The Legacy: A Celebration of the Old Tote Theatre Company

John Clark, AM, officially opened NIDA's new exhibition, The Legacy: A Celebration of the Old Tote Theatre Company
John Clark, AM, officially opened NIDA’s new exhibition, The Legacy: A Celebration of the Old Tote Theatre Company

HALF a century ago, The Old Tote theatre company was established inside a small shed with a galvanised roof on the grounds of  the University of NSW.

Actress Jennifer Hagan recalls performers having to time their lines dangerously amid the impromptu state of nature falling from the surrounding trees.

“You’d have to plan your lines around the sound of bats shitting and the Moreton Bay figs dropping onto that tin roof!”

Nevertheless, the site fast became a much-loved springboard for many a then-budding Sydney name on the acting scene, including John Bell, Jacki Weaver, Ruth Cracknell, Reg Livermore and Gwen Plumb.
The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) recently launched an emotive tribute to the dear old ‘Tin Shed’ that started it all for what we know today as the Sydney Theatre Company.
A static display will be showcased in NIDA’s foyer entry featuring original play posters, costumes and photographs from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
The official opening featured panel discussions on The Old Tote’s history, and stage readings from plays by David Williamson and Patrick White.
This free exhibition is open until March 28.

Where: NIDA, 215 Anzac Parade, Kensington. Phone:  (02) 9697 7600
Costume design sketches.©ShowMeSydneyTV
Costume design sketches.
©ShowMeSydneyTV
Photographs and a poster for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at The Old Tote©ShowMeSydneyTV
Photographs and a poster for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at The Old Tote
©ShowMeSydneyTV
Original costumes on display as part of the exhibition ©ShowMeSydneyTV
Original costumes on display as part of the exhibition
©ShowMeSydneyTV

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The audience listens to a reading of a scene from What If You Died Tomorrow? by David Williamson. ©ShowMeSydneyTV
The audience listens to the reading of a scene from What If You Died Tomorrow? by David Williamson.
©ShowMeSydneyTV

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