Already it's February and our theatre year in is full swing. Moonlight and Magnolias opened last Thursday, we've already had our AGM and have a new (old) committee, Play 2 for the year Compleat Female Stage Beauty is all cast and mainly staffed and underway - it's go, go, go as usual, so join in the fun here at WLT.
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Moonlight and Magnolias Open Rehearsal took place on Sunday 22 January, where Alex Begg captured some images (below) from the show and with thanks to the Hobsons Bay Weekly for the image featuring Judi Clark and Alan Jones.
Look out for Jennifer Paragreen's review of Moonlight and Magnolias in the March Cues & News.
Hot off the press of the Hobsons Bay Weekly last week was this article promoting the production - Click Here. Roger Forsey has also provided some wonderful performance images, taken at one of the final rehearsals. Here are a few and a link to the rest - Click Here.
Last performance 25 February
Reminding us that we really do now live in a global village, Director Alan Burrows received an email from the US regarding the play. This lady from Michigan it turns out, is a Gone With The Wind enthusiast and has been collecting related material for more than 25 years.
Her email related, that when Moonlight and Magnolias debuted at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago in 2004, she was fortunate to attend a performance which she truly enjoyed. This has been followed by eight other productions and a total of 25 performances. She has worked on a host of local productions of Moonlight and Magnolias, providing memorabilia, props and advice, with two such productions over the next couple of months.
She observes that Moonlight and Magnolias illustrates how engrained Gone With The Wind has become in popular culture. Productions inevitably make the connection with the iconic film, both in the US and many other countries, including our own. She has identified nearly 300 US productions and some 50 internationally. Programs and publicity material from these productions (see picture below) are shared amongst fellow "Windies" (obviously a term for these GWTW and MandM enthusiasts). This lady takes all her material to make presentations at enthusiast functions.
Shirley is already mailing our new friend a program. Thanks to our excellent website our American friend has studied all our Moonlight and Magnolias promotion online and she sends "kudos to the artist that designed your poster - it's wonderful!!" Our second US compliment for one of our posters in the last six months. Congratulations to poster designer John Shelbourn.
Williamstown Little Theatre's Annual General Meeting was held at the theatre on Friday 3 February.
In a marked contrast to 2011's torrential storm and consequent flash flooding that delayed the start of last year's meeting, this year's started on time and on a balmy summer's evening.
Here are some images from the evening, including the formal proceedings with the posse circling the table being the new committee trying to find a mutually convenient date for their first meeting!
Once the formalities concluded, it was supper time in the foyer, thanks to Bernadette and Alex for their usual wonderful catering. A highlight of the supper was the appearance, in sudden blackout, of a very well-lit and deliciously decadent (thank you Barb Hughes) birthday cake (see picture below - Ray has just blown out those representative candles - couldn't fit 70 on it) and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday Ray Hare".
Twenty-five financial members attended and there were six apologies.
Reports from Secretary, Treasurer and President were read and accepted. A new Auditor, former WLT Committee member and Secretary Ness Harwood was approved. The combination of both the President and Secretary's reports will give you a complete overview of the theatre's past year. If you would like to read their reports just Click on their titles in the last sentence.
There being only one nomination for the following positions, Ellis Ebell was returned as President, Brian Christopher was returned as Treasurer and Shirley Sydenham was returned as Secretary. There being nominations for less than the maximum number, the General Committee comprises Kerry Cordell, Roger Forsey, Bob Harsley, Barbara Hughes, Peter Newling, Linda Smart and Bernadette Wheatley. No stranger to committee is Kerry and although he is a constant presence around the theatre, lending all his skills and talent, it's great to have him back sharing his wisdom as a General Committee member.
There was a surprise for three valued and longstanding members who were honoured with Life Memberships. Maggie McInnes, Frank Page and Kerry Cordell were inducted to general acclaim and warm approval. These three members have given wonderful service to the company over many years, in many diverse ways.
There was no General Business raised from the floor, so the meeting adjourned an hour later to re-convene in the foyer to enjoy the refreshments and usual conviviality.
As mentioned above three members received Life Membership at the AGM, their citations follow along with some pictures of their presentation.
some members who just seem to have been around forever. They pop up and do a show here, direct another one there, help out with costumes and front-of-house, disappear for a while to do other things but always come back. They don't make a huge song and dance about what they do so their contribution, while always appreciated, can sometimes slip by unnoticed.
One such person is Maggie McInnes. I know I’m going to get this wrong and I’ll
be in trouble but I think Maggie’s involvement with the group started in 1970
when she directed Semi-Detached. So Maggie’s involvement with WLT goes back
over 40 years.
In 1971 she appeared in Summer and Smoke.
Fortunately they had cameras back in those days so we have this photo of
Maggie to prove it.
During the early
70's Maggie appeared in several productions including The Happiest Days of Your Life, The Odd Couple and Relatively Speaking and she has
continued to pop-up in productions ever since.
Just to prove
her versatility, Maggie sang and danced her way through The Ballad of Angel’s Alley, was the only one who managed to keep
her clothes on in Steaming and slept
through most of Amy’s View. And as
recently as 2010, she took a small part in Play Six and managed to upstage
everyone else without even opening her mouth.
In 2002 she
returned to directing after a long absence to bring us Tons of Money.
But the major
contribution Maggie has made to WLT is in wardrobe. Unfortunately our early programs don’t
mention who did the costumes but Bob Glass notes in his book that Maggie did
the costumes for Charley’s Aunt in 1975
as well as appearing in the play. So she has also been doing costumes down here
for around 40 years.
The only time
I got roped into one of Maggie’s costuming extravaganzas was when she had us
all working like slaves to make the tunics for Daisy Pulls It Off. Then, in
2008, I asked her to do costumes for my production of Honk! and she did a fantastic job, dyeing everything she could lay
her hands on bright yellow. When we lost
our dear friend Pat Day during production for Rough Crossing in 2009, it was Maggie who stepped in to complete the
costumes. Her amazing costumes for Glorious
were a real highlight of the show and she’s still at it as Costume Coordinator
for our current show, Moonlight and
As many of
you know, I am currently reorganising the wardrobe department. Maggie has played a huge role in this major
undertaking and her hard work and most importantly her vast knowledge have been
invaluable. Despite not being all that
well she has made the trip from Werribee on almost a weekly basis. We get up there and natter and eat bikkies and
argue about what to keep and what to throw out. She nearly always wins. And at the end of the day Maggie always
leaves with a huge bag of clothes to wash and mend.
currently Wyndhamvale’s Senior Citizen of the Year. We were going to make her WLT’s Senior
Citizen of the Year but there were too many contenders for the title. So to thank Maggie for over 40 years’
contribution to WLT we’ve decided to make her a Life Member instead.
Presented by Barbara Hughes, Committee Member
A long time ago when I first came to WLT I wasn’t a constant member, but sort of came and went and didn’t really get to know too many people. However I was aware early on of Frank Page’s presence. You can’t really miss him, can you? I refer of course to his presence as a very active and dedicated member of the company.
I think I first realised his tremendous organisational ability and attention to fine detail during the 60th birthday celebrations, which were superbly conceived, planned and put into action, a true celebration of a memorable history. I think it was during those celebrations, enjoying them and listening to longstanding members reminisce about the past 60 years, that I really began to understand and respect the history of the company.
Since then I have learned more about Frank. He led the 40th birthday celebrations, and must have enjoyed doing that seeing he took on the 60th. He served as a valuable member of the general committee, bringing with him not only his way of giving considered opinions and a fresh perspective, but also a tremendous marketing experience and acumen, which was put to excellent use in the publicity portfolio.
He also edited Cues & News many years ago, when it was in its 20th century hard copy lifetime. Frank has now of course elevated Cues & News to its current electronic state, giving WLT what is arguably the most advanced 21st century newsletter of any non professional company, I would confidently state, anywhere. It is mostly via the e-Cues & News during the past year that I have come to know Frank better.
I have observed first hand his attention to detail in getting everything correct. I sent out one issue in Frank's absence... he'd compiled most of it, right up to minutes before getting on the plane, and all I had to do was add in the last minute contributions that arrived. I learned that if you change one word in Vertical Response, the whole layout can go out of whack and you have to redo it, and in so doing I came to fully appreciate Frank's dogged persistence and patience. With Frank there is no 'close enough is good enough', nothing is slapped together at the last minute. Every section of the newsletter is considered, polished and perfected, and is sent out meticulously on the 15th of the month to the minute. Next newsletter, glance at the time it was sent, it is often just a few minutes into the 15th. So great is his diligence as the Cues & News Editor that I have secretly dubbed him the Photograph Nazi, such is his nagging of Ellis and I to take photos of every event. So successful is his training, that most times we do!
Frank has been an impressive and valuable contributor to WLT for many many years, and has been a tremendous asset to the company. His Life Membership is well deserved, and it is a great honour to have been asked to read the citation for it. But seeing I am doing it, and Ellis has remained on stage, I do hope someone has taken a photo for Cues & News or we’ll be in hot water!
Presented by Shirley Sydenham, Secretary and Committee Member
It's hard to separate the name of Cordell and Williamstown Little Theatre. When I joined WLT, Kerry Cordell was already a member, and also of what was then, the Light Opera Company. Back then, both companies shared the Mechanics Institute Hall in Electra Street. My first involvement with Kerry was when we were cast in Sailor Beware, which we opened at the Missions to Seaman in Nelson Place after we were evicted from the Mechanics due to the walls possibly falling down.
Kerry continued to work with both companies even when the Light Opera Co. moved to Footscray while the Mechanics was being restored.
Kerry did take time off to marry Jill and raise a family but kept up his relationship with WLT by working on sets and the building itself when we finally found our permanent home, often working with Gary Metcalfe, as they were both builders by trade.
Kerry has appeared on stage many times since we moved to Albert Street but I think it's safe to say that he has been more active in the building and maintenance side of things.
In recent years he has increased his involvement with WLT by being on the committee as the Maintenance Advisor and has also been the consultant on our Tuesday night working bees throughout January.
Without Kerry's skills, we would not have our new super duper front gate, affectionately named the Cordell Gate.
My knowledge of technical stuff is very limited and I regularly question Kerry about what is and what isn't possible with regards to work around the theatre. And most of the time he gives me good advice!
So it's with great pleasure that I present Kerry Cordell with his Life Membership.
Presented by Ellis Ebell, President and Committee Member
Compleat Female Stage Beauty
If the success of the auditions for our second production of the year are any indication CFSB looks like being a winner for the company. Around 50 actors presented at auditions for Director Chris Baldock and his team of Committee Audition coordinators.
Chris was "incredibly happy with the response" and the final line-up of cast and crew for this major production - details follow. There will be more information about the production in our March C&N. In the meantime, just announced is the Open Rehearsal date - Sunday 1st April - be a fool and join us from 3.30 pm and join the cast for a drink afterwards.
Apart from looking for a Stage Manager we would also love to hear from someone who may wish to be Prompt and/or search for Props for the production. Please contact Chris on firstname.lastname@example.org
To whet our appetites we found these few quotes about the play from international press;
"A clever exploration of rich territory, the world of the English theater at the seventeenth-century
moment when women were first allowed on the stage." - New York Times
"Lush... world class... clever." - Variety
"An intimate psycho-sexual backstage historical comedy. Splendidly theatrical, it's a witty allusive game with some feeling payoff, to boot." - Pittsburg Post-Gazette
Image from a Carnegie Mellon University, South Australia, School of Drama production in 2004/05.
Details of the WLT cast and crew as follows;
Edward Kynaston Scott Middleton
Margaret Hughes Jessica Perry
Thomas Betterton Angelo De Cata
Samuel Pepys / Hyde Bruce Akers
Villiars, Duke of Buckingham / Voice 1 / Ruffian Two Adam Ford
Maria Bethany Jewell
Sir Charles Sedley / Voice 3 Ellis Ebell
Charles II / Audience Male Gavin Williams
Nell Gwynn Maggie Chretien
Male Emilia / Ruffian One / Voice 2 / Sir Peter Lelly /Thomas
Killigrew / Bouncer / Thug Ben Mitchell
Lady Meresfale / Mistress Revels Mandi Burns
Miss Frayne / Mrs Elizabeth Barry / Female Emilia Janet Provan
Director Chris Baldock
Production Coordinator Ellis Ebell
Stage Manager TBA
Set Designer David Dare
Lighting Designer Jason Bovaird
Costume & Make-Up Designer / Coordinator Theodora Neave
Sound Designers Chris Baldock & Neil Williamson
Sunday 1 April 3.30 pm
19 April to 5 May 2012
REALITY CHECK @ WLT
around contemplating WLT’s rich 66 year long history and marvelling at what that
all means and what a treasure we have with this theatre company….but for how
As editor of this august
journal, I naturally get to see the full kaleidoscope of a theatre-year unfold
before my very keyboard. It’s an
impressive body of work and activity which must be the envy of many other
community organisations, be they theatre-based or not.
One obvious factor when
thinking about the theatre is that life has changed dramatically since the mid
1940’s when a small group of Williamstown people decided to form a theatre
company. World War II had only recently
ended and life was getting back to peace-time normality. Entertainment was restricted mainly to radio,
cinema, church and related social activity.
Compared with the plethora of distractions available to us now in 2012,
those early days were slower and the formation of a theatre company was perhaps
an obvious development for a bunch of gregarious, creative and hopefully
The dynamics of building
and establishing a theatre were very focusing for all involved – premises,
funds, content, sustainability, aiming for excellence, etc. Actually, that’s not too different to the
Life then was more local
and so WLT became a ‘go to’ place for its members, all largely from the
immediate and neighbouring suburbs.
Early years saw the company move around several Williamstown venues
before the current premises, an old bakery, was acquired. Once into the Albert Street property it was
go, go, go with a full-on effort to establish the theatre. It was like one long working-bee, building,
reworking and creating the structure and fabric of our fabulous little theatre,
of which we are all intimately familiar now.
That sort of activity had a wonderful galvanizing, team-building,
bonding, effect which pervaded all that occurred at WLT and continues to do so,
to this very day, with the hard core, older, long-term members.
On the stage, from show to
show you could be mistaken for thinking it was a repertory company with the
same actors appearing in different productions.
This ensemble style theatre continued for many years and is probably the
rich tradition that underpins the continued success of WLT – now, dare I say the
doyen non professional theatre company across metropolitan Melbourne and
Fast forward to the present
and compare the differences with those early years.
From the diversity of
technology – internet, smart phones, etc. to the wealth of entertainment
options in theatre, music and all the creative arts, 2012 is prolific in its
breadth of offerings. I haven’t even
touched on Social Media – the role Twitter and Facebook play in many people’s
lives. The all consuming world of email,
smart phones, internet all contributes to what Demographer Hugh McKay calls
“the unrelenting speed and intrusiveness of today's culture of "busy-ness". The
minds of our 1946 founders would boggle big time at our world now.
Almost every Cues &
News we’re promoting some participative activity, over and above our year’s
five productions. This can range from a
social night – restaurant, film night, garage sale, AGM, January Working-Bees,
etc. Despite all the colour and movement
we try to cloak these events in, to attract the masses, we fail dismally. The events always occur and are always
fantastic and hugely enjoyed by the participants. The only thing is, that it’s always the same
hard core, older, long-term members.
Give or take one or two,
the same scenario exists with our committee.
This dedicated small group of people have had long associations with the
theatre. Their commitment and dedication
is truly impressive and it’s largely thanks to them, that WLT is the famous and
much loved “little” theatre that enjoys such esteem.
Get the picture – reality
kicking in? All these people are getting
older and despite their wish to do so, they just won’t be able to maintain the
level of commitment that delivers us all the five fantastic productions a year,
plus a whole range of other activity, not to mention keeping the fabric of the
theatre maintained and comfortable.
So, this maybe stating the
obvious but it probably needs to be.
What of the long term future of WLT?
It was so good to see so many members attend
the 66th AGM. And it was a great thrill
to induct Maggie McInnes, Frank Page and Kerry Cordell as Life Members of
WLT. All three have contributed
enormously over many years and the recognition was well deserved. We also welcomed Kerry’s return to the
committee. David Dare decided not to go on c’tee, however, he will continue
being our ticket secretary. I thank
David for his continued support of WLT. Apart
from that, the existing committee will continue unchanged.
Our January working bees concluded on the 31st
with us completing nearly all the jobs that were listed. My thanks go to the following; ,
Ray Hare, Neil, Adriene, Matthew & Joshua Williamson, Neil’s sister Lorraine, Terry
Camilleri, Alex Begg, Bryan Thomas, Kerry Cordell, Brian Christopher, Barb
Hughes, Bernadette Wheatley, Shirley Sydenham, Peter Newling, Roger Forsey,
Linda Smart and if I’ve forgotten anyone, please forgive me! WLT loves you for turning up each Tuesday to
paint, cull, clean, sort, cut, trim, build and create.
We also saw the hanging of the new front
doors to the theatre. They’ve been
sitting in the office waiting patiently for months. The new glass doors allow more light into the
outer foyer and certainly change the garden aspect in a very positive way.
As you will be well aware, Moonlight and
Magnolias opened on Feb. 9, and by the time you get this it’ll be in the middle
of its run. I attended the ‘open’
rehearsal and couldn’t help but think about the experience of the people on
stage. I reckon it’d be close to 200
years collectively!!!! Veterans
all! The set looks fabulous and I’m
looking forward to seeing the final production. I believe Jason Bovaird came back from the USA with a whole lot of new
ideas to put in at WLT! Just don’t turn
everything on at once Jase!
We’ve got one hell of a year coming up at
WLT, I hope to see you around.
Very sorry to hear that our mate Brett Turner
hasn't been well recently and all his friends at Willy send him best wishes for a speedy recovery and return to full steam. A big hug to Adrian Valenta too who is no doubt keeping the Brett & Adrian show on the road. Look forward to seeing you both around the theatre really really soon.
Those of us who remember the great meals we
had at the Croatian Club in Footscray are looking forward to visiting one of
Williamstown’s newer restaurants. And
there’s a WLT connection. Ragusa is
situated in the old Mission to Seamen building which was WLT’s home in 1966 and
RSVP to Barb by Friday 2nd March
on 9397-3054 or email@example.com
delves into the lives of three women: Valerie, her daughter Alison, and
granddaughter Amy. The play exposes
the needs and fears of these three flawed women and unearths the unspoken sins
that continue to shape and affect their lives. It explores how each generation
tries to correct the mistakes of the previous one, while making different
mistakes. It also reveals how secrets buried in the past can have devastating
effects upon the present as each generation struggles for the love they need
from the others.
Sydenham plays Valerie, the matriarch. Shirley is no
stranger to WLT, being the Secretary, as well as co-directing Two Weeks With the Queen in 2011, and
performing as Marge in Hotel Sorrento
in 2010. Carmel Hyland plays her daughter Alison. Dana McMillan, who plays her granddaughter Amy, was Assistant Stage
Manager for Two Weeks With the Queen
last year. Entwined’s Stage Manager
is Emma Hunt, who also stage managed
Two Weeks With the Queen, as well as Glorious!, Hotel Sorrento and The History Boys at WLT. Maureen White is the lighting designer
and operator, which she has done over the years for so many WLT productions,
including Hotel Sorrento. Maureen is
one third of the team that brings PlaySix
to our stage each year. The Director of Entwined
is Helen Collins.
Kitchen Table Productions is the creative
team presenting Entwined, financially backed
by Me’n’Syd Productions, a very tiny production company with yet more
connections to WLT: Celia Meehan is
a former President of WLT who performed in many productions, including Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and A Woman of No Importance. The Syd
part of the company is Shirley Sydenham.
is Helen Collins’ second play. Her first
play, Disclosure, was performed at La
Mama as part of the 2006 Fringe Festival, where it attracted the attention of a
film producer and was subsequently made into a full length film, Four of a Kind. The film had a season at
Cinema Nova and achieved critical success in a number of film festivals
We hope you will come along to support this
first run of a new play by a local playwright! Not to mention a production with many
connections to WLT.
Me’n’Syd Productions and Kitchen Table
Productions present Entwined
Dates: March 22 (preview), 23rd,
24th at 8pm, to March 25th
Venue: Revolt Studio, 12 Elizabeth
Street, Kensington (close to Macaulay Rd)
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kitchen-Table-Productions/336214929735274
WANTED - STAGE MANAGERS!
trying to increase the
number of Stage Managers we have at WLT.
we are looking for an SM for our productions of Compleat Female Stage Beauty
(May) Doubt (September) and Dixie Swim Club (November).
Stage Manager actually takes over from the Director once the show is ‘on the
boards’. It requires someone who can
attend most rehearsals, so that by the time the show is performance ready, they
can confidently run it. The SM is in
control of both backstage and front of house, so good people skills are
anyone is interested but feels they lack experience, we can mentor them until
they feel capable of taking on the role.
contact Shirley Sydenham if you would like to offer your services or would like
more information. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 0402 231 724
Are you a Member?
2012 Memberships Due Now!
To renew your membership or to become a
member, just fill in the Membership
form and send it to Membership 2012, PO Box 35, Williamstown 3015, or if
you transfer the fee electronically, scan the form and email it to email@example.com
Annual Membership fee is $10 single or $15
If you wish to have Cues & News posted to
you, please add $10 to your membership fee.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION 2011
Now wouldn't you know there are still some outstanding Awards from last year that we've not made mention of! We refer to our esteemed Adjudicators and their special awards, announced on Cordell Day.
Congratulations to all those recognised by the Adjudicators and thanks again to these three stalwarts (pictured below) for their contribution to our theatrical year.
For the vocal abilities and
performance of James Antonas, and especially for the fact that I felt totally
relaxed about his performance. His
timing was great. It was totally believable.
For the sets and effects in Two Weeks with the Queen. Enjoyed the zany, comic-strip
set, the endless changing of sets, the inventive business, the birds and
clouds, and paddles with which to wave in the aircraft, and best of all, the totally disciplined stage management. This award recognises the talent and contribution of Barbara Hughes. When accepting the award Barb acknowledged the tremendous amount of work of a number of people, in particular Yvonne Arnott and Kerry Cordell.
I’m also going for a set design and decor, this time the lovely fifties
tonalities of ...Five and Dime, with its
meticulous proliferation of props. Wild west meets the fifties. It added hugely
to the atmospherics, so I ask George Tranter, the designer and Kerry Cordell
the executor of the set design to accept these awards.
Next Cordell Day we'll make sure we capture everything and get it all into one edition!
PLAY SELECTION COMMITTEE UPDATE
The new PSC has swung into action like a
force 10 hurricane…well, action anyway!
There’s been one meeting:
Graeme Cope as
convenor, Damian Coffey, Gaetano Santo and Judi Clark, with Ellis Ebell and
Shirley Sydenham ex officio. It was a spirited and productive meeting, and not
only have 2013’s directors been selected, we’ve also got a director for play 1
in 2014…how’s that for leaping out of the starting blocks? Not only that, but two
of the five plays are locked in, and at least one waiting for a reply from
rights holder. Scripts are circulating at the rate of knots, and Damian has set
up a website restricted to PSC members only, where we can input our reactions
and comments on what we’ve read. Shirley reckons that at this rate she’ll be
doing the 2013 playbill over Easter!
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize & Poetry Prize
The Williamstown Literary Festival has run the Ada Cambridge
prize for biographical short story writing since 2004, in honour of Williamstown's most famous daughters. Ada Cambridge (pictured)
was a prolific Victorian novelist and diarist. A vicar's wife, she followed her husband around various postings in country Victoria, finishing up at Holy Trinity Anglican parish in Williamstown in the early 1900's. This year the poetry prize has also been named in her honour.
Entries for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize and Poetry Prize close on 2nd March and the winners announced as part of the Williamstown Literary Festival, 3rd - 7th May. Further information and entry forms can be found at www.willlitfest.org.au
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