The art of performance is alive and well, with community theatre groups continuing to thrive and keen thespians taking to the stage purely for the love of the craft.
The peninsula’s own PLOS Musical Productions is a perfect example, where hundreds of passionate locals come together to entertain the crowds and bring the magic of theatre to the bayside town of Frankston. With over four decades treading the boards, PLOS (Peninsula Light Opera Society) has gained a reputation for presenting high quality theatrical productions, and has provided a marvellous stepping stone to the big time.
Brett Wingfield has been with the company since the 1970’s and says it is something that gets into your blood.
“I started out when I was at teachers college and found an interest in the theatre and its creative aspect,” said Brett who is now the secretary for PLOS but has a full time career as theatre manager at the George Jenkins Theatre. “My first job was spot follower, and then I got into stage-managing, building sets, and costume design. I now work as the secretary, coordinating productions and behind-the-scene needs, as well as being hands on with costume and set design.”
This kind of theatre provides locals with a platform in which they can express themselves as well as entertaining the audience and PLOS Musical Productions has always managed to capture the hearts and imagination of the community.
“We are always striving to do something better as a company. Starting out in the 1960’s at the Frankston Teachers college, a group of trainee teachers got together to put on shows in the hall. Now we have two major productions each year at the Frankston Arts Centre,” said Brett.
Brett says each production involves about 200 people with production, actors, lighting, behind the scenes, moving scenery, props team, costume makers, quick change helpers, makeup and hair, sound operations and specialty skills teams depending on the production.
“As a kid the only way to see theatre was going to the city which I did with mum on special occasions. I always liked it and was drawn to it in that way,” said Brett of his passion for the theatre. “As our company has grown and productions started at the Frankston Arts Centre, people involved have updated their skills so that we bring the quality of Melbourne shows to the area.”
With the quality of PLOS Musical Productions second-to-none, knowing that those involved are volunteers is testament to their passion and loyalty to the theatre company.
“We rehearse a couple of times a week and every person does it just because they love the theatre,’ said Brett. “We think of ourselves as a family company and have people here who have met their spouses through PLOS and those whose children have gone on to perform or be involved behind the scenes.”
Because of this group of passionate individuals, the Mornington Peninsula has enjoyed 40 years of theatre with productions including The Little Mermaid, Nine to Five the musical, Mary Poppins, Wicked, Miss Saigon, The Addams Family, Oklahoma, Little Shop of Horrors, Oliver and Legally Blonde the musical.
“We are currently in rehearsal for Les Misérables which runs from August 2 to 10 at the Frankston Arts Centre,” said Brett of the epic tale of human endurance. “Set in 19th century France, Les Miserables follows the stories of many characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution. The portrayal of their lives and their ultimate quest for freedom is beautifully told through the stirring musical score, and in true PLOS style, will be poignantly portrayed.”