The Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society (CADS) reformed in 1987 when a group of enthusiastic high school teachers moved for its revival. It has been producing continuous local theatre in Crookwell ever since.
From Love Rides the Rails – a humble melodrama directed by the late Maureen Keough, to last year’s offering of Razzle Dazzle – a Music Hall Revue, co-directed by Anne Cleary and Rhonda Cummins, with musical direction by Helen Campbell and Helen Lowe, CADS has grown exponentially in both professionalism and facilities.
Countless hours of voluntary labour, often by a small band of committed members, has seen much improvement to the Crookwell Memorial Hall staging and lighting.
Over the 30 years, CADS has produced 40 productions including comedy, drama, music halls and theatre restaurant shows.
With a cast and crew averaging around 40 people each production, a lot of voluntary time and commitment goes into ensuring the survival of the community venture.
President Robert Bill is one of the driving forces behind CADS and has been involved in every single production since 1987.
“I love the people and the challenge of doing a show, from the inception of the idea to the final production,” Robert said.
Rhonda Cummins has been involved in more than 80 per cent of performances: “Help me Rhonda! Help, help me Rhonda! No wonder they made a song out of this famous call,” she joked.
For Helen Campbell, CADS keeps her young while Ken Wheelwright and Heather Davies both joined to meet people. Simon Emery is still not sure how he ended up there.
“"I have no idea what I'm doing here. I came down to get a book from the library and I walked in the wrong door,” he laughed.
CADS also supports and mentors young actors through its administration of KAOS (Kids Acting On Stage). Each year, an energetic pool of children take part in a musical style play usually staged mid-year and coordinated and stage-managed by CADS.
As a community organisation, CADS gives generously. Since 1987, the amateur theatre group has made numerous contributions to the local community through charity nights and monetary donations, made each year to the schools in the Upper Lachlan Shire Council area for awards in the performing arts.
Some of the contributions CADS has made to the community over recent times include an electric piano to Viewhaven; $4000 to Crookwell High School Music Department and $1700 to the Crookwell Community Trust.
In addition, an average of 80 per cent of the costs of putting on a production is spent locally, supporting our Crookwell businesses.
These are just some of the ways that CADS has played an important role in the community over the past 30 years, not only as a forum for providing quality entertainment but also as an effective voluntary organisation.
“As long as the local community continues to support CADS through patronage of its productions, CADS can continue to give back to the community,” Robert said.
Originally published in the Crookwell Gazette as Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society: Playing an important part.