Community History



Home Page
History Home Page

Strathmore Theatrical Arts
Group Inc. (A 13761V)

Stag's Current Plays and Events#


S.T.A.G. was formed by a group of “young marrieds” in Strathmore in 1955, some of whom belonged to other drama groups, notably Williamstown and Northcote, and others with no theatre background at all. At the time, Strathmore and the surrounding areas had no such drama groups, although the Essendon Light Opera Company provided and outlet for singers and musicians.


To bring together people of similar interests and to provide a true community theatre for Strathmore where members could share their talents and abilities in diverse fields of performance.

First Meeting

The first meeting was held in the home of Mary and Ron Little in Bruce Street, Strathmore, and was attended by approximately 12 people. Five of those present are still active members in 1998 - Mary and Ron Little, Ivy and Kevin Walker and Irma Jackson. It was decided to arrange an inaugural play reading in George and Margaret at the Caldwell’s home in Kernan Street. This presentation was received with enthusiasm by friends and neighbours. The decision was taken to formalise the undertaking and a Committee was selected top run the financial affairs of the fledgling group and to draft a Constitution. The Essendon Gazette newspaper published details and local traders displayed posters publicising and promoting the group, thus helping the membership grow.


It was suggested at the inaugural meeting that the group be called the STRATHMORE THEATRICAL ARTS GROUP which could incorporate drama, music, singing, etc. The name was not universally popular but the acronym was, so STAG was born.

Early Days

St. John’s Presbyterian Church Hall, Essendon, was the site of STAG’s first productions:

  • “And This Was Odd”

  • “Poison Pen”

  • “Here We Come Gathering”

Rehearsals were held in members’ homes, sets were prepared in private garages and erected at St. John’s during full dress rehearsals as the Group could not afford to hire the hall for an extra night. Lighting and sound was also organised at this time, while cast members strove to familiarise themselves with a hitherto unseen set and remember lines amid much hammering and shouted instructions. Very traumatic for all concerned.


In the early years the Group utilised the directing talents of Ron Little and Jack Russell, who alternated as directors of plays performed by STAG. In a few years Directors from other performance groups were invited to direct plays performed by STAG and other members of the Group developed sufficient expertise to direct the plays.

Strathmore Community Association

The Strathmore Community Association approached STAG to join the Association. A hall was to be built in Loeman Street, Strathmore, and they suggested that this could be converted into a theatre, on a temporary basis, to stage the Group’s plays. STAG were pleased to join and actively participated in the functioning of the SCA with members serving on the Association’s Committee in various capacities including Treasurer and Secretary.

The bodies incorporated with the S.C.A. worked hard to complete the hall, with STAG’s members ensuring as far as they could that the hall would be suitable for theatre, with an appropriate stage and other performance facilities. Since its opening the Community Hall has become the home of STAG with all productions being performed at this address.


Initially the Group raised money to survive by monthly social events - play readings, games evenings, sherry nights etc. The Group was also assisted by some small State Government grants for specific purposes, e.g., to buy lighting equipment or curtains, but it has been many years since this occurred. These days STAG pays its own way raising money for the hall rental, set production, publicity, royalties to playwrights and upgrade of equipment etc from ticket sales and membership subscriptions. As with most community groups the Group survives in large part by the volunteer efforts of its members.

Main Source:

From information supplied by Club.