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Imagine Theatre prepares to launch another creative year

March 25th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka's theatre group, Imagine Theatre, will kick off its 2011 year of fun, drama and creativity with its Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Performance concert starting next Thursday, March 31st.

The performance will be in the form of a variety concert with MCs and a range of musical and other talents assembled from around the district. There will be three performance on Thursday and Friday nights at 7.30pm and a matinee performance on Saturday at 2pm.

Imagine Theatre will mount four theatrical events this year, seeking to satisfy a variety of tastes including youth and adult plays in May and July respectively and a family fairy tale-type production in spring. Last year there were fewer productions due to hall renovations and illness, but the committee is determined this year to further expand their offerings.

Each of the 12 committee members offers certain interests and skills. President Mike Nelson looks after the management side, allowing Murray Owen, Izzy Erridge and Cynthia Fowler to pursue their main love - discovering and fostering the thespian skills unearthed in our district, and creating interesting and varied productions.

Imagine Theatre was founded in 2006, and currently has a small but enthusiastic group of volunteers and members numbering about 60. It is based in the old scout hall off Woodlands Ave beside Thorp Bush, and is involved in renovating the building in the hope of creating a performance space that will be an asset to the community.

The Earthquake Appeal Performance will showcase an interesting mix of performers, mainly musical but also comedic and magical. Musicians include Ella May, Dana Orrock-Binnington, Ian Ramsden and Hamish, Izaak and Alana Behringer, Hannah and Amanda Dyson, Heather Sinclair-Wentworth and the mischievous Murray Owen. Proceeds from the $5 entry fee will go to the Red Cross appeal.

The next production will be by the Youth Theatre in May. Budding new director Amy Wilson will direct the comedy-drama Teechers by English playwright John Godber. Then in July the Adult Theatre will present The Memory of Water under Cynthia Fowler's direction.

Murray Owen says some of the teenaged actors who have taken part in plays over recent years have taken up the challenge of taking on adult themes with minimal sets, following from the earlier "fairy tale" types of family fare. In 2009 they tackled their first adult show, Cage Birds, which was difficult and allegorical, but succeeded to the point that they could make a great job of last year's adult theatre, Daughters of Heaven.

"There's a growing talent in some of the young kids," he says. "They responded well to Cage Birds after Alice in Wonderland. For a small town, the amount of talent is really good, but it still needs channelling.

"There are also some good young directors here. And we've had some adult actors join us in recent years who had no experience but have done well thanks to being well directed."

Imagine Theatre would always like more help for productions, including front-of-house work at the doors and ushering but also production help behind the scenes. An ideal way to become part of the theatre scene is membership, which costs $20 per year for individuals and $35 for families. These fees help ensure productions can be mounted.

In September or October Imagine will produce a family show in Memorial Hall involving some kind of fairy-tale theme.

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