Claire Bygrave, who had previously founded a musical society in North Fawkner, moved into the Wantirna area and approached the community of St. Luke’s with the feasibility of forming a musical society.
A meeting was called with an attendance of six!! At this stage it looked unlikely that enough interest and support could be generated to bring the plan to fruition. Claire, however, felt that it was worth perusing and despite St. Luke’s Parish not being in a position to finance the venture, offered the use of the Parish Hall at a nominal rental and helped with publicity. Several parishioners lent their support in the area of publicity, ticket sales, sound and lighting.
Claire, with the assistance of Victor Bizzotto in drama and Michael Demtschnya in music, proceeded to underwrite the show with a modest budget of $3000. Advertisements were placed in the School and Parish newsletters.
At the first auditions the school hall was filled to overflowing with children and adults eager to strut their stuff! The majority of these had little if any experience on the stage. The characters chosen, the script in hand the team moved into the Parish hall and rehearsals began. The first production was staged at the Wantirna TAFE College in1988.
Did Claire manage to get her money back??
“Oliver” was sold out four weeks prior to opening night. The show was a sell-out. This was due to the efforts of many devoted contributors. A small team of willing parishioners brought the sets to life each night after the performance the set was dismantled and takenhome by trailer as were the props. The St. Luke’s team provided supper at each performance. After two years the company outgrew the TAFE theatre and they moved to the Karralyka Theatre in Ringwood to stage “MAN OF LA’MANCHA” and has remained there ever since.
SLAMS have presented many more shows since the original “Oliver” many of which has earned the company outstanding awards. From its humble beginnings, SLAMS Music Theatre Company Inc. has continued to grow. Many of the original members are still involved with the SLAMS family whether on stage in the orchestra or back stage. SLAMS always promote a friendly atmosphere for all those involved and maintains the philosophy of always including beginners in each production. Directors, musicians, set builders and technicians all donate their services, this helps to promote the family atmosphere here at SLAMS.