When you think of Newcastle institutions, you probably don’t think about theatre right away.
You think of BHP, the Newcastle Perm and the historic pubs and hotels.
But, Newcastle Theatre Company (NTC) has been an institution in this city since 1957 and is still a benchmark of theatre excellence and community spirit in our town.
Many of the changes in Newcastle over the past decade have been for the better, but sometimes they make life harder for the communities they affect.
NTC is one such example when, last year, it was hit with a bolt from the blue: a change to fire regulations and in May this year the company was told that keeping its doors open would be a lot more costly than first thought.
With more than 200 members, its De Vitre Street Lambton headquarters is a constant thrum of sound from rehearsals in the old auditorium and final touches being applied in the current building to sets being built and play readings in the foyer.
The company stages eight main season productions a year, four independent productions in association with other local theatre companies and a number of one-off and special events, making NTC one of the most active community theatre groups in NSW.
The regulations can’t be argued with, but the seven-year-old “new theatre” needs to be brought up to code to keep this deeply Novocastrian organisation open and carry on the work it has been doing for 62 years.
NTC membership secretary David Gray said more than $100,000 was needed to keep the doors from closing, but it also presented a great opportunity for the community to rally around.
“There are tonnes of ways people can help,” he said.
“You can start by coming to see a show, tickets starting from $25 each. You can also become a member and offer your vital support and expertise to help in any way you think you’d be able to.
“People who can afford to can make a tax-deductible donation to our building fund, and any help received will be greatly appreciated.”
The future of Newcastle Theatre Company is in the hands of Novocastrians, as it always has been, and this is their chance to show how important our community hubs are to our city.
Taking to their Facebook page this week, NTC announced that its Save NTC – The Show Must Go On appeal had started to bear positive fruit with members, patrons and supporters giving more than $13,000 to the cause.
NTC is currently staging its production of Nick Enright’s A Property of the Clan (Friday 21 June and Saturday 22 June) with its next production being the light-hearted musical comedy Stepping Out which will run from Friday 12 July to Saturday 27 July.
Head here to book for a show or donate.