Z-PAC Theatre History
A Brief History
In 1964 a group of people who loved theatre formed the Hervey Drama Circle with Lyn Dahl as the leader at St. Joseph’s Parish Centre.
In 1968 the group moved into a small theatre in Newhaven Street, Pialba, a renovated army hut which was officially opened by the member for Isis, Mr. J.R.Blake. The group became The Hervey Bay Little Theatre and began producing full length plays with such notable successes as The Woman in a Dressing Gown, The Loudest Whisper, A Taste of Honey and Barefoot in the Park.
|Hervey Bay Little Theatre in the 1970s|
As more young people came along with their parents to rehearsals a separate Junior Theatre was formed in 1968 with Pat Campbell a teacher-librarian at Hervey Bay High School. As the Junior Theatre grew it could no longer fit into the Catholic Church’s Parish Hall, and moved to the High School where up to five classrooms were used for juniors every Tuesday night with five tutors catering for 70 – 80 students from 8 to 18 years of age.
In 1974 the theatre became homeless again and found clubrooms in the Hut in Freshwater Street, Scarness and for a number of years performed in various venues around the Bay such as the Pialba Memorial Hall, The Place at Urangan and Hervey House, the original RSL Club premises.
On 1st July 1978 Stage One of the theatre was officially opened by Mrs. Bev Powell the wife of the local member Mr. Lin Powell MLA after a very long and sustained fundraising campaign. A wide range of fund raising ventures were used to raise the funds, and involved progressive dinners, the first Bingo in Hervey Bay, an Act-a-Thon, a town wide door-knock for donations as well as donations from groups such as the Lions Club as well as dramatic productions. The State Government also gave a $20,000 subsidy to help build the $45,000 building. The existence of the Junior Theatre, which was one of the largest of its type in the state, was considered to have played a large part in winning the grant.
At the time Mrs. Powell congratulated the company on having obtained its own building which she said was important if theatre was to be accepted as a vital medium to entertainment and fulfillment in the community. About 100 guests attended the official opening which was followed by the performance of two Australian one-act plays, The Guerrilla and Bananas. The then President, Bruce Campbell congratulated the founder, Mrs. Lyn Dahl who was a guest at the opening.
The new theatre formed a part of a mini-cultural centre which was established on a reclaimed rubbish dump, land leased from the City Council. It stands next to the Hervey Bay Historical Society museum which has also grown over the years and the Bay Gem Club. Some years later an old school building was bought and placed in the rear of the grounds as a club house and for costume storage.
Stage two of the theatre complex was finished in 1988, after further fundraising, a loan from the council and a further government grant. This substantially enlarged the theatre by building a new stage behind where the original stage finished and included a fly tower, a new bio box and covered foyer space.
In 1994 another name change occurred, to more clearly differentiate between the Hervey Bay Junior Theatre and the Hervey Bay Little Theatre. It became the Zephyr Street Performing Arts Community Theatre, or Z-PAC Theatre for short.