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Lyric reminisce on 50 years

LYRIC theatre is celebrating 50 years of entertainment this year.
The legacy began in July, 1965, with the first ever Lyric production Trial by Jury.
Trial by Jury is a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and – because it was a very short show – the cast started the program with selected excerpts from other musical productions.
The dress rehearsal took place at a parish hall around the corner from the Mechanics Institute in Korumburra. The actual production took to the stage at the newly opened Mesley Hall for a three night season. Around 1200 saw the show.
There were 15 to 20 cast members in Trial by Jury including the defendant played by John Watson, the Judge played by Eric Gray, the foreman of the jury played by Jack Cummins, the usher played by Daryl Pease and the leading lady Joan Eastman.
To some of the cast members, the rehearsals seemed to take months. Anna (Aeschliman) de Bondt said it became their lives, which is much like how rehearsals are today with preparations taking roughly 12 weeks to complete.
Cast member John Watson said the musical was very well received by the public. Before Trial by Jury, the theatrical entertainment in Leongatha was a drama group putting on three act plays.
The musical direction and production was put together by Lyn Carr and Marion Pinkerton was the pianist. Barbara Hoy was the audition pianist.
The costumes were made and the makeup was professionally done. Ms Carr showed the cast how to put on theatrical makeup.
The theatre group had limited resources in the beginning. Leongatha’s Holden dealer at the time, Bill Gleeson (Bill Gleeson Holden) was approached and he graciously offered to sponsor them, which began with a $50 donation.
“He was very generous during the early shows,” Lyric committee person Kerrie Giles said.
“Lyric wouldn’t have been able to put on the productions without him.”
Lyric became a loyal institution for its patrons who couldn’t go to Melbourne to see theatrical shows. The audiences were always full but no one complained about the seating arrangements.
“You held your head up high when you said you were in Lyrics,” Mr Watson said.
The enthusiasm by the audience who saw Trial by Jury encouraged the group to put on another production in November.
Why Not Sing? was a two and a half hour concert performance and many of the original cast members returned for another go in the spotlight.
The musical comedy and light opera lured a crowd of 1000 back to Mesley Hall over another three day season.
By the end of 1965, Lyric Theatre had 40 members and a growing bank balance, allowing it to continue its run of performances into 1966.

Original cast: front left, Patrick Lanigan, Bluey Aeschliman, Rodney Emmerson, Anna (Aeschliman) de Bondt, back left, John Watson, Jack Cummins and Daryl Pease were in Lyric’s first performances in 1965.

Original cast: front left, Patrick Lanigan, Bluey Aeschliman, Rodney Emmerson, Anna (Aeschliman) de Bondt, back left, John Watson, Jack Cummins and Daryl Pease were in Lyric’s first performances in 1965.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=12821

Posted by on Nov 25 2014. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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