8 roles in the theatre for non-performers

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Do you love the world of theatre but feel nauseous at the thought of performing on stage? Well, I’ve got good news for you. A theatre show is like an iceberg, and the performers on stage (while we love them and can’t do the show without them) are just the part above the surface. The rest of the iceberg is made up of a myriad of other people who are responsible for bringing the magic to life on stage.

Here are 8 ways for non-performers to get involved in the crazy and rewarding world of theatre – and you can do them all with TSTC!

1. Director
For those who like to be in control
Every show has one person who has overall responsibility for how the show will turn out. The director takes the script and brings it to life by overseeing all of the different aspects of the production. The cast and crew all work with their own creative freedom, but the director has the final say over who is cast and what the show will look like. If you like to have control over a project, can manage people and handle stress, this is the job for you!

2. Stage Manager
For the perfectionist
The stage manager is the director’s right hand man or woman. They are in charge of the backstage team and are responsible for all prop movements and set changes on stage. Once the show bumps into the theatre, the director takes a back seat and the stage manager takes charge. If you have great attention to detail, good people management skills and enjoy speaking into a headset, you’d make a fantastic stage manager!

3. Costume Designer
For the fashionista
The costume designer is responsible for dressing up the cast. This can be as simple as helping the cast raid their wardrobes for existing pieces that fit the director’s vision for the show, or as complex as creating a complete Victorian ensemble from scratch (as we did for our recent production of The Woman in Black). Do you love clothes? Are you always across the latest fashions and styles and love experimenting with new designs? Are you handy with a sewing machine? Then you will love the world of costume design!

4. Publicist
For the graphic designer and salesperson
A show’s publicist is responsible for putting ‘bums on seats’ (that’s the technical theatre term). A show can’t be put on without an audience to watch it, and that’s where the publicity team comes in. Posters, flyers, social media, community events, sponsorship, website content – all of this falls under publicity. If you like designing, are handy on a computer and love selling things to people, you’d fit right in on the publicity team!

5. Tech Crew
For people who like to look out from up high
Ever wondered what goes on in the little black box over the back of the audience? The tech crew are responsible for all of the technical effects that you see on stage, which fall primarily into two categories; light and sound. The lighting designer and sound designer create the designs and the operators execute their vision using the technological tools in the box. If you like have a knack for tech and want to help create the magic of theatre, the tech box is the ideal place for you!

6. Set Designer and Builder
For the handymen and women and tradies at heart
The set designer is the person responsible for turning the stage into a bedroom/dining room/train carriage/moon landing site/whatever the director envisages, assisted by a capable team of set builders and painters. This can involve a myriad of set pieces, depending on the needs of the show, which all have to be built, painted and fitted together on stage. If you have a great imagination, good spacial awareness, are handy with a drill or paintbrush and love multiple trips to Bunnings – this is the job for you!

7. Backstage Crew
For ninjas who look great in black
The stage manager usually requires assistance from one or more crew members to ensure that the changes on stage are as smooth as silk. The backstage crew do everything from swapping sets and operating fog machines to helping cast members grab props from offstage in the dark. If you love wearing black and want to be on stage without having any lines to memorise, you’ll love joining the crew!

8. Front of House team
For the people person
The audience’s experience doesn’t start with the stage – it starts from the second that they walk into the theatre. The front of house team sell raffle tickets and snacks, help people find their seats and check tickets. If you want to be involved and love interacting with people but don’t really want to commit to the full show experience, you can join the FOH team for just one show!

There are opportunities to gain experience in any (or all!) of these roles with The Sutherland Theatre Company. Get in touch with us and let us know how you want to get involved – no experience necessary!

Image by Samuel Noakes Photographics

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5 reasons to meet The Woman in Black

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There are only three weeks left until The Woman in Black comes to the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. Wondering why you should drop your hard-earned dosh on this production? Here are 5 reasons why you should come and find out the myth behind the legend.
1. The Woman in Black has been running on the West End since 1989. Only one non-musical show has been running longer (Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap). Now you don’t have to travel all the way to London to see it – it’s coming to you!
2. The horror genre is rare in theatre. It’s rare because it’s hard to do well. The Woman in Black is one of the few horror plays that have been successful, so if you’re a horror fan you don’t want to miss it.
3. There are no elaborate gimmicks. There are only two cast members and you’ll be surprised what two talented actors can do with limited set pieces and props. This show is a true celebration of the power of simple theatrical techniques to entertain (and terrify).
4. It’s a great night out. Got some friends you haven’t seen in a while? Want to spoil mum for Mother’s Day? Sharing a night at the theatre is a great way to enjoy time together. And you’ll be closer than ever after spending the show with a death grip on your companion’s arm…
5. You’ll be supporting your local. The Woman in Black is being produced by locals, for locals. By coming along, you are contributing to the continuation of the cultural side of the Shire and ensuring that you don’t have to travel for hours to experience for a great night out at the theatre.

The Woman in Black is only on for one weekend, so grab your tickets early! Click on Bookings above to book online or call 9150 7574.

Brief Facts and Figures on The Woman in Black

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My father really likes numbers. He likes to break things down into facts and figures, and loves to crunch the relevant mathematics for any given situation.

So for the number-loving theatre-goers amongst us, here are some numbers and statistics about The Woman in Black.

Original novel released: 1983

First performed: 1987

Opened on London’s West End: 1989

Years performed on the West End: 27

Cast members: 2 (or is there…?)

Number of characters played by two cast members: 9

Number of audience members worldwide: 7 million +

Film, radio and TV adaptions: 5 (one TV adaption, 2 radio plays and 2 films)

Running time: Approximately 2 hours (plus intermission)

If you aren’t into numbers and you’ve made it this far through this post – congratulations! As a reward for not falling asleep, here are some fun facts about the show.

There is only one play that has been running on the West End for longer than The Woman in Black – Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

The Woman in Black is a set text on Britain’s GCSE examinations.

The 2012 film was one of the most controversial British films of 2012, attracting the most complaints to the British Film Board of Classification for being awarded a classification rating too low for the content.

Robin Herford, who has been directing the West End production since it began, replaces the cast every nine months to keep the show fresh.

The budget for the first run of the show in 1989 was £1000.

If you want to come and experience the show for yourself, you can get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/stcwomaninblack. There are only four shows (and the Sunday matinee is almost sold out already) so we recommend booking early!

Image by Samuel Noakes Photographics

 

 

 

 

 

The story of The Woman in Black

Back in 1987, Robin Herford was in charge of a small theatre in the UK. It was nearing the end of the season and their grant money was running out, but the remaining few pounds needed to be spent if they wanted it again the following year. So Herford approached playwright Stephen Mallatratt and asked him to write a ghost story which could be used to fill a small slot around Christmas, instead of the usual children’s show.

Mallatratt was limited by a small space in the theatre’s bar area and a £1000 budget, which would allow for a maximum cast size of four. He went away and came back to Herford with an idea for an adaption of Susan Hill’s gothic horror novel, The Woman in Black. Despite the book having over a dozen characters, Mallatratt came up with an elegant solution that would only require two actors to perform. The show debuted that year, and neither Mallatratt nor Herford anticipated the enthusiastic reaction that saw the initial season completely sell out. They decided to see if they could take it to a bigger theatre, and eventually ended up at the Fortune Theatre in London, where it is still being performed today. The Woman in Black is now the second longest running show on the West End.

The show has been seen by over 7 million people worldwide and was brought to the big screen in 2012, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps. Now, this chilling story is coming to the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts on May 26-28. There are only four shows, so make sure you pick up your tickets early! Book online at http://bit.ly/stcwomaninblack or call 9150 7574.

 

When I buy a ticket to a community theatre production, what am I investing in?

_70q5091-copyWhen you buy a $x00 ticket to a large-scale production in an expensive CBD venue, you probably have a good idea what your money is going towards. The lavish sets, expensive costumes, wages for the performers and crew, and the pockets of the production’s investors. But what about local community theatre productions? When you buy your (significantly cheaper) ticket to a show at your little local not-for-profit theatre, what exactly are you choosing to support?

Most amateur community theatre productions are staged by members of the local community, for members of the local community. So when you buy a ticket and come along, you are supporting:

  • A chance for the retired carpenter to keep his acquired skills sharp while working on sets and props;
  • A place to blow off steam for the teenager with too much energy to sit still in class;
  • An opportunity for the group of elderly friends to get together for a few hours and enjoy the company of others;
  • A time to practice for the young girl with dreams of becoming a Broadway star;
  • A place for the mother going through a tough time to immerse herself in someone else’s story and forget about the world for a few hours
  • An opportunity for the young aspiring costume designer to apply his skills to a real-life production, or;
  • A place where a group of people can come together to work hard and achieve a common goal of putting on a fantastic show.

When you go to a professional show and marvel at the talent of the cast and crew, remember that most of these professionals began their careers by performing in shows at their local community theatres. Without them, the stars of tomorrow would have nowhere to fall in love with theatre and develop their skills.

So don’t hesitate when it comes to supporting your local community theatres. Who knows – in a few years time, you might just get to say, “Hey! I know that lead actress in <insert huge show>! I saw her in my local production of <insert community theatre show> a couple of years ago!”.

Not-good-enough excuses not to go to a theatre production

Have you ever been to see a show at the theatre? Have you been once or twice, but not been back in ages? In this blog post we debunk some of the worst reasons not to come and see a local theatre production.

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I’m just not into theatre.

We hear this one a lot. If you have never been to the theatre, you can’t use this excuse. How do you know you hate something if you’ve never experienced it? That makes no sense.

If you’ve been to see a production or two and decided that it’s not for you – what was it that you didn’t enjoy? If it was something about the particular production (Shakespeare sucks, Guys and Dolls was a boring musical) have you tried a different genre? Tried a straight play instead of a musical, or vice versa? Tried a comedy instead of a Greek tragedy? Try something different, you never know what you might end up enjoying!

It’s too expensive.

If you’re talking about the big, shiny, professional productions in the city, then yes. They are expensive. However, did you know that you can see a huge range of productions in your local area for a LOT less? Plays produced by The Sutherland Theatre Company are just $25 for adults, and our friends at Engadine Musical Society stage a range of wonderful musicals for a just smidgen more. Plus, you’ll save money on transport and parking too!

I’m way too busy to fit theatre into my schedule.

Are you sure? Leisure time is precious and you need time for yourself, we totally get that. But a theatre show is a chance for you to unwind and block out the stresses and troubles of the world for a few hours. Why not look at what’s coming up and book a date to leave the world outside for an evening?

I prefer the movies.

Movies are great! But you can do both. And you should do both. Live theatre is a unique art form that provides a completely different experience to a flick. It’s a one-off labour of love by a group of people from your local community and instead of lining the pockets of Hollywood’s elite, you’ll be putting your hard-earned straight back into your community.

I don’t have anyone to go with.

Theatre is a great chance to catch up with that friend you haven’t seen in ages. You can hit a local restaurant for dinner beforehand and catch up on everything you’ve missed, and just as you run out of conversation, you can sit in comfortable silence together while you enjoy the show. So why not get in touch with them today?

Also, it is totally possible to go to the theatre on your own. Spoil yourself and enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet!

I love theatre, I just haven’t been in a while because of reasons. I’ll be back soon, I pretty pretty promise with a red cherry on top!!

In the immortal words of Nike, just do it! Book yourself and a mate (or a date) a ticket and come along to a production. If you love it, make time for it – you won’t regret it.

 

 

Will you take the stage in 2017?

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A new year usually brings a set of new resolutions. What are your resolutions for 2017?

I will fix my diet

I will lose the extra KGs

I will travel to <insert exotic destination>

I will catch up with <insert friend you haven’t seen in years>

Or is it:

I will conquer my fears and get on stage!

Have you wanted to perform in front of an audience but been held back by something? What is that ‘something’?

Maybe you’re scared of what might happen. What if I forget a line? What if I fall off the stage? What if my costume malfunctions?

Well, let me tell you that one (or more) of these things have happened to even the most experienced of performers. Falling off stage and costume malfunctions are rare, but forgetting lines happens a lot more often than you think. If you’ve gone to more than one show (professional or otherwise) in your lifetime, chances are that you’ve seen a performer forget at least one line during the performance. But did you notice?

Most of the time, the answer will be no.

You aren’t on stage on your own, and your fellow performers want to put on a good show just as much as you do. Working together, mistakes and flubs can usually be covered so well that the audience don’t even know that it’s happened.

Maybe you think you don’t have enough time. I have a family/job/Netflix – there’s no way I’d have enough time to do a show!

At TSTC, we rehearse for our shows twice a week, usually one weeknight and a few hours on the weekend. Rehearsals usually go for about 3 months, and the shows are performed over two weekends. And if you are in a smaller role (a good idea for a first-time performer) you probably won’t be needed for every rehearsal.

Not as much time as you’d think, right?

Or maybe you just aren’t confident in your abilities. I’m not good enough to do it. The production team will just laugh at me if I show up to auditions.

The best part of community theatre is that it is not professional. The production team doesn’t expect perfection, nor do they expect professional talents. The whole point of community theatre is to offer everyone in the community the chance to get involved in a production in whatever aspect(s) they wish. Auditions are made as non-confronting as possible, and if you are cast in the show, the more experienced performers and the director will be there to guide you every step of the way.

So if you’ve been wanting to get involved in a production, why not make 2017 the year that you do it? TSTC have four productions in 2017, all with opportunities on stage and behind the scenes. Check out our website here and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, no matter how silly you think they are – we are very happy to answer all of your questions.

Take 2017 by the horns and make it your year to shine!

 

 

 

Heading into 2017

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TSTC’s 2016 season was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who was involved with our company this year, whether as an audience member, performer, committee member, director, FOH volunteer, or any other way! We are so grateful for your support and couldn’t do it without you.

2017 is a big year for us, with 4 shows on the menu! We kick off our season with Andrew Morton’s beautiful play Bloom, a story about grief, gardening and growing up. For more info about the show, click here. Tickets are on sale now, so pick up yours here (great last minute Chrissy gift if you want to avoid the chaos of Westfield!).

Bloom is followed by the West End hit ghost story, The Woman in Black in May. We then go to a funeral with a little more ‘fun’ than usual in Frederick Stroppel’s A Good Man. Our final show for the year is TBC (pending availability of performance rights), but we promise it’ll be a cracker!

See you all in 2017!!