The Artful Dodger — May 2023

Meet the new Chair of Warrandyte Arts

Hi everyone. My name is Bruce Turner and I’ve lived here in Warrandyte with my family for 23 years.

The role of Chair had not been on my radar until I was approached by immediate past Chair, Adrian Rice, to consider replacing him in the role. He and his wife Hazel are currently overseas for several months visiting old haunts, doing volunteer teaching, and catching up with family, so have stepped back from their local involvements, including the Theatre Company.

I established my business as an independent facilitator, mediator and trainer, shortly after we arrived here. Basically, my role has been to make it easier for people to discuss complex or controversial topics, or just things they care about, by helping create and manage a safe environment enabling them to talk. 

While we’ve been to many fabulous theatre productions and various other events along with classes at the hall, my work has had me spending more time in communities and organisations across our City, State and beyond, than locally. 

That said, I have helped local interest groups, particularly the Warrandyte Community Association with a few community forums, including the one held soon after the Black Saturday fires in 2009, gathering input for a community submission to the Royal Commission. I’ve also helped run discussions on traffic, the bridge upgrade, and the futures of the Community Centre, the Retirement Housing Coop, and  WMIAA in 2019.

I’m in awe of the energy and commitment of the many people who get involved in organising and running the local community-based activities that make Warrandyte and surrounds the thriving areas they are. In the last year, I have joined a local choir run by Lisa Young as well as an exercise class at the Neighbourhood House. I have also begun to look around for other opportunities to get more involved locally as I intentionally slow the pace of my work.

Until I met with Adrian and our Secretary, Grant Purdy, to discuss what was involved in being Chair of WMIAA, I had been thinking I would do something very different from my professional life. But it seems it wasn’t to be. I was persuaded that it could be helpful if the new Chair was not closely involved with any of the member groups, but was more of an ‘independent’ facilitator focused on the interests of the Association as a whole. So, I agreed to give it a go, and was duly elected at the AGM in April.

Future of WMIAA facilities

There’s been much to celebrate of late! The energetic Executive and Committee, led by our astonishingly skilled and hardworking Secretary, Grant, has sourced significant funding from Bendigo Bank, as well as welcome donations from Rotary, the Lions Club, Riverside Market and Ruby Tuesday. With a sizeable contribution from the WMIAA, these have supported a complete replacement of the Bio box in the hall. By the time this edition is circulated, we will have celebrated with sponsors, the completion of that project. And later this year, or early next, new roof supports will be installed to ensure the hall roof and walls stay put for years to come. 

We have just responded to Council’s draft Community Infrastructure Plan to urge action to match their expressed good intent around partnering with community-owned facilities, such as our hall and pottery studio, to improve them, thereby reducing the need to build more expensive, new infrastructure. 

As a facilitator, I see my role as helping to draw out and distil aspirations for our community-owned facilities, not imposing any grand plans of my own! I’m looking forward to us hosting a workshop in Spring for interested members, to highlight a diversity of needs and to agree on priorities for future improvements to our facilities. Watch this space for promotion of the opportunity to join that discussion. 

Growing our membership – how you can help

If you know people who might be interested in supporting the Association, we now have a ‘Friends of…’ membership category in the signup system accessed from the WMIAA website, (https://www.warrandytearts.org.au/membership). This is for people like me who aren’t directly involved with any of the member groups, but who would like to receive the Dodger, keep up with what’s happening with Warrandyte Arts and maybe get involved in a way they hadn’t anticipated!

Individual members can also now upgrade to a family membership for just $15 extra to cover immediate family members (i.e. partners and children).

Lastly, congratulations to Adrian Rice and David Tynan, both past Chairs amongst other roles, who were made Life Members of the Association at the AGM, in recognition of their many years of service.


The Glass Menagerie

Ready for an audience!

The rehearsals for Tennessee Williams wonderful play are coming to a conclusion and the cast and crew are looking forward to presenting this awesome show to audiences. It opens on June 16 and runs for three weeks, with shows on June 16, 17, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at 8pm, with a matinee at 2.30pm on June 25.

The play is a classic and timeless family drama, full of humour and heartbreak. This exquisite show, catapulted Tennessee Williams from obscurity to fame, winning him the coveted New York Drama Critics' Circle Award in 1945.

As is often the case, the rehearsals have not run as smoothly as the director would have wished! Our leading man dropped out part way through, one cast member had to travel to the USA for a week at short notice, and two members contracted COVID.

Nevertheless, the “show must go on”, and is now looking very fine, with some excellent acting, a simple but effective set, superb costumes, and magical and evocative lighting and sound.

Tickets are already selling well and, as with most WTC shows, this will sell out for most performances. As always, we will have a cabaret layout which provides the most comfort for audience members - but does limit audience size to 60.

Get your tickets now at www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=1010037


Bio Box Completion Celebration

Recently WMIAA held a celebration in the hall to thank sponsors who had kindly helped fund the recent renovation and rebuild of the Bio box.

Bruce Turner, Chair of WMIAA, thanked all donors and sponsors.

Their contribution is now recognised by a plaque erected on the wall of the Bio box.

Representatives of these organisations were able to visit the new Bio box while enjoying a glass of Champagne and some Sushi.


Pottery News

The Marjorie Beecham Studio wish to thank WMIAA for the Council Grant we received that allowed us to transform the side of our pottery studio. Both practical by installing a new agi pipe all down the side (thanks to the husbands), which protects our building from damp/termites, and is aesthetically pleasing while opening up a whole new area to make our pottery and have gatherings.

All the while we have still managed to turn out some beautiful pieces of art in this happy studio with the occasional birthday party-happy souls and minds.


Life Drawing

Fridays 10:00am – 1:00pm

We hope these lovely drawings will inspire you to come along and join our friendly group of artists and life models. Everyone is welcome to draw, model - or both!

Contact Marion on:  0408 395 299 for more information.


Out and About

If any thespian who has walked the Warrandyte stage entertaining us, and is performing anywhere else after August 21, this year, we would love to know so we can support and enjoy you wherever you are.


WMIAA Membership for 2023

Subscriptions are paid by clicking this link:

www.trybooking.com/CEVRN

Just click on ‘Book Now’.

If you have any membership queries, please contact Noelene on 0400 861 133 or