History



EARLY HISTORY FROM HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS AND THE MINUTE BOOKS:

Walch’s Almanac for 1891 records the existence of an Ulverstone dramatic club and a Mr C Dawson as the Secretary.
In the 1920’s the Crystal Theatre was built in King Edward Street. After the Second World War the building was purchased by the RSL. However it continued as a performance venue.

In 1949 a group of interested people including Dorothy Wilkinson, Helen Andrews, Lola Hazzlewood and William Oughton decided there was a need to form a formal theatre group. Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society was born and Mr William Oughton took on the role of President and Miss Helen Andrews became the Secretary.

The first production was in 1949, this was A A Milne’s ‘Dover Road’, which was produced by Dorothy Wilkinson. The play centred around the Dover Road that leads to the boats leaving for the continent. A popular road for run away couples. A millionaire decides to put a ‘spoke in the wheel’ and enforce a sojourn in his home to examine the motives for leaving the country.

The Society’s second production of three one-act plays in March 1950 was staged at the Ulvertstone RSL. Allan Monkhouse’s comedy,  ‘The Grand Cham’s Diamond’  with a cast of five. Ada Snare, Stella Chillcott, W.D. Oughton, Edward Benham, and Albert Grylls, the play was produced by Miss Helen Andrews. ‘The Twelve Pound Look’  by E.M. Barry was produced by Dorothy Wilkinson with Jean Mason, Graham Smith, Lola Hazzlewood and Max Tate.  The third play was ‘The Master Key’  by Wilfred Massey and performed by Burnie Little Theatre. The Advocate reported that there was a large appreciative audience and that Lola Hazzlewood’s performance was the highlight of the evening and she was ‘good to watch’.

In September 1950 a cast of eight performed ‘Fly Away Peter’  produced by Dorothy Wilkinson. The cast included Jean Skipworth, Valda Wright, Edward Banham, Bert Hazzlewood, Ian Hardy, William Oughton and Mr Goddard.

1951

The Inconstant Moon            Helen Andrews
The Phantom Ship                  Pat Beckett
The Rising of the Moon         Lola Hazzlewood
That’s Murder                        Helga walker

This was followed by the a world premiership of ‘Crisis for the Chrysalis’ A play written by Miss Phyllis Brooks and performed in the RSL in April 1952. The Play was performed for Back to Ulverstone Week  and was a typical centenary play. It was Produced by Helga Walker with  Lola Hazzlewood, Mary Churcher-Wells, Helga Walker, Jean Stephens, Helen Andrews, William Oughton, Mary Lee, Max Tate and Merv Walker in the cast. Following the premiership the play  was performed by the Muswell Hill Dramatic Club of London.

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NORTH WEST TASMANIA’S

ULVERSTONE REPERTORY THEATRE SOCIETY

In the 1940’s a few theatrically minded residents of Ulverstone, north west Tasmania, met together and rehearsed a couple of one act plays and performed them at the Leven Theatre in Ulverstone. This group continued to meet for play reading evenings. The earliest records show that The Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society staged their first full play “Dover Road” in 1949.  The Society continued to stage productions throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. However, in the late 1960s the Leven Theatre was pulled down to make way for a “New Coles” store with a promise of a “new theatre” to be built as part of a new Civic Centre complex . Without a stage to perform on the society struggled with a few stalwarts running play readings, poetry evenings and performing in other towns. As the society membership grew the group began performing plays on the Ulverstone High School stage. The last play for this era was ‘Brush With a Body’ performed in 1976. The society disbanded when the current director went to England and for a couple of years the only productions were staged by a youth group.

Thanks to  the efforts of a few past members, 21 people turned out for the Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society’s Annual General Meeting in January 1979 and the Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society reformed with some past members such as Pat and Ted Talbot, Edna Wilcox, Alan Stott, Trevor Frampton and Pene Day,  joining them was Pauline Hockley who brought along a youth group interested in theatre.

The society began to perform again and staged ten productions in the Ulverstone High School hall between 1979 and 1983. These included such classics as “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” and Toad of Toad Hall”.  In 1983 the new Civic Centre was completed and included the long awaited  new Theatre.  Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society’s first production in the Leven Theatre was “Tom Jones”. Since that first production the society has produced pantomimes, children’s stories, theatre restaurants, comedies and straight plays, a total of 69 productions have been performed over the last 26 years since the society reformed.

The Society y members have had great fun and success with their productions, they have a large following of patrons and often full houses

Pauline Hockley.
Life Member  2004

(Written for Ulverstone History Mueseum)

EARLY HISTORY FROM HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS AND THE MINUTE BOOKS:

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