FAMDA celebrates milestone
THE theatre company that began life as Foster Films, Art, Music and Drama Association celebrated its 60th birthday on Monday, November 4 with a party at the Foster Museum.
President of the association now fondly referred to as FAMDA, Edwin Coad, said he was proud of what they have done over the years.
“It is a wonderful thing,” he said.
FAMDA put on its first production, Foster Frolics, at the Foster Mechanics Institute on November 4, 1953.
An exhibition to coincide with the celebrations, 60 Years of Foster Theatre, is now on show at the Foster Museum.
Foster and District Historical Society secretary Liz Rushen said the museum was thrilled to host the exhibition celebrating FAMDA’s milestone.
“We are a community museum and FAMDA is a community group celebrating 60 years. It is a big milestone for all involved,” she said.
Over the years FAMDA has staged musicals (Maid of the Mountains, Calamity Jane and The Producers), pantomimes (Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and John Goodfella), dramas (Trap for a Lonely Man, The Removalists and The Woman in Black), comedies (Sailor Beware, Boeing Boeing and The Cemetery Club), music halls and melodramas (Foster’s Larger Music Hall, Pure as the Driven Snow and Felicty’s Fortune), revues and variety evenings (Revue 21, Chinamen in Cabaret and Cabaretro).
There have been shows with huge casts (Oklahoma! and Fiddler on the Roof’) and a one-woman show (Shirley Valentine).
FAMDA has staged shows with long names (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and ones with short names (Patience and Blush).
There have been productions that made people cry (Shadowlands, The Shoe-Horn Sonata and, most recently, Foreigners from Home) and plenty that brought tears of laughter (High Infidelity, Round and Round the Garden and Educating Rita).
FAMDA has staged productions with animals (Annie and Oliver!) and shows where the animals weren’t quite real (Into the Woods, Bush Magic and Dreamboats).
There have been plays by famous writers (The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, Top Silk by David Williamson and Hotel Sorrento by Hannie Rayson) and plays written locally (The Great Uncertainty by Pattie Fleming, Stringlines and Dinner at Hugo’s by Edwin Coad).
The oldest play FAMDA has staged was Oedipus Rex from ancient Greece and the newest Dreamboats, written locally in 2012.
Those who have helped FAMDA stage impressive productions in recent years include Neil Goodwin, Murray Maclean, Kate and Bruce Crowl, David Baggallay, Max Adam, Nathan Eva and Chris Dickins as directors.
Max Hastings’ work both as a director and performer has been truly inspirational.
The talents of people like set designer and scenic artist Geoff Davey, composer Rob Ellis, set constructor Bruce Crowl and lighting designer Andrew Oldroyd have brought added class to FAMDA productions.
Of course it is those who perform on stage the audience notices and there have been hundreds of them over the 60 years of FAMDA’s history.
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