Of the traditional pre Christmas musicals, Roleystone's "White Horse Inn" vied with Play lovers' ambitious undertaking of "Godspell" in the newly-opened Old Quarry Amphitheatre
Roleystone maintained the tradition of involving masses in presentations. Director Mike Butler marshalled more than 50 on stage and utilised the talents of more than 20 backstage crew to show what community theatre ought to be - a large scale involvement of local talent for a joyful participation in artistic projects
Success was due to the unselfish dedicated attitude of the cast, impressive stage design, good voices and choreography, and talented principals (Don Morris. Gloria Remnant) surrounded by carefully developed cameos (Ann Robinson Kim Fletcher and Jacqui Hill).
part of theatre activities. Harry Horne was prepared to be the convenor of the choir as he believed "it would be pleasant to revive this type of evening". Interest was shown by some members but after one or two evenings, numbers were not enough to continue with the idea. Obtaining funds for more extensive improvements to the theatre of course was a problem. In 1983 President, Gerry Chapman prepared a submission to the Arts .Council for $30,000 from the Instant Lottery Grants to upgrade the Theatre's facilities. This was to finance major upgrading and reconstruction and was to be carried out in 3 stages.

PHASE I $10,000 Permanent seat tiering for the auditorium and new seats.

PHASE II $11,000 Construction of a bio box and new lighting controls.

PHASE III $9,000 Construction of the Green Room, with provision for male & female dressing rooms.

In November 1983, $9,800 was received from the Instant Lotteries Commission which enabled work on Phase I to start. The Theatre put a further $1,000 to this amount to allow the hall to be jacked up and brickwork placed under the hall to level off the sagging floor, along the south side of the auditorium. At the same time a new exit was opened in the south wall of the theatre and a brick ramp constructed for easy access. The brickwork for these two jobs was carried out by theatre member Ric Blockley.

Winners of the prestigious Robert Finley Award (1985) for excellence in amateur theatrical production were notified of their success last week<br> A panel of nine assessors, commissioned by the Playhouse Theatre Committee has visited every season of all Community theatre groups who wished to be Included in the contest<br> The panel reached an agreement on the placings within an hour, proving that the criteria were sound and uniformly applied<br> First prize and the perpetual trophy was awarded to Roleystone for their locally-written musical "Esther" which was indeed the outstanding production of the year
Tim Etherington was given the contract to construct the tiered floor in the auditorium and it was completed in time for the year's first production, the play, 'Not Now Darling'. The new seating arrived and was put in place later in the year. Planning for the construction of the bio box - the light control station, began towards the end of 1984 and it was completed in time for it to be used for the production of 'Esther' in May 1985. However, the wiring in the bio box and on stage was below standard according to Council officials and one week before 'Esther' was to open, the Theatre was condemned which would effectively force the production to be cancelled. Fortunately, enough could be done to rectify the faulty system and approval was given at the last minute for the Theatre to stay open.
Phase II of the Theatre's upgrading was not started until the end of 1987. The area between the old kitchen, the make-up room and dressing room, and the corrugated shed (which doubled as prop. storage and dressing room) was enclosed to produce 'The Green Room', an area designed for the comfort of cast members during performances. The corrugated iron shed was remodelled, floored and became the men's and women's dressing rooms. Long time members now revelled in the utter luxury of these two new facilities.
Musical version of Dickens Classic
A NEW musical version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol opens at the Roleystone Theatre in November for a 10-night season.
Titled Mr Scrooge. the adaptation and the music is the work of Roleystone resident Kim Martin, who will also direct the show. "I was inspired to write it by the musical adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby," he sad
Dickens translates well to stage, and this is a story with universal appeal that doesn't need to be adapted to a modern setting."
Lyrics are by Jennifer Langley-Kemp who , teamed up with Martin in 1982 to write the oratorio, The Word, followed by the christmas oratorio, Immanuel, in 1983.
In 1985 a Finley Award (Perth's "Oscars" for amateur theatre) was awarded to Roleystone Theatre for their production of Esther. Again this was written, produced and directed by Mar- tin and Langley-Kemp with seta and costumes by Trevor Bennett and lighting by Paul Osenton,
Bennett and Osenton are both involved with Mister Scrooge, the latter having recently returned from a "holiday" in London where he worked in the lighting departmenta for several West End shows.
Mister Scrooge opens on November 6 and tickets ($7 and $5) are available from Jack Ilart on 397 5213 and the Roleystone Newsagency 397 5271.
Again most of the work was done by a team of theatre workers, under the direction of Geoff Merrick. Improvements of the theatre's lighting and wiring system was considerable during 1985-1986 and the work done by Paul Osenton in this respect earned him a life membership. In 1986 the Council was able to provide funds for the theatre to install a 24 channel dimmer system.

However the Society was to find its own funds much more readily. The financial returns from the shows were very satisfactory during this period, most grossing between $1500 to $3000 a season. In 1987 'Mr Scrooge' made a profit in excess of $4000. The excellent money returns reflected the high regard the theatre had in the community. The public had come to expect shows of the highest standard, technically and artistically and its appreciation of this was shown by good audiences during almost every season.
Particularly popular were the 'Old Time Music Hall' presentations - a format that never ceased to please audiences. Started in the 1970's, these nights became almost a yearly event - not only were they presented at the Theatre, but more often than not at some other venue m the district. They were great money earners and on numerous occasions the 'company' was asked to exhibit its 'thespian talents' at special nights for various district organisations - both charitable and non.
In 1982 it was proposed, because of their obvious popularity, that a more or less permanent company be formed to meet the demand. Much of the success enjoyed by the Music Hall was due to the tireless enthusiasm of Mary Webb.
At a meeting on August 4th, 1986, President Gerry Chapman moved that life membership be awarded to Naomi Gates in recognition 'for her many years as treasurer and wardrobe mistress'. Her nomination for the award, the second for that year, was carried unanimously. During her long term as treasurer from 1975 to 1985, Naomi had scrupulously and very professionally managed the Society's finances, during a period of rapidly increasing income and expenditure,
Her other responsibility was carried out with equal efficiency and her dress-making skills resulted in the creation of some stunning and effective costumes.
The standard of productions being presented at Roleystone was put to the test for the first time when the 1983 musical, 'Stop the World I Want to Get Off' was entered into the annual Finley Awards for Amateur theatre. Much to the delight of

Previous Page - Home - Index - Next Page