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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

March 2, 2024

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 25, Issue 1204

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians of Pittwater, as well as our Indigenous readers


Secret Island Opening Night: 'a Triumph'

The principal cast showing the audience how to clap: Nettie Lodge, Ian White, Roy Baker, Emma Harvey, Betsi Beem & Larry Woods. Photos courtesy of Oneill Photographics

Secret Island, the latest Scotland Island play, has opened to rapturous praise. And that's not just from its cast and crew.

'Super night! Well done all', said Shane O'Neill, the man responsible for marketing. 'I thought I was rather good', mused one of the leading actors.

Even some unconnected with the production enjoyed it. 'Loved the play', wrote one long-term resident. 'Complexity from simplicity of props and diverse use of lighting and electronics. Also, could hear and understand everyone'.

'Excellent performance last night. Very entertaining and we had a great laugh', said another audience member.

'It was great and very funny, well worth the trip', said one mainlander, who crossed Narrabeen bridge just to see the show. 

And to prove that the play isn't as bad as the others say, below are reviews written by two of Scotland Island's most respected theatre critics. Chosen entirely randomly, of course.

Tickets are still on sale. See the listing below for details.

Secret Island: What you didn’t or 'did' know about your neighbour!

Your chance to boo the villains: Larry Woods and Betsi Beem

A new island comedy, written by the secretive and reclusive playwright Bogue Anthill, opened last night at the Scotland Island Community Hall. As the play progresses it becomes clear that what we think we know about our neighbours most often is thoroughly mistaken. Yet what we don’t know opens up a vast and almost endless range of possibilities on which to create exciting gossip, laughter and litigious action.

Roy Baker wonders how life led him to this predicament, while Ian White benevolently looks on
Anthill, unknown to most Islanders (although Boyd claims to be looking after his accounts) draws laughter and excitement by revealing much of what we really do know and experience daily on Scotland Island. The cast make the most of these hilarious (??) every day experiences, bringing laughter and howls of joy from the packed audience.

Fitzy (Nettie Lodge) reminds us to laugh with and enjoy those around us. Pat (Roy Baker) and Wendy (Emma Harvey) bring us to laughter at the daily obstacles to island life and the creative ways we overcome them. Angry possums, emergency water systems, ferries, water taxis, the community vehicle and yes, a Russian Spy ring led by Natasha (Betsi Beem) and Alexei (Larry Woods) are all there in this fun-filled romping adventure.

Sophie Lepowic, as Director, seems to have brought out the same energy and life from the cast and text as she did with last year’s Two Catherines. The players’ fun and antics are reinforced with creative and hilarious use of audio visual interspersions. Whitey, as Pat’s surrogate SIRI, fills the screen with reminders and news updates as well as reminding us, in action, just how angry a possum can get when mating patterns are interrupted!

Emma Harvey and Roy Baker ponder the mysteries of life, which include their next lines
Pleasingly, the production manages to draw from and build on the skills of many young islanders. Emile does a fantastic job managing the lighting, no doubt showing his mentor (Boyd) a thing or two. The young folk, Brayden, Nakarin and Ray, with Gilly Unwin’s support, perform a miraculous act in managing the clever and numerous set changes.

One inconclusive aspect of this hilarious production concerns the playwright Bogue Anthill. Strangely, the program lists Boyd as the author. No doubt Anthill will be thoroughly pissed off with this claim. But then maybe Anthill, like Alexei (pseudo Davo), is just another foreign interloper.

There is still time to come and see Secret Island before it moves on to its next venue in Moscow. Perhaps it will not manage to draw the same laughs there.

Tim Turpin

'Community at its best'

The opening night's audience was clearly engrossed by the performance

Who would have known that Scotland Island held such world-shaping secrets.


Nettie Lodge and Larry Wood share a love of herbal tea
Secret Island revealed itself in an opening night gala performance to a full house. Building upon the momentum of last year's Two Catherines play, and borrowing some of its devices, this international espionage plot twisted in turns, with colourful characters showing their stuff (almost too much) and their 'taking the mickey' humour getting many laughs.

Even the two or three stumbled lines made it real, and all was well-received by an appreciative and supportive audience made up of locals and visitors. 
The scenery, props, lighting and music (and food and drink) all added value and the cameos and funny bit parts on the screen on the side were really clever, helping to engage and entertain the audience. 
Well done to Bogue Anthill for his first play and production. Accolades are well deserved by director Sophie Lepowic. All the cast deserve special mention: Nettie Lodge, Roy Baker, Emma Harvey, Larry Woods, Betsi Beem and Ian White: I venture to offer no favourites.

The hidden talents: Boyd (sound, video & slides) and Emile (lights)
Similarly, all the accomplices did their thing perfectly: Gilly Unwin, Brayden, Nakarin, Ray, Emile, Petra Godfrey, Chris Hampshire, Lizzie Brand, John Travers, Shane O’Neill and more.

This is community at its best: self-deprecating with love, funny with a touch of drama and action, imaginative, inclusive and generally well paced. None of this happens without a large cooperative effort, including all those who show up to watch, clap and laugh. So if that's not you yet, there's still time, with three more performances to go. So buy a ticket, and discover a well-crafted secret.

Bill Gye, OAM


Secret Island

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 2 March, 7.30 pm

Friday 8 March, 7.30 pm

Saturday 9 March, 7.30 pm (almost sold out)


To buy tickets, click here

Feast for Freedom

Scotland Island Community Hall & Rec Centre

Saturday 16 March, 6 - 9 pm

To buy tickets, click here


Cooking Class

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Sunday 17 March, 11 am - 3 pm

For details, contact Anthea on 0480 470695.


The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 19 March, 11 am - 12.30 pm

The Recreation Club runs a discussion group, meeting on the third Tuesday of each month, from 11 am to 12.30 pm in the Recreation Centre. Everyone is welcome.

Members take it in turn to design a session. For the March meeting, Hazel Malloy asks us to consider the nature of shame. What is it? And is it good or bad?

Scientists and writers from Charles Darwin to Brene Brown have studied this basic, unpleasant emotion that most of us experience from time to time. It can be used to restrict anti-social behaviour, but it has also been associated with depression, even suicide. That being so, how should it be employed, and experienced, for our own good, as well as that of others?


1. The Wikipedia entry on shame.

2. The Scientific Underpinnings and Impacts of Shame, from Scientific American, 9 August 2019.

3. Brené Brown's TED talk: Listening to Shame.To understand the context, you may first want to watch her more famous talk: The Power of Vulnerability.

The Recreation Club asks for $5 per person per attendance to defray expenses.


Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 24 March, 10 - 12 noon


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 30 March, 7 - 9 pm

To help defray expenses, the Recreation Club ask for $5 per person per attendance.


Moon Dance

Scotland Island Community Hall & Recreation Centre

Saturday 6 April, 7.30 pm & 9.30 pm

The Flaming Doghouse & SIRA Recreation Club present the ULTIMATE Beatles show.

Experience a magical journey through the soundtrack of a generation with this spectacular Beatles tribute. This performance brings to life the timeless hits of the world's most iconic band, The Beatles, in an electrifying show that's more than just music. It's a history lesson in modern sound.

Two show times:

7:30 pm - The Evening Show (6:30 pm complimentary ferry from Church Point)
The Flaming Doghouse perform an unforgettable ninety non-stop minutes of Beatles classics. Up close and personal live electric music. Join the band in The Green Room before (and after) the show for something tasty to eat or drink. Make a night of it. Prime-time entertainment. Ferry to Church Point (via the Bays) after the show.

9:30 pm - The Late Show (no ferry available)
The Flaming Doghouse, in full electric mode, perform the ULTIMATE Beatles show. Over two hours of incredible music featuring hit after hit after hit. Expect to be on your feet for this one - it's Moon Dance time. Have a drink and bite to eat in The Green Room before the show.

The Green Room backstage-themed bar & snackery open from 6:30pm.

For tickets, click here.


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The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Scotland Island Residents Association (SIRA),
or the Western Pittwater Community Association (WPCA)
Original Newsletter Design:Paul Purvis & Julian Muir