Windmill wins big

Glenda Novotny and Windmill Theatre Company president Sean Van Geyzel with one of Glenda's award-winning Jersey Boys costumes. Picture: ROB CAREW 324428_01

By Eleanor Wilson

South East based Windmill Theatre Company is riding high after sweeping up at the recent Lyrebird Awards earlier this month.

The amateur theatre company took home eight awards for their musical productions of Jersey Boys and Lights, Camera, Music…, picking up a range of honours for best director, most entertaining item, highly commended performance and best set design.

Costume designer Glenda Novotny and daughter Lisa Novotny took out the best costume for a musical over $40,000 for their handy work in the company’s 2022 production of Jersey Boys.

Part of the Windmill family since 1986, Glenda said the sleepless nights spent researching and bringing designs to life are worth it.

“I like designs that draw on ‘60s and ‘70s fashion, because I grew up in that era so I can relate to that,” she said.

“[I love that] it’s challenging…it gives you something to do and it’s for the community, that’s the main thing, it’s community theatre.

“You see everyone put in so much effort to perform and you want to make them look good.

“It’s a proud moment when the actors want to wear the costumes home.”

The Hallam-based company was nominated for a whopping 28 awards at this year’s Lyrebird Awards, a “pretty huge” achievement according to the company’s president Sean Van Geyzel.

“I think we were genuinely and very very pleasantly surprised by how many nominations we got,” he said.

“We don’t do it for [the awards]. We do it for the love of it, and then it’s nice to get a little something as a bonus,” he said.

“[The awards] do sort of tell us that we’re doing things that people like… but our primary focus is just trying to keep the audiences happy, entertained and feel like they get good value for their ticket.”

Sean said the company aims to put on a production of quality which rivals that of professional theatre companies.

“A lot of money gets spent to make sure it’s as good as when you go and pay $200 to see a show in the city.

“We want people to get that same sort of experience but for a quarter of the price, and highlighting local talent.”

Sean, Glenda and the rest of the Windmill team are currently preparing for their next production, Seussical – a musical comedy based on the stories of children’s author and cartoonist Dr Seuss.

“It’s probably one of our bigger casts – they are insanely talented,” Sean said.

It’s a show that gets done a lot by schools, but it’s uncommon for an adult company to do a production of it, so we’re giving it a bit of a different flavour to what usually gets seen.”

The musical is set to play at Bunjil Place Theatre from 9 to 18 June, with tickets available at