The Paul Ractliffe Memorial Scholarship 2021

Congratulations to Abby Muddle, recipient of this year’s Paul Ractliffe Memorial Scholarship.

“Abby first joined the San Remo class in 2013 for a year and a half,” says XtrAct Academy director, Danielle Brame-Whiting. “After taking a break she returned to my high school classes at Wyong in 2019 and was most welcome. She is always one of the first to put her hand up to help, and shows nothing but kindness and support for her peers, as well as myself. She’s always quick to help out on the stage (for example, when some students in the primary school class had to drop out due to Covid, she was the first volunteer to step into one of their roles), and always tells me to let her know if I need help back stage, or with front of house etc. at any of the other classes performances. She’s just a really class act!”

Abby (left) pictured with Danielle

For more information about the scholarshp, please click on THE PAUL RACTLIFFE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD from XtrAct Drama Academy


(Images in this post courtesy of XtrAct Drama Academy)

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Jopuka at Red Tree Theatre, February 2021

Image courtesy of Jopuka Productions’ Publicity

Last weekend I had the opportunity to see Jopuka Productions’ latest presentation, “13, The Musical” at Ederslee Foundation’s new Red Tree Theatre. I highly recommend this show. It’s great to see live theatre beginning to return to the Central Coast, and Jopuka never fails to exceed my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the show. It’s the whole package: a musical with a strong story, rousing musical numbers with affectionate nods to iconic teen musicals like West Side Story and Grease, and the choreography was exceptional. The production had great pace and energy, and the direction was spot on. The talented cast performed their roles with plenty of personality, and there were some impressive voices among them. Not just the leads, but the whole cast were fully engaged and gave their all, and each one of them had their moment to shine. Kudos to everyone! The production closes this weekend and there are less than 100 tickets left so be sure to book now via –

This is the first show I’ve seen at Red Tree, and I was impressed with the attractive, modern space. It is currently adorned with the work of three local artists: Andy and Lyn Kabanoff, and Karen Williams. Naturally, I took the opportunity to snap some photos.

Red Tree Theatre is at 2/160-162 Pacific Hwy, Tuggerah NSW 2259. For more information, visit their website at

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The Paul Ractliffe Memorial Scholarship 2020

Congratulations to Khy Elliott who has received this year’s Paul Ractliffe Memorial Scholarship, a very special young man and a worthy recipient of the award. Here’s what XtrAct Academy director, Danielle Brame-Whiting, has to say about him:

“Khy is 15 years old and has been attending XtrAct Drama Academy for two years. When he first came to XtrAct he was an extremely shy student with no performance experience, but a desire to learn. In his very first XtrAct performance he was so nervous he was shaking and his voice at times struggled to get the dialogue out. However, he did get that dialogue out. In fact, it is a defining quality of Khy, that even when things are a great challenge for him, he will still stand up and give it a go. Because of that, I have seen him go from strength to strength in his performances. In addition to XtrAct he has ventured out and was cast by Jopuka in a new commissioned work called ‘Transcendence’ by Jamie Hornsby produced in October 2019 and ‘The Trolleys’ by Sara West in January 2020. Most recently he performed for XtrAct as the Sharpener in a comedy by Danielle Brame Whiting called ‘The Pencils’.

“At XtrAct Khy is an extremely kind and supportive class member with a quick and hilarious sense of humour. He’s always respectful, keen for feedback and looking to go above and beyond what is required of him as a performer, a classmate, and a student. Admirable for any student, but Khy has an extra challenge as he suffers from severe episodic asthma that makes him susceptible especially in winter and bush-fire season. His parents have also had to be extra careful with him during this pandemic. Through all this, he always turns up to class with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, and kindness in every gesture and word.”

Here is Khy, pictured with Danielle, receiving his award:

For more information about the scholarshp, please click on THE PAUL RACTLIFFE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD from XtrAct Drama Academy


(Images in this post courtesy of XtrAct Drama Academy)

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Kim’s Resort, Towoon Bay

This gallery contains 27 photos.

I’ve been promising myself for a long time that I would pay a visit to Kim’s Beachside Retreat at Toowoon Bay and I was able to spend a few days there over Christmas. My terrace cabin had a beautiful view … Continue reading

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The Paul Ractliffe Memorial Scholarship 2019

Congratulations to XtrAct Drama Academy’s seniors class for 2019. I was at The Launch Pad theatre last weekend to see the young actors performing in their end of year show, a collection of theatrical pieces that were wholly produced by the students themselves. It’s always a privilege to witness the budding talent that will soon be gracing the stages of the Central Coast and beyond, and I saw some very promising performances that day.

The annual show always ends with the presentation of two very special awards. First, the Paul Ractliffe Memorial Scholarship which, this year, was presented to Reilly Jones. Reilly has been with XtrAct since 2017. She attends Northlakes High School and is going into year 10 in 2020.


“Reilly has an effervescent personality, a contagious smile, and one of the best talents for comic timing I’ve ever seen go through XtrAct,” says Academy director, Danielle Brame-Whiting. “She is an extremely humble soul and has no idea how naturally talented she is, which only makes her more captivating to watch on stage.”

In addition the the scholarship, Danielle also now presents an “XtrActor of the Year” award which, this year, was presented to Elijah Johnston. Elijah started with XtrAct’s San Remo class in 2016 then moved to the Wyong class the following year. He currently attends the Hunter School of Performing Arts and will be going into year 9 in 2020.


“Elijah is extremely thoughtful to classmates and myself,” says Danielle. “He is extremely talented at collaborating, recognising when he needs to lead and when he needs to follow.” She tells me he has a wonderfully creative mind and particularly enjoys scripted work and building character.


Many congratulation to Elijah and Reilly, who are pictured here with Danielle.

For more information about the scholarshp, please click on THE PAUL RACTLIFFE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD from XtrAct Drama Academy



(Above image courtesy of XtrAct publicity)

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Tanglin Lodge Alpaca Farm

This gallery contains 23 photos.

This month the village bus tour took us to Tanglin Lodge, an alpaca farm in Tennyson. In addition to meeting these adorable animals, we were served morning Devonshire tea and a BBQ lunch while listening to a fascinating talk on … Continue reading

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Newcastle, May 2019

This gallery contains 34 photos.

Photos taken over a long weekend in Newcastle.

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Local photos, March 2019

This gallery contains 47 photos.

Photos taken round the Central Coast and Sydney  

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Hunter Valley Christmas Lights

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Each year the Hunter Valley Gardens at Pokolbin hosts their annual Christmas Light display. I’ve been fortunate to be able to enjoy the exhibition for the past two years. It’s so extensive, it’s hard to cover it all in just … Continue reading

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“Fab Fakes” Art Exhibition 2018

This gallery contains 40 photos.

I always try to get along to this annual exhibition hosted by the Tuggerah Lakes Art Society. I very much enjoy seeing these legal imitations of great masters reproduced by exceptionally talented artists, both local and from farther afield. This … Continue reading

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