Tags: comedy, performances, pantomime
Since a small group of enthusiasts banded together in 1976 to establish the first live theatre within the City of Tea Tree Gully, Tea Tree Players have come a long way.
At the very outset only a very limited number of community facilities existed in teh area, and the problems associated with obtaining suitable accommodation were enormous and they appeared to be insurmountable.
Eventually, this newly formed group gound an old hall that best suited their needs, situated 'in the country' at the Golden Grove Oval (now the Tilley Recreation Park), and following extensive discussions with the Oval Management Committee an agreement was negotiated for the use of the hall as a 'part-time' theatre.
Whilest the hall provided the basic shell, it lacked all the facilities to create a theatre, as there was no seating or any sort of stage, and no lighting, sound equipment, props, costumes or scenery.
Fundraising activities were arranged and with the support of the Tea Tree Gully Council and the Community Council for Social Development, sufficient funds were accumulated to begin the theatre, and in 1977, at a cost of $2500.00, a stage with a curtain and a wood paneled wall separating the foyer from the auditorium were built.
Some time later a lighting and sound system was developed, and theatre seating was obtained following the closure of the Ascot Cinema in Kadina, which enabled the first full length production to be presented just twelve months after the original formation.
In the early days the 'part-time' use was just that, as with a playgroup, and a table tennis club also using the hall it was necessary, for each weekend of the production, for the 'theatre' to be transported from teh adjacent shed and installed on a Thursday evening, for the Friday and Saturday night performances. Then late Saturday night it wall all returned to the shed, until the following Thursday when the whole process was repeated again for the second weekend performances. This situation existed for many years and as that time physical fitness was almost a qualification for membershiip.
In 1985 an exclusive lease for the building was obatined from the Council and following an extensive period of planning, the conversion of the old hall to an intimate theatre was undertaken during the latter part of 1986, with almost all of the work being completed by members.
The conversion, whichh was preceeded by an enlargment of the stage and the addition of a new front curtain, included the repositioning of the lighting/audio box and the extensive re-wiring that was involved, the raking and installation of new seating, creation of the foyer area and many smaller tasks in what was a sizeable undertaking.
In 1987 air-conditioning of the auditorium was added and further general upgrading of the theatre has been undertaken over the following years.
Over the last 15 years expansions to the theatre have included the provision of the lounge and toilet facilities, dressing rooms, upgrading the green room, adding a box office, and the decking.
Over the years we have recieved excellent community support for the various productions that we have presentedm and we are sure this is a situation that will continue in the future, for our mutual benefit.