Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society history Part 33 - 2002

With the newly renovated theatre and the growing membership, the Society was being called on more and more to stage entertainment for outside organisations.

So in March, the President presented a revue for Women in Local Government and then in April for the Financial Awareness Group, both received commendation for the entertainment.

The AGM was held in March, when the Secretary and President did not seek re-election after a very hectic two years. Barry Turner took the chair and his wife Sandra became Secretary.

The President was not to get an easy term as the sensitive artistic nature of the members raised several contentious issues during the year but to his credit they were resolved in a very diplomatic manner.

Liz Matthews wrote to the Society concerning the manner in which the meetings were managed, much animated discussion followed and the President said he would consider all the facts and report back to a later meeting, in the end no action was taken.

The Society"s participation in one act play festivals at Grenfell and Gulgong were discussed with Lyn Townsend offering to take "Reminiscing the Rose" to Grenfell which unfortunately was withdrawn due to technical difficulties.

Brian Schmalkuche directed "Dark out There", one of the two plays suggested for Gulgong. Suzie McNamara directed "I can't remember anything" with John and Jenny Short in the cast but was unable to have it ready in time so it was staged at Parkes in September with "Dark out There", which had been successful in winning best drama award at the Festival.

The next big production was to be "The King and I" in May, but it was felt the theatre sound and lighting equipment needed to be upgraded. Quotes were received up to $5000 but the new equipment was installed for considerably less.

However it was felt a technical workshop on the operation of this equipment should be held in August. At the same time there was a request for the use of the equipment during a Cenotaph Appeal Concert and was granted.

"The King and I" was staged in the Little Theatre between May 10 and 25 with seven performances. Directed by Lorna Helby, Musical Director Kerriean Hood assisted by Lisa Betts with Patsy Hill, Choreographer. With 51 in the cast, the main roles were taken by Bill Jayet, Sharon Dixon, Neil Westcott, Stan Kingham, Jock Campbell, Brad Wilson, Jay Quince, Aaron Kingham, Anne Maree Adams, Sandra Turner, Daniel Turner, Barry Turner and Carmen Tom.

The musical was a huge success with many favourable comments from the community. In particular a letter of praise came from Tracy Dawson who also was concerned at the behaviour of some members of the M&D during production and in public.

During August, Parkes was receiving a visit from the Governor, Council approached the Society with a request for entertainment. Lorna Helby undertook to produce and direct an "Oldtime Music Hall Theatre Restaurant" for May 16.

Patsy Hill produced a Junior production "Stars in Their Eyes" in September, at the same time, Dance Encore production wanted to stage "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the theatre however the Society said the local production should take precedence and the visiting show should go elsewhere.

Because of casting problems "Post Horn Gallop" was postponed until 2003 however Brian Schmalkuhe proceeded with "Wanted one Body" staged over six nights from October 20 to November 2. Those involved were, John Orgill, Kayla Armstrong, Rob Atkins, Noveta Hunt, Lyn Townsend, Annwen Hughes, Matthew Steele, Tania Mill, Dave Robinson and Sarah Hitchick.

Final show for the year was the comedy "Flight 069" about many incidents such as motor failure, thunderstorms and unruly passenger behaviour. Directed by Lorna Helby, the cast included many new faces in a one off appearance.

Other matters raised during the year, Lyn Townsend received approval to have a street banner made to publicise upcoming shows. Parkes Society agreed to maintain its membership to the Festival of One Act Plays and elected Warwick Tom as the representative.