THE director of a kids’ theatre group has called for more facilities in Cockburn after a stoush with the Phoenix Theatre company forced the young hams across the border into Fremantle.
The Drama Club, a children’s theatre group with 75 kids, has shared the hall with am-dram outfit Phoenix Theatre for the last five years without incident.
But Doriana Sumich, who’s son attends TDC, says the relationship imploded when Phoenix accused kids of damaging props from one of its productions.
Ms Sumich says the allegations were not proven, whilst her husband says at a meeting with Phoenix he was appalled to hear a committee member say, “I don’t like children.”
Phoenix musical director Krispin Maesalu wouldn’t directly address the claim, only releasing in a statement: “Phoenix Theatre Inc. is very much interested in the longevity of performing arts in WA, and nurturing the next generation is always on our vision list.
“The decision to move out of Memorial Hall was made by The Drama Club director, and was not even suggested by Phoenix Theatre Inc.”
The Drama Club now meets in the community hall at St Paul’s church in Beaconsfield, but director Alethea Bevilacqua says it’s not ideal.
“The space is not a theatre space—it’s suitable, but the whole point sharing the theatre space was because it is a theatre and that is what inspires the kids… it would be great if Cockburn had a theatre space which we could use on a regular basis,” she told the Herald.
Ms Bevilacqua says there are lots of new housing developments in Cockburn, but not enough community facilities to keep up with the growth.
Last year the Hamilton Hill Community Group called for a community hub to be built, noting a public meeting about the suburb joining Freo had to be held in Hilton because there was no suitable venue in Cockburn.
Ms Bevilacqua says The Drama Club still plans to go ahead with its yearly theatre production at Memorial Hall.
by JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM