The genesis of BLOC Music Theatre was the entertainment committee of the Dawson Street Baptist Church. This group organized the performance of the operetta “In Waltz Time” at the newly opened Civic Hall. The show played two nights, in the “Lower Civic Hall”, opening on Wednesday night the 19th June 1957, the program cost one shilling and the whole venture was in aid of the City Baptist Centenary Fund.
In June 1958, again in aid of the Centenary Fund, with largely the same cast and production team, the group staged “Blossom Time” for four nights from the 12th to 18th at the same venue. The audience purchased a program of similar layout to the previous one with one notable exception, for it read “The Ballarat Light Opera Company presents for your approval.”
The Ballarat Light Opera Company was formally established at a meeting held on the 4th September 1959 when a committee of 9 was elected. The inaugural office bearers were: Mr. Noel Tobin, President, Mr. A. Walker-Davies,Vice President, Mr. Arthur Mee Secretary, Mr. Robert Willian, Treasurer and Mrs. Yutha Valpied, Assistant Secretary.
In the 60’s the company mounted 13 productions.1968 is the only year since formation that the company has not staged a show.
1977 saw the introduction of “Junior” productions and the purchase of the hall in Peel St. The decade of the 70’s also saw 13 productions, three being “Junior” productions.
During the 80’s the company produced a “Major” and “Junior” show each year, was awarded the inaugural “Encore” for company of the year, in 1987 the carried out extensive renovations on the hall and in 1989 won its first “Production of the Year” at the Music Theatre Guild Awards of Victoria for “Godspell”.
16 productions were achieved in the 90’s, 11 “Major” and 5 “Junior”. Both “The Merry Widow” in ’95 and “Me and My Girl” in ’96 were awarded “Production of the Year” at the Guild Awards. In 1998 the Set Construction and Storage Facility in Spencer St was purchased.
“Chess” in 2000 and “Half a Sixpence” in ‘02 which both won “Production of the Year” Guild Awards.
You can access the BLOC Music Theatre Constitution here
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