It is with pleasure that I report on the activities of the North West Theatre Company during 2014 – a year of consolidation and the emergence of fresh ideas and enthusiasm.
There is no doubt that the reputation of the company as a presenter of quality theatre has been enhanced by our last two productions of “Pygmalion” and “A Curious Savage”.
Both had successful seasons averaging an audience of more than 100 per show but more importantly the feedback from theatre patrons was very encouraging for everyone involved.
A Curious Savage – an American play by John Patrick – was directed by Rick Hutton who successfully adapted the script to a more recent Canberra. The most pleasing aspect was the number of new cast members as had been the case with Pygmalion. While ever we continue to produce theatre of this quality backed up by Wombat Tracks Audio magic we will continue to fill seats.
There is an old saying in theatre that “you are only as good as your last show”.
At the moment the Executive is at a critical point of choosing next year’s program – or at the very least a play to produce in April/May.
With this in mind a play reading will be held at the Roxy on Sunday, 14th December for as many prospective 2015 cast members as possible.
It has been suggested that we read an Alan Ayckbourn work entitled “Confusions” . It has the advantage of being a set of five interlinked one-act plays ideal for around a dozen actors. Play readings have become so popular that there is a compelling case for doing regular readings throughout the year.
One significant development in 2014 was to form a closer partnership with Gwydir Shire Council. For a number of years the company has enjoyed a mutually beneficial business arrangement with Council for use of the Roxy but this can be further enhanced by NWTC offering to accept more responsibility for theatre maintenance generally in lieu of some hiring fees.
For instance this year saw the company carry out landscaping and seat restoration in the courtyard and the complete recovering of the underside of all 191 theatre seats. We are aware that council is maximizing efficiencies and cost savings across all operations and are keen to assist in this process with the Roxy.
The NWTC is particularly proud of the contribution we have made towards the Roxy over the years.
In the 13 years since the company was formed we have contributed almost $22,000 to Bingara and Gwydir Councils in annual hiring fees share of ticket sales and donations towards lights.
I think that this is an ideal example of a community organization working together with a council to provide an important community service.
A highlight of the year well worth mentioning is the recent visit to the 2014 Stagecraft Conference at NIDA in Sydney by Secretary Ros Moulton and Executive member Lee Loudon. Both brought back some great suggestions for the administration of amateur theatre companies. I also note their generosity in covering virtually all their own costs.
NWTC Film Club continues to flourish. This year saw 36 members enjoy films with a difference on the last Sunday of each month.
I believe membership for only $60 per year offers a unique opportunity to see a range of classic films many of which are not ever available to see at commercial cinemas in the area. I could not think of a better Christmas present to give someone than a yearly Film Club subscription.
The company is in great shape. Our finances are strong enough to view 2015 with confidence and we have a healthy bank of actors keen to “tread the boards”.
None of this happens by accident and I would like to thank people such as Vice President Martin Hansford, Rick Hutton, Lee Loudon, Treasurer Susan Hutton, Carmen Southwell, Patron Mary Woodroofe and our large numbers of actors and set and prop builders such as Paul Moulton and Geoff Leech.
In particular Secretary Ros Moulton has done an enormous amount of preparation with grant applications over the past year and, although so far unsuccessful it is not due in any way to what were really excellent applications.
I need to also include ticketing guru Jenny Mead and other Council people like Georgia Standerwick and Tim Cox.
Let’s keep North West Theatre Company dynamic, brave, imaginative, exciting but most of all FUN!
John Wearne AM