The Human Animal Exchange – Is it Animal Magic?

Dr Pauleen Bennett, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at La Trobe University spends her free time hanging out on her farm with her dogs, cat, horses and goats. Kat Bennett, Early Years Health Promotion Coordinator at Gateway Health has a very special bond with her miniature Daschund, Pappi, while writer/director of the gorgeous puppet show, Picasso and His Dog, Sarah Kriegler found inspiration in the real life story of the 20th Century artist and the Daschund, ‘Lump’ that wandered into Picasso’s home and became his companion for 17 years.

The connection between animals and people that creates an environment of wellbeing and creativity is the topic of the talk, Animal Magic, at Arts Space Wodonga from 6pm-8pm this Thursday, 23 June. It is the second in the HotSpot Talk series presented by HotHouse Theatre and La Trobe University Albury Wodonga campus and will be lead by HotHouse Artistic Director, Lyn Wallis.

The talk is a precursor to the Lemony S Puppet Production of Picasso and His Dog, that will have its world premiere at The Butter Factory Theatre from Wednesday 29 June to Saturday 2 July. The show combines puppetry and live performance and tells the story of a man and his dog and the deep love and art their friendship inspired.

‘We’re very excited to have Pauleen, Kat and Sarah on the panel and have them share the way they have explored this amazing relationship that can grow between humans and animals.’

Dr Bennett is the inaugural Chair of the Australian Anthrozoology Research Foundation, a non profit foundation to set up to raise money to support students investigating the potential benefits for human health of engaging with companion animals.

She also acts as President of the International Society for Anthrozoology and serves as associate editor for the journal Anthrozoös.

Kat Bennett previously worked at the City of Wodonga and co-ordinated the pilot program, Paw Pals, which aims to strengthen social connections with older adults by matching volunteers with elderly pet owners.

In July 2013, she won a 10,000 scholarship to help her study public health in Mexico for her work on walking to school, pets and people and healthy together programs. She travelled there in the summer of 2014 where her focus area was on the human animal bond throughout Mexican history. She also discovered that there were some amazing animal assisted therapies and a strong connection with animal gods.

Kat Bennett also also combines her major passions of yoga and the human-animal bond by teaching yoga as a component of a local equine therapy program. She will be bringing Pappi, along to the evening.

Sarah Kriegler will talk about the story of Picasso’s real-life relationship with his dog ‘Lump’ which inspired the show, and how the show was made.  Sarah will also bring Lump along to the discussion, so bring the kids along to meet Lump in person.

(Pictured above, HotHouse Artistic Director, Lyn Wallis gets to know Kat and her miniature Daschund, Pappi.)

Tickets for the talk are Full $30, Concession $25, HotHouse Subscriber $25 and children aged 14 and under $20, and include supper and a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage.

Buy tickets now for HotSpot #2 Animal Magic

Buy tickets now for Picasso and His Dog.


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Auditions Saturday, 11 June for the next Sunday Best – ‘When the Rain Stops Falling’

It’s hard to believe, but the next Sunday Best Playreading is on its way. When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell, will be presented on Sunday, 10 July at the Butter Factory Theatre  with music from 2pm and the performance at 3pm.

The Sunday Best Playreading series is presented by HotHouse Theatre in partnership with The Other Theare Company, Albury Wodonga Theatre Company with music provided at each reading by The Murray Conservatorium.

Auditions for the show will be held this Saturday, 11 June from 11am to 2pm at the Butter Factory Theatre. There will also be a three hour rehearsal before the performance on Sunday, 10 July.


Acclaimed Australian writer Andrew Bovell (Lantana) has created an intricate, multi-layered story that spans four generations and two continents. When the Rain Stops Falling explores patterns of betrayal, abandonment, destruction, forgiveness and love. This powerful drama unfolds with humanity, surprising humour and hope, as the past plays out into the future.


The play takes place between 1959 and 2039

Henry Law, 40s
Elizabeth Law, 30s
Elizabeth Law, 60s
Gabriel Law, 28, Elizabeth Law’s Son
Gabrielle York, 24
Gabrielle York, 50
Joe Ryan, 50
Gabriel York, 50, The Son Of Gabriel Law And Gabrielle York
Andrew Price, 28, The Son Of Gabriel York

Call Darby on 0419 704 208 or email to book an audition time

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Auditions Open for Next Sunday Best Playreading- Louis Nowra’s Classic ‘Cosi’

Auditions for the second play in the Sunday Best Playreading series, Cosi, will be held this Saturday 30 April from 11am to 2pm at The Butter Factory Theatre, Gateway Island, Wodonga.

The series of playreadings, a partnership including HotHouse Theatre, The Other Theatre Company and Albury-Wodonga Theatre Company, began last month with a reading of Betty Roland’s Australian classic drama, The Touch of Silk. Live music is provided before each reading by Murray Conservatorium.

The Other Theatre Company has chosen Louis Nowra’s play, first performed at Belvoir St Theatre in 1992. Set in a Melbourne mental hospital in 1971, Cosi is semi-autobiographical, and is a play within a play. It is a touching and biting portrayal of human relationships and mental illness. The playreading will be directed by Alexander Gibbs.

Reading Performance Date: Sunday 22 May 2016, 3pm
To be involved, interested people must be available on Sunday 22 May. There will be a three-hour rehearsal on the Sunday, followed by the public reading at 3pm.


LEWIS, 21, has just left university.
LUCY, 20-23, is doing an MA thesis and lives with Lewis.
NICK, 21-24, also doing a thesis and directs student productions.
JUSTIN, a social worker in his late 30s or early 40s. He is neat and precise.
ROY, 40-50, a mental patient who has spent much of his life in institutions.
HENRY, 40-50, a former lawyer who is now a patient. Like Roy, he has spent much of his adult life in institutions.
DOUG, 20-30, has a liking for fires, but has not been in institutions very long.
CHERRY, 25-35, has been in institutions for some time.
JULIE, 21-25, is in a mental institution for the first time because of drug dependency.
RUTH, 30-40, an obsessive personality, who is in and out of mental institutions.
ZAC, 25-30, the musician of the group who has been in and out of mental institutions.
Phone 02 6021 7433 or 0410 933 582 for any enquiries or if unable to make the audition on Saturday from 11am – 2pm.
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Reading of Rime of the Ancient Mariner to Open First HotHouse HotSpot Talk – The Brink

A 30 minute rehearsed reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Olwen Steel will open the inaugural HotHouse HotSpot Talk – The Brink tomorrow night at Cafe Grove, Wodonga from 6pm.

Olwen was born in South London in the mid-50’s, and arrived in Australia in October 1974. She has been living in Albury-Wodonga since 1987, and since making the Border her home, Olwen has explored music theatre and singing as a chorister, mostly at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Albury, and also in various a capella groups. She has spent the past decade or so as a schoolteacher on both sides of the river in primary, special ed and high schools. She is currently studying Visual Art full time at Albury TAFE. Her hobbies include singing and leading small study tours to the Mediterranean.

The reading will be introduced by La Trobe University’s Senior Lecturer in the Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, Dr Susan Lawler.

It will be followed by supper and a panel discussion with Dr Lawler and Head of La Trobe University’s School of Life Sciences, Professor Michael Clarke. The panel will also include a local wildlife rescuer and carer and will discuss what the Mariner’s tale means for us today.

Dr Lawler said she had read the poem to her ecology students every year for 15 years and felt it articulated that special connection with nature and the high stakes of conservation in a deeply personal and emotional way.

‘We have a responsibility to protect and even love our fellow creatures even if they are not cute and cuddly. A spiritual connection with nature is inevitable if we allow ourselves to spend sufficient time outdoors.

‘I am looking forward to inflicting the same confronting experience on the public and giving them a chance to discuss their reactions,’ Dr Lawler said.

HotHouse Theatre Artistic Director, Lyn Wallis said the HotSpot Talk series, supported by La Trobe University, had been scheduled to complement the season’s shows.

‘The talks will be held in surprising locations and in partnership with local restaurants, wineries and food-growers. ‘They will be cross art-form and highly social exploring interesting ideas and dynamics that resonate with our subscription season, but mostly they’re about getting into some really meaty topics while enjoying some fabulous food and drinks,’ Ms Wallis said.

Tickets are $30 and $25 concession and for HotHouse Subscribers. All tickets include supper and a glass of wine. Please note the venue for The Brink is Cafe Grove and not The Butter Factory Theatre.





Playreading auditions Monday 21 March!


Ever wanted to tread the boards of the Butter Factory Theatre?  We are holding a community audition session this Monday 21st March. Audition times are available from 6pm.

Auditions are for the Sunday Best community playreading series, which will be run in partnership with Albury Wodonga Theatre Company and The Other Theatre Company.

The first rehearsed reading will be Betty Roland’s classic Australian play The Touch of Silk in April, and will be directed by HotHouse Theatre’s Artistic Director Lyn Wallis. This is a large cast play, and we need volunteer community actors, both male and female between 30 and 70 years of age.

To book an audition time, contact Sam Terry on 02 6021 7433 or

The Galah Bar is back – remixed, refeathered and ready to squawk!




She’s back after 20 years: with a heavy-duty facelift and a false passport. Partly a homage to our history, but mostly a timely vote of confidence in our Border talent, the new and improved Galah Bar is a platform for local artists to tag and test evolving performance ideas in front of a live audience.

If you are an artist, you can get involved by expressing interest in performing at Galah Bar. Or you can be part of the audience at our inaugural Galah Bar on 15 April and help us celebrate the beginning of a whole new era of Friday night fun at the Butter Factory Theatre.

Galah Bar is a an unpaid (but loving) platform for local artists (professional, independent, retired, overlooked genius) to try out 5-15 minutes of new performance material in front of a live audience.  Theatre, comedy, cabaret, music, spoken word, plate-spinning, yodelling … if it’s genuinely interesting and created with love and talent, we’ll provide basic technical support, a stage and an audience.

If you want to talk to us about your act or piece, email or call Artistic Program Producer Beck Palmer:  02 6021 7433

PS: Thank you to everyone who came along to the GALAH BAR Information Night on Monday 8 February.  We got some great feedback and ideas from the group. We also heard from people who attended the MRPG Galah Bar in the 80’s. Apparently a lot of fun was had!


Our first Galah Bar will be released into the wilds of the Butter Factory Theatre on April 15. Full details and bookings coming soon.

Stay tuned for more information! (You’ll definitely hear the the squawking!)