This year is a special one for West Otago Theatrical Society as we celebrate 40 years of putting on great shows for the West Otago and wider community.
WOTS was formed in Tapanui in 1982, performing its first show in the old Town Hall, which was on the site of the present West Otago Community Centre, that houses our current theatre.
In the early years of the society an annual production was presented, with the Town Hall being transformed for the occasion.
By the time fundraising by the community for the new Community Centre was underway, WOTS was in a position to have some input in the design of the new theatre and to ensure its future use. Sufficient society funds, enabled us to equip the theatre and green room with what was required to continue putting on shows for Tapanui.
Since our first show in the theatre the society has continued to grow and improve the facility overtime, making it a great location for any group or individual wishing to use the space. This includes local schools, travelling theatre groups and more. This is all possible thanks to the vast amount of volunteer hours that the society puts in to maintain the space.
Our most recent projects have been to upgrade our lighting and sound in 2018, to enable us to produce a more polished production and this year we are doing a full new fit out of the theatre rigging to upgrade the safety of our theatre.
The West Otago Community Centre board have taken on the task of putting on a new roof structure as the existing has fallen victim to water pooling and leaks of late. WOTS has seen this as an opportunity to support the community board and have taken on the task of getting our theatre properly assessed so that we can input structures within our stage area to ensure the safety and workability of the facility for years to come.
This upgrade included new winch systems, beams, fabric legs to replace the old wooden flats for the wings and a full new electrical system for the lighting. While everything was striped out of the theatre we have taken the opportunity to 'black out' our theatre space, painting the still raw walls and ceiling of the theatre to create an even more professional space.
This roof and theatre upgrade has put an interesting spin on this years production preparations and our 40th celebrations. The society has decided to put on The Phantom of the Opera to mark this special year for us. We have had a few extra challenges thrown at us with the building completion date being pushed out and the final refit of the stage being now scheduled to happen after our Phantom of the Opera season.
This year's direction team, cast and crew have been exceptional at managing all the challenges this year has presented. With a covid outbreak keeping cast from rehearsals, show dates being delayed by a week, waiting for the roof to be completed and the stage cleared for rehearsals to continue on stage and the lighting and sound team setting the stage back up with a temporary rig for Phantom opening night, they really have out done themselves to keep this show on track for opening night.
As they say 'the show must go on' and go on it shall! If rehearsals are anything to go by this show will be one of WOTS best yet and we can't wait to share it with you all and celebrate 40 proud years of arts in the West Otago Community.
To further commemorate our 40th year the committee has decided to invite all past and present members to join us for the first Saturday night (2nd July) of our season to join in a time of reflection and reconnection before the show.
If you wish to join us for this event, please book a ticket to our 2nd of July show and join us from 6.30pm.
This is going to be a Masquerade Gala evening, so please dress accordingly if you wish.
We are looking forward to our opening night on the 1st July and the season to come. We hope you will all be able to join us and celebrate our 40 years together.