Am­a­teur the­atre is alive and well. Look in­side ‘ The Other The­atre Com­pany’ on the Bor­der.

North East Living Magazine - - Contents - Words Shane Douthie pho­tos Carl- Jo­han Rut­gers­son, Laura Uni­acke

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


PUSH­ING THE BOUND­ARIES \ Renowned tele­vi­sion and stage ac­tor John Wood in the driver’s seat of The Other The­atre Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion of He­roes, an orig­i­nal work writ­ten by Mt Beauty based play­wright Megan Rigoni.

NOW FOR SOME­THING COM­PLETELY DIF­FER­ENT \ Miguel De Oliveira and Si­mon Goss, two of the found­ing mem­bers of The Other The­atre Com­pany in Al­bury.

ON STAGE \ Matt Lane ( Benedick) and Peter Uni­acke ( Don Pe­dro) with Tanya Har­vey ( Beatrice) and Re­becca Sim­monds ( Inno­gen) dur­ing the per­for­mance of Much Ado About Noth­ing.

SHAKE­SPEARE IN THE PARK \ David New­port ( Oberon) and Chris­tine Duff ( Ti­ta­nia) dur­ing a per­for­mance of A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream in the Al­bury Botanic Gar­dens.

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