Karen is a true friend of the theatre

Karen and some of the volunteers from Friends of the Theatre.

Karen Capon has always loved the theatre – performing on the Pilbeam stage when she was younger – but with a little time on her hands a few years back she decided it was time to give back to the community.

Karen is now the president of the Friends of the Theatre in Rockhampton and can often be found helping out. It’s clear the volunteer role is a love job and something she loves dearly.

“I personally have been involved for 14 years – I’ve been president of friends of the theatre for the past six years,” she explained.

“I just had some time on my hands, I’ve always loved the theatre, I’ve always gone to the theatre and I found I had time on my hands and asked if I could volunteer and I’ve been doing it ever since.

“I do love it, absolutely.

“ I was always a frequent user of the theatre, I enjoy multiple different genres of theatre but especially dance and ballet. So I’ve been to the theatre for many years and I knew that friends of the theatre volunteer for all front of house positions. Apparent from the box office, who sell the tickets, we do everything else. We do the pre-performance which is the sales at the candy bar and the bar and the ushering. And I always knew that the friends of the theatre did all those things and when I had some time on my hands and I thought why not put it into something like that to put back into something I’ve always loved.”

Karen said she slots in where she is needed at the theatre including acting as an usher, making coffees, sales, candy bar and programs and that sort of things.

“They are all important in their own right but of course getting the patrons seated is a major thing that we do,” she said.

The social aspect of the volunteer work is a bonus too.

“It’s a great way of meeting people and we do meet all types, all sorts of people volunteer and all sorts of ages,” she said.

“We have had, in the past, people from the age of 16 through to – we have one member at the moment who is 90. And she’s very sprightly and able to do what she loves which is the ushering.””

Karen said the group is a little different from other volunteer groups.

“We are a slightly different volunteer organization than is usual in that we’re an incorporated body and the Rockhampton City Council pay friends of the theatre a fee for us providing out services,” she explained.

“That fee we put back into the theatre in buying things that the theatre needs. For example we bought music stands and chairs for the orchestras to the tune of $5,400, we’ve got six lapel microphones for $3000, we’ve bought portable bar and two function tables for $1,000, we bought six new moving lights for the stage productions $11,000. Recently we bought an advertising sign for $20,000.

“I would say in the past 25 years we would have put nearly half a million dollars back into the theatre.”

The group had it’s 30th anniversary last year after being formed in 1991, starting off with 10 people while they currently have 76 people on their books.

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