A born performer

WITHOUT the tireless work of the Queanbeyan Players and volunteers like Norma and Trevor Roach the town's beloved theatre, The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, would probably not exist.

So it's only fitting that the couple's portrait hangs on the wall of theatre, affectionately known as 'The Q', as part of their inclusion in the Cultural Honours Gallery.

"It [the recognition] wasn't looked for but it is nice and particularly because it's The Q and we worked very hard for it," Mrs Roach said.

"It's a lovely little theatre, all the companies and everybody who comes to perform say what a marvellous theatre it is."

The Roaches were founding members of the Queanbeyan Players way back when in the 1960s.

Mrs Roach tried her hand at directing, acting and costume design while Mr Roach would help with making sets and selling programmes.

Finding an appropriate venue for the amateur performance group had always been an uphill battle according to Mrs Roach.

The group had been shuffled around from the Anglican Parish Hall (now Home in Queanbeyan) to Queanbeyan High School. They even had a few short stays at Hotel Queanbeyan, the Nova Cinema and the Bicentennial Centre.

"We set up a special bank account so that every time we made a good profit the money would go into there. We wanted to get the right thing built, a properly planned theatre with the right number of seats and arranged in the right way," Mrs Roach said.

"It was a battle but eventually we got together $50,000 which for a group like ours, an amateur group, was tremendous. And because we did that the State Government gave Queanbeyan Council a grant of $1.25 million which was one of the biggest grants for a project of this type."

The Roaches are still active members of the Queanbeyan Players and they have many fond memories of various productions.

Her efforts in local theatre have not gone unrecognised. In 2002 Mrs Roach received the Kate Peters award for outstanding contributions to theatre and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and an Order of Australia medal in 2009

Mrs Roach said growing up in north east England meant that performing was just part of everyday life and she carried this into her adulthood.

"We were always doing these things, putting on concerts, having socials, singing in choirs and all sorts of wonderful things so we just did the same when we came here [to Queanbeyan]," she said.

"[Being part of a production] is a very creative thing to do and is enjoyable. It's great to watch and great to be in and involved, it's very enriching."

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