When COVID restrictions were first implemented over a year ago, a lot of things came to an abrupt halt.
In addition to limits to travel, business and everyday lifestyles, the performing arts were also curtailed for a lengthy period and that filtered all the way down to community productions.
On the day theatrical restrictions were instigated, the Rocky Hill Musical Theatre Company (RHMTC) production of About Time was two days short of opening night. Despite three months of rehearsals, of learning songs and dances and dialog, the Show had to be called off within hours of meeting its first audience.
It was a tough blow to everyone involved, including then RHMTC president, Anthony Lewis who also had a key role in the show.
"It was a bitter pill to swallow," he said.
"It was tough to make the call that the show wouldn't go ahead and tougher still breaking the news to the cast and crew. In the scheme of things, people's health and livelihoods were suffering so it wasn't on that scale. And other groups ... sporting groups, theatrical companies, performers... all sorts of activities were affected in roughly the same way. But it was tough."
The RHMTC has since stepped back on the stage with its hugely popular Madagascar Jr, the musical, and now, Anthony is preparing for his next show, a Christmas musical called Jingle $ells to be performed in late November/early December.
While Anthony has accumulated a wealth of experience in productions for the Argyle Society, Lieder Theatre and the RHMTC over many years, Jingle $ells marks his directorial debut and he is keen to push on despite the chance of more pandemic related restrictions.
"Fingers crossed, touch wood, all of that... we intend to put the show on and I think that's what you have to proceed with," he said.
"If restrictions prevent that, so be it, but I don't think you can stop living."
Jingle $ells, written by Chris Gordon, contains many of the elements people love in a Christmas show, including elements of pantomime, a villain you'll want to boo at and lots of well-known Christmas songs. It also shows Christmas as something to be enjoyed in a range of ways, whether that's as a religious event or not, whether that's here in Australia or elsewhere.
An Information Night will take place at the Goulburn Rugby Clubhouse this Friday night, July 30 at 7pm to talk about the show.
"It's a new show, so there are bound to be questions," Anthony said.
"We'll introduce the cast, outline the story and the characters, talk about the rehearsal schedule and answer any questions. But in general, it's a show for all ages and genders, balances comedy with a bit of drama, and contains a lot of songs people will want to sing along to, as well as a few new ones.
"We think it's not just a show all ages can be in, but something all ages will enjoy."
Due to COVID restrictions, intending attendees are asked to indicate that they are "Going" on the Rocky Hill Musical Theatre Company Facebook event to ensure the maximum attendance numbers aren't exceeded.
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