Young People’s Theatre Newcastle

Spotlight On: 50 Years at 26 Lindsay Street, Hamilton

Spotlight On: 50 Years at 26 Lindsay Street, Hamilton

Spotlight On: 50 Years at 26 Lindsay Street, Hamilton
5-minute read // Published by Young Peoples Theatre, May 2023
Written by: Chelsea Willis using YPT archives
Pictured: Front exterior of YPT building from the YPT archives. 

Monday May 15 is a very significant day, as it is 50 years to the day, that YPT purchased our site in Hamilton, 26 – 28 Lindsay Street. Not only are we celebrating 75 years since YPT was established in 1948, but we feel it is very special to have coincided with such a milestone moment in YPT history.

15th May, 1973 is when the Young People’s Theatre took possession of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on the corner of Lawson and Lindsay Streets Hamilton. A note from our official archives says,

“YOUNG PEOPLE’S THEATRE and its theatre on the corner of Lawson and Lindsay Streets, Hamilton have become synonymous with “Hamilton” life and the Newcastle Theatre scene. The foresight of the then committee(1973) saw the organisation purchase the Seventh Day Adventist Church and an adjoining cottage which then occupied these sites. There had been two possibilities for the establishment of the children’s theatre, the Mayfield Methodist Church Hall  and the chosen site in Hamilton.”

A parent and builder, Paddy Newing, undertook converting the old church building into an operational theatre, with the cost to be paid back at the companies convenience. This essentially interest free loan was a huge contribution to YPT successfully creating their long established theatre space in Hamilton. Debentures were raised by interested and dedicated community members and share certificates were sold at $25 to support the purchase and fit out, yet we believe these were never claimed and therefore are now YPT memorabilia. Auditorium seating was purchased from the Capitol Theatre in Tamworth and installed by a local Rotary club. Stage lighting fixtures were purchased from the demolished Century Movie Theatre in Broadmeadow all of which contributed to the original theatre which opened in 1974.

The purchase of YPT’s own building allowed the organization to expand and create more opportunities for youth in the community. YPT’s already successful School Holiday schools grew in size and offerings and regular classes expanded to include Arts and Crafts, Magic, Puppetry and Kite Making among the performing arts disciplines already on offer.

When the original Lindsay and Lawson Streets venue opened  its doors in 1974, the opening production was “The Wizard of Oz”. With a cast of 50 young players and crew of 50 ,the majority of the YPT members were given the  opportunity to perform work in and on the production. The Wiz” played at 2:30p:m Saturday and played until November, closing after 50 performances. Tickets cost $1 and the production played to full houses with over 7, 000 attendees over 50 performances.

YPT’s building had a 4 year closure from the fire that destroyed the theatre in 1995, and the organization was run out of various alternative sites. YPT and the community worked tirelessly to rebuild the theatre in the same site and thanks to the generous support of the community, reopening in 1999 at 26-28 Lindsay Street.

Even with the fire closure, and the Covid lockdowns, YPT has produced nearly 200 productions in our purpose built theatre since the purchase in 1973. We are proud to have called 26-28 Lindsay Street our home and to have had a 50 year history in this area.

YPT is currently fundraising for our $75, 000 for 75 years campaign to raise much needed funds to support YPT in the future, to continue to create ‘theatre for young people, by young people’.
If you are interested in donating, you can do so here

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