The preparation and bottling of our own 'home grown' performance group.


In other words, their creation, history and successes from 1995 - 2016

 

                       

 

 

    It is 1995 and well known thespian, Tony Roberts, first offers a class at Adelaide’s University of the Third Age titled ‘Acting Made Simple’.

     By September 1996 he has a cast ready to present a program at Adelaide’s Promethean Theatre. This they did. Sketches, poetry and dramatic extracts were performed to a full house and according to one of the cast, John Davies, they didn’t themselves believe what they had achieved! 

   A couple of years passed by and Tony needed heart surgery and was never able to return to his class.

 

 

An original class member, Ivan Hartwig, stepped up to the plate and led the class in an area where they felt they could cope, even without Tony, this was ‘performance poetry’. Initially they performed for nursing homes and retirement villages. At this stage they did reading from the page, each with his or her hand held, open folder. This was received warmly and usually resulted in a booking for the new program the following year.

Several years later Jeannie Klopper joined the class and it soon became apparent that she had talent, experience and qualifications in the field.

Ivan gladly handed over the reins. 


Jeannie developed more expression from the class and introduced dress standards to be worn when performing at venues, any combination of red, white and black, worn by women and men. Other groups began to book the class, notably Probus Clubs, View Clubs, Legacy Clubs, Kiwanis, Salvation Army and other U3A groups. This came about firstly through word of mouth, then from a yearly mail-out of promotional cards to appropriate groups. The class now used the stage name ‘The Mixed Pickles’ visiting more than 20 venues a year. Jeannie decided she could take ‘leave of absence’ for a year or two.

 

  In 2012 the class invited Judith Conrow-Shipley to take over as Director. She was an accomplished actress and a RADA graduate and immediately there was chemistry. 

Judith began to coach the class in a production for the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2013. She managed to secure the services of her friend, the late Michael Fuller, former resident choreographer /actor at the State Theatre Company and he insisted the cast throw away their folders and learn their lines! That nearly caused a few heart attacks in their mature age students. Nevertheless that’s what happened and in February ‘the company’ performed three shows to packed houses. Some of the material was written by cast members, notably Jill Wherry and John R Sabine.

This introduction of staged events (in addition to the 'touring' performances) necessitated a new range of activity. The class members, and their families, now had to undertake all the logistics of a public performance: front office, acquiring costumes, producing stage backdrops, producing and distributing promotion material, printing tickets, selling tickets, booking venues, liquor licences, procuring bar supplies, arranging audience chairs, lighting, accounting for income and expenses as well as the physical labour associated with all this.  ....( Hey! we didn't sign up for all this)

 

For the next seven months The Mixed Pickles toured the clubs with that show (which was called ‘The Magic of Words’) and all the while Judith and Michael were conducting rehearsals for the class’s next show, ‘Around the Billy’. The former was performed in evening clothes, the new one in jeans, shirtsleeves and Akubras. In October of the same year (2013) they presented the new show to two packed houses at The Box Factory in Adelaide. That show went on tour to clubs and retirement villages.

 

 



In 2014 Judith and Michael developed a new show called ‘Love in the Mist’ which ‘the company’ presented at The Box Factory in October to two packed houses. In 2015, They then went on to tours of clubs and retirement villages. Over these years several class members left and others joined and all members were continually challenged as the productions had become more sophisticated and required honing of stage skills.

At the end of 2014 Judith and Michael retired from the group and handed the Directorship back to Jeannie Klopper. Jeannie developed a new show called ‘Seriously Clowning Around’ which has expanded the range of skills as well as production values. Singing and dancing elements were included in addition to the poetry recitals. Also costume changes, stage backdrops and more professional lighting were introduced.

 

 

 


Seriously Clowning Around was performed at The Box Factory to another two packed houses in October 2015 and a matinee in January 2016 at The Box Factory. This show will tour until December 2016 after which the Mixed Pickles plan to go into recess as Jeannie (front right) works up a new one. What will they do next?

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