The Waimate Theatre Company is celebrating 50 Years of Music and Mayhem

Covid-19 forced the postponement of the company’s 50th jubilee show last year, but the show must go on and the cast and crew are looking forward to bringing it to the Waimate Regent Theatre next month.

A keen bunch of newcomers and theatre veterans, from 8 to 88, turned up to auditions and rehearsals started with musical director Vanessa Morgan in April.

Choreographer Abigail Austin started setting dance and company movements in May, before director Alice Sollis came in to start pulling it all together.

The production features songs from Waimate Theatre Company productions over the past 50 years, as well as others from shows that may be to come over the next 50.

It was a “true variety show” that would appeal to all ages, and showcased the incredible talent in Waimate, Sollis said.

“The song list was created by the clever Vanessa, and the format is an entertaining variety of strong company songs, wonderful solos from some of the best singers in the district, a talented group of children and teens performing with the adult company as well as their own time on stage, and a few surprise skits that will bring humour and laughter,” she said.

Sollis started directing in 1996 and has been involved in several Waimate Theatre Company productions, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (2003), Fiddler on the Roof (2006), Nunsense(2012), Wink at the Sphinx(2016) and Wizard of Oz (2017).

“I love working for [the Waimate Theatre Company]. They are the best people, fun, quirky, talented and with a huge passion and dedication to putting on the best show they can.”

Founded in 1970, the Waimate Theatre Company has had its fair share of drama, on and off the stage, and had grown in strength and numbers over the past 51 years, president Vanessa Morgan said.

Three generations of Dugdale family are involved in this year’s show, including Jan, who was part of the first show staged by the company 51 years ago.

There was a rich community spirit in Waimate theatre that stuck with many people, even if they moved on from Waimate, Morgan said.

Musical Theatre New Zealand president Helen Horsnell hailed from Waimate, and spent many hours directing and performing for the company.

50 Years of Music and Mayhem opens on July 24, and the season runs until July 30. Tickets are on sale at Parkers in Waimate.