Fremantle Stuff > Organisations > Deckchair Theatre

Deckchair Theatre 1983-2012

I need someone like Cathy Hall, who is or was the last member of the Deckchair Theatre board, to write a couple of sentences about its origins. I think she said it might have started in South Terrace somewhere, but can't find anything online about it. Cathy? Someone? Anyone?

Deckchair's second home is shown above: the 'old' Customs House. The main groundfloor room is now used by the WA Circus School.
A notable production mounted here was Emma (1992), the play by Graham Pitts adapted from the book by Emma Ciccotosto.

vic hall

Deckchair's third and last home, Victoria Hall, High St

Some productions mounted by Deckchair

Paddy by Phil Thomson and John Walker (1988)
Emma Celebrazione by Graham Pitts (1992), starring Rosemarie Lenzo
Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thomson (1995)
Mavis Goes to Timor by Katherine Thomson, Angela Chaplin and Kavisha Mazella (2002)
Love by Patricia Cornelius (2006)
Memmie le Blanc by Hilary Bell (2007)
The Modern International Dead by Damien Millar (2011)
The Magic Hour by Vanessa Bates (2012)
Grace adapted by Humphrey Bower (2010)
Taking Liberty by Ingle Knight (2012)
The Fremantle Candidate by Ingle Knight (2012)
The Danger Age

'Deckchair Theatre to close after 30 years'

Tim Douglas, The Australian, 10 October 2012

FREMANTLE'S Deckchair Theatre will close after its board ruled falling box office numbers, sponsorship and government support had rendered the 30-year-old company unviable.
The company officially ceased trading yesterday.
The company's board of directors, chaired by Dorothy Wardale, said the decision to wind up the award-winning Fremantle institution was "enormously difficult".
"The cultural and economic landscape has changed greatly since Deckchair's establishment 30 years ago, particularly post-GFC, making it difficult to maintain a sufficient level of income through box office and sponsorship," Wardale said.
"This, when combined with continuing restraints on funding levels across the three tiers of government, as well as rapidly changing audience behaviours unfortunately means the organisation's future has become unsustainable.''
Deckchair, one of only two companies solely dedicated to commissioning and showing new Australian work, has been operating with staff equating to 3.6 for the past 18 months.
The company, founded in 1983, has been funded by the Australian Council as an emerging key organisation since 2009, before which time it had been funded at a higher rate. Its current triennial funding ends this year.
The company this year staged The Magic Hour, with Ursula Yovich and The Fremantle Candidate [by Ingle Knight], and had been showing Random Acts of Kitchmas (A Stocking Thriller). Sketches of Freo, a work commissioned for later this year, has been cancelled.
Patrons who have booked tickets for the remainder of the 2012 season will be contacted by Deckchair staff this week.
Artistic director Chris Bendall said he while devastated, he was aware the company had done everything in its power to stay afloat.
"Of course we are all hugely disappointed by the situation, but I know that we have done everything within our limited resources to further consolidate Deckchair's proud history in producing outstanding contemporary Australian theatre,'' he said.
"It has been a privilege to lead Deckchair Theatre for the past four years along with my dedicated and loyal staff. I have been immensely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some of Perth's finest actors, designers and technicians on new plays by leading playwrights from Western Australia and right around the country.''

References and Links

Douglas, Tim 2012, 'Deckchair Theatre to close after 30 years', The Australian, 10 October.

Parke, Melissa 2012, 'Deckchair Theatre Company', speech published 30 October.

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