CELEBRATIONS have kicked off today, October 27, marking Canberra’s first theatre company’s 85th anniversary.
ACT Minister for the Arts, Gordon Ramsay, today helped start the celebrations by launching the newly refurbished foyer of Canberra Repertory Society’s Theatre 3 in Acton, flanked by members of the performing arts community, volunteers and theatre lovers.
The refurbishment of the foyer, now adorned with photographs of some of many past productions, has been a labour of love, carried out by Canberra REP’s volunteers over many months. It provides an expanded bar area and more central box-office facilities.
It’s quite a history for “REP”.
The fifteenth governor-general of Australia, Viscount De L’Isle, and noted medical practitioner and politician Dr Lewis Nott formed the Canberra Repertory Society in 1932, following the Great Depression.
Albert Hall was the first home for REP. Its first productions included “The Twelve Pound Look” and “The Crimson Coconut”, staged in conjunction with the Canberra Players. The society later moved to Riverside Theatre in Kingston. After the opening of the Canberra Theatre Centre in the mid-’60s, the company resided at the Canberra Playhouse before relocating in 1973 to its present venue in the former Canberra High School.
Since those days it has staged more than 500 major productions and boasts the support over the years of figures such as Sir Paul Hasluck, Sir Zelman Cowan, Sir Ninian Stephen, and Sir John Kerr. Other people honoured in the celebrations included academic, literary scholar, poet and theatre critic Hope Hewitt and film and theatre actor, Angela Punch-McGregor.
Nowadays REP stages six major productions each year, while providing opportunities for people to extend their interest in theatre and develop their skills.
As part of the 85th anniversary celebrations, REP will be hosting the following events at Theatre 3, Repertory Lane, Acton:
2018 Season Launch – 6pm, Friday, October 27.
Annual Retro Sale – October 27 & 28.
Open Day, Saturday, October 28 –meet the directors and actors, and take a behind the scenes tour.