Recently named by Triple M Radio as the town’s Best Community Organisation, HATch — Hedland’s new amateur theatre company — is blazing a trail to the stage for local children and adults alike.
HATch Artistic Director and President Elise Batchelor said the group was formed back in 2017, when she produced a school play with her students at St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School.
“I rewrote the movie Frozen as ‘Melted’ so local kids had something to relate to,” Elise said.
“The play ended up having a six-show run at the Matt Dann Theatre and Cinema.”
Next, the company involved 60 kids in a production of Wizard of Odd in 2019, and each performance was generously sponsored by the Roy Hill Community Foundation.
“In order for Roy Hill Community Foundation to continue supporting us, we needed to become incorporated, so we became a not-for-profit. Now we run weekly workshops for kids in Upper Primary and High School,” Elise said.
“The H – A - T in the name stands for Hedland Amateur Theatre, and the ‘c’ and ‘h’ is for children!”
HATch’s primary school actors are HATchlings, while the High Schoolers are known as HATchbacks.
“Through these productions, parents from the cast, teachers and the team behind HATch formed some great friendships which has really fleshed this program out, and this year for the first time, we have a game bunch of parents and committee doing an item in our show as HATchets,” Elise said.
HATch runs weekly workshops for around 55 participants featuring classes, musical theatre and theatre games.
“This term we’re doing a showcase called HiJACK! which has been adapted from a theatre game,” Elise said.
“The concept is about jumping into someone else to find yourself and self-exploration through characters. It will show at the Matt Dann Theatre and Cinema on September 18.”
The HATch committee is comprised of a skilled multidisciplinary team including local musician Brad Holder as Vice President, Erin Green and Monique Wilson; Rachael Theyer - a former opera singer – as music maestro, Rebekah Black as costumier and Claire Wellbeloved, among many other keen people.
Already, the program has launched some of its participants into the industry.
“There’s a feature film that has just been shot in Hedland this year called Sweet As, and the producers reached out to us last month to visit HATch and invite us to visit the set. Through that, one of our HATchlings got a role in the film and I actually got a role as well,” Elise said.
HATch is open to anyone in Hedland, from Primary School students in Years Three to Six to any High School students or aspiring young adult actors.
You can reach the HATch team at tophatch.com.au to find out more.