CRITERION HALL exterior

Celebrating a milestone

Grafton’s Criterion Theatre celebrates its 40th year of operation in 2024.

What: Calendar Girls
Where: Criterion Theatre, Grafton
When: 11 - 15 August

Built as a Dance Hall in the 1880s, the Criterion became a produce store in the 50s before being bequeathed to Grafton Council to become a venue for Performing Arts. A committee was formed, a cast was found, a stage was constructed and in October 1983 the 1st of many Music Hall nights was performed. The Big River group went on to stage Variety Nights, Melodramas, plays and musicals.

The Criterion is a unique venue, being a Heritage listed building run by a committee of volunteers who are passionate about the building itself while developing a program of activities for a community theatre. It maintains the tradition of theatre restaurant, although these days it’s BYO, but also strives to produce a range of shows for the Clarence Valley Community.

2024 has already seen a Sunday afternoon Rock’n’Roll High Tea and a season of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat which show cased the talents of young and old. Yet to come are another Rock’n’Roll High Tea, a Jazz afternoon and ‘Calendar Girls the Musical’, followed by a November season of a contemporary play ‘Kitchen Witches’.

‘Calendar Girls’ is a coup for Grafton, being newly released as a Musical.

Husband-and-wife team Mark Conaghan and Kate Joseph, following previous collaborations ‘If/Then’ and ‘Next to Normal’ at CVCon, have pursued this project for some time. Mark has a special interest in directing contemporary musicals, and adds his special quirky touches to his productions, so it will be interesting to see how he treats the semi-nudity of the calendar subjects. As they say… all will be revealed. Or not!

What: Calendar Girls
Where: Criterion Theatre, Grafton
When: 11 - 15 August