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Who we are

In March 1938 the Mayor of Ballarat chaired a public meeting at which Ballarat citizens chose to form a branch of the National Theatre movement in this city. We have been making theatre ever since, producing more than 275 shows over 84 years.

We are a not-for-profit incorporated company. This means that all participants of our shows are volunteers and must be current members to take part.

We are renowned for ‘straight’ theatre, in that we do not usually produce musicals. We produce multiple productions per year, usually in school holidays as well as for the Ballarat Heritage Festival. Productions include Shakespeare, radio plays, Australian plays, classic British and American plays and original works.

In response to the pandemic, we also began producing free online dramatic audiobooks as podcasts.

We host the monthly social event: Monologue Karaoke, giving people the chance to try some time on the stage.

Members are able to try out all areas of production from acting, directing and writing to costume, props, sets, lighting and sound. Expressions of interest for involvement in upcoming productions are usually announced on our social media platforms and mailing list.

We have a mixed-age audience attending our productions, which are staged at a range of venues around Ballarat. Members receive discounted tickets to our performances.

We are always working to keep our members involved and to expand our audience into new areas of the community. Visit the Get Involved section of our website for information on different ways to participate in theatre with us.

Patron - Jacki Weaver

Jacki has been our Patron since 2005.

She follows in the footsteps of Leo McKern

One of Australia's best loved and most respected performers since she began her career in 1962, whether on stage, movies or television. Jacki has won numerous Best Actress awards, for her moving portrayal of Joy Gresham in Shadowlands, and what critics called ‘a brilliant performance’ as Dr Gorgeous in The Sisters Rosensweig. Jacki has AFI awards for the films Animal Kingdom, Caddie and Stork, a Logie for Do I Have To Kill My Child? and a Variety Club Heart Award for They're Playing Our Song in which she starred with John Waters for two years.

Jacki studied drama at Doris Fitton's Independent Theatre in North Sydney and some of her theatre credits include Born Yesterday, Six Degrees of Separation, The Real Thing, Love Letters, Away and Shadowlands for the Sydney Theatre Company; Emerald City, Blithe Spirit, Joe Egg, Daylight Saving, The Sisters Rosenweig, Shadowlands and Navigating for the Melbourne Theatre Company; Navigating for the Queensland Theatre Company; A Streetcar Named Desire, The Three Sisters, The Imaginary Invalid, Love's Labour's Lost, You Never Can Tell, Forget Me Not Lane and The Legend of King O'Malley for the Old Tote; The Removalists, Rockola, The Seagull, Tom and After Magritte for Nimrod.

Among Jacki's film credits are Picnic At Hanging Rock, Petersen, The Perfectionist, Squizzy Taylor, Stork, The Removalists, Caddie, Alvin Purple, Cosi and most recently Animal Kingdom for which she received an Oscar Nomination (and many other awards and accolades) for her role as Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, although very well known and highly respected in Australia this is Jacki’s first Oscar nomination.

Her television credits include The Girl From Moonooloo, Trial By Marriage and House Rules which were written especially for her; the mini-series Water Under The Bridge and The Challenge; eight years as a panelist on ABC TV's Would You Believe.

Click Here to read more about our Patron "Jacki Weaver"