staging of "The Mikado". For this production the now expansive stage was used to its fullest by the impressive sets that were designed by Colleen Rintoul. The performances ran 6 nights. A statement made in a article in the programme was to prove prophetic "this 1976 season promises to usher in a new and exciting era in the history of the Society .
Before the end of 1976, two more full length productions were staged. Such a rigorous programme had never been attempted before. In addition the September production was the 3 act comedy "Harvey; the first full length play since " Pearly Pearls" in the 50's. The inclusion of a play into the programme was in part a response to the growing number of members who wanted the opportunity of experiencing more demanding dramatic roles. Up to that time the emphasis had certainly been on musicals and musical based shows.
The broadening of the Theatre's repertoire may not have been Howard Rintoul's conscious intention when he proposed to produce the play, but it was seen as a bold step in a new direction at the time and subsequently the inclusion of a play in each year's programme became a matter of course. The final effort for that year was a pantomime "jack and the Beanstalk" written in collaboration by members Ray Costello (story) and Colleen Rintoul (music). It was a hugely popular show. The 7 night season was a near sellout and for the first time, the Theatre included a Saturday matinee. In his report for 1976, President Jack Hart had the following to say ,
"1976 must be represented as a giant stride and must be acknowledged in respect of every aspect by which our success is measured. Membership was a record during 1976 and there was an all time high in the Society's income, matched of course by record expenditure. The number of productions and performances almost matched those of any two previous years, bearing in mind that it all took place in much less than a twelve month period. The foregoing factors are in the nature of interesting statistics and it is felt that the greatest mark of our success in 1976 lies in the tremendous amount of effort and talent contributed by so many people.
The disappointing delays associated with the construction of the new stage have dimmed in memory and the facilities we now enjoy are perhaps beyond those we could have dreamed of two years ago., Such has been our progress in technical achievement with our shows that we are already aware of the limitation of these new facilities."
A significant event in 1976, which only the "fullness of time" was to establish as such, occurred in March. Jerry Chapman and his wife Bobbie became members of the Society. Jerry's strong interest in all aspects of the theatre and his calm and. sensitive approach to whatever the situation, were qualities which members came to appreciate. In 1980 he was elected president and such was the confidence in his style of dispensing executive leadership, that he was returned to that office on eight occasions!. His wife entered into the life of the theatre wholeheartedly and soon became a popular and esteemed member..
The Roleystone Choral and Dramatic Society's first constitution came into existence in 1973, being presented and accepted at the A.G.M. on 19th February. The document was drafted by Jack Hart and in his annual report, the President, Patrick Weir, felt extremely pleased that the Society now had a constitution. The name of the Society was still a cause of some contention and in February 1976 a motion was put that Item 1 of the existing constitution should be altered to read "The name of the Society shall be the "Roleystone Players". This and other aspects of the
WORLD PREMIER FOR ROLEYSTONE
The Roleystone Theatre Group will perform a six night season of Little Women next month, with the world premiere to be held at the Old Roleystone Hall on October 5th. several versions of the well known book have been produced for both stage and screen. but this adaptation has not been seen anywhere else in the world
The production, a musical is being directed by Maureen Hawke. who met the author of the Play Sheila Corbett. when she lived in Wales. A mutual friend sent Maureen a copy for her to bring to Australia and three years ago, after meeting the author again while holidaying in Britain, she decided she would produce this enchanting play of a story "about the most special people found in any book and read by girls of yesteryear and today". Filled with humour, simplicity and charm, this play has the added bonus of 11 melodies which colour the story perfectly. Everyone who has enjoyed the ever enduring novel Little Women, will be more than pleased with this production
The play, in three acts, encompasses adequately the storyline of the book. with one major exception - the death of Beth is not included. To simplify casting problems the ages of the girls have been advanced slightly and there is no dreary drama or tears. Just "Little Women.."<br> A strong cast his been selected to portray the well loved characters. The Marsh girls will be played by Margaret Monkhorst. Ann Reece. Carole Jones and Tracy Etherington. while Mrs Marsh will be performed by Ella Napier.
Performances of the play will be October 5-7, 12-14 and tickets are available at the Roleystone Newsagency or on Phone 397 5213 397.5353.
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The audience enjoying a performance of "Oliver" in 1981. Tiered seating and bio box had yet to be constructed.

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