Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Each day at Garden Grove’s Great Wolf Lodge is a brand-new adventure. 

Located less than 2 miles from the Anaheim Resort district, the indoor water park and resort promises waves of excitement for guests staying in its 603 suites. 

The 105,000-square-foot water park is dedicated exclusivelyf or overnight hotel guests, which helps minimize crowds and maximize fun for kids of all ages. 

As spring break approaches, learn more about planning an epic vacation to the only water park hotel in Orange County.

click for more

Great Wolf Lodge is located at 12861 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92840. To book a stay, visit greatwolf.com

Cunard Announces New Record Australian Season with Queen Elizabeth to be Based Down Under for 2019-2020 Summer

Queen Elizabeth
Luxury cruise line Cunard has announced that its world-famous ship Queen Elizabeth will be based in Australia for an unprecedented 101 days over the 2019-20 summer.

Queen Elizabeth will sail on six roundtrip cruises from Melbourne and two from Sydney during the season, which will feature an array of itineraries to South Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea between December 2019 and March 2020.

The new 2020 Australian deployment will be almost double the length of Queen Elizabeth’s scheduled 54-day season Down Under early next year, which will see the ship sailing from Sydney and Melbourne during February-March 2019.

Cunard Senior Vice President Simon Palethorpe said Queen Elizabeth’s record 2020 season reflected the importance of the Australian cruise market to Cunard as well as Melbourne’s growing attraction as a cruise hub, with the Victorian capital providing the ship’s homeport for two months.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen unprecedented growth in demand for the Cunard experience in Australia so it made sense for us to invest further in the market and extend the sailing season of Queen Elizabeth even more in 2020,” Mr Palethorpe said.

“Our new 2019-20 summer season will not only feature more cruises, it will also offer some exciting new itinerary options which we hope will entice even more Australians to experience Cunard’s legendary service and style.”

Mr Palethorpe said the December arrival of the 2080-guest Queen Elizabeth meant she would spend Christmas in local waters - a first for Cunard’s current fleet of Queens.

Travellers will be able to sail from Melbourne to New Zealand over the festive break with Christmas Day spent cruising the Tasman Sea, Boxing Day in the tranquil waters of Fiordland National Park and New Year’s Eve in Auckland Harbour, enjoying the world’s first firework spectacular as a new decade begins.

Other cruises from Melbourne will include voyages to South Australia and Tasmania. Following her two-month Melbourne deployment, Queen Elizabeth will sail to Sydney where she will cruise on two roundtrip voyages from the city before heading north.

Her Sydney offerings will include a new 14-night cruise to Papua New Guinea, featuring the cruise line’s maiden calls to the beautiful Conflict Islands and Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands.

Other maiden visits during the summer season include Cunard’s first call to Esperance in Western Australia, while Queen Elizabeth will be making her inaugural visits to Albany, Whitsunday Islands and Darwin.

At 90,900 tonnes, Queen Elizabeth is the second largest ship ever to sail in Cunard’s fleet. Launched in 2010, she is also the youngest in the cruise line’s current trio of Queens with features including more than 10 restaurants and cafes, a Games Deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls, a two-storey library, a ballroom and a three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.

Full details of the 2020 World Voyage season will be released on March 13, with the program scheduled to go on sale on March 20, 2018.

Cunard is a luxury British cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, owned by Carnival Corporation since 1998. It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015. There are three Cunard Queens in its fleet - Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.

For more information, please see www.cunard.com

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Host your clients in an exclusive exhibition at Auckland Museum. With sculptures made entirely from LEGO® bricks.

LEGO® Certified Professional Ryan McNaught (aka Brickman) and his team have spent a jaw-dropping 4,944 hours building 50 incredible LEGO® masterpieces. Now you can explore these ‘Wonders of the World’ on a different scale. Auckland War Memorial Museum. 30MAR – 13 MAY.
Hosting available after 5 pm only.

Contact: Suzi Nock, Event Sales Manager
Email: snock@aucklandmuseum.com
Phone: +64 9 306 7077

Limelight Magazine still publishing – the March Edition has just gone to the printer

Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd, the publisher of Limelight magazine, is delighted to announce that an interested party has come forward to work with the magazine’s staff to ensure the ongoing publication of the magazine.

Detailed planning is currently underway, but in the meantime the publication of the March edition has been assured. It is expected that the longer term future of the magazine will be settled within 10 days. At this time a further announcement will be made.

The publishers, contributors and staff of Limelight are all passionate about providing a quality music and arts magazine for all Australians. Whilst the rapidly changing media landscape is a challenging environment for all publishers, we are confident that there will always be a place for high quality, independent arts journalism in Australia.

Jo Litson, Editor of Limelight said: “We have been incredibly heartened and touched by the many messages of support that we have received from readers, artists and arts organisations during this challenging time. We are thrilled that a small group of investors, who believe passionately in the importance of Limelight, particularly at a time of shrinking arts coverage, have ensured that the March issue will be published, and excited at the possibility of working with them into the future.

“As for the March issue, we are delighted to have high-flying Australian soprano Nicole Car as our cover story as she returns to Australia to make an important role debut with Opera Australia and for a tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Other articles include a look at the background to Mahler’s final, unfinished symphony now known as the Mahler Ten, an interview with Jochen Sandig about his humanist staging (complete with swings) of Brahms’ German Requiem for Rundfunkchor Berlin, coming to the Adelaide Festival, and a feature tracing Graeme Murphy’s blazing career as one of our most important choreographers.”

Readers can support the future of Limelight by subscribing (or gifting a subscription), either online or in print. Subscribers save up to 30% and receive free delivery of every issue. To subscribe visit secure.limelightmagazine.com.au or phone (02) 8227 6400.

Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd, the publisher of Limelight magazine for the past four years, has not gone into liquidation.

Digging into Bergen

Norway is building the longest and deepest tunnel in the world, so Bergen in Norway was the right place to host the World Tunnel Congress this year.

The World of Tunnelling assembled in Bergen in June 2017 to attend the 2017 ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress. First United Norway handled the full-blown PCO services and DMC services for this UN anchored, prestigious congress with 1,700 delegates, 6,500 m2 industry exhibition, 700 abstracts, 200 scientific posters, 700 rooms and much more.

This is one of the most complex congress series to organise as a PCO, as it involves planning and executing a congress with 5 parallel sessions, 20 breakout rooms, 200 meters of poster walls, 130 exhibitors, (3,500 m2 indoor, 3,000 m2 outdoor). In addition, daily technical site visits were organized (tunnel, road and underground space projects) to both oil refineries, rail, road and water treatment infrastructure facilities.

As the Appointed PCO, it was First United Norway s full responsibility to secure a smooth execution of this signature congress.

Bergen has gradually increased its share of international congresses due to its state-of-the-art convention venue, The Grieg Hall, centrally located and within short walking distance to some 4000 bedrooms. Bergen is a unique city for congresses and incentives with high-end hotels, restaurants, meeting facilities and is at the same time the gateway to the Norwegian fjords offering beautiful sailing, fishing, biking in the mountains and overall enjoyment of Norway s amazing nature.

First United Norway is proud to have received outstanding feedback:
The ITA president, Tarcisio Celestino of Brazil was quoted in the press saying that this was State of the Art and creme de la creme of congress planning and execution and that that this WTC congress in Bergen was one of the top 3 of all time.s

One of the world s leading trade magazines, UK based Tunnel Talk, issued a detailed day-today congress report article, where they wrote
It was a wonderful Congress. The mood was relaxed and friendly and helpful. This mood was underpinned by the efficient and well-prepared management of the event by the team of organisers and We at TunnelTalk look forward to meeting all our ITA friends and colleagues in Dubai next year and leave Bergen with a thank you to the support we received especially from Harald Riisnaes, Director of First United and Diane Loth of the ITA media relations department.

The entire article including a video from the event can be viewed here:

First United Norway was awarded an honourable membership of the Norwegian Tunnelling Association in appreciation of the success of this congress management.

For more information, please contact Harald Riisnaes at norway@euromic.com.

JR Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Tourist Pass

Essential for enjoying the spectacular views of Tateyama Kurobe of the Japanese Alps, the JR Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Tourist Pass is on sale again this year!

Starting from Nagoya, enjoy Gifu and Nagano area, the grand Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, as well as Takayama, Toyama, Matsumoto, Magome and more with the JR Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Tourist Pass which will be sold in 2018 as well!

On the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the great spring snow wall of Yuki no Otani is a given. Play in the snow at Murodo even in the summer, and be sure not to miss the spectacular release of water from the Kurobe Dam!

Furthermore, you can enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage starting in late September
In addition to use of the entire Alpine Route (regular price: one way 10,850JPY) visitors can enjoy unlimited ride on the JR line including the limited express train, and tour the surrounding attracting sightseeing areas!

Try out the only JR pass covering the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route; the pass of great value!

JR Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Tourist Pass
Price: 17,500JPY(Children 8,750JPY ※6-11 years of age)
Sales Period: Feb. 1 – Nov. 7
Exchange Period: Mar. 15 – Nov. 7
Usable Period: Apr. 15 – Nov. 11
Valid for consecutive 5 days
※Now on sale at designated stores overseas

For more information, please visit http://touristpass.jp/en/alpine/

ASEAN drives for sustainable tourism development

The 37th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2018) came to a close on January 26, 2018 in Chiangmai, Thailand, with a joint reiteration from the 10 ASEAN nations to step up concerted efforts in sustainable tourism development as ASEAN invited five dialogue partners to invest infrastructure for boundless opportunity in tourism.

In line with its development plan, the ASEAN sustainable tourism award was given for the first time to the outstanding urban and rural establishments in addition to the annual presentation of ASEAN Green Hotel Standard, ASEAN MICE Venue Standard, ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard, and ASEAN Sustainable Award. There are 134 recipients this year.

ASEAN has seen remarkable progress in its ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (2016-2025) with strong regional collaboration to make ASEAN a united, single destination through ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS 2017-2020).

According to World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism contributes more than 12 percent of ASEAN’s total GDP. That nearly 4 percent above most regions in the world. And by 2026, the number of people employed in the industry will increase to over 80 million.

The Ministerial meetings had adopted the declaration in four important areas namely Cruise Tourism, Gastronomy Tourism, Tourism Investment and Tourism for All focusing on the development of tourism infrastructure with connectivity in rail, land and aviation to make ASEAN a united, single destination. They also agreed on the issues of joint marketing strategies, ASEAN tourism personnel development and standardisation to facilitate expertise sharing with the region.

Next year, Viet Nam will be the host of ATF 2019 in Ha Long, Quang Ninh.

*Thanh Tam

MCEC’s new expansion to reshape the event experience

There’s been a flurry of activity at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) $200 million expansion site, with remarkable progress being made during 2017.

The 20,000-square-metre expansion includes 9,000 square metres of flexible, multi-purpose event space, new exhibition halls, additional meeting rooms, a banquet room and the Goldfields Café and Bar.

Once completed, the new space will cement MCEC’s position as the largest convention and exhibition space in Australia, with an increased total size of over 70,000 square metres.

Set to open mid-year, the new space has been architecturally designed to provide customers with more options for any event type; from meetings and conferences through to educational seminars or gala dinners.

Works completed by late February include: the installation of the central staircase, distinctive gold exterior panels and a skylight over the new foyer space, a significant architectural feature of the building.

MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King said customer experience was front of mind when planning the design.

“We want to ensure our facilities suit the needs of our customers, rather than constraining them to fit within our space. A multi-purpose area with a retractable 1,000 seat theatre and adaptable meeting rooms are just two of the many flexible features throughout the new building,” Mr King said.

“Before we have even cut the ribbon, we have 220 events confirmed for our new expansion space, commencing at mid-2018.

“I look forward to officially opening the new space later this year.”

MCEC took inspiration from Victoria’s rich history in determining names for key spaces within its expansion. The greatest inspiration came from the gold colour of the expansion’s exterior, culminating in Victoria’s goldfields becoming the theme from which names would be drawn.

From the Goldfields Theatre, Sovereign Room, Eureka Rooms and Goldfields Café and Bar, the names link to the goldfields of Victoria’s past having been a place for people to gather along with a period of new opportunities, ideas, prosperity and grandeur.

The expansion is part of a larger South Wharf expansion project that includes a new 347-room Novotel Melbourne South Wharf and a new 1,150-space multi-level car park – all fully connected and integrated with existing buildings. The multi-level car park is complete, and the new hotel will open in March.

Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Hon. John Eren said the expansion will cement Melbourne as the business events capital of Australia.

“Our expansion is an absolute game changer – we’re talking three and a half MCGs of new space to attract more events and thousands more visitors to Victoria,” Minister Eren said.

“Not only will this redevelopment boost tourism, it will also create more than 900 new jobs and provide a massive boost to our local economy each year.”

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Australian tour of Mamma Mia! The Musical makes its premiere in Sydney tonight with an all Australia cast and 22 of Abba’s greatest hits

The global musical phenomenon, MAMMA MIA! commenced its new national tour at the Canberra Theatre Centre with a SOLD OUT season and just completed the season in Brisbane to standing ovations at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre. The production commenced in Sydney at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from February 11th 2018 

The tour will continue onto Crown Theatre Perth from May 15th 2018, Melbourne’s Princess Theatre from July 10th 2018 and the Festival Theatre at Adelaide Festival Centre from October 9 th 2018. 

This exciting new production of MAMMA MIA! is produced in Australia by Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick. 

“MAMMA MIA! is exactly what we all need - an uplifting, fun-filled, heartfelt night at the theatre which puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step. The timeless tracks of ABBA never fail to bring joy to audiences across the world and we are delighted to be producing MAMMA MIA! once again across Australia. We are also thrilled with the incredibly talented creative team and cast we have assembled to bring this story and these songs to life on stage night after night.” Withers says. 

Starring in this brand new Australian production as mother-of-the-bride Donna Sheridan is Natalie O’Donnell. Natalie began her acting career in 1998 with her professional debut in the Australian production of Les Misérables. Since then she has sustained a remarkable career in theatre, television and film across the world. She has starred in many musicals including most recently in Australia in Jerry’s Girls, Songs for a New World and Next to Normal. Most poignantly Natalie starred in the original Australian production of MAMMA MIA! as Sophie in 2001. It will be very special to see her come full circle now leading this new production in the role of Donna. 

In the role of Donna’s daughter and bride-to-be Sophie, is emerging young Australian actor Sarah Morrison. Sarah has just completed a sell-out national tour in the Australian musical Ladies in Black starring in the lead role of Lisa. This was Sarah’s breakthrough role gaining critical acclaim and adoration by audiences alike proving her star is certainly on the rise. Sarah began her career as a member of the Children’s Chorus with Opera Queensland before graduating from Ballarat Arts Academy. 

Starring as Donna’s vivacious and loyal friend Rosie is Alicia Gardiner who has extensive career highlights in theatre, television and film and is best known to Australian audiences for her role as nurse Kim Akerholt in the award-winning series Offspring. In another nostalgic twist, Alicia also played alongside Natalie O’Donnell in the original Australian season of MAMMA MIA! 

Jayde Westaby joins the Dynamo trio in the role of much-married friend Tanya. Jayde, originally from the UK, has enjoyed a career on London’s West End appearing in The Rocky Horror Show, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Jersey Boys and Grease amongst others. Most recently in Australia she was part of the world premiere season of Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical.

Award winning actor Ian Stenlake stars as Sam Carmichael, one of Sophie’s unsuspecting fathers. Ian has sustained an extensive television career over the years, including starring roles in the Nine Network’s Sea Patrol for 5 seasons as Lieutenant Commander Mike Flynn, furthermore in Stingers, Murder Call and Dance Academy. He has also continued a vast theatre career appearing in shows such as Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma and most recently Around the World in 80 Days. 

Stage and screen actor Phillip Lowe plays Harry Bright another man from Donna’s past who could be Sophie’s father. Phillip has appeared in many theatre productions including Crazy for You, Cabaret, Mary Poppins, High Society and recently starred in Georgy Girl - The Seekers Musical portraying Seeker Keith Potger. 

Josef Ber, acclaimed theatre and screen actor plays Bill Austin the third potential father in the light-hearted story. Josef has appeared in many and varied theatre, television and film productions including Ned, Rush and Redfern Now. 

Sophie’s adoring fiancé Sky is played by Stephen Mahy who’s career spans roles in musical theatre productions such as Miss Saigon, Jersey Boys, Grease, and the most recent Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show playing Brad. 

In addition, Monique Sallé plays the role of Ali, Jessica Di Costa as Lisa, Sam Hooper as Pepper and Alex Gibson-Giorgio plays Eddie alongside an incredible supporting cast Stephen Anderson, Jadie Bastow, Dion Bilios, Du Toit Bredenkamp, Annie Chiswell, Matt Edwards, Josh Gates, Catty Hamilton, Matthew Hamilton, Emma Hawthorne, Zoe Komazec, Sarah Kate Landy, Courtney Monsma, Clay Roberts, Leigh Sleightholme, Thalia Smith, Lisa Sontag and Zachary Webster. 

Set on a Greek island paradise and inspired by the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s heart-warming tale centres around a young bride-to-be. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. 

Over 60 million people all around the world have fallen in love with the story and the music that makes MAMMA MIA! the ultimate feel-good musical. And now, in what is a stunning new production, we want you to come join the party of a lifetime. A celebration of love, laughter and friendship, MAMMA MIA! is a fabulous night out for audiences of all ages. 

The Australian production is Directed by Helpmann Award winner Gary Young, with the creative team also including Choreographer Tom Hodgson, Musical Supervisor Stephen Amos, Set Design by Linda Bewick, Costume Design by Suzy Strout and Lighting Design by Gavan Swift and Sound design by Michael Waters. 

A beautiful bride, a proud mother and three possible fathers. It's a trip down the aisle you'll remember forever!


SYDNEY Capitol Theatre From February 11th 2018 
PERTH Crown Theatre From May 15th 2018 
MELBOURNE Princess Theatre From July 10th 2018 
ADELAIDE Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre From October 9th 2018


The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) hosted the Asean MICE Conference 2018 at the 37th Asean Tourism Forum in Chiang Mai on Wednesday.

Held for the first time in conjunction with Southeast Asia’s most significant annual tourism-promotion event, the conference showcased “MICE Cities”, creating business opportunities for second-tier cities to accommodate corporate meetings and conferences.

The TCEB said in a press released the conference opened a collaborative platform for stakeholders in the region’s MICE industry to develop networks and exchange ideas to create guidelines for cities that aren’t national capitals and bolster their sustainable economic growth.

TCEB senior vice president Supawan Teerarat said working under the Asean framework was a great opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge among member-countries.

Read full article at THE NATION: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30337125