PLAY TIME: Scenes from the latest Ballina Players show at their theatre at 24 Swift St from March 22-31.
PLAY TIME: Scenes from the latest Ballina Players show at their theatre at 24 Swift St from March 22-31.

Ballina Players intriguing new play opens soon

IT COULD be any one of us - well that's what the Ballina Players want you to believe as they take to the stage for their latest production.

The comedy/mystery It Could Be You is set to run from March 22-31 at the Ballina Players Theatre in Swift St.

Co-director and group secretary Mike Sheehan said it had been fun "getting the actors around the stage and seeing their development".

"Director Fran Legge chose it because of its intriguing plot and the previous shows she has seen by this author Alan Ayckbourn," Mike said.

"It has been Fran's vision for the show from the start. I came in late because she had family commitments on one rehearsal night each week."

It Could Be You stars Carl Moore as Mortimer Chalke with Julieanne Basham as Jocelyn Polegate, Peter Harding as Brinton Chalke, Hillary Goodsell as Amy Polegate, Mick Webb as Norris Honeywell and Mechelle Anderson as Wendy Windwood.

The action takes place in the country house of the once prosperous Chalke family - ageing siblings who form a colony of failed artists. The estate has been left to the Mortimer Chalke, a former 1966 Young Composer of the year who hasn't done much since much to mirth of his siblings. He decides, as revenge, to name a girl he taught for six months 20 years earlier as his sole heir and even before she comes to visit jokey-mysterious attempts on her life begin.

It is the Ballina Players' first of five productions this year in what promises to be a busy program, according to Mike.

Formed in 1955, Ballina Players is one of the oldest amateur theatre groups in Australia and despite the age of live streaming and all those other distractions, is still going strong.

Twelve people attended the original public meeting called by Joan Williams to form the group and from those humble beginnings players has progressed from play readings and one-act plays to three-act plays.

They now have a busy program of five productions a year including drama, melodrama and comedy and even the ever-popular musicals.

"The numbers vary, but we have about 50 paid up members now, but that will increase as we do more and more shows this year and people join the club as they do a show," Sheehan said.

"We do have about 18 Life members (we are 64 years old this year). Our email membership for current and past members numbers 330.

"Most people see publicity and join for the show then stay and do other shows as time allows them. Some join just to help in other area and have no desire to do stage work. They can contact us through our website if they wish to volunteer or audition."

So why become involved in a group and what are the rewards? Sheehan said he loves being part of a community.

The entertaining show will be held at the group's own dedicated theatre - the group's home since 1984 after many years of occupying semi-permanent homes at first the Plaza Theatre in River Street and then the Masonic Hall in Cherry Street as well as going "on-the-road" to Woodburn, Lismore, Newrybar, Casino and other venues.

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