ABOUT OUR SOCIETY
by 1960 the Society was debt free and looking to improve and extend the theatre. Up to this time the theatre consisted of the auditorium, a flat floor with individual chairs facing the raised proscenium stage at the western end and if you sat towards the back it required a considerable agility to see the show. The public and members of the various organizations were asked to donate a chair, to help in providing the seating. The stage area was equipped with full width front curtain and backdrop, the only access from the stage was through to the props room which also doubled as the dressing room for the cast both male and female all in together. In the corner of this room perched high on a platform was the lighting operator, freezing in winter and roasting in summer. Jim Carr ably did this job during the early years and was later succeeded by Don McAlpine, who showed quite a talent for the job. Liz Matthews, alias Darlene Dawson, is in the props room preparing to appear in The Quest, note the unique locking system with one of the original chairs.
The management of the Society had been progressing nicely under the leadership of Des Maguire, however when he resigned at the end of 1959, Kevin O’Connor was elected new President but unfortunately he relinquished the position at the end of the year, so Bob Waters was asked to take on the job and guide the Society through the next two years of hectic activity.
With the Central West Drama Festival due to be held in September 1962, the committee was flat out putting the final touches to the dressing room extension, plastering the walls, installing mirrors and lights and plumbing water to a basin in one of the rooms. The mirrors were donated by Con Diamond, one of the local chemists, from his shop renovation.
The highlight of 1964 was the ten year revival of the musical The Desert Song, at the Orange Hall which starred Pat Mitchell and Reg Byrne with Direction by Zillah Grinter and Musical Direction by Joan Tucker. The large cast included well known locals, Mary Pearce, Betty Spicer, Bert Lister, Barton Prior and Cliff Cowell who also helped with the lighting and electrics, while the eight piece orchestra included Margaret Cowell playing the piano, a job she undertook for the Society on many occasions.
With the departure of Ken Brokenshire to Forbes, Ron Smith became President for the next two years. As mentioned in a previous article Ron was the past president of Trundle Society where he had a chemist shop. Ron was a very good singer having trained in Sydney, so naturally his interests leaned towards musicals.
The profits from the various shows in the sixties enabled the Society to upgrade the theatre facilities with portable heaters, profile spots, security system and emergency lighting, the last item was to comply with the Public Halls Act. The portable heaters were later replaced with permanent gas heaters and the theatre finally got front stage curtains. A bold move to erect a flytower was found to be too expensive at 1200 pounds, however flats were constructed together with batten lights and dimmer units installed.