MonthDecember 2019

Michael Beashel – Succession

Self-published, 2016

Succession is the final book of The Sandstone Trilogy, in which the family saga of John Leary is concluded.

The story focusses on the winning of a contract for a vast building project, a multi-storey hotel and on the relationships and activities of the young Leary family (now blended, in the modern parlance) with Leary’s second marriage to Catherine and her son Brendan coming not the mix.

Barbie speaks to Michael Beashel about Succession
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Clear Blue Sky – The Song Company 2020 season

Antony Pitts (photo by Nick Gilbert)

Antony Pitts – artistic director
Francis Greep – associate artistic director

The Heavens inspire the 2020 season with  works from Hildegard of Bingen via Dieterich Buxtehude to Gavin Bryars.

 ‘The spiritual in music has always been there – in the songlines and ritual traditions of First Peoples around the world to the enigmatic musical notation in the 3000-year-old Jewish Book of Psalms – and composers down the centuries have created some of their most enduring masterpieces on sacred texts.

Barbie speaks with Antony Pitts about the Song Company’s 2020 season
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Gunning Arts Festival

17-18 April 2020

With the theme Celebrating Nature, the first Gunning Arts Festival will be held on 17 and 18 April 2020. Many artists and artisans live in Gunning and region and they have come together to present the festival, espousing the philosophy that arts has much to offer in challenging times.

Barbie speaks with Margarita Georgiadis about the festival
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Canberra Opera announces new Artistic Director

Distinguished Australian singer Peter Coleman-Wright AO has been visiting Canberra to hear voices from the region prior to taking up his appointment as Canberra Opera’s Artistic Director in the new year.

Coleman-Wright has performed throughout the world’s great opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera (most recently in the title role of Glanert’s Caligula) and the Glyndebourne Festival.

Canberra Opera’s Stephanie McAlister talks to Barbie about Peter Coleman-Wright AO’s appointment

He created the roles of John in Johnathan Harvey’s Inquest of Love, Colin in David Blake’s The Plumbers Gift and Harry Joy in Brett Dean’s Bliss which he performed in Australia and at the Edinburgh Festival.

He has sung in the opera houses of Paris, Bordeaux, Munich, Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan, Florence and at the Aix-en Provence and Bregenz Festivals. In North America he has sung in Houston, Santa Fe, New York (City Opera) and Vancouver.

For his native Australia he has sung Scarpia, Macbeth, Mandryka, Don Giovanni, Il Conte, Germont, Billy Budd, Balstrode, Pizzaro, Onegin, Golaud, and Sweeney Todd, winning the Helpmann Award for Best actor in a Musical.

As a concert artist he has performed in all the major venues throughout the world, most notably at the BBC Proms, the South Bank Centre. Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall in London, Avery Fisher Hall, New York, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Concert Hall and he has recorded extensively for Telarc, Chandos, Hyperion, and EMI.

He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Melbourne, and was awarded the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Keep up with Canberra Opera at


Behind the Lines – The Greatest Hits Tour

The year’s best political cartoons 2019
Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra

The winner of this year’s Cartoonist of the Year Award  is Jon Kudelka. Kudelka’s cartoons have appeared in The Australian and he has recently joined the team at The Saturday Paper. He sees the main aim of political cartooning as ‘puncturing the pompous and the puffed- up.’

Barbie spoke with curator Jennifer Forest
Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox spoke to Richard about political cartooning
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Kerri Turner – The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers

HQ Fiction Australia, 2019

A dancer herself, Kerry Turner is in an excellent position to write about the professional aspects of dance in this historical fiction set mostly  in a tumultuous Russia between 2014 and 2017 with a postscript in Paris in 1920.

Her fictional hero and heroines are woven into the documented story of the Romanov ballet company, dancers to the Tsar. While there is considerable sympathy for the dancers and the art of ballet, the author does not flinch from the excesses of life in the Imperial orbit.

Barbie speaks with Kerri Turner about The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers
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Diane Armstrong – The Collaborator

Fiction HQ, Australia 2019

This historical novel is based on the life and deeds of Rezsö Kasztner, a controversial figure who saved over a thousand Hungarian Jews on a rescue train in 1944.

His fictional equivalent is Miklós Nagy and much of the detail is imagined but the significant plot details are taken from history including the meetings with Nazis Eichmann and Becher.

Diane Armstrong talks about The Collaborator
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Speaking and Listening from the Heart

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
5 December 2019 to 18 January 2020
Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2019

In 2019 over 1500 students have explored the theme Speaking and Listening from the Heart. Students tapped into the need for First Nations Peoples voices to be heard and to understand that Speaking and Listening from the Heart offers everyone the ability to connect with Country, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and with their own feelings about identity and being an Australian.

Barbie spoke with Thea Baker, Project Manger for Reconciliation NSW, and Alison Faure-Brac, Executive Director of the NSW Reconciliation Council
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Sharon Peoples – Still Waters

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
5 December 2019 to 11 January 2020

In January 2019 Sharon Peoples spent four weeks as artist in residence at Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Her  project was to work on ideas about gardens in the area. However this idea changed and a new body of work was made.

Barbie speaks with Sharon Peoples about Still Waters
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