Get your name engraved on a former Sydney Theatre Company chair

NEW LIFE: 'It's certainly going to increase the comfort factor for our audiences by a thousand fold,' Feargus Manning said of their new additions - shown with Peter Scrine (left) and Curtis Pazderka (right). Picture: Georgia Matts
NEW LIFE: 'It's certainly going to increase the comfort factor for our audiences by a thousand fold,' Feargus Manning said of their new additions - shown with Peter Scrine (left) and Curtis Pazderka (right). Picture: Georgia Matts

A piece of the Sydney Theatre Company is now in Wollongong, permanently.

The company has given a great gift to local thespian group the Wollongong Workshop Theatre (WWT) in Gwynneville, which will hopefully see more bums on seats for their shows.

Sixty theatre chairs were donated to WWT to replace their current dilapidated, noisy and uncomfortable seats – originally from a university lecture hall.

“I heard that the Sydney Theatre Company was doing renovations, so I flicked them an email,” WWT president Curtis Pazderka said. “They were really, really cool about it.”

An adoption program has also be set up where Illawarra residents will have their name engraved on a plaque on a chair, while their donation will help fund its re-upholstery.

The new additions are part of a major overhaul of Wollongong’s smallest theatre – which includes re-plastering, painting, plus upgrades to light and sound.

WWT secretary Feargus Manning said over the years they have been instrumental in providing a space for independent theatre works to be shown as well as offering a training ground for up-and-coming talent (on stage and off).

It's lovely having this connection to the Sydney Theatre Company in the Illawarra's smallest theatre.

Feargus Manning

“Other amateur groups provide space for the musicals, we provide space for the straight play,” Manning said. “We’re also always interested in providing a bit of space for new works, for people who haven't had a go at theatre before – they’re always welcome at Workshop, a creative and inclusive space.”

The company is in turn paying forward the good deed by donating their own chairs to other local groups such as the Illawarra Youth Arts Project and the Dyer Theatre Company.

“The seats all move on and get another life,” Manning said.

The first production to utilise the new seating will be Angels In America directed by Gabi Harding.

The emotional drama looks at AIDS, homosexuality, religion and relationships in the 1980's and runs at the theatre from October 5 until October 20.

Meantime, another fundraising effort to assist with renovations –  a fancy dress “Reno Party” – has been organised at the theatre for September 8.