Formed in 1946, Williamstown Little Theatre is one of the leading non-professional theatre companies in Melbourne....
"On the evening of 23 May 1946, nine thespian residents of Williamstown gathered at that City's historic Mechanics' Institute and formed the Williamstown Little Theatre Movement. Their 'immediate aim' was 'to bring to Williamstown theatre groups of good standing to provide plays, ballet, music... of some cultural value'. Ultimately they hoped to 'encourage the actual production of drama in Williamstown.'
A Small Intimate Theatre Of Our Very Own - A History of Williamstown Little Theatre 1946-1996 by Robert E. Glass
In the years since that auspicious evening we have presented quality, affordable theatre to the people of Williamstown and the wider community. It is our aim to continue to do so for many years to come!
Our home was once a bakery, the Cliff Family Bakery. It was converted to become Williamstown Little Theatre in 1967. Before then, productions were presented in various Williamstown venues such as the Mechanics' Institute and the Town Hall.
Since its inception, WLT has presented well over 200 plays, including several Australian and Victorian premieres. Our programs have included the classics from Shakespeare, Wilde and Coward to the contemporary works of David Williamson, David Hare and Terrence McNally. We are particularly proud of our record of presenting Australian plays. Each year we produce five shows: mainly plays, with the occasional small musical. Our past productions are listed under the tab Past Productions.
A glimpse into the Archives, from the last 70 years.
The Chiltern Hundreds l-r Ella Bambery, Marion Becroft, Ted Cordell & Bill Smith 1951
Deliver My Darling Australian Premiere 1952. Programme Sixpence. Cast included Gillian Witt (Wadds/Senior - Life Member), Marion Becroft (Gough), Dorothy Porter - deceased (Matron 60@WLT - 60th anniversary year 2006)founding member WLT, Lorraine Davey (West) deceased and Ivor Porter deceased (Patron 60@WLT - 60th anniversary year) with an interesting Dear Patrons by Ivor as Hon. Sec. and early years of subscribing at WLT!
"Ladies in Retirement" - produced by Ron Little (late husband of Life Member Mary Little) - set by Trevor McKay - Mechanics Institute - 1954
"Ladies in Retirement" - Programme 6d - Cast included Gillian Witt (Wadds/Senior) and Dorothy Porter. 1954
"Our Town" - 1955 - Mechanics Institute featured on programme cover - cast included the late Williamstown born renowned actor Neil Fitzpatrick (UK, Broadway & Aust stages incl RSC), Gillian Wadds Life Member, Doug Lindsay Life Member, Ted Cordell deceased & Founding member.
Thanks to Life Member Gillian Wadds (Senior) for these three images which she has used on the WLT Facebook page to promote our "Down Memory Lane" event at the theatre 2pm Sunday 28 February.
SIX O.B.E.s ON STAGE AT WLT!
Sunday, 28th Feb. is the start of WLTs 70th Birthday celebrations and it's going to be quite a hoot!
SIX of us - all Over Bloody Eighty - will be on stage running through a few memories and a few re-enactments. Ella will be back as "Emma" in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll with Graeme playing "Roo" and me, "Olive", as in the original production. Marion will again be one of "The Red Peppers" (sadly, without Ted Cordell - but with another OBE reading in). Mary is "Lady Bracknell", Doug is back as "The Stage Manager" in Our Town....... and more!!
We are all, in our own particular way, excited, terrified, nervous, and a little doubtful as to whether we'll survive! But one thing I'm sure of - we'll all have a GREAT TIME!
AND I've found some old pics I didn't know I had!
Hope we'll see YOU there!
"Bell, Book and Candle" Cast included founding member Ted Cordell - 1958
"Bell, Book and Candle" 1958
Neil O'Halloran & Ngaire McCutcheon
"Trespass" - Cast included the late Gary Metcalf, June Lownds, the late Gwladys Winfield and Graham Murphy - Producer: Vin Foster (deceased) - 1960
"Trespass" - l-r Allison McWilliams, Vin Foster, June Lownds, Marj Hayes, Gwladys Winfield - 1960
"The Matchmaker" - Cast included Ted Cordell, Gary Metcalf, Vin Foster, Gwladys Winfield, Graham Murphy, Margot Harper, Marion Beecroft & Ella Bambery - 1960 - Tea and Biscuits available during interval at a charge of 1/-
"The Matchmaker" - Set designed and drawn by Graham Murphy - Vendergelder’s Home - 1960
"Johnny Belinda" - Producer: Vin Foster. Cast included Mary Little Life Member, Graham Murphy, Gary Metcalf - 1960
"Johnny Belinda" - Graham Murphy & Mary Little - 1960
"The Multi-Coloured Umbrella" - Producer: Gwladys Winfield. Cast included June Lownds, Graeme West, Gary Metcalf - Pars on the Stars - 1962
"The Multi-Coloured Umbrella" - l-r Graeme West, Gary Metcalf, June Lownds, Peter Foster, Judy Sippo - 1962
"She Stoops to Conquer" - Cast included Margot Harper, Graham Murphy, Lorraine West, Mary Little, Vin Foster, Bernadette Twomey, Ellen Metcalf, Peter Egan - 1962
"She Stoops to Conquer" - Costumes designed and drawn by Graham Murphy
Original WLT theatre masks, the precursor to the current logo. Designed by Grahame Murphy around 1968 when the company moved into the current Albert Street Bakery site.
"The Same Sky" - 57th Production - 53 years ago - Producer: Vin Foster - Cast included Ellen Metcalf, Lorraine West, Vin Foster, Peter Egan, Bernadette Twomey - Set Construction included Ellis Ebell - 1963
"The Chalk Garden" - Producer: Gwladys Winfield - Stage Manager: Bruce Wapshott. Cast included Bernadette Twomey, Wyn Stewart, Mary Little - 1964
"A Dead Secret" - Produced & Directed by Grahame Murphy who also designed the set with execution by John Burrett and others. Cast included Ellen Metcalf, Ellis Ebell, June Lownds, Bernadette Twomey, Vincent Foster. - 1965
"Sailor Beware - Producer: Vin Foster - Cast included Bernadette Twomey, Bob Harsley, Ellis Ebell, Kerry Cordell, Judy Sippo - 1966.
"The Sleeping Prince" - Director: Grahame Murphy - Cast included Ellis Ebell, Vin Foster, Bernadette Twomey, Margot Harper, Marion Beecroft, Grahame Murphy, Lorraine West - 1966.
In the programme for this 1966 production of "The Sleeping Prince" under a heading CONCERNING THE CAST can be found the following;
"When Ellis Ebell made his first appearance with W.L.T. the Listener-In critic predicted that he would become one of the most usefull (sic) juveniles. This has proved true and in three years he has only missed one production. At last year's Cordell Award presentation he was commended for each part he had played.
In "The Sleeping Prince" he is seen as the young King Nicolas."
"Barefoot in the Park" 1968 - our first production in our new Albert Street, Williamstown theatre - the Bakery.
"The Miser" Director: Grahame Murphy. Cast included Les Terrill, Mary Little, Vin Foster, Ellis Ebell, June Lownds, Kerry Cordell - 1968
"The Miser" Gary Metcalf & Ellis Ebell - with unidentified actress. 1968
"Come Blow Your Horn" - Programe - first appearance of the theatre masks that appear in the WLT logo. Director: Vin Foster - Cast included Doug Lindsay, Ellis Ebell, Bernadette Towmey, Gary Metcalf, Jill Williams, Lorraine West
"Come Blow Your Horn" 1969
l-r Lorraine West, Doug Lindsay, Jill (Williams) Cordell, Lesley Baird, Ellis Ebell
"Black Comedy" and" The White Liars" - Director: Vin Foster. Casts included Mary Little, Robert Harsley, Ellis Ebell, Gwladys Winfield, Christine Bambery, Vin Foster - 1970
"Black Comedy" - Nicolas Serpell, Gwladys Winfield, Robert Harsley, Ellis Ebell, Carolyn Biele - 1970
Vin Foster - director, actor and much more.
"Shifting Heart" 1972
(l-r) Carmel Behan, Janet Sthall, Jim Ramsay, Ellis Ebell, Kay Butterworth, Paul Tonti-Filippini
"A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" 1974
(l-r) Marion Wilde & Bernadette Twomey
"Odd Couple" 1972
(l-r) Vin Foster & Doug Lindsay
"Charley's Aunt" 1975
(l-r) Frank Wadds, Sally-Ann Wilson, Geoff Armstrong, Irene, Peter Cheasley, Gail Poole, Peter, Maggie McInnes, Ewen Crockett in front of the Williamstown Botanic Gardens gates
"Whose Life is it Anyway?" 1990
l-r) Ron Little (his last performance on stage), Les Terrill (Director), Fransina Vorpostal, Ellis Ebell, James Carlon. Actors fooling around whilst getting notes from the Director!