Arts & culture

FAMDA – Foster Amateur Music and Drama Association

Address: PO Box 186, Foster, Vic 3960

Phone: 03 5689 1305

President: Edwin Coad

FAMDA (Foster Amateur Music and Drama Association) is an award-winning, community theatre and singing company that has involved, inspired and enriched the South Gippsland community since 1953.

It’s mission is to provide opportunities for local people to become involved in theatre as a creative outlet, as well as for fellowship, entertainment and cultural experience.

FAMDA produces 2-3 full-length productions a year, as well as the One-Act Play Festival and several choral performances. Productions include plays, musicals, pantomimes – and the occasional cabaret. It enjoys tackling productions that pose a real challenge – Oedipus Rex, Shadowlands, Shirley Valentine and the Cemetery Club.

Other productions included the Sondheim musical, Into the Woods, a locally written drama Dinner at Hugo’s and Christmas pantomime, Bush Magic – also locally written, as well as the two-day one Act Play Festival.

FAMDA provides rich opportunities for local people to hone or develop their skills as performers, directors, sound and light technicians, carpenters, metal workers, artists, musicians, dancers, costumiers, writers and marketers.

Depending on the scale of a production, up to one-in-five of Foster’s entire population can be involved in bringing a play to fruition.  This is evidence of FAMDA’s philosophy at work – of reaching out to and involving people from across the social spectrum in various aspects of the performing arts.

Audiences are drawn mainly from the Corner Inlet district, but a growing number of people travel from as far as Bairnsdale, the Mornington Peninsula and Inverloch areas, as well as from Leongatha, Traralgon and Yarram to see FAMDA productions.  The list of Melbourne-based visitors who have asked to be put on FAMDA’s mailing list is also growing.

FAMDA has an affiliated choir called the Prom Coast Singers. Some choir members perform in stage productions as well as in the choir’s independent performances.  In 2009 the choir was heavily involved in the multi-arts spectacular, Promontory Dreaming, as part of the Prom Coast Seachange Festival.

We like to get involved in community events. FAMDA recently presented a piece called ‘In Their Own Words’ (which was written with Alzheimer sufferers with their helpers in mind), and the Prom Coast Singers perform at Community Christmas Carols.

Most performances, productions, rehearsals and singing practices are held at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre though we have occasionally done outside events such as Alice in Wonderland, staged in Pearl Park, and have even toured to Yarram and Georgetown in Tasmania.

Every year we host a one-act play festival over the weekend of  the second Saturday in August.

We are fortunate to have some very talented people working behind the scenes to make sure that we produce top quality theatre – Geoff Davey has won numerous awards for set design and scenic art, Bruce Crowl has incredible expertise in set building and he is also a brilliant director, Andrew Oldroyd and Rob Ellis are extremely creative when it comes to lighting and sound design so FAMDA productions are always extremely well crafted.

Red Riding Hood and Robin – from FAMDA’s acclaimed production of Into the Woods

Awards

FAMDA has enjoyed a remarkable run of success with its recent productions.

In 2010 FAMDA Scored ‘Most Outstanding Musical’ Award for Spelling Bee … and 7 other awards. They included:

  • Most Outstanding Director
  • Most Outstanding Ensemble
  • Most Outstanding Cameo Performance
  • Two Supporting Actor awards
  • Plus two Judges Awards for Singers and Orchestra, and Innovative and entertaining use of the audience.

Since 1998 FAMDA has won the Gippsland Theatre Most Outstanding Play trophy every year, except for 2000 when FAMDA did not stage a play, as Best Play awards went in succession to Round and Round the GardenEducating RitaThe Woman in BlackHotel Sorrento,A Month of SundaysShirley ValentineShadowlands and Oedipus Rex.

There were also awards for Bruce Crowl, Max Hastings, Murray Maclean and Raymond Dunstan as directors and numerous trophies for actors, sets and lighting.

Productions of AnnieOliver!Guys and Dolls and The Producers have earned several Music Theatre Guild nominations and the 2000 Most Outstanding Technical Achievement trophy went to FAMDA for its staging of Oliver!

Since 2002 FAMDA’s plays have impressed VDL judges with many nominations. A set design award went to Geoff Davey for the set design of Hotel Sorrento, Rob Ellis has twice won the sound design award while Bruce Grainger won the best supporting actor award and Cate Aitken the Best Actress in a Minor Role trophy for their performances in Oedipus Rex.

If you are interested in joining FAMDA or you have any questions, please phone our helpful president.

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