May 29, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has put most South Burnett community groups temporarily out of action … but while some have ground to a standstill, others have been using the lockdown in highly productive ways.
The Nanango Theatre Company, for instance, has used the break as an opportunity to catch up on a backlog of chores and prepare to expand their offerings as soon as life returns to something closer to normal.
The group was caught short by the March lockdown when they were forced to defer their first 2020 theatre production just days before it was due to debut.
However, thespians are creative people and it wasn’t long before the group’s members began seeing the opportunities their enforced hibernation offered.
Freed from the usual treadmill of rehearsals and show preparations, they have been using their time to tackle a variety of upgrades to the group’s Elk Street playhouse that had been put into the “let’s do it when we have the time” basket.
These included attending to minor electrical work, which has improved the building’s safety, and included installing outside power points on the verandah deck so the company’s urn can quietly boil for intermission supper during a performance without disturbing the audience.
The new outlets will also open up options for a bain-marie and soft, decorative lighting which could give future intermissions an entirely new look.
Another improvement was mounting a retractable movie screen at the front of the stage and ensuring that it’s effectively invisible when performers are on stage.
The screen will allow the NTC to hold movie afternoons when normal life returns.
The Nanango Community Film Group recently donated their equipment to the NTC when they decided to close, and the theatre company will continue to run this popular service.
The NTC is also installing an improved electric curtain mechanism which will allow the stage’s curtains to be opened and closed remotely during performances without obscuring anyone’s view.
Other members are also tackling the enormous task of sorting, reading and reviewing the group’s extensive uncatalogued play collection.
And thanks to hanging rails and hooks from Bunnings, the group hopes to be able to stage art exhibitions in conjunction with their productions in the near future.
Looking ahead, the group anticipates the Stage 3 restrictions planned for mid-July will come into effect and allow it to offer public performances again to a maximum of 100 people at a time.
However, because social distancing will still be required, the Elk Street Playhouse won’t be a suitable venue.
The group has made a tentative booking of the Nanango Cultural Centre for August 7-8, 14-15.
If members agree to press ahead – and COVID-19 restrictions allow – the NTC will be presenting their first 2020 production then.
An announcement about this will be made on the group’s Facebook page later this month.