Coffs Harbour Local community theatre celebrates a successful year despite pandemic restrictions

A scene from CHATS Productions ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Photo: Tom Caldwell.


MEMBERS of Coffs Harbour Amateur Theatrical Society (CHATS) and Coffs Harbour Musical Comedy Company (CHMCC) gathered for a Christmas celebration at the Jetty memorial Theatre pergola space on Sunday December 19.

This final activity rounded out a successful year for both companies despite the challenges raised by pandemic restrictions on face-to-face gatherings, reduced audience sizes, changes to the rules on group density and other issues including mask rules.

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March saw CHATS present ‘Steel Magnolias’ directed by Donna Fairall, replacing the original director due to pandemic induced relocations, and reduced audiences were treated to a superb production that drew laughter and tears in equal measure.

CHMCC started the year with the late Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘Into the Woods’ directed by newcomer Tim Gibbs (also replacing the original director) which had been held over after commencing rehearsals in the previous year, and while audiences were down the production was hailed as a major success in presenting this challenging show.

CHATS returned to the stage in July with a new Australian comedy from Melbourne playwright Rob Selzer, directed by your correspondent, once again smaller audiences than usual were treated to a fresh new comedy that gave the four cast members opportunities to shine and deliver a truly funny show.

In October CHATS presented the timeless Oscar Wilde comedy ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ directed by Rex Madigan, with a well picked cast this show delivered laughs a plenty and showcased the talents of several cast members who had mostly performed in musicals previously.

The final show of the year, CHMCC’s ‘Mamma Mia’ directed by Dee Tune turned out to be a record breaker, selling out the entire season of twenty shows and breaking box office earnings records for the company, the show was a high energy presentation of sheer joy, uplifting audiences throughout the run.

CHMCC President Peter Hodges told News Of The Area, “This show has been the most enjoyable production I have been lucky enough to be a part of, and the fact that audiences just loved it is a testament to the quality of the production from start to finish.”

Both CHATS and CHMCC are self-funded not-for-profit incorporated bodies that receive no Government funding and will be back next year with a varied and inclusive season of productions at the Jetty Memorial Theatre.


By David TUNE


The stars of CHMCC hugely successful production of ‘Mamma Mia’ Karlie Hackfath (L) and Jacinta Bentley. Photo: supplied.

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