A night at the theatre is rarely a life-changing experience but that’s the aim of production company Centre Stage as it prepares to put on a show in home-town Geelong.
The company will stage Rent as a charity fundraiser for deadly Marfan syndrome.
The production relies on a voluntary cast and crew hailing from Geelong, Colac and Melbourne.
Production director and CenterStage president David Greenwood said donating all profits to charity was the company’s point of difference.
CenterStage put on two not-for-profit shows a year with “massive success” despite relying on unpaid amateur actors, he said.
“We’re not looking for the biggest profits, so we’re spending that money where it counts,” Greenwood explained.
“There’s no pressure to make a profit, it just works out.
“We’re trying to stay innovative and fresh and bring something new to Geelong.”
Greenwood said he was extremely proud of the five-year old theatre company, which used each show to raise money for a different charity.
CenterStage had donated over $80,000 to causes including Relay for Life, Cancer Council, St Laurence Community Services and Geelong Hospital Appeal, he said.
The new production’s profit would go to a foundation assisting sufferers of Marfan syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the central nervous system, heart, lungs and spinal cord. Rent author and composer Jonathan Larson died from the syndrome in 1996, the day before the show’s off-Broadway opening.
Greenwood said his company was all about supporting Geelong performing arts.
“We’re very lucky to have such a wide scope of actors and they’re all doing it for the cause.
“We just bought a building in North Geelong, so we’re launching free acting and theatre workshops for the public. It’s so people who don’t have access to those facilities, or can’t afford it, can gain those skills.
“Hopefully we can meet a lot of new faces and change some lives.”
Greenwood said Rent would play nine shows over three weeks at Geelong Performing Arts Centre from 27 June.