At the ATC Christmas Party on 11 December three new Life Memberships were awarded.
By a unanimous vote of the Board, Life Membership was conferred on Maria Fleming, Angela Caldwell and Jean Steel.
The award citations were announced by the Chairman, Richard Longmore, and presented by the Hon. Tony Smith MP. Tony also presented Lesley Bailey, our Front of House Manager, with a Yarra Ranges Community Service Award.
Maria Fleming first came to the theatre in 1978 as a young actress in The Loudest Whisper. Geoff Page directed the play and Maria played Catherine.
Over the years she has done everything from making savoury toppings for the after show suppers to stage-managing. She has worked front of house, painted sets, organised Christmas parties and attended working bees. She served on the board for a number of years and was the coordinator for new volunteers. Maria bought genuine warmth, fun and an easygoing nature to the theatre and is truly deserving of this special honour.
Angela Caldwell took over the role of minute secretary to the Board as a short-term favour to Pat Lyall. The short term turned into a considerably longer term and Angela retired only this year. She has witnessed and recorded many eras of this remarkable company, which has not been easy considering the vibrant debates and cross talk at Board meetings that have to be minuted (or not as the case may be!).
This has required a lot of discretion. Her years as a legal secretary have also provided the theatre with ready access to legal advice and especially to her lawyer husband Bruce. Angela's contribution to the theatre has been enormous and we are truly grateful for her service.
Jean Steel has been an ATC volunteer forever. When Catherine Handley was Front of House Manager she became illand Russell Johnson asked Jean to take over. Her cheerful manner was in keeping with the friendly welcome that was the hallmark of the ATC, and over the years she has put in many hours of work for the benefit of the ATC and its patrons.
Poor health forced her to stand down for a while, but now we are pleased to have her back on the marvellous front of house team. Jean's contribution to the theatre is ongoing and she has really earned this honour of life membership.