10 February 2024

Community theatre to kick off the year with a February double act in Wagga

| Chris Roe
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man consoling woman in play rehearsal

Rehearsals are well underway for SoACT’s February Fundays. Photos: SoACT.

Wagga’s School of Arts Community Theatre (SoACT) is gearing up to kick off another busy year with a double-barrelled line-up called February Fundays.

Acting production manager Craig Dixon explained that the show included comedy and drama in a double bill of one-act plays.

“One-act plays are punchier than the normal two-act play and can run for anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour,” he said.

“With the two that we have, one is a drama and one is a comedy.

“We’ll perform them both with a break in the middle and hopefully it should be great entertainment for everyone that comes along.”

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Wagga theatrical veteran Dennis Blackett will direct the drama Are You Lonesome Tonight, about an Elvis Presley superfan in the 1970s who’s on a mission to reignite his marriage.

The couple’s shared love of ”The King” was one of the things that brought them together, but after he books tickets to all 12 dates of a tour, he learns that his wife is no longer into Elvis.

“I can say that during my teenage years, I was a devout fan of Elvis and do believe that in 100 years his music will still be heard,” Mr Blackett said.

“The play is witty, charming and compelling, and I believe the two actors I have chosen will deliver this story in a fascinating way.”

theatre actors rehearsing

The cast of Three Chairs prepares for the wild and wacky comedy.

The second show, directed by Mr Dixon, is Three Chairs by Roger Gimblett, a comedy filled with larger-than-life characters.

“It’s a great Australian play; it’s a farce and very over the top,” Mr Dixon said.

“Off the back of the holiday season, it should be entertaining for anyone who’s got a few eccentric members in their family – which I think is pretty much everyone!

“The show is ultimately very cast-dependent, so I am very fortunate to have a tremendously fun and talented group of people to work with.”

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For SoACT, 2023 was a big year, with a return to the main stage at Wagga’s Civic Theatre and the launch of the Riverina Opera and Light Opera Company.

“We had Pirates of Penzance, which was a big musical comic opera, and it was a bit of a homecoming for the School of Arts because we used to perform in the Civic Theatre quite a lot,” Mr Dixon said.

“We also had a real variety of other shows in our usual home in the basement, and we also had our Ten x 10 playfest in the CSU Playhouse.

“This year, we’re carrying on a similar theme where we’ve got some big shows planned along with some small shows and some shows in the middle.”

Another musical is in the pipeline, with rumours of a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein production set in the Austrian Alps and featuring a singing nun.

The popular Ten x 10 is also back for another year, with a fresh twist.

“We did something different this year and put a call out for scripts to the Wagga public to see if we could get some new playwrights from the local community,” Mr Dixon said.

“We received approximately 40 or 50 submissions and those scripts are going to three assessors, so in the next couple of months we should hopefully have a list of 10 favourites that we will perform.”

In the meantime, February Fundays will open on Sunday (11 February) and will continue each Sunday until a final performance on the 25th.

You can book tickets through the SoACT site.

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