Afternoon tea to ring in milestones at BLOC Music Theatre

Snazzy: BLOC Music Theatre's Claire Thorpe and Peter Morey help a mannequin into her glad rags before a celebratory morning tea this Sunday. Picture: Kate Healy
Snazzy: BLOC Music Theatre's Claire Thorpe and Peter Morey help a mannequin into her glad rags before a celebratory morning tea this Sunday. Picture: Kate Healy

Local stalwart BLOC Music Theatre is celebrating four significant anniversaries with an afternoon tea this Sunday.

Launching as the Ballarat Light Opera Company in 1957, BLOC has staged more than 100 productions over its 60-year history.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Black Hill Progress Association Hall. The Peel Street North building, which BLOC Music Theatre now resides in, was purchased by the company in 1977.  

It is also 30 years since BLOC completed a major extension and renovation of the hall, under a Community Employment Program government grant. 

BLOC Music Theatre committee member Peter Morey said the afternoon tea was an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers over the company’s history. 

“BLOC has been a really important part of Ballarat’s community,” he said. 

“It not only provides music, theatre and entertainment, it provides a lot of employment for people in sound, lighting and set-building.

“The junior productions are a great community service. We provide training for emerging performing artists and lots of our actors go off far afield and have careers.

“It’s a wonderful voluntary community company that we’re very proud of.

The hall was originally built on the site occupied by the Belle Vue Hotel, costing £600 to build in 1917.

A 36-week government project to renovate the hall in 1987 provided upskilling for people who were long-term unemployed.

BLOC Music Theatre president Jason Muller said performers were often drawn back to the company throughout their lives. He started performing with BLOC when he was nine.

“Musical theatre often attracts people over a long period of time, because it’s about doing a group project in the community that’s really exciting,” he said. 

“This is an opportunity to bring together all those people who have been involved with the company.”

Afternoon tea on will be held at the BLOC Hall at 608 Peel Street, Ballarat on November 19, 2pm to 4:30pm. 

If attending, RSVP to 100years@blocmt.org.