It was our privilege to provide the Miner’s Lamp Theatre for the funeral service of our beloved Life Member Diana Brown recently. Diana passed away surrounded by her loving family after a long illness.
The outpouring of sympathy for Andrew, Susie, Melissa, Antonia, and their families over the past few weeks demonstrates the high regard in which Diana was held by many people in the community. She participated on stage and off with many local theatre companies, Choral Societies, and Church Choirs and they have expressed their gratitude to the family for Diana’s contribution. I will reflect only on her membership of the Arcadians and most probably will not do justice to her impact over the years.
Arcadians have had the benefit of her dedication, love, energy, and enthusiasm for theatre over many, many years. She was not only involved on stage but behind the scenes in so many roles; some of which I will try to capture here.
Some of Diana’s early roles included Mrs Botting (Half a Sixpence, 1981), Mathilda (in the world premiere of Minerva Bird, 1984), Aunt Ella (Oklahoma, 1989), Mrs O’Malley (opposite daughter Susie in the lead role in Funny Girl, 1991) as well as chorus roles in numerous productions. Diana also performed in the touring club show Hitz of the Blitz in its many incarnations over the years. She is probably best known for her betrayal of the cynical Madame Thénardier in our 1993 and 1994 seasons of Les Misérables.
Diana was also heavily involved in the administrative aspects of Arcadians for many years. Roles on the Committee including Liaison Officer where she excelled in welcoming new members and addressing cast needs during rehearsals. As a parent supporting her children in the Arcadians Children’s Theatre company, she assisted in the organisation of Saturday rehearsals and canteen duties on many occasions.
Diana also co-ordinated our School’s Award program which gave feedback to students and teachers on their live school productions. Her ability to organise the Review Committee to attend school performances in conjunction with teachers led to Arcadians being recognised in the School Community as providing valuable insights into production values. The feedback given to students and teachers on their production gave encouragement to develop this art form.
Other duties included Buyer for the Refreshment Bar (canteen as it was formerly known), booking agent and singer with the Arcadian Minstrels (our touring singing group offering entertainment to those less likely to be able to travel to the theatre), and Chairperson and member of the Ladies Auxiliary (which raised funds for vital purchases for the benefit of members).
However, most members will remember her for the slices she baked for the cast at rehearsals and the Monday Maintenance Men working days. Ask anyone and they will say her “Mars Bar Slices” were the best – ever!
So it was only fitting that we were able to make Diana’s farewell special by being held at the Miner’s Lamp Theatre on the set of our Les Misérables production of 2022. I’m sure I speak for everyone who knew Diana at Arcadians that she is missed considerably. We wish Andrew, Susie, Melissa, Antonia and their families our deepest sympathies. She was a pillar of strength to us all.
ACT Information for 2023
All positions for 2023 have been filled. Congratulations to all those who auditioned & were successful.
ACT will be holding OPEN AUDITIONS for 2023
THERE ARE LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE FOR 2023.
INFORMATION NIGHT – Friday 7th October at 6.30pm at the Miners Lamp Theatre. You will need to attend the information night to book an audition.
AUDITIONS – Friday 14th October from 4pm at the Miners Lamp Theatre.
Our AGM went off smoothly and we would like to thank everyone who braved the perils of public gatherings and came alone.
We welcomed two new Life Members to our family (more on them later).
We also thanked retiring board members Pauline Young and Ken Mascord for their tireless service and welcomed Janne-Maree McNeice as our new ACT Representative and Chris McRobert as our Lamplighters’ Representative.
All other roles were retained and you can see the 2022 Board here: http://arcadians.org.au/about/the-board/
Finally, the tickets for our first Arcadians Children’s Theatre show of 2022, “Xanadu JR” went on sale. You can buy your tickets here: https://www.trybooking.com/BIOBA
As you read this “When the Rain Stops Falling” is in its final week of rehearsals and looking very enticing already. How appropriate a choice for first show after COVID and it’s raining as well! Peter Scrine has assembled an excellent cast and production team to stage the show and await to welcome you our audience back. Book now!
ACT is in full preparation for its production of Xanadu JR. opening end of April. Watch out for the announcement of tickets going on sale. They will sell fast so stay vigilant.
The Monday Maintenance Men, Lamplighters, Costume ladies and Props staff have all returned to there usual time slots to continue their excellent work in maintaining and improving our wonderful facilities. We are an extremely fortunate Group to have so many members willing to give up their time to make Arcadians a better place for everyone to enjoy. Please feel free to join in if you can spare the time. I’m sure you would be most welcome.
Attached is further details of our Annual General Meeting coming up on March 27. I do look forward to catching up with as many of you that can attend. It’s your participation in the Group’s activities that keeps us ongoing – for many years to come! https://www.facebook.com/events/2113985988764219
The full AGM Notice with papers will be posted on our website 14 days prior to the AGM.
I recently watched on television a documentary of the history of Harrods Department store in London. It mentioned the influence of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” on their decision to give hundreds of Christmas hampers out to the less fortunate members of the London community each year. A tradition that still continues today. As a kid growing up, I would listen to my Grandmother’s double album narration of the story and be enthralled with what I heard. The story of the nasty Ebenezer Scrooge and the little Tiny Tim is still vivid in my memory. Tiny Tim in his innocence changed the way Scrooge thought about life and giving. Perhaps this is where my fascination with story telling and the influence of theatre began.
As Christmas approaches, we look forward to joining with family and friends to celebrate and catch-up. To our Arcadians Family, I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New year. May 2022 be a better year for enjoying theatre and catching up with friends.
Along with our already announced “When the Rain Stops Falling” in March, “Xanadu Jr” from the Arcadians Children’s Theatre in April with their second production yet-to-be-announced for September, “Be More Chill” in June, we are proud to announce our November production will be “Les Misérables”; directed by none other than Malcolm White. 2022 is also the 25th Anniversary of our very own Miners Lamp Theatre. A special event to mark the occasion will be announced early next year so watch this space.
May you all have a relaxing time, enjoying good company, good food and good weather. But more importantly, hugging your loved ones. On behalf of the Board of Management, we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas break.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Ebenezer Scrooge
“God bless us, every one!” – Tiny Tim
A lot has been happening since I last messaged all our members and friends of Arcadians.
After reopening the theatre earlier in the year, we were very hopeful of seeing a normal year of theatre activity at the Miner’s Lamp Theatre. Well, that didn’t happen did it!
“Ladies In Black” under the guidance of Kerrie Hartin were able to almost finish their season! What a great disappointment having to reduce audience size and cancel one show for everyone involved in getting the show finally on stage and particularly the patrons who had booked for the final weekend but missed out because of reduced seating capacity and lockdown.
Our production of “Be More Chill” under the Direction of Justin Clarke was scheduled to go to stage on 4 August. The excellent cast were into rehearsal and looking forward to getting to demonstrate their talents. But that was not to be. Regrettably the production team decided they could not get the production to the quality they wanted in time to open. Thankfully we have been able to re-schedule the production for 2022 to fit in with the cast and production teams existing commitments.
Our ACT production of “Xanadu JR” due to open 17 September has had to be postponed to next year as the production team will not to be able to complete rehearsal requirements in time. There are a few members due to graduate this year and we are hopeful that they will be able to return to complete their graduation in 2022.
The Lamplighters and Minstrels have been similarly affected not being able to rehearse and having to cancel some scheduled performances. And the Monday Maintenance Men having to abide by the rules as well can’t wait to get back into the theatre to keep everything in top condition for the members as soon as they are allowed.
Onto some good news, our friends in the Cotswold Arcadians in Westrop, United Kingdom, completed their season of “The Tempest” this week. After 500 days of darkness for the Group, they reopened to outstanding comments from their patrons. We congratulate them and wish them continued success.
There is no doubt that Arcadians will survive this latest setback. We are all looking forward to the time when our members can do what they love doing at the theatre and when our patrons can again enjoy live theatre in a real theatre.
As our situation is evolving on a weekly basis, we look forward to keeping in touch with you on our way forward. As the Premier would say, “When I know, you’ll know!”
Until next time, stay safe and stay at home.
Isabelle and her husband Phill have been members of the Group since 1971 when Isabelle joined the Production team for Carousel. Their photos first appear together in the program for Mame in 1975 and their participation with the Arcadians Theatre Group has been continuous over the years.
As well as backstage, Isabelle was an accomplished actress being on stage for My Fair Lady, Hitz of the Blitz and other major productions. She loved doing the Club Shows whenever the opportunity arose.
She was President of the Ladies Auxiliary and an active member for many years.
Isabelle will be more recently remembered for her smiling face and quick wit in the hair, wig and make-up department; often breaking up our cast backstage in the dressing room. Her contribution to training and passing on her knowledge to members in these crafts has been enormous; skills that will be remembered for life. Her happy approach to life extended to her family, Grandchildren and the many friends she made.
It is always sad when you lose someone close and Isabelle will be surely missed by her Arcadians family – past and present. Her cheery welcome, kindness and beautiful smile will always be remembered. And her accent!
Our condolences go to Phill, Christopher (CJ), Nicole, grandchildren Sienna, Sophe and Poppy and extended family at this time. Our thoughts are with you all.
Paul’s love for Arcadians and theatre stretches over decades and the hats he has worn were many and varied. Paul joined Arcadians in 1970 as stage crew for “Brigadoon”. On stage as Cornelius Hackl in “Hello Dolly”(1972) he met the love of his life, the classic ‘showmance’ that lead to a marriage and a beautiful loving family, that fortunately for us continues to weave itself around Arcadians. Paul’s love for his family was second to none, his eyes would be beam, and his smile would shine at the mention of Clare or his boys or when relaying tales about his beloved Grandchildren. His heart was filled with love and pride and it was always an honour to see that part of Paul.
As president of Arcadians Paul brought the many branches of the group to the table, literally inviting representatives from ACT, The Lamplighters and the Auxiliary to join the Board to become more connected as a group. He helped build relationships that united us as we planned the future of Arcadians. Paul was always about what came next, his ability to be inclusive and respectful and allow ideas to successfully flourish is what made him so well respected and genuinely loved. His passion for Arcadians was always on full display, Paul’s faith in people was relentless and he would offer support at every level. Though he stepped down as president for health reasons he was never ever far away from Arcadians.
Paul’s last time on the stage for Arcadians at the Miner’s Lamp was in 2013, where he played Dr Greyburn the family doctor in the Agatha Christie spoof “Something’s Afoot”, which was right up Paul’s alley with corny one-liners that he relished delivering. Since then, he has been involved in some capacity with almost every production at the Miner’s Lamp and when we’ve gone into the IPAC Paul’s leadership and professionalism were invaluable. Roles such as stage managing, lighting design/operator ‘lx cue for fog, always haze when Paul’s in charge’ to set design, builder and manager. Paul was never short of people to be on his team because he valued everyone equally which made it a delight to work with him.
Paul was so proud and humbled when he received his “Life Membership” to the Group. The highest accolade that can be given to a member.
Leading the MMMM (Marvellous Monday Maintenance Men), Paul and his team of workers keep the Miner’s Lamp in tip top shape and again when Paul had to step down for health reasons, he continued to visit with his friends the MMMM and stayed connected to Arcadians right to the very end. Although he had restrictions, Paul continued on his own terms and always with a ‘dad joke’ on hand. His sense of humour and his ability to really see people and be engaged with them, he never looked above you, he always looked at you and listened. He has been a guiding light to so many of us in Arcadians and that’s exactly how we will be remembered. His legacy with Arcadians is immeasurable and will be honoured and respected forever.
To Clare, David, Simon, Michael and John and your families we offer our heartfelt sympathy, Paul was a giant amongst us with a big heart and a warm soul, and his loss will leave a big empty space. We send you all our love and offer our thoughts and prayers during this sad time.
As the haze clears and the lights dim, Paul Greer may have left the stage; but he will never leave our hearts. May he rest in peace.
As Paul would say, “What (more) can I say!”.
Vale Paul Greer.
Into the Woods JR opens 1 and 2 May – one weekend only.
Arcadians Children’s Theatre (ACT) reopens this weekend after a 12 month recess due to “you-know-what”. “Into the Woods JR“ commenced rehearsals under COVID conditions with the kids having to rehearse socially distanced, singing with masks on with the restriction of only 5 singing at one time. The cast were heroes in doing the right thing to get their show on the stage; never giving up that the show would go on. The number of parents able to attend at any one time were limited. Their dedication and support in keeping everyone safe is acknowledged here.
But they did it! An amazing effort by everyone from cast, production team and parents.
ACT has an impressive history having begun their story in 1986; 35 years without a break in production (pandemics not counted). Over 50 productions have been presented to the public over that time. We have had a wealth of talent directing the kids; 8 Directors in total. They have been supported of course by productions teams and administration staff of excellence – teaching our young thespians the craft of live theatre. Many of our ACT Graduates (at age 16 years) have continued onto adult theatre performance and production as well as becoming parents and sending their kids to Saturday afternoon rehearsals. And with you, the public continuing to support our kids, we expect ACT to continue for many years to come.
ACT boasts 4 Life Members of the Arcadians Theatre Group; two of which were inducted at our AGM this March. Lilian Bates was our first Director in 1985 who established the approach to operating the Group which has basically continued (with minor tweaks) until now. Lilian was inducted as Life Member along with the current ACT Director Janne-Maree McNeice, Director for the past many years.
Now that we can welcome 100% capacity of our public supporters to the Miners Lamp Theatre, we look forward to filling the theatre once again. If you haven’t already purchased your tickets to this weekends season; don’t leave it too late. We look forward to your enthusiastic support.