Tuesday, September 11, 2007

About the Totem

Phone number: 8952-3837 (phone is only answered when there are people in the theatre, which means a rehersal, building maintenance or an actual play is ongoing.)

official address:

Anzac Oval Reserve
Alice Springs NT 0870

The Totem Theatre is a Heritage listed building, building dating back to World War 2. I've included a great in-depth description, vastly more detailed than I would have gone into, from AsiaRooms.com: http://www.asiarooms.com/


"The Totem Theatre Complex, Alice Springs comprises two WWII Sidney Williams Huts and related extensions, a Wride & Abley shed and ablutions facility. Two early concrete slabs, which possibly associated to the WWII period, are placed north of the ablutions block and the surrounding area bound by fencing. Inside the Theatre Complex, concrete paths connect the huts and shed. The WWII Huts performed as one of the branches of the Military Regimental Aid Post & Dental Clinic. The significance of these Huts are, these are the last existing in-situ physical proof related with the 'Anzac Hill Camp', Darwin Overland Maintenance Force (DOMF) and subsequent transport units. The DOMF was played an influential role in the construction of the North-South Road, which presently known as the Stuart Highway, connecting Tennant Creek and Birdum (Larrimah). The creation of the road is a great achievement because it was completed in 90 days.

The existing buildings at The Totem Theatre Complex, Alice Springs has historical and social value for their associations with the post-war social and cultural progress of Alice Springs and in specific the Alice Springs Theatre Group. The buildings obtain some importance from their associations with members of the theatre group who made an imperative input to the Territory; Agnes East and Mona Greatorex. In spite of several modifications to suit their role as a theatre venue, the WWII Sidney Williams huts maintain a considerable amount of their unique fabric, as well as the fixings, and these Huts are good examples of this specific type of WWII structure."


Now, that's nice, isn't it? Way more info than I had before. I only knew they were WWII buildings, remnants of the days when the Australian (and some US, I've been told) forces were barracked here after Darwin was bombed by the Japanese.

Today the theatre is used by the Alice Springs Theatre Group, a small non-profit community theatre group consisting of mostly ameteurs. The Town Council is responsable for the physical structure of the buildings & the facility, the theatre group is responsable for their continued use for various functions and for performances put on there. Non-ASTG performances of an artistic nature are occasionally staged as well, for a useage fee. It's not a cheap place to maintain; all the money goes right back into getting paint for the floors, cleaning supplies, bug spray, you name it. A lot of stuff gets donated - from a new water heater system donated by a local buisness to second-hand furniture, clothing and even a vaccuum cleaner.

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