The Independent Theatre Association – created in 1984 from a desire to bring community theatre closer together while increasing the general public’s awareness – has started 2015 with a boisterous celebration of those ideals with the 40th Annual Robert Finley Awards. Some 500 people attended the event, staged at the Heath Ledger Theatre, where various theatre people performed excerpts, received awards and generally applauded the efforts of Western Australian Community Theatre. A further 3000+ people heard about the Finley’s and people in Community Theatre through the live updates and photos being posted on our Facebook page. This was the result of a concerted effort by the Committee, Adjudicators and STCWA staff to create a professional and exciting show. Special thanks need to go to Kerri Hilton for all her efforts, most notably arranging for such a wide array of presenters, all of whom were involved in Community Theatre and then developed careers in Professional Theatre, to present the major awards.
Thanks need to go to the exiting committee members, for their years of service and dedicating their free time to running the Association. Norma, Lyn, David and Paul: thank you! I hope you will be pleased with what the ITA achieves this year!
I would also like to thank the new committee members for volunteering to help the association fulfil its chartered objectives, without you there really is no ITA. The year ahead of us should provide quite a few challenges which I hope we can make enjoyable. I would also like to individually thank the executive for taking on their positions. Ryan Taaffe, who has completed multiple ITA tours before and runs Koorliny Arts Centre, brings a wealth of experience and understanding to the Vice President’s chair. Lynda Stubbs, who’s worked on almost as many amateur shows as professional ones and understands things from both sides, a particularly useful skill for an association’s Secretary, and finally, Emma Davis, the person responsible for the success of last year’s Dramafest, has the financial know how to be a great Treasurer.
So, what now?
We will be reviewing many ideas about what the ITA needs to be doing, including those raised at the recent AGM, to find actionable initiatives that aim to bring a little more community into our theatre. There may be some old events coming back and some new initiatives around the edges. Change is coming – yes – but they are considered changes based on forward planning and financial responsibility.
We need to put the Robert Finley Awards back into the Heath Ledger Theatre. Dramafest needs be a weeklong festival that anyone making theatre can perform in. Youthfest needs be on every school’s drama calendar. The ITA needs to be taking bold steps to make sure they happen and then we need our members, and the communities they consist of, to join in the fun and excitement. There is, after all, a lot to be had and we would like to make more of it for you to enjoy.
This is your five minute call. Five minutes to beginners, Ladies and Gentlemen.