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FROM THE PRESIDENT

Hello everyone. This is an uncertain time for all of us, and the cancellation of our 2020 Annual General Meeting, which would have been held this evening, just about now, is indicative of the many changes and cancellations that are taking place in our lives. The remainder of 2020 is clearly going to be a difficult time for all community theatre organisations. 

For the moment our existing committee remains in place, but we are more than happy to co-opt anyone else who would like to be involved. Our meetings for the foreseeable future will be held online, mostly via email, so the commitment of your time will be relatively minimal. Please contact us if you are able to assist.

This is not an official report, such as would be given at an A.G.M., but an unofficial survey of Grads' last year and its prospects for the future. Please give us your feedback - you can comment below or email us at bookings@grads.org.au

Our 2019 Annual General Meeting was held in the Shakespeare Garden of the Arts Building, just after the completion of Lucy Eyre’s production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice - which re-established Grads in the New Fortune after a lapse of several years. It was a successful production, playing to reasonable houses. It was nominated for both Best Actor (Judd Milner as Shylock) and Best Actress (Grace Edwards as Portia) at the Finley Awards, and Judd Millner’s Shylock won in its category.

In July we experimented by mounting a staged reading, with music, of the locally written historical play Voices From the Tomb, directed by Pete Nettleton, at the Old York Courthouse. Special thanks to Seanne Sparrow for her help with organising this, and to Pete for all his work. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend, but by all accounts it went very well and we actually made a bit of money! I believe that this kind of show offers many opportunities for Grads in the future.

In October we presented Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie in the Dolphin Theatre, directed by Jane Hille. It was a powerful and imaginative production that adopted a challenging non-naturalistic performance style and had an innovative and beautiful set. The small cast was strong and incredibly committed. James Ford, who played young Tom, was awarded a special commendation for Best Youth at the Finley Awards and the cast were all nominated for Best Ensemble.

From a financial perspective, we lost about $2,250 in 2019. This was more than we lost in 2018, although about half of the loss was due to expenses carried over from 2018 shows. Making a profit in the Dolphin Theatre is proving very difficult, and we will have to give serious consideration to whether we can afford to continue using it. We have been here before, and we'll be here again! I will post a fuller financial report shortly, when an official audit is complete.

Our use of the Dolphin is complicated by another factor: University Theatres now requires us to pay upfront for use of venues, less any money taken by advance ticket sales. This means that we have to make a significant payment in advance, which given our financial situation is going to get harder and harder. It makes a two week season almost impossible. It is in itself a reasonable requirement, but one that was not enforced in 2018. It has been suggested that we approach the Latvian Centre, where Barry Park recently staged a successful show for Playlovers, as a venue for future shows.

In November we started planning for our next show in the New Fortune, Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Thomas Dimmick. That show has now finished, and I am sure that all who saw it would agree with me that it was a life-affirmingly inventive, funny and colourful production that used the New Fortune stage beautifully. Ticket sales were not at the level of Merchant of Venice, given the current situation in the world and the relatively unknown play. We are awaiting a financial reconciliation from University Theatres.

This year we were planning to present Alide Chaney's production of 'My Mother Said I Never Should…' in July at the Townshend Theatre in Subiaco. Events have forced us to cancel, of course. However the Townshend Theatre, along with the Latvian Centre, definitely seem to be promising venues for future productions. 

We were also planning a two-week season of 'The Boys in the Band', to be directed by Barry Park in November, initially at the Dolphin Theatre, but, given the expense of making an upfront payment for two weeks, we were considering the Latvian Centre as an alternative. We have not yet made a decision as to whether we can proceed.

It is my personal opinion that Grads should do everything in its power to maintain its connection to the University of Western Australia, at least as far as continuing to use the New Fortune on a regular basis. In this we are supported by University Theatres, who are keen for it to continue in use as a theatrical venue, for which they need a group like Grads - but whether we can leverage this to make it a financially feasible option remains to be seen.

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for your support for Grads. We will be considering our future options over the next few weeks, but there are so many unknowns! Please comment with any observations or suggestions you may have, and again - thank you!

NEALE PATERSON

OUR ANUAL GENERAL MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED


The Grads Annual General Meeting, which was scheduled for next Sunday afternoon, from 5 to 6:30 at the Fox Lecture Theatre, has been cancelled. We are hoping to reschedule it very soon, but in an online environment - details to be announced. These are strange times

This is obviously going to be a difficult year for all community theatre groups, and we hope you will continue to follow and support us. We will be there for you when the world feels better! 

One way to help us might be to nominate for the committee. Due to the current environment we will not be calling physical meetings of the committee for some time, so your involvement would be limited to occasional online engagement.  

If you would like to be involved, or have a comment to make, please let us know here or email us at bookings@grads.org.au

Merry Wives of Windsor - Audience Reactions!




"The opening night of The Merry Wives of Windsor was an absolute joy. Full disclosure: two-thirds of the cast are friends of mine, but I was interested regardless. I've seen The Scottish Play and "Everybody Dies" several times, but I'd never seen this Shakespearean comedy.

"It was hilarious. There were scenes where the audience was literally roaring with laughter. I am far from an authority but Will peppers his plays with diverse characters, and ordinary situations which, although written 500 years ago, are instantly recognisable today. We relate, and therefore we laugh. Today's soap operas, sitcoms, and farces had their origins half a millennium ago.

"ALL the cast were having enormous fun. Robert Jackson and Kaitlin Okely balanced each other wonderfully. Cameron Leese strutted befittingly, whilst Jason Dohle bumbled comically. Nigel Goodwin brought his Monty Python and the Holy Grail A-Game to the table, and for the Hogwarts fans Barry Potter was in fine form.

"Publicity and word of mouth have suggested that Grant Malcolm is channeling Brian Blessed. Grant does not disappoint. It's a fine and generous actor who can alternately propel a scene, and then relinquish control as the script requires.

"But if your production intends to live up to its title, then you'd better damn well cast a couple of strong female leads. And in Anna Head and Meredith Hunter, The Merry Wives of Windsor showcases two of Perth's most accomplished actresses. They owned that stage, ran rings around poor Grant's character, and had the audience in hysterics. And did so with an almost casual effortlessness, as though Shakespearean comedy was the most natural thing in the world. Their chemistry was undeniable and their stage presence indisputable.

"Congratulations to director Thomas Dimmick, and all involved, for a fantastic piece of theatre and a marvelous evening's entertainment."

JARROD BUTTERY, FACEBOOK


The Merry Wives of Windsor - OPENS THIS THURSDAY!

Only five days to go! 

Grads presents Shakespeare's colourful and charming comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, exuberantly directed by Thomas Dimmick, at the historic and beautiful New Fortune Theatre, starting on Thursday March 5 at 7:30pm, for two weeks only. 

Enjoy all of the jealousy, lust and buffoonery on a balmy March night under the stars with added peacocks. Book now!


The Merry Wives of Windsor was written at the request of Queen Elizabeth, who wanted to see her favourite character, Sir John Falstaff, "in love". It is the only play Shakespeare wrote which is completely original, not based on an earlier plays, tales or historical chronicles. 

The fact that the only play that came entirely from Shakespeare's imagination is a comedy about middle-class characters in a small country town doesn't quite sit with the idea that the author could not possibly have come from a humble background. Or does it?

Discuss...

Notice of Annual General Meeting - Sunday 29 March 2020, 5pm-6:30pm, at the University of W.A.

All are welcome to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Graduate Dramatic Society, which will be held on Sunday 29th March 2020 from 5pm to 6:30pm. It will be held at the University of W.A. at a venue to be confirmed shortly - check back here. 

We will start with a talk from distinguished director and actor, Stephen Lee, accompanied by drinks and nibbles. The AGM itself will start at 6pm and should not last more than 30 minutes.

If you have an interest in the future of Grads, we would be delighted to see you there.

Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor - 5-14 March at the New Fortune. Book now!



Grads presents William Shakespeare’s most purely comic play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the historic and beautiful New Fortune Theatre at the University of Western Australia, Perth’s original Shakespeare venue. Peacocks will be provided.

Book now!

5 - 8 and 11 - 14 March, 7:30pm
Duration: 2h 15m including one interval of 15m
$30 standard, $20 concession, $15 standing

For wheelchair accessible seats please call 6488 2440 Monday to Friday, 12pm to 4pm.



Sir John Falstaff is in financial difficulties. He has no money and his men are accused of conning some of the locals out of their money. He decides to fix his financial woes by seducing the wives of two wealthy merchants...

***

Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor is a raucous comedy filled with some of The Bard’s most famous characters. Performed in the New Fortune Theatre, this show promises to be a fun time for everyone. The outdoor setting and large open stage means you will get to experience Shakespeare similar to how it was originally conceived, with the space around the stage being standing room only.

For two weeks only! Make sure you don’t miss out on seeing what the Mistresses Ford and Page are able to concoct in their revenge on the tricky John Falstaff.