Theatrical group to celebrate 50 years


Theatrical group to celebrate 50 years

WONTHAGGI Theatrical Group is turning 50 in 2019.
To celebrate, the group has a massive calendar of events planned.
The milestone year will kick off with a concert and the launch of a history book in February.
Local writer Gill Heal has been working on the book for three years, collaborating with many former and current members of the group.
The history of the group will be presented in the book through personal stories from people with varying levels of involvement in the group.
The book will be launched at a concert – set to be held at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre from February 15 to 17. The concert will reflect the group’s past, and will feature a range of performers.
In April, the group intends to run a performance camp at its studio at the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine.
Professionals from Melbourne will be involved in the camp, which will be a five day experience, free of charge.
The major musical for the year will be Les Miserables.
This production was first tackled by Wonthaggi Theatrical Group in 2008, and is now considered a turning point.
Director Karen Milkins-Hendry, who will also be directing the 2019 production, said she was almost too scared to go through with the performance in 2008.
It was musical director Kirk Skinner – who will be filling the post once again – who inspired her to believe a performance of this magnitude in Wonthaggi was possible.
“Kirk had returned home after his success as a musical director with the Victorian State School Spectacular, and he convinced me that this iconic show was possible,” she said.
“With his experience, he worked with our group of singers and it was such a success. It was so markedly different to what we had done before.”
The information session for Les Miserables will take place on October 11 this year, with the performance scheduled for a season in May and June.
The group will be putting on two plays by local playwrights, and in the July school holidays there will be a costume exhibition at the group’s studio.
Ms Milkins-Hendry said the secret behind the group’s 50 year success was the valued volunteers.
“I have been working with Gill while she puts together the book, and it has been interesting hear the stories,” she said.
“Our volunteers had the resilience to build us a home, and it has benefitted our community.
“The group has a huge skill base as well, and we respond well to each other with our diverse concepts and opinions. We have been able to build and connect well with each other.”
Ms Milkins-Hendry said the group had also been greatly assisted by talented powerhouses, who had had professional careers, and have come home to help their community.

Encore: Wayne Moloney (Master of the House), Charles Gruen (Jean Valjean), Toni Osborne (Madame Thenardier) and Jayde Gray (Cosette) performed in the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s 2008 production of Les Miserables. Les Mis is set to return to the Wonthaggi stage in 2019 for the theatrical group’s 50th anniversary. Photo by Foons Photographics.

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Posted by on Jul 17 2018. 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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