About Us / Raison D'Étre
Play on Words was formed in 1992 by three teachers from Ararat Secondary College in Victoria: John Mawson, Rob Smith and Ros Jennings. The aim of the three is to write quality musicals which:
- Are more than a series of songs linked by a tenuous plot. Play on Words musicals have strong story lines which stand up in their own right. It is felt important that audiences to musicals deserve to be entertained by the story, not just the music. (In particular, audiences to school productions should enjoy themselves, not just attend out of duty to their children).
- Have large casts which spread the major roles (which will be singing and non singing) across a significant number of people.
- Have settings, dialogue and music that excite those who participate in them.
- Provide an Australasian alternative to imported musicals.
Play on Words now boasts strong markets in every state and territory of Australia and in New Zealand. The company now markets work of other selected playwrights and is developing its catalogue of non musicals and one act plays.
Play on Words' reputation for successful musicals continues to grow.
While teaching in Ararat, Ros formed the company Play On Words with colleagues John Mawson and Rob Smith. She wrote and orchestrated the music for "Charades", "Son of Phantom", "2061, a Space Idiocy" and "Patsy" which have been performed throughout Australia and New Zealand. She also directed the music for the premiere productions.
Ros is fully accredited music teacher with a Bachelor of Music Education from The University of Adelaide, formerly SACAE. She taught classroom and instrumental music at Ararat College for 10 years, and later at Eltham College and Caulfield Grammar School. Ros has taught older adults through to primary school aged students from her studio.
Performance has always been a priority for Ros as a musician and teacher. Although Classically trained, she has played keyboard with bands throughout regional Victoria, and for the past 18 years or so has performed as a solo pianist/vocalist in piano bars all over the world, predominantly in Europe. Ros plays all genres including jazz, R&B, pop, country plus more.
Dean Moore is a brilliant young song-writer and musician with such experience as: Musical Director of a Corporate Big Band, a Jazz pianist, a Funk guitarist, and as the Keyoard player in the Australian supergroup 'CDB'. Dean's expertise traverses a wide range of genres, giving our plays something for everyone.
See Dean's website.
Shaula is both a brilliant musician and vocalist. Shaula’s formal piano qualifications include - A.Mus.A, L.Mus.A, B.Mus (Victorian College of the Arts) - Youngest Australian to achieve A.Mus.A or L.Mus.A. at the time. (age 14 & 16) Shaula also plays the celtic harp.
She has sung in major productions including - Phantom of the Opera (Carlotta - Sydney season), Hello Dolly (Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney), Beauty & the Beast (Victorian State Opera) Victoria, Tasmania, Supernature (Melbourne), Royal South Street Vocal Aggregate, Winner of Camberwell Aria.
As a composer Shaula has produced two albums, (The Lullaby Kit, Earthsong), a film score (Dr. Heart) plus many scores (piano solos, classical vocal solos, choral works), and opera (Annabella Rousseau).
For musical theatre, Shaula has composed School Rox (arranged by Dean Moore), Uponatime (story by Peter Tserbis, lyrics & music by Shaula), Winnie the Pooh (co-written with Dean Lotherington) and Melisma (co-written with Nym Kim).
Shaula toured as a solo act to England, Italy – 1987, Tokyo, Japan – 1991, Switzerland – 2006, NSW – 2010 and Malaysia in 2011.
See Shaula's website.