Take home a piece of theatre magic from Murray Bridge Players and Singers

The company is offering a chance to support upcoming productions by purchasing items from yesteryear's shows.

This post is brought to you by Murray Bridge Players and Singers.

Like many community groups, Murray Bridge Players and Singers has had its plans for 2020 drastically changed.

The company that in recent years has produced hit shows full of local talent, including Wicked, Chicago and Into the Woods, had planned to put on the Dickens-based classic Oliver! later this year.

However, with uncertainty over restrictions during rehearsals, and the possibility of crowds being well below capacity at Murray Bridge Town Hall, the company had to cancel Oliver! before casting and rehearsals could commence.

Now MBPS is looking at how it can fund the next lot of shows, along with maintaining its support for arts in the Murraylands and beyond.

Committee member Trent Baker says that sales such as the one planned for this Saturday, July 4, at MBPS’ Short Street premises are essential to support the health of the company.

“As a volunteer group, any bit of support we get from ticket sales, sponsorship, membership or spare change at sales goes to supporting ourselves to keep offering theatrical opportunities for our community,” he says.

“That’s why sales like the one this coming Saturday are so important – to help us cover necessary costs and make sure that when things improve, we can put on great shows again for the community.”

This weekend looms as a great opportunity to snatch up a piece of theatrical history, with many props, set pieces and costumes from past productions up for grabs.

Mr Baker says that it’s not only theatre enthusiasts who may find something hard to find for their next show, but also people after vintage and stylish items.

“Because so many of our shows are set in the past, we have a range of historic and vintage items, usually in very good condition, that we have on offer for anyone to buy,” he says.

“Things like vintage suitcases, home décor items and furniture are all on offer, along with more show specific items like Glinda’s training wand from Wicked.

The loss of a major show for 2020, along with COVID-19 restrictions severely hampering small cash flows like costume and set hiring, have put a financial strain on MBPS which could affect the company’s planning for 2021 and beyond.

“We have ongoing costs to maintain our rehearsal and storage spaces which have to be met,” Mr Baker says.

“The bills remain even if there isn’t money coming in to offset them.

“Not putting on shows is a big loss for us as we lose financial members and also don’t have ticket sales or nowhere near as much sponsorship coming through the door.”

The company has, however, been able to keep its Friday night youth theatre program going this year, making use of technology when restrictions were tighter.

“Janene Overton and her team have done an amazing job of being flexible and holding some sessions over Zoom this year to try and keep our younger members engaged,” Mr Baker says.

“Thankfully with restrictions improving we can look at getting more of our members back on stage soon, which means performances for the community as well.”

In a weird twist however, COVID-19 has provided one slightly unplanned positive for the company.

With an Adelaide-based production of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert cancelled this year, MBPS may potentially hold the first-ever amateur theatre run of the production in SA next year.

“It just depends on whether the rights-holders permit another show to run earlier next year, but it does present a pretty exciting opportunity for the company to have eyes from across the state on us,” Mr Baker says.

You can support Murray Bridge Players and Singers by attending their sale this coming Saturday, July 4, at their Short Street premises.

The sale begins at 8am and will run until mid-afternoon, with MBPS volunteers able to help you with your enquires throughout the day.

Photo: Murray Bridge Players and Singers.