My thanks must go to all those who took courage 'to come out of the woodwork' from the local area and bare their souls with this new material, so recently written and untested up until yesterday. It was such a great pleasure to hear the words come alive off the page, and each person brought their own nuances of interpretation to bear. There was a pleasurable flow to the audition process which made the day all the enjoyable as I was privy to some exceptional channeling of in-character emotion.
In the evening, various members of the community, including councillor Janet Jones, artists Judith Sweetman and Gilbert Dashorst, sustainability advocate Jennifer Russell, soul healer Dr Maureen Roberts, graphic designer Alison Fort, jewelry designer/maker Kimberley Hargraves, musician Jillian Langford and sculptor Geoff Bromilow gathered in the heritage-listed Soldiers' Memorial Institute to participate in an informal meet-and-greet and fundraiser for the theatre. After giving those gathered a chance to eat and socialise, I spoke briefly about my passion for and involvement in theatre which began quite serendipitously in my early twenties when I worked with Barry Humphries' former Artistic Director, Ian Tasker, in pub theatre in Newtown, Sydney with actors such as Grant Dodwell (best known for A Country Practice) and Peter Fisher (one of the cast of the Kingswood Country show). I also spoke of the strong influence of New Theatre's ethos and shows such as On the Wallaby, written by Nick Enright, and The Biko Inquest, in terms of educating me about historical and social issues.
Following on from me, environmental activist and scholar Ruth Trigg gave a brief talk about the precious and important sea-dragons in the area, inspiring us all to want to grab a pair of goggles to see the beautiful creatures in the waters along our shores. Then elegantly attired-Steampunk exponent Paul Thomas introduced us to the joys of 19th century dress-ups and invited us to the upcoming Steampunk afternoon tea in the coming weeks. Paul's wonderful garb added a very theatrical spark to the evening which culminated in an enchanting performance by Judith Sweetman and Jillian Langford of songs such as Summertime and Beyond the Sea.
I want to acknowledge here my gratitude to all those who participated in the silent art auction, in particular Alison Fort, Judith Sweetman, Jo-Anne Rowe and the McEwen family who purchased the redgum sculpture and other art by Geoff Bromilow. The event raised potentially enough money to kick-start the first production. With Act 1 completed, now it's back to the 'drawing board' as they say, to work on the last third of the play: Act 2.
Sealand Theatre Company is still seeking two actors 18-30 years old to play the parts of Olivia & Jake. We are also pleased to hear from anyone who wishes to be part of the theatre troupe as cast, crew, singer or musician. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.