WHAT’S LIFE WITHOUT A LITTLE DRAMA
Amateur theatre is alive and well. Look inside ‘ The Other Theatre Company’ on the Border.
LIVE amateur theatre is in a healthy state across the North East. Many companies have been entertaining local audiences for more than half a century and although musical theatre is popular with many, the choice of plays performed, be they drama, musical, comedy or avant garde, are as varied as the companies’ locations.
One of the most recent new companies to form was “The Other Theatre Company” in Albury Wodonga in 2013.
In less than three years it has established itself as a versatile, courageous company, more than happy to tackle any style of work, from Shakespeare to original pieces.
Two of the founding members are Simon Goss and Miguel De Oliveira, who explained forming the company actually started with a meeting at Nando’s in Albury with six people present, way back in 2011.
“We were looking at having a theatre company that was clear and transparent, that drew exclusively from the local community,” Simon said. “We wanted to lift the profile of non-musical theatre.” For Miguel, who lived in Albury Wodonga but had performed entirely with the Allegro Theatre Company in Yarrawonga, it was also a way to follow his passion with a little less travel.
“I was enthusiastic about being involved in the company as it gave me the opportunity to work with likeminded people, and that was to stage plays simply, concentrating on performance and the story,” he said.
“It was also about providing another option for passionate people to make their projects a reality.”
While Simon began his stage career at a young age, the Scouts’ Gang Show when he was 14 and as Mary in a Nativity play, Miguel was a late bloomer, making his debut in Allegro’s production of Monty Python’s The Life of Brian in 2004.
“I was lucky enough to play Biggus Dickus and Otto,” Miguel recalled. “My next show, the following year, was in an adaptation of the TV show Blackadder II (which he performed in and codirected with Leigh Elder). Both of these shows were tremendously rewarding and fun – I was hooked.”
In just a few short years they have staged regular performances of Shakespeare in the Park at the Albury Botanical Gardens and presented original shows such as Heroes, “a play with songs”, written by Mt Beauty playwright Megan Rigoni and starring esteemed actor John Wood.
The company has also been involved in community children’s festivals, play readings and this year sees a move to a comedic production of Fawlty Towers in October at The Cube in Wodonga.
The challenge remains, however, to find new and exciting projects.
“There are always lots of ideas floating about, but until someone is willing to direct it doesn’t happen,” Miguel said.
“We are receiving submissions for 2017 shows in April so, who knows, we would like to continue the tradition of Shakespeare in the Park though.”
The current committee is Miguel (president), Pieta Swann (vice-president) and Shoshanna Griffin (secretary/treasurer). For more information on The Other Theatre Company visit their website theothertheatrecompany.com.au.
“We were looking at having a theatre company that was clear and transparent, that drew exclusively from the local