Theatre group celebrates over three decades on stage

Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society (CADS) celebrated 31 years on stage earlier this year. 

The amateur theatre group re-formed in 1987, but its history goes back to 1984 when the School of Arts was formed. 

Robert Bill on sound at the recent performance of K.A.O.S. Photo: Clare McCabe

Robert Bill on sound at the recent performance of K.A.O.S. Photo: Clare McCabe

Sandra and Robert Bill, Anne Cleary, Rhonda Cummins and Helen Campbell have all been members since it reformed.

They have shared moments onstage, behind the scenes and in production roles.

“It’s in your blood,” said Mrs Bill.

The talent that has performed or directed in CADS over the years ranged from the Russian and Australian ballet troupe, to troubled youth, said Mrs Bill.

In 2011, CADS formed Kids Acting On Stage (K.A.O.S), and extended their dramatic arts group to kids as young as three.

On the weekend, K.A.O.S performed a successful Funhouse Variety Show.

The youth show was directed by CADS member, Rob Huskisson, and produced by CADS.

Mr and Mrs Bill have both trained at National Institute of Dramatic Arts, although Mrs Bill is mostly self-taught, she said.

They’ve passed on their passion for performance and the arts to their family.

Grandkids Tahlia, Lachlan and Taleisha all performed in the K.A.O.S Funhouse Variety Concert.

Their son provided the backstage technical support.

CADS holds an annual performance, and in the past they have performed ‘Allo, ‘Allo, Are you Being Served and Steel Magnolias.

In June, 2018 the troupe performed the ‘saucy’ Lady Godiva.

It was directed by Anne Cleary and Mrs Cummins.

They have dabbled in more serious topics, said Mrs Bill.

It's in your blood

CADS performer and director, Sandra Bill

“One year’s performance, we tried a murder mystery, although the audience couldn’t take us seriously,” said Mrs Bill.

CADS has also maintained and upgraded the Crookwell Memorial Hall.

The group has invested in upgrades to the Hall that is now in excess of $150,000, said Mr Bill.

Included in this is a reinforced stage, additional rooms, costumes, a mezzanine area and equipment; lights, sound system.

They recently spent $8000 on a new sound system, and $2000 on microphones, he said.

Performances and fundraisers have raised money to fund most of the upgrades, and some grant money, said Mr Bill.

This is a stark contrast to the early years of CADS.

Mr Bill used to construct their set from recycled material that he collected from the dump, he said.

The group is also committed to the development of the youth and award prize money to Upper Lachlan Shire schools.

It is used at the end of year school presentations, said Mr Bill.

Each of the 11 schools in the Upper Lachlan Shire receives money that is to be used for excellence in performance and the arts, said Mr Bill.

Next year, CADS will again hit the stage for an annual performance.

It is a mash-up of the best of CADS from over the years, said Rhonda Cummins.