 2016 she performed in Barber of Seville and Kiss Me Kate. Over the past 7 years Katie has adjudicated a number of Northern Rivers Music, Drama and Schools Eisteddfods and is currently the singing teacher for Shearwater Stiener School Mullumbimby, St Johns Woodlawn Lismore and Xavier Catholic College, Skennars Head. 2016 has been an exciting year with performing alongside one of Australia’s leading Digeridoo Artists David Williams and Brian Gilberston from the South Australia Arts Commission. Katie is also heavily involved in preparing students for recording contracts and composing music for bands to be recorded for Byron Bay Bluesfest and Mullumbimby Music Festival.

Melanie Smart as WOMAN #2 | Bilambil Heights

In 2013, Melanie received the Gold Coast Area Theatre Award for ‘Best Actress in a leading role in a musical’ for her portrayal of Christine in Spotlight theatre’s production of Phantom of the Opera. 2014 saw Melanie perform in Opera Qld’s touring production of La Boheme at the Arts Centre Gold Coast; Opera Australia’s inaugural Opera on the Beach The Magic Flute, as well as performing the roles of Hermia in Murwillumbah Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Night’s dream and Johanna in Sweeney Todd. In 2015 Melanie co-directed and performed the lead role of Violetta in a new English interpretation of La Traviata at Spotlight theatre. La Traviata was named as a finalist in the Gold Coast Music Awards ‘Event of the Year’ category. A graduate of QUT’s Academy of Arts majoring in classical voice, Melanie also holds a Masters degree in Speech Pathology. Melanie’s other musical theatre credits include Kiss Me Kate, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line and Fiddler on the Roof. Melanie has lived in the Northern Rivers for the past seven years and is thrilled to be working with the team on this exciting new production at Tumbulgum Hall

Jim Sparks as the CEDAR CUTTER | Murwillumbah

Age 57, Married to Jenny for 33 years with 4 grown up children and 4 grandchildren. Currently own and operate a Taxi. Originally from Newcastle, Sparks served in the Airforce for 21 years settled and in Murwillumbah in 1999. He has appeared in a couple of Musicals with Newcastle theater company early 1990s. Sparks can sing almost anything but not heavy rock and produced a Christmas CD a few years ago. He’s still selling them. In 2016 Sparks was invited to sing the Australian and New Zealand national anthems at the Murwillumbah Anzac dawn service and was been asked back 2017. He is currently rehearsing with 3 other men to perform and sing Irish songs and ballads around the local area. His other interests include Football (soccer), golf, cycling, and triathlons.

Maisy Taylor as UMI | Byron Bay

Maisy Taylor is an eighteen-year-old from Byron Bay. Coming from a very musical family, she realised her love of performance when she was twelve, learning guitar and practicing singing as much as she could. She went to a Steiner School, which allowed her to focus on her craft and opened up many opportunities to perform. Over the past few years she has played at the Byron Writer’s Festival, Shearwater’s Wearable Arts performance, fundraisers for causes such as Biala Special School and cyclone relief in Fiji, as well as entering many songwriting competitions. This year, she worked backstage with the Bluesfest Publicity Team and will be commencing work on the Mullumbimby Music Festival soon!

Chelle Wallace as WOMAN #1 | Murwillumbah

Chelle grew up in a freshly culled suburban Victorian neighbourhood. Like most kids singing for Chelle was like breathing and eating. Her parents, however, a little less fanciful, believed a nicely pruned lawn was as artistic as anyone needed to be. Nevertheless they imbued her memory with other cultural highlights like Alby Mangel’s summer tour of local halls, her Dad’s bellowing Ring of Fire rendition at family BBQ’s, and 50’s revival band nights at the local Sportman’s Club. Escaping the nature-less suburbs she loves living in Murwillumbah with Mt Warning always in view. Chelle loves her day job as a North Coast TAFE counsellor, but has an unstoppable artistic spirit that continues to challenge her and exact a confidence that has never come easily. Her duo come four piece created with her sweetheart is called My Figment. They write and instrumentally arrange all their own music, playing mostly the North Coast market circuit and other artistic events.

Image | Darcy Grant | Tumbulgum Cast (L – R) Jim Sparks, Sean O’Hara, Ari Ehrlich, Katie Rutledge, Maisy Taylor, Chelle Wallace, Melanie Smart, Lincoln Jamieson