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Gillian M. Wadds and Geoff Senior

Gillian and Geoff are definitely old enough to be silly old buggers. They first met through their involvement in community theatre more years ago than they like to remember.

Gillian was acting and producing with Williamstown Little Theatre and Geoff was electrician and lighting designer for Williamstown Light Opera Company, as well as lighting the occasional show for the theatre company.

Many years passed before they met again and decided to share their lives. After some overseas travel and a few moves around Victoria, they finally settled in Western Victoria where they have one acre, beautiful views and a lovely, friendly community around them.

Absolutely Silly Old Buggers was conceived during six weeks when the two of them were driving through outback and central Australia. At the end of the trip they returned with many songs, an almost completed script, and a slightly demented Geoff . who had endured the humming, whistling and tapping of the same tune day after day until all the words were right. A medal for Geoff Senior is currently being struck.

Treechange Productions was formed to manage Absolutely Silly Old Buggers in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Now that the show has had its premiere and is demonstrated to be a commercial proposition, Gillian and Geoff are more than ready to pass the responsibility for future productions on to another company.

They await offers with interest!

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Hugh Halliday

Director & Choreographer

Question: WHY would someone who is currently the Director of Productions with Melbourne Opera want to direct a light-hearted musical like Absolutely Silly Old Buggers?

Answer: Because Hugh’s background is so wide ranging it takes in absolutely all forms of theatre: rock music, ballet, musical comedy, all the way to grand opera.

In 1965 he had a world wide No.1 hit “Concrete and Clay” as drummer with pop group Unit 4 + 2. He was a dancer with Sadlers Wells Opera Ballet and has directed musicals for London’s West End

Hugh was Artistic Director of Fulham Music Theatre, London, directing and choreographing Guys and Dolls, Yeoman of the Guard, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Kiss Me Kate, Cabaret and Pajama Game.

In 1990 he choreographed two productions – Witches and Two Ladies of Fallowfield for Granada Television, Manchester.

Internationally, he was associate director for the Arena Carmen and staged it in Zurich, Berlin and Munich.

From Guys and Dolls and Kiss Me Kate to Madame Butterfly and Aida – the number and variety of stage productions is uncountable – and VERY impressive.

Of course, with that amount of work under his belt, Hugh is another absolutely silly old bugger – and quite happy about it.

Hugh loved Silly Old Buggers when he saw one of the workshops and when he agreed to direct it for us we were all very excited to have him on board. He has done a fantastic job, finding all the laughs in the songs and situations and giving us a special tender moment when the tears are not far away.

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Matthew Toogood

Musical Director

Matthew is definitely far too young to be an absolutely silly old bugger but looking at his range of experience you’d wonder how, in so few years, he’s fitted it all in.

Winner of the inaugural Stonnington Symphony Conductor’s Prize and the Lyrebird Youth Award in 2007, Matthew recently completed a Masters of Music in Conducting, studying with Professor John Hopkins OBE, at the University of Melbourne.

He is Artistic Director & Conductor of the Heidelberg Choral Society, Musical Director of Victoria Chorale, Founder, Artistic Director & Conductor of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Assistant Conductor & Principal Repetiteur of Melbourne University Choral Society, Choir Master of the Faculty Choir at Melbourne University and Chorus Master of Melbourne Opera Company.

In 2006 Matt was engaged to conduct the Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra for two concerts, which included Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Beethoven’s Second Symphony. He has conducted the Tasmanian, Adelaide and Queensland Symphony Orchestras with mentors Johannes Fritzsch, Sebastion Lang-Lessing, Christopher Seaman and Geoffrey Lancaster.

In somewhat lighter vein, Matt has worked with CLOC Musical Theatre on Jeckyll and Hyde and Mack and Mabel, with the G&S Society’s Pirates of Penzance and as repetiteur, with Melbourne Theatre Co., Melbourne Opera Co., OzOpera, Whitehorse Musical Theatre, Opera Victoria and Babirra Musical Theatre. He has also performed cabaret as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

So, having condensed his CV down to about one third of the total, we just hope that all the Absolutely Silly Old Buggers can live up to Matt’s expectations.

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Philip Wadds

Production Manager

Philip has worked in almost all aspects of theatre since 1976. He has expertise in lighting and lighting design, sound and sound design, audio-visual systems and pyrotechnics. His administration experience covers project management, budgeting, payroll, scheduling, technical design and IT.

2008 (Current) Event Producer for Picture this! Productions.

2007-8 Technical Director Sideshow Alley Brisbane; Technical Manager Menopause the Musical Perth/Auckland; Technical Manager FINA Swimming Championship Media Launch; Technical Director for Picture this! Productions; Production Manager for Strange Fruit.

2006 Technical Manager Menopause the Musical Sydney/Brisbane/Auckland; Technical Manager The Urban Dream Capsule in Melbourne and Shanghai; Consultant for building fit-out for National Institute of Circus Arts; Technical Manager Melbourne Art Fair Technical Director for Picture this! Productions.

Philip’s mother is so impressed with his qualifications, she’s asked him to be Production Manager for Absolutely Silly Old Buggers.

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Mike Downes

Rehearsal Pianist

It was Mike who handled the music for our initial workshops, playing from an odd collection of sheet music collected from various sources, all stuck together with sticky tape. While Matt Toogood, our current Musical Director is overseas, Mike has been a tower of strength as a rehearsal pianist, offering his own home and piano to cast and director as well as playing for our studio recordings. At least this time he had a properly bound score to play from.

We cannot express our gratitude enough for Mike’s wonderful contribution.