Open Rehearsal
London Suite
Sunday 16 October  3.30pm
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15 September 2016

Dear <<First Name>>,

Our 70th Anniversary year continues with reports here on our wonderful Gala Dinner Dance at the Williamstown Town Hall on 20 August, followed by a Back to Willy  reunion at the theatre the next day. To complete the celebrations we have our last Pleasant Sunday Afternoon's Entertainment later this month on 25 September - details in this edition.

It has been a remarkable year as we have pondered these seventy long years and all that has been achieved. The Gala was a stunning event as you will see from the photos taken that night. We are immensely grateful to Barbara Hughes, Bernadette Wheatley, Shirley Sydenham and Peta Ripper for making it such a stellar evening.

Alongside many familiar faces, it was wonderful to welcome a great representation of WLT Subscribers who came out in numbers to celebrate. It was a chance to also reflect on the changes that have occurred in the community theatre scene. Sadly, there appear not to be the allegiances to theatre companies that were perhaps more evident in years past. Very few of the countless actors who have performed on our stage joined us at this headline event for our 70th Anniversary. 

We've decided to leave the lovely roses at the bottom from the MailChimp template as a further anniversary present to WLT!

Leaving aside the celebrations we continue to work hard on our staple activity, making theatre. Our current production, Sitting Pretty, opened and auditions for London Suite were held in the past week. We are delighted to be able to announce details of this new cast.

Click on any of the items below to go straight to the article of your choice.

Sitting Pretty

By Amy Rosenthal
Director: Robert Harsley

Sitting Pretty opened a week ago and here are several photos from rehearsals. Production Coordinator Brian Christopher reports that "the show opened successfully last night to a warm reception from the audience."  There are still a few tickets available - CLICK HERE to go to the website and find them or call Ticket Secretary David Dare on 9885 9678.

Brian sends thanks to the Production Team and cast for all their hard work - it's over to them and enjoy the season. We will have reviews and post-show articles in next month's Cues & News.


Bob Harsley was a very happy and grateful director after opening night, if we can go by his Facebook posting! There was a great audience response to the production and Assistant Stage Manager Robert Edwards gave us a sense of what they can see from backstage with this CCTV image.

STOP PRESS! - Cast announcement

London Suite
By Neil Simon
Director: Gaetano Santo


Auditions for London Suite were conducted last weekend and we are delighted to announce details of our exciting cast here. As the finale to our 70th Anniversary year we have the opportunity to see some familiar and much loved WLT actors and several new faces. Welcome and congratulations to all the cast. Don't forget our Open Rehearsal will be held on Sunday 16 October at 3.30pm.

Brian Cronin & Mark Ferris                  -    Xavier Ryan

Billie Fox & Diana Nichols                    -   Janine Evans

Sheryl Semple                                      -   Shirley Sydenham

Lauren Semple & Anne Ferris              -   Kylie Ryan

Grace Chapman                                   -   Stephanie Gonelli

Sidney Nichols                                      -   Peter Hatherley

Mrs Sitgood                                           -   Judi Clark

Bellman                                                 -   Jake Privett

Dr McMerlin                                           -  tbc

                                                                   Gaetano Santo

We could have danced all night....

WLT 70th Birthday Gala Dinner Dance


The WLT 70th Birthday Gala on Saturday 20 August was a wonderfully happy event!

Steve Purcell and the Pearly Shells had everyone burning up the dance floor and a great time was had by all.

They say a photo speaks a thousand words, and our wonderful photographer Loraine Callow was very diligent ... so we'll let the photo album speak volumes about the great night! Click the button below to see all the photos. For the picture above most of the guests crowded to the centre of the room with Loraine up in the balcony to capture the happy crowd. Loraine did a truly magnificent job capturing all these photographs, posting some on @wlt19462016 the WLT Instagram account and all with incredible good humour and joie de vivre. We include a picture of Loraine here with Barb Hughes, who along with Shirley Sydenham and Bernadette Wheatley were responsible for all the organisation and hard work that went into planning and executing this wonderful event - thank you to all of them! Thank you also to our redoubtable President Peter Newling for his masterful MC-ing for the evening. 

Words by Shirley Sydenham & Frank Page. Images by Loraine Callow.

Gala Photo Album

Gala Raffle

Once again we thank our generous sponsor donors for the wonderful array of prizes for our Gala Raffle. The winners of the various prizes were as follows and we congratulate all these lucky people.

Daylesford Accommodation Escapes - two night midweek at Aria - Di Fogwill
Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel - cocktails & bathing - Lynne Rayner
Williamstown Musical Theatre Company - City of Angels - D. Beattie & Terry Donahue
Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm - Lavandula Body products - Marg Staples
Prince Albert Hotel - vouchers - Tony Tartaro & Monica van Reyk
A Flower Affair - voucher - Brigita Rix
540 on Barkly - voucher - Ross Dufty
Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens - Open Garden Bank House, Newlyn - Margaret Taedrew
Scotchmans Hill - gift pack - Alex Begg
Boathouse Daylesford - voucher - Margaret (Heidelberg Theatre Company)

Back to Willy

No sooner had we danced the night away than many of us were back again at the theatre for a good old reunion and chin-wag. Back to Willy was a chance for Gala guests and others to catch up over a traditional BBQ in the theatre courtyard. Enormous gratitude to Bernadette Wheatley and Alex Begg for a fabulous brunchy type barbie. Although promoted as a 'simple' barbecue, it was far from simple and a real treat. We are sooooooooooo going to miss Bernadette when she moves to Gippsland later this year. Come to think of it - so will Alex! See if you can find yourself amongst the pictures from the event in this album - Click the Button below.

Back to Willy morphed into the Open Rehearsal for Sitting Pretty at 3pm with a good crowd on hand to get a taste of our next production. Thanks to Director Bob Harsley and his company for their work on the day.
Back to Willy Photo Album

Onwards, Upwards and Many Awards - 1990-2015

Our final Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Entertainment


The final Pleasant Sunday Afternoon in celebration of WLT’s 70th Anniversary takes place at the theatre on Sunday 25 September 2016 at 2pm, with light refreshments afterwards. Onwards, Upwards, and Many Awards covers the period from 1990-2015. During this period WLT’s already high reputation in the Melbourne amateur theatre scene went from strength to strength with awards being won at various festivals such as Waverley Festival of Theatre and the Victorian Drama League Awards. Acting, directing, production and technical awards have come our way regularly. In-house awards have also been highly prized. Our choices for this afternoon are just a tasting plate of our success. At this pleasant Sunday afternoon you will see actors who have won awards, and excerpts from plays which have won awards. To find out who and which plays we have chosen you will have to be there!


                                                                          Words by Judi Clark


Cordell Day 2006 (l-r) Laurie Gellon, Judi Clark, Pat Day, and the awards that year were as follows;

Win Stewart Award:
Janine Evans as Helga Gerhardt in ‘Allo, ‘Allo

Cordell Award:
Ellis Ebell as Professor Joseph Mashkan in Old Wicked Songs

Craven Award:
Old Wicked Songs directed by Chris Baldock

From the Archives

The Archives continue to reveal some wonderful memories of past productions and people! We're delighted to share some more of these with you.

For Pete's Sake

As we speak, I’m actually sitting at the auditions for our fifth production of the year – the hilarious London Suite, directed by Gaetano Santo. No, I’m not typing whilst watching auditionees – I’m doing the meet and greet thing in the foyer, and so I’m typing in between welcomings. Of course, sitting in the foyer, I’m surrounded by the paraphernalia that has been assembled for the 70th anniversary celebrations.

I love looking at the list of plays WLT has done over the years, which hangs in the foyer. It brings back wonderful memories of productions past. Looking at that list today, one important thought has stood out to me…….. This time, ten years ago, I was also here overseeing an audition process – auditioning my production of 'Allo 'Allo – which was our fifth production for 2006. 

Goodness, 10 years goes quickly these days. It really doesn’t seem THAT long ago. I have such lovely memories of that production that they all seem really clear – and recent!

(Editors Note: Although Peter directed 'Allo'Allo on some nights he made a cameo appearance as one of the airmen. Here he is getting ready for one such appearance.)

It’s lovely that so many people who were part of that production are still strutting their stuff at WLT and in the wider theatre world. The mercurial Ellis Ebell is still acting and directing here. Ray Hare is still an essential part of our set construction and front of house teams. Oleh Kowalyk still graces the front of house roster. Janine Evans, Steve Shinkfield and Melanie Rowe are still regulars on our stage. Chris Baldock directed for us earlier in the year. Some of the others have moved interstate or overseas, some have reduced their stage work due to family circumstances. Some just haven’t made it back yet. All of them are still in touch. Surely it can’t be a decade ago.

Of course, none of us has changed a bit…..

I’ve been loving the snap-shots of past productions that have been turning up on our Facebook page and in this esteemed publication. Each show has such wonderful memories attached for those involved, and those who saw the production. If you haven’t logged onto the history page of our website - - it’s well worth a look!

Don’t forget that the last of our three salutes to WLT’s first 70 years, covering the years 1990 to the present – is happening on Sunday 25 September - details elsewhere.    Come down and reminisce. I’m guessing I might even run into some of my 'Allo'Allo cast!

In the meantime, enjoy spring – and enjoy Sitting Pretty!!

See you in the foyer.


Members & Friends cont.

Speaking of Roger Forsey, he and wife Wendy are currently exploring Scandinavia. Roger has sent us back several exciting travellers tales. One from Oslo involves the Opera House

and an intrepid wheel chair rider; "...young, black African in a foreign country and trapped in a wheel chair." Compelling reading and we thank Roger for sharing this story - CLICK HERE to read what Roger entitled The Ride of the Valkyries in Oslo. Roger and Wendy always manage to have adventures when they travel. If you don't believe us read their other story Climbing Mount Rundemanen - CLICK HERE. Both articles are found on our website with thanks to Shirley Sydenham.



If you find any punctuation errors in today's edition please forgive us. One of our proofers and the punctuation expert, Tony Tartaro is currently touring Viet Nam. Wishing him a great holiday and safe return and trusting he will cross roads safely with all those motorbikes.

Members & Friends

Barb Hughes and husband Brian Christopher, WLT Committee stalwarts and Life Members, are off to Europe. We're trying to contain our envy because the destination will be the south of France, ticking off one of Brian's bucket-list items. In addition they'll also include side trips to Ireland, the UK and Spain. We wish Barb and Brian bon voyage and happy landings and look forward to some fabulous traveller tales! This happy snap was taken at the 70th Gala a few weeks ago.


Our own Travis Handcock who was in Sweet Road and Assistant Director of The Nance earlier this year is embarking on a bold new adventure... starting his own theatre company together with Stephanie King, FizzWack Theatre. We wish them well in this brave move! FizzWack's premier production is Ruben Guthrie, for four performances only... a reprise of the production that tied with WLT's Visiting Mr Green as last year's VDL Best Production award, and which also won Best Drama. CLICK HERE to read the full story in NEWS on our website.



Always good to see how young we all were and thanks to Barb Hughes for sending us this image which she came by courtesy of Olga Mitchelmore and featuring very junior looking WLT identifies Alex Begg and Roger Forsey. We took the liberty of cropping the picture so you could get a better look at the two youngsters.


We've had an email from Chris Baldock promoting his "last show in Melbourne", One Man Two Guvnors with Heidelberg Theatre Company. Chris' last directed production at WLT was The Nance. All The Nance girls, Cat Jardine, Katey Lewis and Dianne Algate have reunited for this show. Other ex WLT performers include James Antonas and Ken McLeish. Chris tells us that the season is 70% sold so if you're interested get online for tickets. Chookas to Chris, his cast and crew for a great show and fitting farewell from Melbourne.

Vale Bruce Wapshott

It was with considerable sadness that we learned of the death of Bruce Wapshott on 18th August.

Bruce joined WLT at the age of 15 and worked backstage when we were at the Mechanics Institute hall. I remember Alec Colville taking Bruce under his wing and teaching him all things technical. This was where Bruce obviously picked up his stage management skills. I don’t think Bruce ever appeared on stage, however he did direct two shows at WLT, Wallflowering and The Golden Age but his skills were as a stage manager and he confidently ran many productions at Albert Street.

WLT Picnic Lerderderg Gorge 1964 (l-r) John Colville, Bruce Wapshott, Ellis Ebell, unidentified, Bernadette Twomey, unidentified, Peter Egan, unidentified

Bruce Wapshott, Paula Macdonald, Celia Meehan (then President WLT) 
Images from the WLT Archives

When the Victorian Arts Centre opened, Bruce started work as the House Manager of Hamer Hall, he went on to become the voice that advised audiences that the show was about to commence, whether there was an interval and the approximate time that the curtain would come down. He was obviously well regarded by staff and management at the Arts Centre as there was a memorial event held there the week after his funeral.

Bruce was made a Life Member of WLT for his backstage work and for the amount of work he did when we moved in to Albert Street, converting the bakery to what we now call our home.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his
long-time partner Daryl.

Words by Ellis Ebell

To read our website salute to Bruce CLICK HERE

Diary Dates

24 September      Close Sitting Pretty
25 September      Pleasant Sunday Afternoon's Entertainment   2pm
27 September      Bump out Sitting Pretty from 5.30pm - dinner provided

1 October             Set construction London Suite - contact Brian Christopher
16 October           Open Rehearsal London Suite - 3.30pm

17 November -     Season London Suite
3 December  
11 December        Cordell Day from 5pm

Website: http//

Editor: Frank Page  M. 0417 010 817  E.

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