Welcome to the home of the Lindisfarne Riverside Arts Club

An Historical Snapshot...

As the initiator of Riverside Arts Club it was Ellen who produced the inaugural drama performance of Alice in Wonderland. The performance was held in her large riverside garden at Lindisfarne. On the same property a disused barn was to become Riverside’s first headquarters, and from this point the club evolved through numerous creative endeavours commencing with an arts class which provided the members, and local community residents with a meeting place. The barn also witnessed various drama rehearsals and performances during its operation before moving to a bigger place. Sixty three years later Riverside as an organisation still exists, and is able to still attract a responsive and supportive audience at their five major concerts held annually in June and December.

Drama performances remained the mainstay of club activities until the early 1990's, and the dedication, hard work, commitment, and creative energies of many actors/performers/directors. A broad cross section of these appear as follows: Ellen Dickson, Billie Dickson, Enid & Max Brett, Gillian Chappell, Dodie & Christopher Goodall, Win & Alf Cook, Elaine Parker, Betty Hudson, Sheila Spargo, Gillian & Ken Hunt, Brian Elliot, Dorothy Brownell, June Harper, June & Brian Lovett, Ann & Malcolm Thompson, Michael Baker, Malcolm Morrisby, Jenny Roddam & Betty Hudson, Dorothy & Jack Bennett. Former ABC radio host & performance identity Ken Short also appeared as guest artist with Riverside.

Since 1961 many older residents in Tasmania would recall with fond memories that Riverside Arts Club performed at various venues in southern Tasmania. These included the Country Women’s Association, CWA Hall in Lindisfarne, the home to numerous one, two & three act plays which received enthusiastic local support - who would forget Quiet Night. Other performance productions were held at the Bellerive Town Hall, Clarence High School, Rosny College, Corpus Christi Hall, Police Academy, Rokeby, Hobart Reps 'The Playhouse' - eventually returning to the Lindisfarne Citizens Activities Centre at Lindisfarne.

Riverside's productions have been numerous and varied, historically many will remember Chiquita the Zookeepers Daughter, Just Another Arabian Night & Flora & the Wolf produced by Sheila Spargo.  Bruno Pecats also directed, designed and appeared as an actor in numerous productions around Hobart & for Riverside – As Long as They’re Happy in 1965 comes to mind. Other Riverside Arts productions include Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Dear Children, Bonaventure, Murder She Wrote, The Light House Keeper's Daughter & Murder at Midnight. Others involved in various past productions included Gwen & David Freestun, Yvonne & Alan Heard, Betty Hudson, David Spratt, Edith & Keith Tomlin, Keith Topfer, Royena Smythe.

Lindisfarne Riverside Arts Club Choir and onwards.

Historically the Geilston Bay Choral Society members provided the basis for a small performing choir to be established within Riverside. The ladies choir began with Clem Clifford as musical director, followed later by Dodie Goodhall who also incorporated the men's choir section. Jennifer Roddam's musical directorship contribution was to transform a collection of singers into a competent disciplined choir. From 2000 until December 2009 the choir performed under the competent musical directorship of Priscilla Richardson, with Jeff Cheal as an excellent accompanist. In 2010 Johanna van Tienen was appointed Musical Director and she lead us very capably until December 2011. Dianne O'Toole's expertise as a Musical Director led us in music from 2012 to 2015 very ably assisted by Jeff Cheal.  We welcomed Johanna Bostock (nee van Tienen) back as our Musical Director in 2016. Jeff Cheal our very accomplished & dedicated accompanist for eighteen (18) years retired in December 2018.  We welcomed Kieran Slicer as accompanist in 2019. Many of the choir members also perform in small group segments during concert performances. In addition, some members appear with other performance based groups in the district through singing, playing musical instruments or in drama. The benefit of their experience provides a valuable contribution towards Riverside's own concerts and program event activities.

For both audiences and performers alike, the historical and current performances by members of Riverside have provided continuous concert & special events entertainment on Hobart's eastern shore district. In 2000 and beyond Brian Lovett directed various concert drama segments including sketches, performed reading, comedy segments, pantomimes and monologues. Melody & Mirth continued to remain a central theme of Riverside's performance genre with productions including: Melody & Mirth in the Cathedral 2004, Light Up Your Christmas 2006, A Musicals Journey 2007, Gilbert & Sullivan - Excerpts, 2008, Christmas Melody and Mirth, 2009, A Candle for Christmas , 2010 and Life in Technicolour in 2011.

In 2007 Howard Richardson ably took over the reigns continuing in the same role by supporting the Lindisfarne Riverside Arts Club Choir performances, and in 2008 a musical theatre presentation of Gilbert & Sullivan show extracts provided both a drama & singing opportunities for new and older members of Riverside. Whilst a few long standing members are still performing today many of the original actors and singers have now passed on, playing to that 'theatre in the sky'. Others have become friends of Riverside supporting the social functions, continuing concert patronage and staying in touch through formed lasting friendships.

Wardrobe's costume collection.

Costumes are an essential part of any successful theatrical group's production. Riverside was extremely fortunate to have had Enid Brett who was a long serving dedicated wardrobe mistress, actor, & committee member. On Enid’s retirement, we were grateful to Kath Grace who very capably continued to manage the wardrobe. The wardrobe section had an extensive array of costumes, and the heritage section has provided local major cultural events with great displays. Members would wear beautiful dresses and other heritage clothing as portrayed in community events including the Geilston Bay Regatta, 'Bowen to Bowen' Bi- Centennial Pageant & Clarence, Richmond, & Oatlands Heritage Day activities. Because we valued our collection so highly, the heritage clothing is now on loan to Narynya, Battery Point, and Franklin House, Launceston, who will treasure and maintain the collection in the manner it deserves.

In 2008 Riverside celebrated its 50th Anniversary with the launch of a DVD produced by Sheila Spargo which featured a selection of both drama & choir segments ensuring the memories are recorded forever. As mentioned, some of the members  have been with Riverside for many, many years with a few still performing today. In 2008 a dinner dance, held at Barilla celebrated fifty years as a community music & theatre organisation - with current, former members & friends of Riverside attending. A great performing choir, monthly play readings and quarterly socials, will provide members, friends, and most importantly audiences, with creative enjoyable performances at Lindisfarne.

In 2009-2010 Drama Director Philip Crouch took the Speech, Drama and Play reading section of the Club in a new direction: rehearsed play reading, which culminated in the production of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”. This introduced a new genre to our concerts and opened up our members and audience to a new experience.

In 2010, to dispel confusion with our identity within the community, the name Clarence City choir was abandoned and the choir is now known simply as the Lindisfarne Riverside Arts Club choir.

Acknowledgements: Text taken, with permission, from "Recollections of The Riverside Arts Club" 1997, Published by Sheila Spargo, Otago Bay, Tasmania. Additional recollections gratefully received from members of Lindisfarne Riverside Arts Club Inc.

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