A Brief History of Past Performances
The Merry Widow was the first full production attempted by SWOC and it attracted an audience of 2,000 people in 1990. Die Fledermaus played to similar numbers.
When in 1995, the Bunbury Entertainment Centre secured the performing rights to Les Misérables, over 150 people were involved in this co-production. The powerful show played to full houses and was seen by 6,000 people, breaking local and regional theatre attendance records.
The company’s first full scale classical opera, Bizet’s Carmen, was chosen to celebrate SWOC’s tenth anniversary in 1996. The sell-out tour of 5 regional centres, plus Fremantle and Bunbury, incorporated children’s chorus from these local communities.
The Pirates of Penzance, Fiddler on the Roof and Orpheus in the Underworld were the next artistic successes, touring to Mandurah and Albany. The 2000 co-production of The Gondoliers featured spectacular costumes, dancing clowns and a strong well balanced cast. The Secret Garden in New Lyric Theatre showcased new local talent in lead roles, and in 2003 SWOC recorded its first CD Sleeping Lions, and toured Broadway Blitz.
The 2004 co-production with Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Co. was WA’s first outdoor Zarzuela, Cabernet & Carmen. Carousel was toured later that year to Busselton and Albany.
Another co-production of Les Misérables with the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre in 2005 gave a new generation of performers the opportunity of a lifetime.
The company’s touring then continued with The Gipsy Baron before a year of concerts and vocal preparation for the 2008 season of La Traviata in concert.
Trial By Jury at Manjimup, Busselton and the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre in a community concert.
Oliver! at the BREC was a triumph for SWOC in 2009, 35 children making their debut with the company. So talented and keen were the children that Junior SWOC was formed immediately.
The junior group performed in their new uniforms as part of To Mother With Love in May 2010 and then excelled in their own The Pirates of Penzance in November that year.
SWOC also completed a touring season of Highlights from Die Fledermaus and The Mikado in 2010-11.
A cast of 60 had a ball presenting The Wizard of Oz in 2011.
In 2014, the Disney classic Beauty and Beast was performed at BREC to delighted audiences bringing many families to the theatre. The stunning costume, prop and set designs highlighted the company’s growing talent pool of behind the scenes artists aa well as the performing talent on the stage.
The Gilbert and Sullivan production of Patience in 2015 was a hoot. The company brining to life the satirical G&S show to a smaller, but most appreciate audience at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.
In 2016 SWOC returned to BREC to present its second production of The Fiddler on the Roof. It was the directorial debut for SWOC’s very own choreographer, Mary-Ellen Sutherland. The production was a great success and will remain the memory of many of those who saw it with its poignant reminder of the continuing displacement of peoples from their homeland throughout the world to this day.
The Phantom of the Opera in 2018, once again in conjunction with BREC, has been SWOC’s most ambitious and successful production to date. The show was certainly the most technical, including a giant falling chandelier from the centre of the BREC auditorium, projected images onto 6 individual screens and complex sound and lighting designs. With sold out shows and standing ovations at every curtain call, SWOC received great acclaim for the outstanding work – including a number of Robert Finley Award (WA Amateur Theatre Association) nominations and awards.
The annual Christmas concert in St Boniface Cathedral is a regular favourite with choir and audiences alike, with magnificent support from local musicians forming an orchestral ensemble on each occasion.