Parkes Musical & Dramatic Society

Little Theatre - Big Entertainment

History Part 2 - Revival of the Society

 Early December 1950, an ad appept2-Photo3-Arthur Cookared in the Champion Post inviting interested parties to attend a meeting with a view to reforming the Society which hadn’t been active since before the war. A small group of enthusiastic people turned up, either to hear what was intended or who had been involved before.  Forbes Society, a very successful musical and dramatic group attended to add their support and conduct a play reading, while Bill Pavey offered the full support of the Apex Club with their service schemes  to build stage scenery. The  result was a decision to hold a meeting early in 1951 to elect a committee and progress the Society. The key drivers for a dramatic group were,  Arthur Cook, formerly of Temora and now with the Parkes Branch of the Queensland Insurance  and Lolita Gregory-Moore, a recent arrival who with her husband Barney Moore, operated Overland Airways, connecting Western towns with the Butler Airways Sydney service.

 

pt2-Photo1-MannequinParadept2-Photo2-Lolita GregoryThe Parkes M & D was officially formalized at the AGM held on the 28th February 1951 where Arthur Cook was voted in as the inaugural President. The Committee was made up of a very diverse group of members, the Secretary was Fay Bleechmore, who worked tirelessly furthering the Society,she later married Bill Pavey, Pat Rossell was a teacher at the Migrant Centre and accepted the position of Treasurer, Bob Wenban who owned a furniture store in Parkes took on the job of Stage manager while Lolita Gregory, with her wealth of knowledge on stage work and costumes was Social organizer. An interesting insight on this first annual meeting was that Warwick Tom, a youth of 16, was elected VPresident along with Dorothy Murphy who had taught him some three years prior at Parkes High. Warwick is currently still an active life member of the Society, having served five terms as President.

In the months ahead, two one act plays were cast, The Bishops Candlesticks,directed by Arthur Cook and one act of Private Lives directed by Lolita Gregory who also organized the first Gala performance and Fashion Show at the Orange Hall. Lolita invited Pat Woodley,Miss NSW 1951 to be the star attraction, Parkes Stores were invited to provide a selection of their winter collection to be modelled by five local girls, Val Robinson, Vera Switzner, Judith Lord, Jill Wilson and Dawn Ramsay. There were two male mannequins as well,Bob Wenban and Warwick Tom who modelled mens clothing from Jack Miller’s Menswear, all in all the evening was a huge success. Shortly after this the Society took their two plays to the Orange Jubilee Drama Festival with a stimulating success by winning best costumes at the festival for Lolita Gregory’s production of Private Lives.

The first six months of 1951 saw the Society launch itself as a leading drama group in the Central West over the next sixty years.

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