Thursday, August 18th, 2011
ACTOR Phil Barnett has logged on to an innovative new theatre production, premiering this August and September at the Midland Junction Arts Centre.

Working with fellow actor Katie Cameron and writer and director Daniel Jon Kershaw, the trio has devised the play MissPerth23 for Blak Yak Theatre (*note to subs – no ‘C’ in Blak) through a combination of improvisation, character outlines and workshops.

Barnett plays Simon, a hapless writer who is trying his luck on a dating website.

“There he stumbles across Ava, who is lonely and looking for love,” he said. “She also has a condition known as synaesthesia, which means she can taste words.

“What starts out as a casual correspondence soon develops into an obsession, because unknown to Simon, Ava thinks his words taste divine.”

Intrigued by the idea of developing a play out of nothing, Barnett found the creative process both challenging and illuminating.

“Instead of starting with a script and simply learning it, as is the case with most plays, this was a chance to use my acting skills and let something grow organically,” he said.

“Having the ability to bounce ideas and concepts off Katie helped enormously and Daniel was able to give us some loose direction on where he wanted the scenes we were playing to go.

“He would then take away what we had done and formalise it into a script, adding and re-working bits every time we rehearsed.

“It’s certainly an interesting and different way to work and hopefully the piece will have more realism because of it.”

Barnett is no stranger to the stage, performing in umpteen productions over the years for Playlovers, Harbour, Melville, Blak Yak, Old Mill, KADS and Groovy Boots Theatres with roles in Don’s Party, Straight and Narrow, No Names No Packdrill, The Real Inspector Hound, Breaker Morant, Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Oliver Twist, The Pillowman, Female Transport and Reality Matters.

In 2009, he was named best male (other than a lead) for The Sum of Us at the Finley Awards and, in 2008, won an award for best male actor at DramaFest and outstanding performance in a drama at the South West Drama Festival for his role in The Return.

Barnett also picked up the best male actor award for Black and White at the 2010 Hills Festival of Theatre.

“The main challenges ahead of me in MissPerth23 are some of the extremely intense scenes I have with Katie as Ava,” he said.

“They’re definitely not for the faint-hearted, particularly some of the things Ava does to Simon – she has the odd fetish or two beyond her ability to taste words.”

Joining the world premiere of MissPerth23 are three other short plays, including:
The Shoemaker’s Daughter, a wacky fairytale where two actors try to tell a straightforward story – but the actual characters rebel.
Follicle Farm, an imaginative journey into the secret world of hair growth.
Sticks and Stones, an exploration of gossip and sexual bullying through the internet and social networking sites.

They play at 8pm, August 31, September 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Sticks and Stones is not playing September 2). Tickets are $18, $14 concession – book via or [email protected]

The Midland Junction Arts Centre is 276 Great Eastern Highway (corner Cale Street), Midland. More information is available at

mp1: Actor Phil Barnett enters the online dating world as Simon in MissPerth23 – and soon finds Ava (Katie Cameron) is completely obsessed with him.

mp2-4: Phil Barnett plays Simon, a writer who meets a girl (Katie Cameron) who can taste words in MissPerth23.

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Blak Yak Theatre

Established in 1993, Blak Yak is committed to producing high quality theatre. Productions have been taken from such diverse sources as William Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, Terry Pratchett and even television sitcoms.

We’ve always been an advocate for the underdog, and were originally founded to give first time writers and directors a chance to stage their shows. We still have that nurturing attitude, and we’re always looking for people, which means that Blak Yak is a great first step into theatre for performers, directors and technicians.

Blak Yak does not have a home. We are one of the few nomadic clubs in the Perth metro area. From Wanneroo to Kwinana and from Fremantle to Kalamunda, we have taken our unique and award-winning brand of theatre all over Perth.
Phil Barnett
P: 0433 695 538


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