Much loved community members headed for the ‘outskirts’ of Bingara

December 10, 2015

North West Theatre Company thank Martin Hansford and Louise Fisher
The North West Theatre Company has formally thanked Martin Hansford and Louise Fisher for the contribution they have made, not only to the Roxy Theatre, but to Bingara in general.

Peta Blyth, Ben Daley, Caitlin Hansford, Martin Hansford, John Wearne, Louise Fisher & Sandy McNaughton.Peta Blyth, Ben Daley, Caitlin Hansford, Martin Hansford, John Wearne, Louise Fisher & Sandy McNaughton.

Speaking at the gathering following the final NWTC Film Club screening for the year on Sunday evening, Theatre Company President, John Wearne, noted that the family’s move to Armidale after 15 years in Bingara is ‘the best of both worlds,’ as Martin will be able to maintain his links with the Roxy Theatre.

“They are just moving to the outskirts,” John said.

“Martin will be back to direct the radio play ‘The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ and will be the Technical Director for Blithe Spirit.

“Louise and Martin came to Bingara after the town and district had been served by a conga line of locums.

“I was on Council at the time, and the General Manager at the time, Phil Harvey, did nothing but recruit locums.

“The arrival of Dr. Louise Fisher and Dr. Ian Kamerman brought continuity and surety to medical services in Bingara.

We also learned that Martin had managed the sound at the Sydney Opera House.”

John said that when Louise and Martin came to look at Bingara, Martin and Louise were shown the Roxy theatre to tempt the couple. Martin agreed the Roxy was a strong factor in moving to Bingara.

“Both Martin and Louise were founding members of the North West Theatre Company, and played a tangible part of an arts revival in Bingara.

“Purely and simply, thank you for your contribution over 15 years, and will continue to make,” John said.

Vice President of NWTC, Ben Daley, asked people to imagine a production without Martin Hansford.

“His skills and experience speak for themselves”, Ben said.

“Like life, it is wonderful to share successes with others. However, it is the people you have by your side in difficult, challenging moments that forges true relationships, real collaboration, and that is Martin.

“On any production, he is the person I want by my side, on the ground; obviously for his skills, but equally for whom he is as a man. Because you know, when it gets challenging, and it will, he’ll be there and you’ll work together. Whatever the outcome, you’ll fight together.

“Over the past few months, while working on a production here at the Roxy, I’ve often stayed with Martin and Louise. It is wonderful to witness how they manage ridiculous work hours and schedules.

“They do what great people do; they listen, they act, they care”, Ben said.

Peta Blyth told the gathering that Opera in Paddock was due to the arrival of Martin to the district.

“Bill (Blyth) had heard an interview with Martin on radio,” Peta said.

“That gave us the confidence to build on an idea we had long entertained to have something down the paddock.”

She said she spoke to Martin about their dream, and he concluded their meeting with “OK, bring on March”.

“Much of the success of Opera in the Paddock is due to Martin’s expertise in sound, which is appreciated by all players and singers.”

Peta said that Martin will continue his work with Opera North West including Opera in the Paddock, which hopefully, won’t suffer the same, literally show-stopping wild weather that forced the cancellation of Opera in March this year.

“Martin is unflappable, totally reliable.

It is great that you are not going out of the area, enjoy your less hectic time together,” Peta concluded.

Sandy McNaughton, who worked with Martin for nine years at the Roxy Theatre, described the happy, joyful memories of those times.

“Martin and Louise flew under the radar, and their good work was not acknowledged enough.  I have never worked with anyone like Martin, he never lost his cool, he is extraordinarily positive, and 99 percent of the Roxy’s success is due to Martin Hansford.”

Sandy noted that Martin and Louise’s eldest daughter, Rebecca is pursuing a career in showbusiness, completing a Performing Arts Degree. and the world is Caitlin’s oyster.

Another to add to the tributes was local man, Ron Irlam.  “Louise Fisher has made a significant impact on the health of Bingara citizens,” he said.  “Her full time commitment will be sorely missed.”

John Wearne, on behalf of the NWTC, presented Martin and Louise with a painting by local artist, Mark Smith.

Martin spoke of his love for the Roxy Theatre, describing it as “my hobby when I’m home.”

Typically self-effacing, he said “What I do is inconsequential. What Louise does allows me to ‘play’.

“I am passionate about giving people the opportunity to get on stage. This building is special.” Martin said he was confident the NWTC will continue to be a healthy vibrant part of Bingara.

Louise Fisher told the group she would love to have a new permanent doctor to introduce, but noted the surgery does have two part time doctors, and hoped another full time doctor would be found soon.

“We would love for Bingara to be our forever place, but that is not to be. Bingara will always be incredibly special.

“Rebecca grew up here, and Caitlin was born and grew up here. It has been a huge privilege to care for many people of Bingara,” Louise said.