Mount Cotton Drama group closes

SUN SETS: The sun sets on a drama tradition at Mount Cotton hall with Mount Cotton Drama group closing its doors after 43 years. It has merged with Mates Theatre Genesis.
SUN SETS: The sun sets on a drama tradition at Mount Cotton hall with Mount Cotton Drama group closing its doors after 43 years. It has merged with Mates Theatre Genesis.

Mount Cotton Drama Group has held its final curtain call after 43 years. 

Group stalwarts met at the Mount Cotton hall for a final get together on May 12 as a final act for the company. 

It was a sad occasion when former cast, crew and faithful audience members talked of the company’s hey day and a history involving 142 productions.

President Carmen Russell said in 2017 the company presented Guilty Party in May and Looking for Love in November, little realising these would be the company’s final performances.

She said an inability to form a committee at the AGM in March left the group with no option but to close in its current form, something she said had been coming for some time.

But it is not all bad news for the company which will now merge with Mates Theatre Genesis, an ironic move given that Mates was initially a break away group from the Mount Cotton Drama group 27 years ago.

“Mates formed because it wanted a chance to perform musical theatre whereas at Mount Cotton, we have only performed straight dramas,” Ms Russell said.

Ms Russell said she saw the merge as a positive step, with exciting times ahead for those remaining active members.

“It means those wanting to be involved in the theatre still have a pathway. We are also talking about starting a youth theatre,” she said.

Mates Theatre Genesis vice president Ray Noonan said the merge would be the second with a local theatre group in the past 18 months, leaving Mates as the key amateur theatre group in the Redlands.

“It was a big surprise that Mount Cotton closed, but we are being positive about it and the merge means we will now have the opportunity to expand,” Mr Noonan said.

Mr Noonan said plans were still being finalised but he envisaged doing at least one season of a show at Mount Cotton in order to cater to the drama group’s loyal audience.

He said he had also negotiated with Redland City Council to rent the large sheds at the back of the hall which are filled with equipment, staging, lighting and costumes in pristine condition.

“There is so much theatre here, it would be impossible for us to take it away,” he said.

He said the large hall also doubled as a rehearsal space giving extra options for rehearsals with the Mates’ home at Birkdale School of Arts hall.

“We sometimes have a situation where two shows overlap, so now we can facilitate this,” he said.

Ms Russell said she joined Mount Cotton Drama group two years ago because “she needed to put drama back in her life”.  

“I feel sad that this closure happened on my watch, but it has been coming for a while. I am glad that we have explored all options and we are excited about the merger,” she said.

The first show for Mates Theatre Genesis (incorporating Mount Cotton Drama group) will be Drinking Habits to be staged in October/November. Auditions will be held on July 8 and 10. The company will then explore scripts for the annual Australia Day play.