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.
31 March 2021
Welcome to a new year at Arcadians Theatre Group website.
How glad are we that 2020 is now behind us. All of our activities were severely affected by the pandemic. Arcadians Children’s Theatre (ACT), Lamplighters, Minstrels, Costume and Props hire, and the Monday Maintenance Men (MMM) volunteers all went into hibernation. The impact on many members was significant in that friendships were interrupted, activity and socialising put on hold and the feeling of not knowing when it would all end. Fortunately, previous Management Teams had the foresight to put aside finances for such a drastic change in our activity and consequently, although there was little income for the Group to be able to continue to operate our own theatre there were sufficient funds to continue to progress the extensive renovations that had been planned to commence in November 2020 and keep the theatre viable until the pandemic passed.
When our March production of “Pirates of Penzance” had to be closed with the last weekend of the season cancelled, attention turned quickly to bringing forward the renovations. As a consequence, the planned work was commenced and continued throughout the year under COVID conditions, culminating in their completion in 2021 for our first production with COVID restrictions of “Sweeney Todd”. We can now boast one of the most technically advanced theatres in the State; owned and operated by a purely volunteer Not-for-Profit Company. We thank all the tradesmen and members who gave up their time and expertise in arduous conditions and restricted movement to finish the project ready for opening night.
As Sweeney Todd opened with 75% allowed occupancy and then 100% for the last weekend, we completed the last twelve months in a fantastic position; ready to get back to the new normal of living with the virus.
The new Board of Directors thank the outgoing Board for continuing to take responsibility for the Group for a two-year term rather than the usual one year. A mammoth task to stay in touch with the membership and the internal Groups that call the Miners Lamp Theatre their home. Special mention goes to our Immediate Past President Liza who after 12 years as President and a pandemic has decided to retire. Liza has left the Group in an extremely strong position to move forward in the coming years, but she has vowed to continue working for the Group when called upon.
Another special mention is to Paul Greer who has built the Monday Maintenance Men team up over many years to be an important contributor to the development of the theatre and of individual productions. For health reasons, Paul has stepped back from managing the MMM but still takes a keen interest in their progress. Thank you Paul for your important contributions to the Group over the many years you have been a member. We wish you all the best.
Watch this space as we keep you up to date with what is happening at Arcadians. We treasure the involvement of our members and the support of the general public that continue to follow our progress and attend our productions – even in the most difficult of times.
Watch our Facebook page for announcements of our newly elected Life Members.
We look forward to seeing you at the theatre for our next productions very soon.
Cheers for now,
Thank you so much to the bumper turnout of Arcadians who attended our 56th Annual General Meeting yesterday. It was very heartening to see so many friendly faces both old and new.
It was also incredibly encouraging to receive so many new nominees for roles on the Board.
We are delighted to announce the Arcadians Theatre Group’s Company Board for 2021 as voted for by our Members: http://arcadians.org.au/about/the-board/
Firstly, from all of us on committee we hope you’re all keeping safe and practicing social distancing. These are strange and troubling times and Arcadians plans to be with you all the way.
The arts have always brought light in dark times, so we’re making preparations to give you light at the other side of COVID19.
So, how are we moving forward? We are flipping 2020 by trying to move our much anticipated theatre refurbishment forward to April/May and move our season to the end of the year! Ladies in Black will now be on in November and we have moved Sweeney Todd to March 2021.
For the many branches of our Arcadians family tree, this will mean a hiatus of at least 6 months. ACT, Lamplighters, Minstrels, Costumes, Props and Monday Maintenance volunteers will not have access to the theatre during this time. We are thinking outside the square and looking at digital solutions to keep them connected. We are committed to putting the safety of our members first, and while I know that the great camaraderie our volunteers share will be missing, it won’t be over.
We will provide regular updates throughout this period and some sneaky progress shots of the theatre revamp to keep you connected to us.
We have taken the decision, which is supported and recommended by the ACNC (our governing body) to postpone the AGM until later this year, when it is safe again for us to gather and celebrate with our theatre community. Our current committee has all agreed with this and as a result of that, it would seem my long service leave as President has also been postponed.
We are united in ensuring that Arcadians gets through this awful period together, with humour, respect and kindness. If you are struggling during this period of social isolation please reach out, we may not be able to hug you, but we can listen and connect. Please take care everyone, now is the time to bunker down and get creative so we can shine on the other side.
PS – this is the plan for now but this situation is not normal and change can happen quickly – keep watching this space.