HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

The Sutherland Shire is located in the Southern Sydney region, and has been buzzing with the Theatrical & Performing arts for many years. From the popular Sutherland Entertainment Centre, to Cronulla Arts Theatre, the history of these attractions has witnessed hundreds of significant and memorable performances.

Both Theatre stages and Theatre companies have been operating from the mid-to early 20th Century, and continue to produce outstanding quality of entertainment within a community based environment.

In 1946, The School of Arts Dramatic Society was created and performed various plays in halls throughout the Sutherland Shire. Their first production was The Haxtons, performed at the Masonic Hall on the 30th of April and the 1st of May, 1947. A repeat performance was then held on the 23rd of June at the Sutherland School of Arts.

The Sutherland School of Arts, early 1900’s. Image: Sutherland Council

In May 2010, the Masonic Hall was under threat of demolition by Hurstville Council. The hall was built in 1922 and is listed on the National Trust Register as one of the few remaining highly intact Masonic temples dating from the interwar period. It has been home to many historical performances over generations, including those by The School of Arts Dramatic Society. Unfortunately the destruction plans went ahead, despite the generous petition movements by the community.

Masonic Hall, Mortdale. Image: sydney-city.blogspot.com

The Arts Theatre Cronulla is another uniquely historical theatre. It first opened on 30 November 1963 with a production of Will Any Gentleman?, and has undergone restoration only this year. Over 170 productions have been presented at the Arts Theatre since its opening, including the theatre’s first entry in the Sydney Drama Festival, The Shifting Heart in 1965, which was awarded for the Best Production of an Australian Play.

ABOVE IMAGES: 1963 Cronulla Arts Theatre Production photos of Will Any Gentleman?

Theatre companies and musical societies have been producing many amateur productions throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. These companies are relatively popular throughout the Sutherland Shire, as they provide acting and performance opportunities for locals as a fun and learning experiences. Some of these well known established groups within the area include:

The Miranda Musical Society(MMS), which began in 1967 and was incorporated in 1991.

The Regals Musical Society, which has been producing musical theatre for over 60 years.

Shire Music Theatre (formerly The Sutherland Shire Light Opera Company), marking their 30th year of making theatre in 2004.

The Guild Theatre Group, officially opened in 1966 by the Mayor of Rockdale, Alderman R. J. Gosling.

and many more.

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1 thought on “HISTORICAL OVERVIEW”

  1. this is fantastico

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