Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society history (2001)

AWARD WINNING: Parkes M&D cast of "Reminising our Rose" - Katie Towsend, Noveta Hunt and Brian and Judy Schmalkuche in 2001. This one act play won the unpublished award at the One Act Play Festival. Photo: Submitted
AWARD WINNING: Parkes M&D cast of "Reminising our Rose" - Katie Towsend, Noveta Hunt and Brian and Judy Schmalkuche in 2001. This one act play won the unpublished award at the One Act Play Festival. Photo: Submitted

Parkes Shire Council approached the Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society to present a concert in honour of a visiting delegation from Coventry, early in January.

Members in co-operation with Liz Matthews put together an Australasian themed concert of skits, poetry and musical items for the enjoyment of the visitors.

Kitty Harper provided music on the piano, while other members such as Isobelle Powter, John Short, Stan Kingham, Lyn Townsend and Neil Westcott did individual items and a society ensemble sang Australiana medleys.

An international guest, Bob Brolly rounded the concert off with the Fields of Athenry.

Alan Wright developed a version of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" as a sonnet luminaire, named "The Merchant" performed in the Parkes Court House.

The actors were on sage behind sheets, lit up by lights showing their silhouettes. The cast included Brian and Judy Schnalkuche, Barry Turnes, Kay and Geoff Lindsay, Noveta Hunt, Lyn Townsend, Rick Avery and Alan Wright who also directed it.

The production occurred without interfering with the normal court proceedings due to the kind co-operation of the staff.

The AGM was in March and the controversial proxy voting was again used. The disagreement between two groups of members which started the year before, came to a head after this meeting when several long-serving members of the Society moved a motion asking the executive to apologise for the disparaging remarks made about Greig Ball, the hard-working president who oversaw the complete theatre renovations. He is now a life member of the Society.

This motion was defeated causing some of the long-serving members to resign from the Society. It was a traumatic and disruptive year for the Society.

Lorna Helby retained the chair, while John Allen took over from Geoff Lindsay as vice president, the other positions remained the same.

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The autumn productions started with Lorna producing "Phantom of the Music Hall", unfortunately there is no program or record in the minutes to say who was in the cast or the success for the show.

Lyn Townsend wrote and directed a one act play "Reminicing our Rose", her attempt which was entered in the One Act Play Festival at Kinross Wolloroi in Orange as the Parkes entry.

Katie won the junior award while the play took out the unpublished award.

The cast included Katie Townsend, Noveta Hunt, Brian and Judy Schmalkuche.

Because the theatre seating was now tiered with three rows of seats in each tier, it was necessary to design a new shape of table to fit the area during theatre restaurant shows. Andrew Hunt designed a round table and organised their construction.

November saw the three act play "Wild Goose Chase" directed by Brian Schmalkuche, staged with a very talented crew of 10 members. Jenny Willis, Stan and Aaron Kingham, Lyn Townsend, Judith Schmalkuche, Tania Mill, Noveta Hunt, Bill Jayet, Luke Cunningham and Matthew Steele.

Brian was ably assisted by Andrew Hunt and Cathy Rawsthorne in this entertaining "English Farce".

The final show for the year was a pantomine "Mother Goose Lets Loose", written and directed by Patsy Hill assisted by Lorna Helby.

The cast and crew numbered well in excess of 50, made-up of junior members, parents and Society stalwarts who all contributed by constructing and painting sets, costume making, light and sound crew.

It was a very popular show for the festive season, encompassing various fairy tale themes and Jail House Rock Dancers.

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