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Kingston Council Community Group of the Year Award

Mordialloc President acceptance speech for being awarded the Kingston Council Community Group of the Year

On behalf of the Board of Management and the members of our company, I want to thank Kingston City Council for bestowing this honour upon us.
We accept this award with great pride, but also with a sense of responsibility – a responsibility to continue to deliver a quality theatre experience to the people of the wider Kingston community, as we have done since our formation 79 years ago in 1945, and will continue to do so into the future.
I joined Mordialloc Theatre Company when I retired from my professional career nine years ago. I had always intended to go back into theatre after a 32-year hiatus in order to take my day job seriously. Having contacted a number of community theatre groups, I was invited to meet this company’s members during a set build in 2015. I was warmly welcomed and invited to join in what proved to be a thoroughly professional operation involving over a dozen volunteers on that day. I was very impressed.
Later, I was further impressed to see dozens of other volunteers come forward to work either as front-of-house staff, as members of the stage crew, or as lighting and sound operators, in addition to the cast and director. All of whom do so voluntarily. In fact, each production involves the voluntary contribution of over 60 individuals.
Mordialloc Theatre Company has enjoyed considerable success over the decades, both critically and at the box office. As winners of numerous Victorian Drama League awards over the years, we are proud of the high standard of production values for which we have received considerable praise.
After working in several venues in the early years, we have been based at the Shirley Burke Theatre in Parkdale since 1962, managing that venue ourselves until its refurbishment in 2011. That refurbishment delivered a revitalised space that allowed us to continue to present the high standard of production values which our large number of patrons has come to expect.
Our company has provided an artistic and social outlet and meeting point, not only for many directors and hundreds of actors, but also for hundreds handypersons/set builders, technicians, costumers, painters, ushers, coffee makers, etc, who have passed through our ranks – all  of whom volunteer their time freely to be part of a successful not-for-profit community theatre company. To all of them, we are eternally grateful.
The restaurants and bars in the Parkdale shopping strip have also expressed their gratitude, as they have also benefitted from the patronage of our attendees. Our productions have become a focal point bringing together an average of 1,200 Kingston residents to socialise and to enjoy an evening’s entertainment in company – before, during and after a show. With almost 2,000 subscribers (VIPs), we are grateful and proud of the close and familiar relationship we share with our loyal patrons.
To a large extent, and in addition to the artistic opportunities we’ve been able to provide, we regard ourselves as delivering an opportunity for community engagement to Kingston residents, delivered entirely by volunteers. It is in this spirit of community engagement and artistic endeavour that we will continue to operate into the future.
Since 1962, we are also grateful to have built a strong and healthy relationship with Council, as we have witnessed the expansion of Kingston’s involvement in, and support of the arts through the Kingston Arts branch. Our company is fully committed to continuing our voluntary contribution, as well as continuing our presence at the Shirley Burke Theatre – regarded by us, and by the wider Kingston community, as the home of Mordialloc Theatre Company.
We thank you and we congratulate all the volunteers in the various fields of endeavour that help to enrich the lives of the residents of the wider Kingston community.
Michael Kakogiannis