The Beauty Point Players are a group of residents from Beauty Point Retirement Resort who love theatre and performing. So far, they’ve presented two shows for their fellow residents – both of which has been well-attended and great nights for everyone concerned.
As their director, Barry McMaster recounts, originally the group was formed to watch theatre and movies and discuss them in a group forum. But as time went on, Barry says the group wanted to be more active and to “… focus on performing.”
“The first meeting we had was on 11th February last year,” says Barry, “and we decided as a group we had two functions to achieve and they were: number one – to develop and perform entertaining shows for the enjoyment of our fellow residents; and number two – to develop our knowledge of drama through organising theatre and movie attendances and discussing our experiences and perceptions.”
Theatre visits and movie mornings
In line with this, last year The Beauty Point Players organised groups of people, including other Beauty Point residents, to attend performances by The Guild Theatre in Rockdale – an amateur dramatic group which was established in the ‘50s.
As well as these outings, The Beauty Point Players have held movie mornings at Beauty Point’s intimate theatre. As Barry says: “I’ve introduced movies here in the theatre. We’ve been to three plays and then later, we’ve watched the film version of each of them.”
“This year, I’m intending to show a lot more films which I consider showcase some really good acting and afterwards, we can talk about them and discuss why it is or isn’t good acting,” he adds.
Two major shows
Last year, The Beauty Point Players presented two shows for their fellow residents at the resort, right near the piano in the restaurant and bar area. The first was held on the 23rd June and it included several short, very funny sketches. It was a big hit and everyone enjoyed themselves – cast and audience together!
The next show was on the 17th November and again, they presented several short, funny plays and sketches. Barry says the shows are always a great night because as well as many of the Resort’s residents, a lot of family members also come along to see the performances.
“We have quite a few supporters outside of The Players’ group. “People need to book for our shows because we fill the house. These days, I’m trying not to perform as much so I can direct and that will be more possible now – as we have 13 people in the group at the moment,” he explains.
Barry says the people in the group have improved their acting skills by learning as they go during the rehearsals. “I’ve watched people develop and get better at acting and it’s great to see,” he says.
It’s a social club as well!
Barry says a big part of what The Beauty Point Players do is to enjoy themselves and have a really good time. “When we rehearse on a Sunday afternoon we have nibbles and wine afterwards,” he laughs. “So it’s become more than just a drama group – it’s a social club as well!”
But anyone can join in the fun he says – even if you don’t actually want to be part of the shows. Barry says all Beauty Point’s residents are invited to be part of the theatre or movie trips which are organised throughout the year.
When asked how he came to be involved in acting and all things thespian, Barry explains he has been a member of an acting troupe called Radioactive Live for the last five years.
“My wife and I had been living in the Castle Hill area for many years but when we looked for a place to move for our retirement, we saw Beauty Point Resort and it became our benchmark – nothing else came up to it,” he says.
“So we moved here and we’ve loved it. Because I’m a member of Radioactive Live, I thought it would be great if we had some sort of group here where people could express themselves,” he adds.
A place for people to express themselves
Barry says the way The Beauty Point Players’ shows are run is a little different from the usual: “We read from the script – we don’t learn our lines,” he says. “We get a bank of microphones and we use sound effects. My wife, Viesia, is on sound. We do a couple of songs – we’re not great singers but we sing these songs with gusto,” he laughs.
“We use signs for our melodramas and we try to do plays that have some degree of relevance to the residents. We did one called Blue Suede Blues which was a hit,” he adds.
This year The Beauty Point Players plan to do two shows again but the first show will probably be a little later in the year, around July, as Barry and his wife are going away in the early part of the year. The second show will be planned for close to Christmas and Barry says these dates will all be discussed with the members of the group.
To enjoy a video about the Beauty Point Players click here.
Long-time Beauty Point resident, Joan Stuart, named as patron
The Beauty Point Players have named Joan Stuart, a long-time resident of Beauty Point Resort, as their patron. “She was doing this here before and she’s our inspiration,” explains Barry. “She’s in her 90’s now and she’s a delightful lady with so many amazing stories to tell.”
The Beauty Point Players are: Jan Walliss, Lindsay Collins, John Barker, Dorothy Barker, Lyn Brewer, Robert Cridland, Joe Cockle, Margaret (Meg) Marsh, Maureen Shepherd, Pam Pitkeathly, Wendy Wilson, Lillian Coyle and Barry McMaster (also director).
They also have Viesia McMaster on Sound and Joan Stuart as their Patron.
The Players would like to thank the Beauty Point Management for their commitment and support, particularly Lisa, George and Alexis. Thanks also to Craig Winstanley for the installation of the sound system.