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.
The Tapanui Community Centre was built in 1992 and through the vision of some locals, incorporated a 204 seat theatre. The theatre has largely been furnished by the West Otago Theatrical Society (WOTS). Funds were raised and the initial lighting and sound equipment was purchased in 1998. After years of serving WOTS and the local community well, WOTS has recently upgraded the theatre’s sound and lights. However due to changing Health & Safety and Certification standards we are now looking at extensive structural strengthening in the theatre staging area.
The West Otago Theatrical Society have engaged the services of a specialist Theatre Systems engineer to assess the rigging structure within the theatre and been informed that all of the existing systems will now have to be brought up to standard. We are hoping for this to happen during the summer 2021 / 2022 when the Community Centre roof is lifted and renewed. All lighting and stage systems will have to be removed for this to take place.
This upgrade will bring the facilities technical specifications up to date making it safer for schools and all community groups who use the theatre.
We wish to thank PGG Wrightson Tapanui for giving us the opportunity to run the auction at the West Otago A&P show this year. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the businesses of West Otago and surrounding districts for supporting our auction. This funding will go towards upgrading the community theatre.
Nominations are out and once again WOTS is featuring in a number of categories.
Congratulations to all involved in the Production of 'A Relatively Uneventful Evening'. Nominations go to
Margs Hall and Vanessa Crawford for 'Best Leading Female in a Play'
Bernie Crayston for 'Best Leading Male in a Play'
Andy Stuart for 'Best Supporting Male in a Play'
For a full list of nominations click on the link below.
Tickets are now on sale for this auspicious event which will be held at the Ascot Park Hotel on February 1st, 2020 hosted by Invercargill Musical Theatre. If you wish to attend click on the link below for tickets.
It gives me great pleasure to present this 47th Annual Report of the West Otago Theatrical Society.
Although reluctant to take up the position of Acting President, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year.
We entered a float in the 2018 Christmas Parade, and were placed second with a prize of $50. We can be proud that we always turn up with a float year after year, it's good publicity for our show and also participation in the parade.
We had planned to put on 'Oliver' for 2019 but unfortunately this did not happen for various reason, mainly no music track could be used, even when we were led to believe we could get one.
We were fortunate after this set back to have a proposal from Mr Geaorge Arthur regarding directing our 2019 show. He was in the process of writing a play which he wanted to put before the committee for their perusal. After deliberations we took up his offer and 'A Relatively Uneventful Evening' was cast. Although there were difficulties to overcome with a director not always on site, these were overcome and a very professional show was produced. We were heartened by the response from our public once again and our books show a reasonable profit was made. Thank you to the cast and production team for a very professional show. We had our pre-show publicity shout which has been a new initiative for the past two years and seems to be a great way to communicate with our radio and newspaper personnel.
We continue with our hires of both set and costumes and it is great to see the contributing schools using the theatre and showing the young children of the area theatre craft.
Thank you to members who gave up their time to clean out the wool shed at Edievale. We were grateful for Mr Livingstone allowing us to store a huge amount of excess set items over many years. I am pleased to report that apart from a few precious pieces the rest were disposed.
I approached Greame and Rosalyn Smith to see if they would be willing to take on our Patron and Patroness role. They were delighted to accept and I chose the opening night of our show to present them with their badges. I felt it was fitting on this occasion to honour these two who have done so much for our society.
We were represented at the OSTA Awards in Oamaru and were pleased to bring back Best Properties, Best Suporting Male in a Musical (Craig Wadsworth), Best Leading Male in a Musical (Bruce Potter) awards as well as being nominated in all other categories.
We have nominated Andrew Gordon for the Gore District Awards, and we wish him every success.
It was with great sadness that we lost one of our most loyal suporters, past Patroness and friend Sue somerville. Although in recent times Sue was not able to support as she would have liked to, she was still very much interested in the affairs of the society. You will be very much missed Sue.
I have been attending the combined West Otago Community Centre committee meetings. I am sure you are all award of the problems we have been having with the roof. This is a major problem and one we will have to be award to support financially in the future.
We ahve suported, once again, students from Blue Mountain College for the National YouthDrama School.
As other years we are always grateful for any sponsorship and would like to acknowledge the Mataura Licensing Trust who are always so suportive of our shows.
There are many people to thank, special thanks to Mar our Treasurer a truly challenging job and made more difficult for you this year as we acknowledge the passing of your parents. To Carey my right hand lady of many talents - thank you all for your support and friendship. To the committee thank you for putting your name forward and I hope you will be encouraged to stand again tonight. The website deserves special mention - it looks just great thanks to Farryn and Vanessa for putting in the extra time to get this up to speed. It certainly is the way to go for the future.
The society is in good heart and we can look forward to another successful year.
Barbara Hanna - Outgoing President
WOTS Life Member and now Patron Graeme Smith receiving his QSM (Queen's Service Medal) from the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy. Graeme who was a recipient in the New Year's Honours list for his services to the community and theatre. Graeme was supported at the investiture by his wife and Patroness of WOTS Rosalyn Smith and their four children.
To see more photos click the link below.
The Otago Southland Theatre Awards celebrates the best of amateur live theatre throughout Otago and Southland every year. West Otago Theatrical Society punches above its weight and this year has been no exception, hauling a magnificent 13 nominations from the very successful ‘Les Miserables’.
The Award ceremony is to be held in Oamaru on 16th February 2019. Tickets via iTicket.
Our nominations are listed below. Congratulations and good luck to our nominees!
We are thrilled to launch our new look website! It’s been crafted to bring you all the latest information about our shows and who to talk to about being involved with our Society. It also contains information about wardrobe and prop hire available to the public.