2017: Looking ahead

Item 2: Fingers crossed

re Newcastle City Council (NCC) & Occupancy Certificate

Remember when our new theatre opened in March 2011? 

There was excitement about the future and plans for a liquor licence. The Committee Members at the time raced off and got their RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) qualifications anticipating the go ahead stamp from the NNC.

But, like all good dramas, there was an obstacle. The Occupancy Certificate wasn’t granted, therefore there was no Liquor Licence and the RSA qualifications slowly expired.

Since then, each new Committee (some faces have changed, others are stubbornly still serving NTC) has struggled to meet the criteria, or negotiate regarding the work already carried out and even re-examining all our plans and policies. The number of people-hours that has gone into this is too exhausting to calculate.

Thanks to the persistent work of Stewart McGowan, Janine Mullins and other regular Committee members throughout that time, not to mention our Theatre Manager, we started to believe we were getting somewhere. The obstacle may be overcome and we can get to the happy finale.

Recently, our architect, James Craft has come up with what we hope is convincing paperwork and plans that have been forwarded to the NCC.

If we get the green light, it means we can finally get that Liquor Licence and it opens up a whole lot of other possibilities for our Company. One step at a time.

fingers-crossed-2

Note: all animations used are free without copyright issues. 

Written by Debra Hely.

 

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Image

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

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