Numbers to consider

Theatre in Newcastle

ticketOne of the most obvious things an artistically-minded newcomer to Newcastle would immediately note is that we have a very vibrant and active theatre scene. With so many shows on throughout the year, audiences have to plan what they see and how much money they are willing to part with. Naturally enough, we want our plays to be high on that priority list.

Vice-President Richard Murray sat down with the 2017 Theatre Guide prepared by recent Order of Australia recipient, Ken Longworth. These are the number of shows each month that Richard gleaned from that guide:

Month              Shows

January                   6

February                9

March                   18

April                      13

May                         7

June                       13

July                        13

August                    7

September           10

October                 13

November              6

December             Not listed

The total number of shows is 115! We are only doing 8 (1 already done) out of this number, which is close to 7% of known theatre in Newcastle. Of course, these are only the ones Ken knew about when he went to press.

Publicity and promotion are certainly big factors in helping audiences make their play selections. If you have any brilliant ideas and would be able to help the Committee in any way, be in one show per year or more, please pass your offer on to one of the Committee members. All help will be appreciated.


coming-soon-2

Picnic by William Inge and directed by Julie Black is well into rehearsals now. It opens on 4 March, and closes 18 March. Don’t just book your own tickets, start spreading the word. This is going to be another show you won’t want to miss. More information soon.

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Julie’s passionate presentation about Picnic at the Launch

 

hot_newsBlood Brothers – matinee date moved

Blood Brothers – an excellent and moving piece of musical theatre written by Willy Russell and directed by Adelle Richards has a huge cast/band. For specific reasons, they have asked to move their Saturday Matinee (29 April) to the Sunday (30 April) and the Committee agreed to this on Monday night. This means they will have two Sunday matinees: 23 April and 30 April: NO SATURDAY MATINEE.

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Adelle sharing her inspiration about Blood Brothers at the launch.

The AGM is approaching

According to the Constitution, all 2016 membership fully expires on 28 February 2017 (there’s a two-month leniency allowed). The AGM is being held on 1 March – so if you want to vote, you need to ensure you are financial. (To confirm your status email: ntcmembership@gmail.com)

Anyone wishing to nominate for Committee needs to be financial at the time of nominating, as does the member nominating them. All nominations need to be submitted by 22 February. Details and forms have been emailed out. (Email the Theatre Manager if you need more information: newrep@bigpond.com)

[Photos used were taken by Debra Hely; Clip Art - public domain/royalty free]

Submissions welcome:

If you have news that you wish to share with members here, please email me: debraahely@gmail.com.

Until next time, cheers, Debra.

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NTC – another busy year.

It seems to be just as well that we’ve reduced the number of shows this year, because NTC has been a very busy place.

A well attended Working Bee on 10/11 January kickstarted everything. Anyone who hasn’t yet seen the Green Room will be amazed with what was achieved. I’m attaching a few photos  here and there that I took on the day in between jobs.

We need coffee

We need coffee

We have to move that?

We have to move that?

Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley, directed by John Wood was a successful Opening Play for our 2015 season. The ensemble cast made it a very memorable visit to the theatre – and the technical aspects totally complimented their work, or was it the other way around?

 

 

In February we had our AGM and had a some changes in our Committee. John Wood has stepped down but is still involved in the Artistic Development Sub-Committee (ADSC). They have already started play readings for possible selection in 2016. If you’re interested in attending the readings, let John know (johnpond_1989@hotmail.com). New to the Committee are Michael Byrne; David Ebert and Janine G. Mullins. We also welcomed back Life Member John McFadden to the team. Committee Meetings are held on the first Monday of the month @ 7:30pm (except for April when it’s the 2nd Monday). Members are welcome to attend but cannot vote. Executive Meetings are held the Monday after @5:30pm.

Where to start?

Where to start?

The job begins

The job begins

Keep or toss?

Keep or toss?

In March, lauded director Julie Black mounted the intriguing drama, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton. Audiences were once again impressed with the variety and talents on show in our theatre.

Julie must be a serious workaholic as she was also preparing a return season of Emma Wood’s successful play, Mr Bennet’s Bride, which has a brief encore season before beginning an exciting tour. We expect updates of the responses from the audiences as well as interesting touring gossip.

Elsewhere, Woy Woy Little Theatre is building on the success it had with its Flash short play festival last year, and is doing it again in 2015. This year’s theme is Free. To get writers in the mood they held a weekend workshop run by wordsmith and playwright, Alex Broun. Two members from NTC attended the workshop – Peter Oliver and Debra Hely.

Man stuff

Man stuff

What tools did you say to bring?

What tools did you say to bring?

Meanwhile, Cactus Flower by Abe Burrows and directed by the esteemed Brian Wark, is bumping in, getting ready to open on on 2 May. It promises to be a fun night with lots of comedic episodes, with an essentially heart-warming story at its heart.

Michael Blaxland and his team are in rehearsals for Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde. What an evening that promises to be!

Janet Nelson, and her AD Louise Johnson have just cast Dancing at Lughnasa. Successful auditionees include: Amy Wilde, Brian Randell, Howard Rawlinson, Matthew McFarlane, Pearl Nunn, Tracey Gordon, Tracey Owens & Tracy Ebbetts.

Nutrition and a smiling face

Nutrition and a smiling face

Crowd favourite, Isobel Denholm is getting ready to hold auditions for The Female of the Species by Joanna Murray-Smith. Details have been emailed out.

I don’t have the time to even begin to start on the successes members have also been having with other theatre groups. However, congratulations all of you.

Phew – now to get on with updating Membership work…

cheers

Debra Hely

Paint changes everything

Paint changes everything

Here’s the last of the photos from the Working Bee – apologies if I neglected to shoot / include you.

[This is my first go at adding photos here – not so good a job. But it’ll do for now.]

All work and no silly business like photo bombing

All work and no silly business like photo bombing

Sweat, sweat and more sweat

Sweat, sweat and more sweat

You go gals

You go gals

Just one more coat

Just one more coat

Keep or ?

Keep or ?

Back from the tip

Back from the tip

Fill 'er up for another tip run

Fill ‘er up for another tip run

Lunch break and that smiling face again

Lunch break and that smiling face again

Carry that load

Carry that load

Trying to psyche up to get back to work

Trying to psyche up to get back to work

Toasting a job well done

Toasting a job well done

Love this hard yakka

Love this hard yakka

Brief haitus

Brief haitus

Lunch

Lunch

One moment

One moment

Cake delivery and that smiling face again

Cake delivery and that smiling face again

Giant Monster Working Bee

What really needs to be done around our theatre?
Worker
1. We need a shed out the back that is big enough to store major scenery pieces
2. We need to decommission and replace the current large air conditioning unit with an appropriate, low noise fan unit
3. The costume area! It needs new shelves, sorting, reorganising
4. We’ve collected a lot of old flats and other pieces that are well past their use by date and need to be dumped. There’s also some large items to dispose of.
5. Our set construction area is evolving but it needs finishing and organising
6. If the rail on the loading bay stairs was removable…

There’s the priority list. What we’ve got planned is a giant monster working bee centred around the weekend of the 10th and 11th of January. The plan is to concentrate on the first three items in the list.

On both days, we’d get teams working at around 9 with a finish after lunch at around 2pm. What we need now is people who’d like to volunteer for a team. To volunteer, send an e-mail to Viv at the theatre. We’d like people for:

The Shed-building team
The air-con decommissioning team
The costume room team
The clean-up team
The catering and drinks team

Vintage_WWII_Patriotic_Posters_United_States_America-4LGIf you’re available for only one day, or for both, that’s fine. If you’re not available that weekend, there’s some work to be done pre- and post- the event.
2014 was such a big year that we haven’t really had the time for some of the major work around the theatre. So this is our chance to catch up and get the place ship-shape. We’ve got enough to keep everyone busy. Each team will have a ‘Captain’ who’ll be involved in the planning of the day so if you’re interested in this role, let Viv know as well.

Looking forward to seeing a great many of the members there!

Stewart

Belated Updates from the NTC Committee

The Committee has been very busy this year, and somewhere along the way, we forgot to update everyone with many of the decisions we’ve made. If you want the full details, you can always read the Minutes, or, if you’re really interested, attend meetings (1st Monday of the month, 7:30pm).

Decisions
In no particular order, here are some of the decisions. To:
• reduce the size of our seasons back to 8 shows from 2015;
• continue to pursue approvals from Council for various improvements;
• revise the manuals / folders for Directors, Production Managers and Stage Managers;
• revise the mentoring relationship for new directors;
• revise publicity options for our productions;
• continue to support the CONDAs;
• revise the audition process;
• revise membership;
• continue to raise money for improvements at, and maintenance of NTC;
• organise working bees at bump outs and provide a brunch for workers;
• revise bump out / bump in procedures;
• revise security (especially after several break ins); and
• continue to deal with matters that arise as smoothly as possible for all concerned.

Actions
Again, in no particular order, here are some of the actions (on top of the many activities that are ongoing). In 2014:
• the Stage Manager’s Manual has been updated;
• the Production Manager’s Manual has been updated;
• a clear policy has been written re the roles and relationship of a Mentor Director working with a beginning Director;
• security has been investigated and improved;
• the Repartee newsletter has been replaced with this blog;
• the New Membership form has been updated – and now clarifies actors’ commitment to ushering;
• a survey has been written for all members when renewing membership so we can ensure we have up-to-date information (more to come soon);
• various publicity initiatives have been sought and discussed and we hope to be able to implement some of these soon. Volunteers are needed – can you help?

Directors & Auditions
Finally, the 2015 directors got together for a debrief re various changes that include:
• auditions at the earliest occur 16 weeks before Opening Night (with a few exceptions). However, earlier call outs asking for an expression of interest will be okay.
• All cast and crew must be financial members before they attend their first rehearsal [especially important for insurance issues].
• Directors and Production Managers are reminded to be flexible with audition times when actors are unable to make initial dates.
• If directors wish to pre-cast specific / pertinent roles, they must seek approval from The Committee first. If approved, only the other roles will be announced for auditions.

Obviously there are also other things we are working on. Stay tuned because there will be more to come, in smaller doses.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to volunteer to help out in any capacity, don’t be shy.

Debra Hely

Aside

Looking for volunteer power

Our last Bunnings barbeque, two weeks ago now, was nearly a disaster. Despite the best efforts of Viv, Cheryl, Natalie and Amanda, we went into the barbeque day without a full roster. Amanda came to the rescue, pulling a double shift but missing an important family event to keep things running. I’m guessing Natalie put in an extra shift as well. On an exceptionally hot day. Of course, many of our regular people were unavailable. Richard Murray and I were at HSC marking, David Murray, Tracey Gordon and several other barbeque regulars were unavailable as well… but this is still an issue.
Could I first of all thank most sincerely the people who made the barbeque work, particularly Amanda and Natalie. And now, the hard part: could I ask other club members to have a think about giving up some time to be more involved. It’s difficult, I know, trying to find a balance between life and theatre. I don’t think anyone expects people to give up weeks of their time. But every time someone volunteers some time, it means that the theatre runs more smoothly and we can keep moving the company forward.
Coming up in the next few months there’s a lot to enjoy. I was at the opening of Sherlock on Saturday and had a great time. I dropped in on the rehearsal of Season’s Greetings which promises to be a fantastic season closer, especially on the Christmas Party night.
But there’s also a lot to do. Over January, we’d like to get some work done out the back of the new theatre, improving our storage so that we don’t have to carry everything up and down from the old theatre. We want to cull a lot of our costumes. There’s other work to be done building set pieces to replace ones that have become badly worn. We still don’t have a Repartee editor – I’m supposed to be just filling in.
What the committee would like is more involvement. We’re going to keep using facebook and e-mail to ask for people to help out but we’d also like our members to take the initiative and start looking for the things that need doing. When the AGM comes around in February, we will need more committee members than we’ve got this year to organise front of house, productions and theatre resources. Committee members working on a project are likely to phone members directly to ask for their help with a project. If you have some time and expertise, please let us know. Debra Hely is currently working on updating our member information so that we have a clearer picture of who is free to do which job, when. And who has particular skills to volunteer. So let us know – an e-mail to the company would be a good start.
Helping out with something at the theatre is a great way to stay in touch with people and to get to know what’s happening at NTC. You’ll be hearing from us. We hope we’ll be hearing from you, too.

Stewart McGowan
President