We have finally been able to hold our AGM, originally scheduled for March but delayed for obvious reasons. We have a new committee - made up of some returning members and some exciting new members:
PRESIDENT Neale Paterson
VICE-PRESIDENT Seanne Sparrow
SECRETARY Barry Park
TREASURER Kristine Lockwood
CO-OPTED COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Thanks to all who attended, and special thanks to our retiring committee members, for all their support over the last year: Pete Nettleton, Jeremy Heenan and Martin Forsey.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
This report is an edited and updated version of a report which was posted on Facebook in April, after the cancellation of the AGM due to COVID situation.
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 good 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. There is no doubt that the New Fortune Theatre is Grads' 'brand'. We are the only group keeping it alive as a theatrical venue, and University Theatre are very happy to support our continued use of it.
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. 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.
In November we started planning for our next show in the New Fortune, Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Thomas Dimmick. It was performed in March, and I am sure that all who saw it would agree with me that it was a life-affirmingly inventive, funny and colourful production, with a glorious cast, that used the New Fortune stage beautifully. Ticket sales were not at the level of the previous year's Merchant of Venice, given the uncertain situation at the time and the relatively unknown play, but it was a wonderful production by any account.
The Merry Wives finished its season - and within days we were in lockdown. We were planning to hold our AGM and then to present Alide Chaney's production of 'My Mother Said I Never Should…' in July at the Townshend Theatre in Subiaco. Events forced us to cancel both, of course. However we are very keen to mount Alide's show next year.
The current outlook - at least in Western Australia - at least at the moment - has allowed us to proceed - a little nervously - with our plans for 'The Boys in the Band', to be directed by Barry Park in November. University Theatres has made it possible for us to use the Dolphin Theatre for a two week season. I am very optimistic that the timeliness of the play and our positive association with PrideFEST WA, who are very happy to promote the play as part of their November celebrations, gives us every opportunity for a successful season and a fresh start.
Our next planned show is a summer Shakespeare season in the New Fortune, followed by Alide’s show mid-year, probably in the Townshend Theatre. We are also hoping to work with Grant Malcolm, who has an exciting concept for a series of staged readings of Shakespeare in the New Fortune.
Please join us on this journey...