We are often asked what is CADS and where and when did it start so here is our story-
The Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society or CADS as it is known today was reformed
in 1987, by an enthusiastic group who produced a typical Melodrama “Love Rides the
Rails”, but its history goes back to August 16, 1894 when the ‘School of Arts’ was
formed in Crookwell, performing concerts, organising flower shows, bazaars and fund
raising events. It was from this group, in 1903, that the Choral Society took shape,
but lapsed for some years, before reforming in 1925, with 40 voices taking part in
a concert which attracted 150 people.
On the eve of World War II, March 1939, “The Strutters” hit the stage at the School
of Arts, what is now known as Crookwell Memorial Hall. The Strutters performed concerts
and skits to raise money, 500 pounds in their first 11 years, for such worthwhile
causes as the local hospital, town band, and other charitable purposes.
The Crookwell Dramatic Society, or CADS, was founded in July 1950. That year the
new group put on, in October and December, a Drama Festival which consisted of a
series of four plays during each month.
The first play of the festival involved a number of the area’s youth, some of whom
are still with us toady: including, Del Davies, Kevin and Betty Osbourne, Frank and
Shirley Willis and Barry Seaman to name a few. CADS as a group continued entertaining
local audiences until 1955, while also competing in drama competitions.
Between 1955 and 1987 CADS came together twice, once in April 1973 for a formal play
reading of “Summer of the 17th Doll”. This effort was performed to help students
who were studying the play and was done with scripts in hand, no set and limited
Again in 1981, with Anne Cleary directing, CADS performed “Breath of Spring”.
The melodrama “Love Rides the Rails”, directed by Maureen Keough, welcomed CADS back
to the Memorial Hall in 1987 where it has continued to perform until the present
With little money in the bank CADS began constructing their sets from recycled cardboard
gathered from the tip and local stores and has progressed to the wonderful works
of art that now surrounds the actors and impresses audiences.
Over the years CADS has performed a variety of plays; including such favourites as
“Are you Being Served” – ‘Allo ‘Allo - Steel Magnolias - many Theatre Restaurant
and Music Halls. But Crookwell audiences certainly love their musicals and their
comedies, so over the years, CADS has provided audiences with two plays per year,
a straight play, usually a comedy and the popular ‘end of year’ musicals. The first
two weekends in November are now well established as CADS performances and audiences
flock from far and wide for the ‘end of year musicals’.
CADS now donates each year to the 11 schools in the Upper Lachlan Shire for their
end of year prize giving, as well as donating to the local hospital, local nursing
home, high school music and drama departments, and many other organisations.
Crookwell Memorial Hall is now the ‘home’ of CADS and we enjoy a good working relationship
with the Management Committee and local Council. We have successfully received grant
funds to do up our stage area and erect a mezzanine area for our sound and lighting.
Our costume, understage and backstage areas and dressing rooms have all been renovated
to make them practical and useable spaces.
Over the years our lighting, sound, costume department and professionalism have grown
and all CADS members, past and present should be rightly proud of what they have
CADS has always supported the young people of our community, often involving them
in a show or offering practical assistance to the Youth Theatre group and in 2011
they amalgamated the youth group, KAOS (Kids Acting on Stage) into CADS. With KAOS
producing a show each year involving young people from 5 year to 18 years, then hopefully
moving into a CADS show, this should cement the future of theatre in our community
for many years to come.