The importance of community theatre

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It was my privilege to be patron and senior judge of  the Village Hall Players Inaugural Playwrights’ Competition at Kyogle, a town in northern New South Wales.

Such initiatives are extremely important to the development of play writing talent. The best form of encouragement for a playwright is to have his/her work realised on stage.

Congratulations to the winners, Michael Lill for his play In this Waking Hour and Jordan Coote-Shortis for her play, Pesadillas, as well as the other writers who entered for the awards. The standard was impressive. Congratulations also to the hard-working people behind the scenes, whose dedication and creative energy made the event possible. I particularly would like to acknowledge Lynette Zito for her initiative and drive in realising the project.

Australia is not an easy place for the arts in some respects. The population is small, the distances vast and the competition fierce for the public’s attention. It is even harder in regions outside capital cities. The climate is probably one chief competitor that works against theatre. It’s hard to be inside a sometimes hot and stuffy hall watching a play when the fantastic weather beckons us to go outside.Then there is sport, probably the true religion and arena for drama in Australia. Of course,TV and the internet seem to be overtaking all.

Still, we try.

Community theatre, made by dedicated souls with great passion, usually surviving on shoestring budgets, keep the flame burning for live theatre and for a tradition of story-telling going way back in time.

Again, thanks to all.

Jordan

Jordan Coote-Shortis receives her John Summons Award for playwrights under 18 years from John Summons

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