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Ballarat National Theatre

By Arthur Miller

Directed by Joy Smith

Performed 29 October to 8 November 1975

Cast

  • David Leach
  • John Ross
  • Ron Sidebottom
  • Dennis Griffin
  • Neville Gower
  • Trevor O’Donnell
  • Jim Allen
  • Glen Foster
  • Peter Smith
  • Jeremy Harper
  • Pat Earnshaw
  • Jenny Cochrane
  • Cathy Black
  • Debbie Neilsen
  • Jeanette Brown
  • Yvonne Earnshaw
  • Angela Clark
  • Yvonne Tanner
  • Gillian Smith
  • Win Hemingway

Credits

  • Set Designer - Peter Nethercote
  • Costumes - Paula Freeman
  • Programme - Val Sarah

From BNT newsletter May 1975

The Crucible rehearsals will begin the first week in July and those fold who auditioned and others who have rung me regarding parts will be contacted.  Any other members or new members who would like to do a meaty play?  There are 22 characters in this play so far, I have 15 names listed but between now and end of June anything could happen so the more contacts we have the better.

From BNT newsletter July 1975

Have a good cast – welcome return to David Leach, Pat Earnshaw is having the opportunity to do a good meaty straight part.  And we are glad to welcome her small daughter Yvonne to play the part of Betty.  Jenny Cochrane, Debbie Neilson, Cathy Black and Jeanette Brown play the parts of the young girls.  Dennis Griffin, John Ross, Jim Allen, Murray Thomas, Trevor O’Donnell, Neville Gower, Glen Foster, Jean Anwyl, Yvonne Tanner, Angela Clarke, Wyn Hemingway, Paula Freeman are just some of the names connected with it so far and as I said am looking for one or two others.

From BNT newsletter August 1975

The Crucible is now scheduled for 31 October opening.  I have a cast (touch wood) and rehearsals are progressing more than favourably.  The two missing roles have been filled by my husband and Ron Sidebottom and I have another young man joining our ranks on Tuesday next – when Jean left us, I wondered what I would do, but within a day I had Gillian Smith coming forward. 

Isn’t this what we are looking for – new members, who wish to have a chance to do something and I am thrilled that I have been able to offer them something.  Another lass, who is at the Commercial College asked if she could come down, she knows that parts are filled, but she would like to help and get to know the theatre members and then next year she might be able to do something.

From BNT newsletter October 1975

Rehearsals are progressing well and in spite of the large cast required, parts have all been filled and I can assure Ballarat audiences that we are planning to bring them some really good stuff.  The Red Cross under the excellent organisation of Mrs Bolton are having the charity night which will be Friday 31 October, but to help recoup some of the losses made through the cancellation of the last play (Summer of the Seventeenth Doll), we will open for the public on Wednesday 29th.

The season will be 29 October until the 8 November.  Peter Nethercote is the set designer and in spite of the fact that this play calls for four complete scene changes this very talented young man has designed me a set of the modular variety whereby we take this out and put that in and swing this round and so forth and in about four minutes flat we shall be transported from one home to another and from a court house to a jail. 

It is a long play and will begin at 8.00pm not the usual 8.15pm so please note this now!

Teamed with Peter is Paula Freeman who will design and supervise the costuming.  A period play such as this necessitates expense, quite a lot – and therefore we will need your support to reimburse us for the hours of planning and making and sewing that will have to go into such a production.  Paula works well with Peter as was seen in the White Horse Production (BLOC).

Both of these folk need helpers from this week.  Peter needs handy men with tools, hammer and nails and a knowledge of cabinet making.  Paula wants four good seamstresses with portable sewing machines who would be prepared to join our team I.e. come down and work at the theatre with us, whilst we are rehearsing.  Paula and her team then help us to become our characters, and this helps not only the workers but the actors in creating the whole feeling and portrayal of the era. 

Cast includes: David Leach, John Ross, Ron Sidebottom, Dennis Griffin, Neville Gower, Trevor O’Donnell, Jim Allen, Glen Foster, Peter Smith, Jeremy Harper, Pat Earnshaw, Jenny Cochrane, Cathy Black, Debbie Neilsen, Jeanette Brown, Yvonne Earnshaw, Angela Clark, Yvonne Tanner, Gillian Smith and Win Hemingway.

From BNT newsletter October 1975

The Crucible is underway and may I personally take an opportunity through this media to say thank you to Val Sarah who designed and collated the programme material, to Peter Nethercote for his wonderful sets and to Paula and her band of ladies who sewed, snipped and ironed to give us the overall picture of these times – they have done a wonderful task and when you come to see this production you will join with me in expressing to them how much we appreciate their talents.  Plays of this nature need a higher budget than the normal everyday type of play – detail is so important and when one thinks that costumes being made and used to Sovereign Hill to depict that era authentically, cost in the vicinity of 100 each I think the theatre does a marvellous job when it suggests a costume budget of about $200 for about 25 costumes. 

The cast and workers – no play is complete without its full personnel and this includes all those who never step the boards, but flit and dart here and there off the flood lit areas to bring to us the required settings, lighting and sound – the make-up artists, the hairdressers even the tea girl – she stands by to get this and that so all can proceed smoothly, a big team but each has his/her job and place and to them all my sincere thanks for their wonderful contribution to theatre.