Newsletter – May 2020

1. Message From The President

Dear Z-PAC Community,

Have you finished the double-sided jigsaw and are now looking out of the window, idly wondering just what those “57 Heinz Varieties” are?  Or why one packet of rice has 7,435 grains and another 7,613?  Whatever your method of coping in these strange times we hope that your home-cut hair recovers and you and yours are safe and well.

At Z-PAC we have been passing some of the time making tentative plans for when things get back to normal (something that still looks to be some way off) as well as considering how we can entertain you in the meantime – watch this space for more information.

Social distancing will be interesting in a theatre setting; it will require leaving each alternate row of seats empty and ensuring there’s three empty seats between people who don’t live together.  Actors will have to adjust as well – we haven’t figured out how a fist fight works when actors have to be on opposite sides of the stage but we’re working on it*; our costume team are busy sewing hoops into each outfit so we ensure we remain socially distanced on-stage and I’m sure we’ll all get used to this weird new look.

We hope to re-start our drama classes for term 3 but will only do so if we’re able to do it safely whilst still making it a fun learning experience for those involved – again, watch this space for more information.

From all of us at Z-PAC, be of good cheer.  We hope that you’re sitting up and taking nourishment and we look forward to continuing the business of entertaining you.

David Coleman

Z-PAC President


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2.  Congratulations Wide Bay!!

Congratulations Wide Bay!! At the time of writing this newsletter, there are no active cases of Covid-19 anywhere in the Wide Bay.  This result is due in part to the hard work of our Public Health and hospital teams.  It is also due to all of you in the community playing your part through good hygiene and physical distancing.

Z-PAC would like to thank each and every one of you for the part you have played in our community’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  In particular we’d like to give a special acknowledgement to our volunteers and patrons who work in the Public Health and hospital teams.  You are inspiring.  Thank you.

We hope that with continued good work across the state, social isolation and social distancing restrictions will continue to ease.


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3.  Covid-19 and Easing Restrictions – What does this mean for Z-PAC?

As you know, the good news about Covid-19 means that we are in a transitional period that is seeing restrictions slowly easing.  Many of us have returned to work, to our favourite cafes, to shops, etc. You may have also seen in the media that theatres can re-open from mid-July.  While this is technically true, it is very clear that things are still far from normal.  Even K-Mart has restrictions about how many people can be inside at any one time, and whoever thought you would have to line up to get into K-Mart??

For a small theatre like Z-PAC, social distancing restrictions has an enormous impact on how many people we can seat in our audience.  It also prevents cast and crew from rehearsing together properly and there are further impacts for our set builders and front of house volunteers.  Under these circumstances it is difficult for us to imagine how to resume operations.

The Management Committee is liaising with Qld Health to consider how best to move forward.  We are also brainstorming possible ways of operating outdoors or in alternative (bigger) venues.

We will keep you updated as we develop ideas for moving forward, but for now we have no definite dates for shows or drama classes to resume.  Please know that this is very difficult for us, but your health and safety is more important to us than anything.


4.  Do you want to be our Treasurer?

Owing to the success of her new business (congratulations Deb), our Treasurer has resigned and we need your support to help Z-PAC thrive.

Z-PAC normally performs five shows per year with an income of approx, $120K and the Treasurer is a key management role; providing the committee with timely and accurate information (inc. P&L statements and balance sheets), assisting with budgets and ensuring we’re compliant for our annual level one audit.  Previous experience as a treasurer would be great but it is not required that you have an accountancy background.

Please feel free to give our President David a call on 0408074768 or submit a brief expression of interest to president@zpactheatre.com by May 31st.


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5. Election of Secretary

You will recall in the last newsletter that we were looking for nominations for the position of Secretary on the Z-PAC Management Committee.  We are thrilled to announce that Louise Fantinel was the successful applicant.  Louise has been a volunteer for Z-PAC theatre for a long time.  She has acted, directed and provided Front of House support for Z-PAC productions.  She has also held Management Committee positions before including the roles of Secretary and Artistic Director.  Her most recent artistic work was her unforgettable role in the 2019 production of Bombshells.


6.  What else have we been up to at Z-PAC?

As you know, social distancing restrictions has meant that volunteers have not been able to gather to rehearse, work on sets, run classes – all of our functions have been temporarily ceased.  Our Management Committee have been meeting over the phone, people have been learning lines at home and we’ve all been waiting… waiting… waiting… to return to that beloved craziness of community theatre.

We CAN report that we expect a delivery of some new theatre lights very soon.  This will include a range of general lights and some special spotlights.  This is very exciting for us since some of our lights needed replacing and we rely on our lighting so much to set the scene and help to create dramatic meaning in our productions.  It is a far more complex art than it looks!!  We are fortunate to have been able to finance these through a grant that was awarded to us by the Community Benefit Fund.

Without having shows as our normal source of revenue, we have been looking for more grants and other sources of income to  keep us afloat and in good shape for your return.  This hasn’t been easy – we don’t really qualify for the kinds of government assistance or many of the grants that have been available.  We have started planning a GoFundMe page – more about that to come.  We’d also love to hear about any fundraising ideas you might have that could help Z-PAC in these crazy times – please email promotions@zpactheatre.com.  

Finally, we have been looking at play scripts that could become possible ‘Z-PAC On The Move’ productions and dreaming of productions we would love to put on in the future, when we can finally get you properly back in our theatre.


7. Shows we will still do as soon as we can…

Inspector Drake and the Black Widow

When oil tycoon John Johnson is found with a huge sword in his back, it looks like a straightforward case of dying illegally. But things in Drake’s world are never as they seem. Why was Johnson badly disguised as his own wife? Why had he eaten a tortoise? And why do all the women in the house look similar?

For once, Sergeant Plod thinks he knows all the answers. And so he should. After all, he’s relating the events through a series of flashbacks, so he knows how it all ends. But if Plod is right, the legendary Inspector Drake is about to make a terrible mistake.

And there’s something even more disturbing. The trusty Sergeant has been troubled by a recurring nightmare. It’s a nightmare involving spiders, and the image of a man, lying dead. That man is Inspector Drake. Is this just another confusing flashback? Or the horrible truth of Drake’s final destiny?

After all, when the Black Widow lays her deadly trap, it’s just a matter of time.

Two Weeks with the Queen

Colin Mudford is on a quest. His brother Luke has cancer and the doctors in Australia don’t seem to be able to cure him. Sent to London to stay with relatives, Aunty Iris, Uncle Bob and his awkward cousin Alistair. Colin is desperate to do something to help Luke. He wants to find the best doctor in the world. And where better to start than by going to the top? Colin is determined to ask the Queen for her help. Along the way he befriends Ted Caldico and through this unlikely friendship comes to realize that his true place is at home with his family.

This moving story illuminates deeply serious issues about illness and loss counter-posed with bright moments of humour. Charming, heartwarming and quirky characters make for a larger than life production. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Morris Gleitzman.

Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time, the original Red Riding Hood was rescued and the Wolf defeated. Many years later, her granddaughter is now a new Red Riding Hood – and the Wolf has returned looking for revenge. With both a greedy Squire and a new woodcutter seeking her hand in marriage, it’s going to be an interesting time for the new Red Riding Hood.


9.  Spotlight on Previous Z-PAC Shows

Without having a current show to focus on, we’ve also had plenty of time to reminisce about past productions.  Wireless Wit  was a Z-PAC tradition for a time and provided a thoroughly comical romp for may of our volunteers.    This review was posted in the Chronicle 28/4/14:

…Z-PAC Theatre, on Pialba’s Zephyr Street, produced a somewhat experimental event in its compact, delightful playhouse.

The concept, titled Wireless Wit recreated comic performances that were in far oft times captured on the ‘wireless’ (radio for those who came in late).

Also in the somewhat eclectic programme were the recreations of television comedy and some fantastic singers.  This show was such a hit that a sparkling brand new Wireless Wit is taking to the boards next week.

This year the Z-PAC Executive has thought deeply about its artistic future and the need to finance a programme which will not only match the expectations and demographics of its audiences but also continue to live up to a high artistic standard.

Wireless Wit as a  regular contributor should do that.  With talent which includes song sellers Tamara Bailey and Lesa Stegg together with impressionists/actors Brad Chapman, Michael Ware, Mark Thompson and Marjolijn Dudgeon success seems certain – side-splitting comedy and nostalgia all MC’d by Hervey Bay notable Steve Dixon.

Spokesperson Liane Mills reckons this show will be so funny that it should be called Wireless Wit Two and a Half…

We haven’t had a Wireless Wit at Z-PAC for a while now… should we bring it back do you think?  We’d love to hear feedback from you!  (promotions@zpactheatre.com)

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10.  Comedy Corner

Thinking of Wireless Wit  puts me in mind of the kind of humour that entertains us all so much when we are hanging around the theatre.  The volunteers have a ball using their time to support Z-PAC, due in no small part to the ‘Dad jokes’ that abound while you are trying to do otherwise serious things, like apply stage make-up, or when you are just about to step out on to stage and are trying to focus on what you are supposed to be doing, or when you are trying to wash dishes in the kitchen as quietly as possible so the audience doesn’t hear you…

Here are just a few:

  • I failed maths so many time, I can’t count.
  • That is the last time I discuss infinity with a mathematician. He went on about it forever.
  • I apologise for all of the bad chemistry jokes because all the good ones Argon!
  • What’s so great about Switzerland? Not sure, but the flag is a big plus!
  • I just read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. Not to cause any trouble, but shouldn’t that be an even number?
  • My husband cooks for me like I’m a god – by placing burnt offerings before me every night.
  • What did the fish say when he swam into a wall? Dam!
  • What do you call a can opener that doesn’t work? A can’t opener.
  • I don’t trust stairs. They’re always up to something.
  • I made a pencil with two erasers. It was pointless.
  • I used to hate facial hair. But then it grew on me.
  • I had a neck brace fitted years ago. I haven’t looked back since.

18.  Supporting Our Sponsors

We are experiencing unprecedented challenges in our local area and we are expecting that many small businesses will continue to face difficulties in the coming months.  Z-PAC would like to thank our local business sponsors for their past assistance and would like to encourage you to support them where you can.  Some of our valuable sponsors include:

  • Helloworld Travel – The Travel Professionals Hervey Bay
  • The Torquay Hotel
  • Hervey Bay Security
  • Glenn Barsby at Southern Cross Austereo
  • Our local Community Radio FM107.5
  • ABC Local Radio
  • Tony, Bush2Beach
  • Hervey Bay RSL
  • Adam Haidley, Hervey Bay Concreting
  • Dan Krause of Street Art Concepts
  • Hervey Bay Timber Joinery
  • Mac of Ezy Clean Skips
  • Hervey Bay Allstrong Locksmiths and Security
  • Officeworks Hervey Bay
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That’s all from us for now.  We hope you are safe and well and missing us as much as we are missing you.

Z-PAC Theatre