Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society history Part 45

STEEL MAGNOLIAS CAST: Shevaun Brown, Katrina Harris, Amy Dearden, Sophie Harris, Christie Green and Christa Radley. Photo: BILL JAYET.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS CAST: Shevaun Brown, Katrina Harris, Amy Dearden, Sophie Harris, Christie Green and Christa Radley. Photo: BILL JAYET.

The first month of activity included the Australia Day awards where the Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society was honored with the Group award, our juniors for the Junior Cultural award and Shev Brown and Neil Westcott were joint overall winners in the adult category. To complete the day the society staged a very successful Australia Day Concert.

Troy Grant visited the Theatre to present a cheque to the Society for it's successful CBP grant application, praising the progress of the theatre complex and completed shed extension.

At the AGM in March, the society had much pleasure in honoring Neil Westcott with a Life Membership after many years involving himself in all aspects of the theatre, particularly with music.

A vote of thanks was also extended to Gail, for computerising the society's financial records. At the election, Neil was elected president, Lyn, vice president, Gail as treasurer and James Whalan as secretary.

The Youth Group was creating interest among the Juniors with 13 attending their functions. Brittani Carol and Lucinda Auld proposed that they direct the Charity Concert in October.

'Steel Magnolias' which had been cast earlier, started rehearsals the first week in February and opening night was May 1.

The story centres around salon owner Truvy as she dispenses shampoo and advice to her clients.

Lyn Townsend, with her flair for directing, had a very strong cast with Christie Green as owner and Amy Dearden, her assistant.

Patrons to the salon included Christa Radley, Shev Brown, Sophie and Katrina Harris joining with the owner in gossip, laughter, teasing and comfort as they go through life's big joys and challenges.

The back stage crew of Brian Townsend, Russell Tanswell and Katie Townsend put together a realistic set of a hairdressing salon.

The society extended their sincere sympathy to Lyn, whose mother Cushla Fuller passed away during May, remembering her many hours of work at the theatre, both back stage and front of house.

Another of the society stalwarts, Veronica Fellows, passed away in June and she will be remembered for her acting and directing with many shows, with two in particular, 'Oklahoma' and 'Hits of the Blitz'. The society extended their condolences to Derek and family, who are now living in Tasmania.

The very popular Gilbert and Sullivan production 'The Pirates of Penzance', was staged in September under the direction of Belinda McGrath, who was assisted by Christa Radley.

The cast of the Pirates of Penzance.

The cast of the Pirates of Penzance.

The rollicking music was led by musical director Neil Westcott with a nine piece band comprised of Dan Barker, Hayden Westcott, Liam Tamati, Amy Deardon, Brian Symonds, Helen Hurley, Paul Dawson, Duncan Clement and Nigel Thomas. Special mention of Carolyn Butler, who was vocal supervisor, for overseeing all the rousing songs and choruses.

In this production it was not possible for the lead to be available for all performances, so the role of Mabel was shared between Madeline Hans and Renate Rothe. James Whalan played Frederic, Greg Ballantyne was Pirate King, Craig Bland played Samuel, Christa Radley, was Ruth, Mal Westcott, played the Major General and Dooley Thompson was Police Sargent.

Twenty four cast members made up the maidens, pirates and coppers. The backstage team consisted of Eileen Bradley, Peter Guppy and Jye Jefferey while lighting and sound was capably handled by Anthony McGrath and Ben Bevan (lights) with John Henry and Kurt Rosser (sound).

In the CAT awards, Madeline Timms and Patricia Kelson received encouragement awards; while Dooley Thompson (best actor), Belinda McGrath (costume design) and Amy Dearden (best actor) also receiving honours.