Noosa Arts Theatre: Recollection of early days

Daughters Joanna and Heidi Sewell at the Theatre Restaurant which was Noosa Arts Theatre.

Actress, Playwright and Director Sue Sewell writes; In 1982 the very colourful Bill Deans, director of the Peregian Beach Kindergarten, invited me to audition for a play, “No Time for Fig Leaves”, which he was directing for Noosa Arts Theatre. Noosa Arts?

I was new to Australia and had never heard of this theatre. So, along with Sue Clapham, Bill and I drove to Weyba Road and found this little building with “Noosa Arts Theatre” written on an outside board. We parked on the wasteland beside the building and, once inside, we found an empty auditorium with several red directors’ chairs stacked against the walls, an old piano and bright green curtains as the backdrop for a lonely stage. The directors’ chairs, which squeaked with movement, could be used in any configuration allowing for theatre restaurant, audience participation and as an alternative entry/exit for actors through a door at the back of the auditorium, which also led to the lighting box.

The auditions began, reading off scripts printed from the Gestetner copier and one person reading three parts because of the lack of attendance; but, as always, the play was eventually cast, rehearsals began and these are my memories of the early days at Noosa Arts Theatre.

Actress Yvie Sommerville writes; I heard about Noosa Arts Theatre, as a newcomer to Australia, knowing no one, a long way from home. I came to see a musical “Now That’s Entertainment “, and I was blown away by it. The standard was so high.

Having trained as an actress in England, I then married and had 3 children not leaving much time for theatre! So this little theatre production was a revelation to me, and I auditioned for “Iolanthe “,I was delighted to be cast, and was made so very welcome, so many people helping the “Newbie”.

I was hooked, this community theatre has so much to offer, friendship, camaraderie, and fun in abundance. I have starred in many productions since including Gigi, Travelling North, Quartet, the Eulogy, and many more, I now help in the bar and am on the management committee.

This theatre has so much to offer, learning about the follow spot, helping to dress performers in musicals. The list is endless! Newcomers are made very welcome, you don’t have to have any experience, that’s the great thing, you learn as you go! This theatre has given me so many new friends, and I will always be grateful that it welcomed me to its heart!