27 June 2023

Sixty great reasons to make a song and dance: Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre sets stage for anniversary

| Jarryd Rowley
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man and woman with party hats and whistles

Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre manager Isobel MacCallum and Wagga Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout will be among the many people celebrating the arts hub’s 60th anniversary this week. Photo: Wagga Wagga City Council.

When the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre opened its doors for the first time, it showed a local production of The Teahouse of the August Moon.

Six decades later, the theatre is still encouraging local artists while welcoming renowned performers from all over the world.

With the venue celebrating its 60th anniversary on Thursday (29 June), manager Isobel MacCallum and Wagga Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout have reminisced on what makes it such an iconic location.

“This is the very first place that young people [in the region] perform and step onto a stage,” Ms MacCallum said.

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“We are incredibly proud that there have been so many people who have started with their first performance being here at the Civic Theatre and then going on to be professional practitioners.

“This is a really busy venue, and we are so proud of the fact that we have touring companies that come through with professional productions.”

Cr Tout highlighted the long history of performing arts in Wagga Wagga and the significance of the theatre turning 60.

“Although the building is turning 60, the history of it dates back a little further,” he said.

“It goes back to 1959. The School of Performing Arts, at the time, had their own building. They had for a number of years. They ended up selling that building to go into partnership with the council to build the theatre we have here today.

“Since then, we’ve had 60 years of performances and the city continues to love and engage with this institution.”

Cr Tout believes that in his time as Wagga Mayor and a councillor, the theatre has been worth the city’s investment in it.

“It’s continuing to contribute as an asset,” he said.

“We [WWCC] are keeping it usable and keeping it relevant to what we’re doing nowadays and to what we’re looking to do in future.”

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To celebrate its milestone, the Civic Theatre will host two events this week, a Silver Circle Singalong and a 60th Gala Concert.

“On Wednesday [28 June], we’ve got a 60th birthday singalong featuring the talents of Jamie Way, Meredith Adams and Peter Case,” Ms MacCallum said.

“It will be a wonderful, interactive event. So we’re encouraging people to bring their best voices and sing out loud.”

The 60th Gala Concert on Thursday will host an official celebration marking 60 years to the day of the theatre’s first show.

“We [the theatre] see them [anniversary events] as a gift to the local community, they are just fun, amazing concerts,” Ms MacCallum said.

“I would encourage everybody who feels like having a celebratory experience this week to purchase a ticket and come along.”

To buy tickets to the singalong or the concert, head to the Civic Theatre website.

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