History

“Tonight’s trip along Memory Lane really begins on a cold winter’s night in 1959. The date was the 15th of July, exactly 25 years ago tomorrow; when at a meeting held in the Church of England Hall in Mostyn St., a group of people who shared a great love of good music and enjoyable theatre made the momentous decision to form a Musical Company. Their dream was to gather together people from within the Castlemaine Community with all kinds of musical talents and give them the opportunity to provide high quality musical theatre for everyone to enjoy…The meeting was chaired by Mr. Len Hall and a production committee was formed. Len was appointed Producer and Horrie Pedlar, Musical Director. The rest of the committtee was made up of John Fogarty, Allan Whatley, Bob Qualtrough, Max Rigg, Ray Addicoat, Kingsley Callister, Betty Thompson and Mr. R. Gamble…”

Thus reads the program of the 25th Anniversary Performance of the Castlemaine Musical Theatre Compamy, A Night of Nostalgia, 14th July 1984.  The CMT was originally called ‘The Castlemaine Light Opera Company’, and at some point (we are not sure exactly when) it divided into ‘The Castlemaine Musical Theatre’ and ‘The Castlemaine Drama Group’, then eventually re-merged to form the Castlemaine Theatre Company.

From these beginnings with traditional repertoire such as Oklahoma, Sweet Charity and numerous G&S productions, the company has evolved into a dynamic, community-focused organisation, confident in tackling more challenging classic and contemporary works.

In recent years the CTC has produced 1984 (2010), Moliere’s The Hypochondriac (2011). In 2012 we took on the huge task of staging a series of one-act plays (New Blood) with new directors, to encourage increased community participation. From 2010 to 2013 we had a creative and vibrant Youth Theatre Company who staged their own self devised works. They formed an integral part of our activities, before facilitator Kirstie Babbage went on to run the Youth Group as an independent company. We have hosted ‘Speakeasy’ events on a monthly basis – informal social meetings for our members to experiment with play readings and improvisation. The Castlemaine Theatre Company considers itself theatre “for the people, by the people and of the people”.

Over the next few months we will be adding to this page and researching some more about the history of the CTC, and about the history of community theatre in Castlemaine….stay tuned. If you can help, contact our secretary.

We now know that according to The Castlemaine Pioneer and Old Residents Association 1930 Jubilee Book (reprinted with addition in 1984), that “The Castlemaine Amateur Dramatic Club gave its first performance on July 3, 1856“.

Past Presidents

Kenneth MacLeod, President 2010-17

Kenneth MacLeod became President of the CTC in 2009. He specialized in multi-tasking – directing, acting, singing and set building. In 2014 he directed Playhouse Creatures by April De Angelis performed at The Castlemaine Old Gaol. He appeared in the 2013 production of Aftershocks, and in 2012 he performed in The Local Stigmatic as part of the New Blood Series of short plays, and mentored many of the New Blood directors. He directed and took the lead role of Argan in The Hypochondriac (2011), directed 1984 (2010) and directed and starred in Dirty Work at the Crossroads (2010). Kenneth MacLeod’s vision for the CTC was to develop it’s repertoire beyond melodramas and musicals, and to provide opportunities for the local community to participate as creative and collaborative members of a vibrant and dynamic theatre company.

Christine Sheehan, President 2004-2010

Ron Mewitt

Marg Lewis

Tony Wadsworth