60th birthday celebrations

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Everyone who has ever been involved with FAMDA, on stage, off-stage or in the audience, was warmly invited to join in sixtieth  birthday celebrations held over the weekend of 30th November and 1st December 2013.

With our diamond anniversary celebrations, FAMDA friends enjoyed songs, good food and reminiscences of sixty years of theatrical endeavours.

A capacity crowd of 140 people attended the Foster Arts Centre on Saturday night, 30 November 2013, many of them donning diamonds and furs for the occasion.

On Sunday afternoon, 1 December 2013, there were nearly as many to enjoy the same concert of songs from musical shows staged by FAMDA over the years.

Moo’s at Meeniyan provided dinner on Saturday night and there was a delicious locally prepared ‘high tea’ on Sunday afternoon.

The concert component of the festivities was divided into decades. It began with Prue Fleming concentrating on the period between 1953 and 1972 and regaling her audience with tales of  Robbie Fleming, her father’s innovations and exploits with FAMDA.

This was followed by an excerpt from every Gilbert and Sullivan musical ever performed by FAMDA beginning with Michael Strong singing ‘The Judge’s Song’ from Trial by Jury and finishing with Natalie Burrow presenting ‘When a Merry Maiden Marries’ from The Gondoliers.

Liz Hall had some funny tales to tell about shows staged between 1973 and 1983 making mention of Toad of Toad Hall, Pure as the Driven Snow, Boeing Boeing and the controversial, but ultimately very successful, Don’s Party.

On Saturday night she also welcomed back John Crawford and the former Julie Shepherd, the stars of Calamity Jane.  On Sunday afternoon the show’s director, Alan Stone, was in the audience.

Songs from that era included a rousing version of ‘Goodbye’ from Whitehorse Inn performed by Wayne Moloney with help from Brian Hoskins, Rodney Sharp and Michael Strong.

Peter Clyne spoke about the decade between 1984 and 1993 followed by songs from Kiss Me Kate, Oklahoma! and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

John Davies, the original Herod from Follow the Star, entertained the audience with his rendition of  ‘Nice Boys and Girls’ and John Watson provided insight into the remarkable emotional impact of Fiddler on the Roof.

The period between 1993 and 2003 was covered by Jennifer Paragreen who spoke of the influence of Neil Goodwin as a director and some of the talented actors and production people who contributed to FAMDA’s success during that time, particularly with its plays.

Most of the musical performances from this era were presented by the original singers including Rodney Sharp who had travelled from South Australia especially for the occasion and ‘locals’, Dianne Paragreen and Judy Barnard.

Bruce Crowl provided commentary on FAMDA’s most recent decade followed by some highly entertaining sequences such as Wayne Moloney resplendent in his ‘Chrysler Building’ costume as Roger De Bris from The Producers and Arie Bos and Brian Hoskins dressed as two friesian cows singing about ’My Bull Bill’ with ‘sheepish’ Fran Allott, Louise Dower and Nicole Cooper as their ‘baa-cking’ group.  Nicole Cooper and Paul Smith impressed with their Spelling Bee sequence.

The Prom Coast Singers bookended the program.

Prom Coast Singers on Sunday – Back row: Peter McAlpine, Jon Wathen, Rodney Sharp, Andrew Jamieson, Michael Strong, Arie Bos, Brian Hoskins, Edwin Coad
Centre: Ruth Carson, Dianne Paragreen, Barbara Partridge
Front: Fran Allottt, Shirley Wilson, Fleur Wheeler, Jennifer Paragreen, Pamela Coad, Ros Wathen, Lyn Jamieson, Kate Woodward & Anne Roussac-Hoyne with Paddy Broberg conducting

The musical content for the weekend was chosen by Pamela Coad who was also the musical director for the project.

The soloists were Fran Allott, Judy Barnard, Arie Bos,  Natalie Burrow, Nicole Cooper,  John Davies, Louise Dower, Barbara Fleming, Brian Hoskins, Wayne Maloney, Dianne Paragreen, Rodney Sharp, Paul Smith, Michael Strong and John Watson with Barbara Fleming, Kerry Pritchard and Paddy Broberg as their accompanists.

Fran Allott, John Watson, Barbara Fleming, Judy Barnard and Michael Strong

Saturday night’s proceedings included the launch of Kate Crowl’s new book, FAMDA’s FURTHER FROLICS, detailing the history of our most recent ten years, a supplement to ‘FAMDA’S FROLICS 1953- 2003’.

Both versions of FAMDA’s Frolics are now on sale at Foster’s Little Bookshop and Main Street Revelations for the princely sum of $5 each.

On Saturday night the Paragreen quartet of life members, Brian, Robert, Jennifer and Dianne, each introduced a new FAMDA  life member – Arie Bos, Peter ClyneKate Crowl and Norm  Willoughby.

Peter, Norm, Kate & Arie                Photo courtesy of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times


Saturday night photos by John Banikos.         Sunday photos by Robert Paragreen.




This exhibition was officially opened on the 60th anniversary of FAMDA’s
first performance, 4th November 2013.


Foster Films, Art, Music & Drama Association staged its first production
at the Foster Mechanics Institute on 4th November 1953.

FAMDA friends celebrated our Diamond Anniversary with the opening
of an exhibition of FAMDA memorabilia on our 60th birthday,
Monday 4th November 2013.

The fun began at 5pm with celebratory drinks and nibbles.
The official opening ceremony, with the speeches and the cutting of
the birthday cake, followed.

The venue was the Foster Historical Museum where the exhibition
remained on display through to March 2014.

Depicting sixty years of FAMDA staging productions in Foster, there was an amazing display of costumes, drawings, photographs, posters, programmes, videos and props from past productions and references to many of those involved with the company over the years.

Children particularly enjoyed seeing many of the animal puppets created for shows such as ‘Bush Magic’ and ‘Dreamboats’.

Nolene McGlead and Lynn Atkinson at Foster Historical Museum with a costume worn by Elizabeth Hall as Adelaide Adams in ‘Calamity Jane’ staged by FAMDA in 1974.

Sixty Years of Foster Theatre was curated by Anda Banikos and Jennifer Paragreen.

It was on display at the Foster Historical Museum for 7 September 2013 to 28 February 2014.

This exhibition was officially opened at the museum on FAMDA’s 60th birthday,
4 November 2013.


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