sophisticated equipment was installed at considerable cost. In 1978 the need for a shed at the back of the theatre to store properties and flats was discussed. It was regarded as a priority. However despite continued pleas for its erection it was not built until 1980.
Three productions which were staged near the end of the decade deserve mention. A second pantomime, 'Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood' was presented in early 1978 and like the first, was written in collaboration by two members, Mike Butler and Tony Williams with original music by Erica Broun. An interesting aspect was that rehearsals took place over the summer holiday period, reflecting the fad that the theatre was now if big enough' to operate throughout the whole year. The customary 'summer break' between December and February was to become a thing of the past.

Later that year a 'musical play', 'Little Women', based on the classic novel was proudly presented by the theatre. This play had not been staged before, so Roleystone Theatre had the privilege of presenting it as a world premiere. As explained in the programme 'This delightful dramatisation of one of the world's most loved novels was written in 1967 and it is indeed surprising that no theatre group or company has attempted to stage it before. The Roleystone Choral and Dramatic Society appreciates the honour of being the first to present this version anywhere in the world'. About producing the play, director Maureen Hawke said 'it is very exciting as a producer to stage new material' and was delighted to be personally contacted from England by the author, Sheila Corbett, who expressed much pleasure from the knowledge that her work was being performed for the first time.

Roleystone's strength and talent in writing and staging 'home-grown' works was demonstrated most convincingly in 1979 with the production of 'Walkaway'. This full length musical was the product of the combined efforts of Peter Bibby and Frank Arndt and it was written for a competition to celebrate Western Australia's 150th Anniversary. Edgar Metcalf was so impressed with this prize winning material that he agreed to produce the show at Roleystone but Playhouse commitments made this impossible. Peter went on to stage it with Frank as musical director. Peter's witty story and Frank's engaging melodies made the production a fitting climax for what had been a most exciting and productive decade. By the end of the decade, old traditions had been maintained and new ones established and the programmes being drawn up were very ambitious, being both technically and artistically demanding with at least 2 musicals and two plays being scheduled and staged each year.

THE EIGHTIES Era of Consolidation.
Improvements to the building's facilities continued to be a major concern. The foyer was made more functional by the construction of a small but well appointed kitchen/kiosk extension. The work was carried out by member, Keith Holland during 1980. The serving of refreshments to theatre patrons - an amenity always appreciated was now made much easier and convenient.
The suggestion to construct an orchestra pit was brought up at the 1982 A.G.M. This meant the cutting out of the section of the flooring immediately in front of the stage and lowering it to ground level (possible, since the building is raised on stumps). Permission to carry out the work was given by the Shire and through the hard work of theatre volunteers the job was completed in time for it to be used for Ann Reece's production of 'Carousel' in late May. The need for a facility of this kind had become ever pressing, since musical directors were demanding orchestral accompaniment as essential if musical productions were to achieve the highest possible standards. The orchestra for 'Carousel', under the direction of Harry Home, consisted of 12 players:

PIANO Lyn Wilkinson BASSOON Claire Marshall
ORGAN Kim Martin OBOE Judith Sears
FLUTES Janet Rintoul TROMBONE Ewan Gunn
Jenny Rintoul TRUMPET Robert Rintoul
CELLO Hector McKaskill PERCUSSION Phil Lloyd
CLARINET Tim Neil TYMPANI Tracy Etherington

The presence in the district of so many musicians augured well for the theatre.

Don Morris, as early as 1976, suggested that there was a growing number of people who could form the basis of a Roleystone theatre orchestra. Interestingly, in 1981 Merv Mundy brought up the idea again that a permanent theatre orchestra should be formed, which he was prepared to organise and train. It failed to eventuate; surprising, since there was such a wealth of musicians in the area. A proposal was again put forward too for the re-introduction of choral singing as


The members of the orchestra assembled for 'Carousel' and under the direction of Harry Horne. This musical was the first to have the benefit of the orchestra pit.

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