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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 791..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

end it was slightly more persistent than she was. But to the bitter end she never lost her hope, she never lost her joy, she never lost the love of her friends. I think that those of us who were there and those of us that could not make it—and so many had said they wanted to be there but could not—will always remember her for her love of what she did, how she did it and the way that she was a central point for so many groups of people and the way they lived their lives.

Canberra area theatre awards

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.39): I rise this evening to join with other members of this place who spoke very well about the CAT awards on Tuesday night. As you would be aware, I was in the chair at the time and unable to speak. It was unfortunate for me that I was unable to speak at the time; I had intended to do so.

I would love to recognise this evening the amateur theatre's night of nights. We witnessed 11,000 lovers of live theatre gather at the Canberra Theatre on Saturday night for the 15th annual ActewAGL Canberra and Area Theatre awards, better known as the CAT awards. This year a record 96 productions from over 60 amateur theatre companies and schools were seen by 14 judges who travelled over 112,000 kilometres to towns such as Wagga, Griffith, Albury, Merimbula, Dubbo and Ulladulla. Congratulations to all those judges. We thank them for their dedication in doing that.

As we know, the CAT awards were the dream of local theatre personality Coralie Wood—who many talked about in this place on Tuesday night—who believed that those involved in local amateur theatre did not get the recognition they deserved. I am fortunate to be a patron, along with legendary performer Toni Lamond, of the awards. I was very pleased to be part of a group of people back in 2004 that worked with Coralie to make sure that the CAT awards continued. At that time I know that Coralie was thinking that she would have to pull out and the CAT awards would no longer be able to keep going. So congratulations to Coralie and the rest of those people who have stuck by it and have made sure that these awards continue to be part of the Canberra scene and indeed part of our whole region. So many people are excited about them and love to be involved.

It is not only the performers, as other members have said before me, it is the costume makers, the set designers, the set builders, the sound and lighting engineers and musicians, the program designers, the front of house staff—everybody that gets involved in producing theatre in this city, old and young alike, and around the region. It is schools, it is seniors groups, it is just a little group of people in a town somewhere out back of beyond almost that get together and it forms the glue, often, of their community.

These things give early training experience and confidence to people who go on to get professional careers. Damien Bermingham, Lorina Gore and Rhys Holden are all young Canberrans with highly successful professional careers who got their local start in amateur theatre. I have no doubt that the quality of amateur theatre production in Canberra and the region will continue to grow as the theatre companies continue to raise the bar in order to be recognised for the CAT awards.


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