The Artful Dodger — February 2024

From the Chair?

Welcome to our first Dodger for 2024. It’s been a busy start to the year with the new roof beams successfully installed in the Hall. The race is now on to repaint the roof and attach the new lighting system to the beams, well before the first theatre production in early April!

If you haven’t yet done so, it’s time to renew your membership for 2024. For more information on the latest membership categories, see Noelene’s article at the end of this edition.

Best wishes to all groups for a creative year!
Bruce Turner, Chair


Wednesday, March 6 at 7.30pm in the Hall

Our AGM is occurring somewhat earlier this year, and at a time that is accessible to all member groups. Papers have been sent out, together with nomination forms for Association members to join our Committee.

2023 was both a year of major challenges and considerable successes, so please come along and support your Association, and the work it does to support members of the community. As always, nibbles and slurps would be appreciated.

Warrandyte Theatre Company

2023 was a busy, successful, and creative year and 2024 is heading in the same direction.

Please note that dates may be subject to changes


The Last Quiz Night on Earth
A comedy/drama by Alison Carr
Directed by Bob Bramble

It’s the final countdown. Landlady Kathy invites you to the last quiz night on earth with Quizmaster Rav. He’s the host with the most. But with time ticking, some unexpected guests turn up out of the blue.

April 5 to 20, 2024


One Act Play Festival
Winners of the OAP Writers Competition are performed on stage.

June 28 to July 7, 2024


Things I Know to be True
A drama by Andrew Bovell
Directed by Kellie Tweeddale

Things I Know To Be True is about love in many of its forms. At times comforting and supportive. At others suffocating and destructive. But always love.

August 30 to September 14, 2024


Hotel Sorrento
A Drama by Hannie Rayson
Directed by Grant Purdy

When the three sisters are reunited after 10 years apart, they again feel the constraints of family life. A semi autobiographical book written by the middle sister and expat Meg, triggers the familial tensions and dramas that eventuate.

November 22  to December 7, 2024

Louise Phelan;

The Last Quiz Night on Earth

The newspaper said lots of people bought lottery tickets, even though the chances of being hit by an asteroid is more likely than winning! 

The newspaper also says an asteroid the size of a skyscraper will have passed (maybe) within 1.7million miles of earth - by the time you read this. Well guess what? They are getting closer. Whoever’s slinging them our way is getting their eye in..

The Last Quiz Night on earth, our play for Season 1, encourages you to spend the final two hours on earth with friends, down at the Mechanics’ Hall, your friendly local.

An asteroid the size of Singapore is heading our way and will leave no survivors. Gather friends and rellies around you, forget all your worries, ‘cause they’ll soon be over, and join us down at the hall, which is reverting to the back room of a pub - you know the sort of room - the one where the trivia quizzes are played.

Bob Bramble, an experienced Melbourne director, joins WTC for this play, along with a cast of four: Simone Kiefer, Mason Frost, Rosie Leonardi and Pat Kelly.

Trigger warning: if you’ve previously been hit by a piece of rock from outer space, this play may trigger more memories.

And there will be loud noises, flashing lights and with luck, some smoke!

Pottery News

The Tuesday/Wednesday Warrandyte Community Pottery Group at WMIAA, have started the year with a massive de-clutter and cleanup, at the Marjory Beecham Studio. We have an immense task ahead of us to revamp the studio this year, and most likely over the course of the next two or three years (plus), as we recover from the damage caused by termites upstairs.

We look forward to working as a team to preserve the rich history and culture of our treasured studio, with the development of a more purposeful space, which will profit both current and future pottery members in our community.

We will juggle our first love of crafting pottery each week, along with working bees for the studio. We have also brainstormed some ideas to develop pottery skills/knowledge and workshops, along with welcoming new members.

Pottery members have already started making some pottery to promote/fundraise at the Warrandyte Festival WMIAA stall in April, such as Possum Garden Plaques.

Alison Beanland

Keep the Roof Up — at the Mechanics’ Institute Hall

Our much-loved and well-used Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute Hall, is now 95 years old this year. However, the old lady is beginning to show her age.

For some time, it’s been known that the way the original builders used a metal tie-bar to prevent the roof pushing the walls out, was inadequate, and in time was likely to fail. The tie-bars also obscured the beams of the theatre lights.

So, last year the Association decided that it was time to act and preserve this valuable community asset. The Warrandyte Community Bank (Bendigo Bank) gave us a substantial grant to help undertake what soon became clear was a major engineering project to strengthen the roof support arrangements and replace the aging tie-bars. The Rotary Club of Warrandyte and Donvale gave a generous donation along with our substantial contribution to the costs of the project.

Designing an alternative to the tie-bars was a major challenge and long term Association member, Jock Macneish, rose to the challenge and developed a novel solution, as shown below.

Ben Sawers, of local builders, Sawers Construction, was commissioned to engineer the beams and install them in the ceiling. This was complex given the irregular walls of the hall, the inconsistent dimensions and angles (each beam is unique), and the hefty weight of the beams - over 800kg each.

The hall was closed through January to allow the engineering work to take place. The photo below shows beam No. 3, being lifted and swung into place.

All four beams have now been installed and access holes in the ceiling filled and plastered over. Volunteers from the Association have begun to paint the beams, ceiling and walls, and a new theatre lighting rig will be slung from the new beams.

Here is what the hall looked like, prior to painting and the installation of the new lighting rig.

None of this essential work would have been possible without the collaboration efforts of so many organisations, along with people from the Warrandyte Community.

All this adds up to a fresh lease of life for the beloved Mechanics’ Institute Hall, that should ensure the lovely old building continues to provide Warrandyte with a venue for many arts events, theatre and other community occasions, for another 95 years!

Grant Purdy;

Our two new Life Members

Members of the WMIAA Committee and their partners, met for dinner on Friday, February 2, to celebrate the award of Life Membership to David Tynan and Adrian Rice.

David Tynan

David was nominated by long term WMIAA President and Life Member, Ken Virtue. Ken recounted first meeting David at the Hall in 2002, and then directing him for his first role in a One Act play, where he played the part of an old man in a wheelchair.

He said that, even then, David showed a natural ability for the stage, being able to be ‘credible’ and warmly empathetic to his character. He has since been a noted comedic actor, with great stage presence and intuitive timing.

Ken noted that David has performed in many shows. He mentioned his memorable performances, as Napoleon in Animal Farm in 2019, as another soulful pig in the November 2004 pantomime, Clutterbuck Farm, in Pig Iron People in 2010, and in The 39 Steps in 2013.

Ken said that David also directed numerous productions and produced, stage managed and generally helped with many shows, backstage and front of house. Tickets, set construction, props, bar service and Hall maintenance. Nothing was ever too much trouble. “And yes, as you all well know, always with his trademark good humour, clear dedication to the tasks at hand, and commitment to the growth of Youth Theatre. Notable were the two Bushfire Appeal concerts in 2020, that raised over $6,000 for the Victorian Bushfires Appeal.”

Ken said that David led the creation of the Warrandyte Repair Cafe in July 2019. On the first Sunday morning of each month, various volunteer repair experts (fixers), help make all possible repairs, free of charge.

Adrian Rice

Adrian was nominated by long term member and Life Member of the WMIAA, Alan Cornell.

Alan noted that Adrian made a hugely significant contribution, over many years, before taking over from David as President. He said that Adrian first set foot on the Warrandyte stage in 1996, in Double Double, and it must seem to Hazel that he has barely left the Hall since! Adrian continued to tread the boards on countless occasions, directing at least 22 productions, producing many others, and generally assisting wherever there was a need.

Adrian took on the job of President of the Theatre Company in 2005, took a bit of a break at some stage, before coming back to it in 2015, for another eight years. He served as Vice President of the Central Committee, and then in 2020, stepped into David’s yeti-sized boots as President of the WMIAA.

Alan said that, to an Englishman, the title of President smacked of lost empires and boorish orange-haired narcissists, completely lacking in the sort of refinement and decorum called for in a cultured, cultural world like ours. Instead, ever the innovator, Adrian became WMIAA’s first Chair, and we leaned back in ours to see what sort of ‘chair’ he would settle into! But, in the end of course, Alan said that Adrian fashioned his own special model, soon to be available at Officeworks! He believed that the ‘Chair’ swivelled, tilted and rolled in whatever direction was required to get the job done efficiently. And, of course, filled it in the most admirable manner imaginable.

Alan thanked Adrian for all he has done, for so long, for our beloved Association. He also thanked Hazel, for providing the kind of unwavering backing a good Chair needs.

Grant Purdy

Donating your returnable containers

It’s up and running.

We are officially recycling our tins and bottles as part of the Container Deposit Scheme — CDS

There will be a bin on the deck at the rear of the hall for you to put your containers in and we will return them on your behalf.

Valid containers are:

Drink tins, plastic drink bottles and glass drink bottles - that have the 10cent and barcode indicating they are acceptable.

(Just check for the code if you are unsure) 

Do not crush your tins - the bar code must be readable.

Wine bottles or jars of any sort are not accepted.

We are registered with the CDS Vic. North sector. If you return your own containers to any of the local collection points you can donate your deposit refund to Warrandyte Arts, using the barcode in the photo below.

Collection points include Wonga Park Cellars and Park Orchards Milk Bar, and reverse vending machines at Petty’s Orchard and Mullum Mullum Reserve. We also have an arrangement with Hops and Vine to collect their empties each week.

So…everyone, drink up, collect and donate!


Join or Renew your Membership NOW!

To renew for 2024, click this link and BOOK NOW:

Hello All!

Early registration is helpful to the Association, so what follows is a repeat of the December edition information, to guide you through the changed process of family membership registration.

The WMIAA membership page on Trybooking has altered to ensure we comply with the regulation governing WMIAA as an Incorporated Association. These changes were approved at an Extraordinary General Meeting of members in September.

Now, each member of a Family Membership must be registered separately (at a cost of $10) giving their name, address, phone number and email address.

‘Added Family Member’ booking process

  1. Click the link and then click BOOK NOW (top right-hand corner)
  2. If you haven’t already renewed the primary, full membership, select a Full Membership
  3. Scroll to ‘Added Family Member’. Insert the number of added family members
  4. Fill in the individual added family member details.
  5. Scroll to next if more than one added family member. You will also be asked for the name of the full membership to which these family members are being added.
  6. Click ‘Next’ when all boxes are completed to go to payment page.

The Groups

Theatre, Choir, Pottery, Visual Arts, Tai Chi, Karate, Repair Cafe, are for people actively engaged in those groups. You are able to select more than one group.

For ‘Added Family Members’ who don’t belong to a group, or those people who which to support the WMIAA and upkeep and enhancement of its facilities - the Hall and the Community Pottery - the Group for you is** Friend of the WMIAA**.

The Fees

  • $35 for the primary/full member
  • $35 Friend of the WMIAA
  • $35 Gift Membership
  • $10 for each added family member
  • $25 Student
  • $25 Pensioner

Are you looking for a gift?

It is now possible to give a year’s membership as a gift. How good is that?! Just click the membership renewal link above.

Benefits of being a member

As well as being able to join one of the active groups (for which members are covered for accident insurance), members have access to discounted hall hire, are able to vote at AGMs and have a say about future development. And, of course, you also receive the Dodger, with reports on upcoming events and productions etc., as well as invitations to member-exclusive special events, freebies and the like.

AND… there’s the warm inner glow that comes from knowing you are supporting the efforts and maintenance of a community-owned, volunteer-run community association and its assets!

Our historic Mechanics Institute Hall is undergoing much needed structural renovation as this goes to publication. Also, the Community Pottery Studio has significant termite damage which is the current focus of our fundraising.

To keep our Association and its facilities functioning into the future, we are always looking to grow our membership. We are grateful for members who are willing to simply offer support through an annual membership and donations, and not necessarily become more involved. We also need members who can help with very ordinary tasks, and we need members with expertise (e.g. publicity, fundraising, trades). No matter what your background, you may have just what we need!

Please do get in touch if you think you might be able to help. And don’t hesitate to contact me with any other membership queries.

Noelene Cooper
Membership Coordinator
Mob: 0400 861 133

With many thanks to our generous sponsors this year.