We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Ballardong people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.
The Northam Repertory Club was formed in 1896. Now called the Northam Theatre Group, is believed to be the oldest surviving theatrical company in Australia. This was featured in The Bulletin in 1996.
The first location of the Repertory Club was at the Temperance Hall, then later the Northam Town Hall. In the 1960, the Repertory Club joined with the Northam Choral Society and became the Northam Theatre Group (NTG).
In 1976, the NTG purchased the Presbyterian Church, and it was renamed the Link Theatre. A foyer was added, a bar/kitchen and subsequently a green room and dressing room, scenery dock, lights store and wardrobe.
The foundation stone for the Presbyterian Church was laid in 1908. This church building makes up the auditorium which today makes an intimate venue for 100 patrons. The original structure of the church has never been altered. Patrons can still appreciate the ornate wooden fretwork and the original oregon beams and ceiling boards. Negotiations to purchase the building took several months and the purchase was facilitated by a self-supporting loan from the Town of Northam. The first production in the new building was ‘The Rape of the Belt’.
Over time with money raised from Music Hall productions in the Town Hall and plays in the new theatre, the loan was paid off. The addition was commissioned in 1985 by Dr Geoff Gibbs, head of the West Australian Performing Arts Academy. Geoff had a background in amateur theatre and had performed with Northam Repertory Club in the Town Hall.
Northam Theatre is an active, vital amateur group. At any one time there are between 100 and 150 members. The group offers 3 to 4 live productions a year as well as visiting acts, including the Regional Fringe Festival Tour. Each production reaches up to 600 audience members in a season.
In 2015 the Theatre Group installed tiered retractable seating to allow the venue to be used both for theatre and for dance and exhibitions. The seating was funded by the theatre group, through generous sponsorship and grants from the Royalties for Regions scheme and Lotterywest. The new seating has ensured that every seat in the house is quality.
In 2018, the Theatre Group installed new LED lights and a sound system. This has reduced lighting costs and enhanced the theatre experience for the audience and members. The previous lighting lasted over 50 years. The Theatre Group hopes that the new lighting will do the same. This upgrade was possible with grants from The Department of Racing and Gaming, Lotterywest and Bendigo Bank. The theatre is grateful for their generous support.
Woollen fire proof curtains, new air-conditioning and restoration to the façade of the Link Theatre, have all occurred within the last decade and have guaranteed the preservation of the facility and its historic building.
The Northam Theatre Group has overcome many difficulties in its history. The war years meant limited productions; the introduction of television lowered the number of patrons and today the arts fights for relevance alongside social media and the attractions of the city. Despite the challenges, the Northam Theatre Group, at the home of the Link Theatre is unique in the Wheatbelt with its regular presentation of the arts and live performance.
Anne Letch and Nicki Parker 2019
Membership Forms are available at the Theatre, alternatively you are welcome to fill out your form online here.
How to Find us
The Link Theatre is located at 89 Duke Street Northam.
Northam Theatre Group relies on our band of talented and willing volunteers and there is a range of roles to suit everyone.
Of course, performers and directors seem obvious but we also need people who can assist backstage, with admin tasks, technical, building and maintenance and much, much more.
If you would like to get involved simply send us an email here, we welcome you with open arms.
Our Corporate Members
We are very grateful for the support of our Corporate Members. This is a new initiative that has just been launched, if you are considering joining us as a corporate sponsor you can download the information and form here.
Our kind sponsors have contributed hugely to the success of the Link Theatre and Northam Theatre Group. Recently we upgraded our lighting and sound with their generous support.