Early recollections

Margaret Courtney plays Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music.

To celebrate this year’s big milestone for Noosa Arts Theatre – which turns 50 years young in 2020 – Noosa Today will publish a series of Recollections of the Early Years, beginning this week with Margaret Courtney, – life member, wardrobe mistress, performer, former secretary and president…

When we arrived in 1991 we didn’t know Noosa had a theatre.

We had driven past the little building next to the AFL ground with its pink walls covered in flowing rainbows and silhouettes of old-fashioned people in bonnets and top hats thinking it was a kindergarten.

It wasn’t until we stopped and read the board outside that we realised it was the Noosa Arts Theatre.

There was a tiny foyer with a small counter at one end (serving tea and coffee) and the auditorium was filled with 100 red director’s chairs.

The stage was about a third smaller than the current one.

There was one small dressing-room for the ladies and the men had to use the old props and costume space to dress.

Two toilets had to suffice for the audience, cast and crew which meant long queues, with the return after interval often being delayed so cast had a chance to ‘go’.

The first production we saw was Chicago and we were amazed at how good it was and what they achieved on such a small stage.

I remember sitting in the middle of the audience thinking “one day this will be my theatre”.

I joined three months later and it’s still ‘my theatre’.

My first show was Barnum (1999) where I played Chairy Barnum and the last show I did was The Sound of Music, I played Mother Abbess.

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