Steel Magnolias comes to the Jetty Memorial Theatre

The cast of CHATS Production’s Steel Magnolias (back L to front R) Virginia Craze, Emily Cooper, Mel Winkler, Laura Smith, Emily Brockett-Branster, Jenny Garratt. Photo: Donna Fairall.


COMMUNITY theatre company Coffs Harbour Amateur Theatrical Society (CHATS) are excited to be returning to the stage of the Jetty Memorial Theatre (JMT) this month with their production of “Steel Magnolias” written by Robert Harling.

The play is based on the author’s real-life experience of the death of his sister, Susan Harling Robinson, in 1985 from complications from Type 1 diabetes.

Opening on 19 March, the story of six southern belles and their strength and support for each other as they go through good times and bad is well known from the 1989 movie that showcased the talents of Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts among others.

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Coffs Harbour is blessed with talented actors of all ages and this production brings together a cast of wonderful theatrical women who fit their roles to a tee.

The cast are Jenny Garratt as Truvy, Emily Cooper as Annelle, Virginia Craze as Clairee, Emily Branster as Shelby, Laura Smith as M’Lynn and Mel Winkler as Ouiser

Director Donna Fairall has turned her hand from musicals (‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Annie’, ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Shrek the Musical’ at JMT), to take on this funny and poignant play that delivers laughs and tears and a real connection to the characters portrayed in it.

“As someone who had only directed and choreographed musicals with 30 or more people before, I was thrilled for the opportunity to try my hand at a straight play and work with a small cast,” Donna said.

“It has been a true delight to watch their journey from auditions and through rehearsals, as they have encouraged one another, laughed and cried with each other and developed those Southern accents, I am so proud.”

For more information and tickets call the JMT on 6648 4930 Tuesday through to Friday 12 noon to 4pm or go to


By David TUNE

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