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Provider of a social networking site focused on luxury living, style, nightlife, and travel. The site mixes user generated and professionally produced content to showcase unique and new lifestyle trends. It allows users, brands and businesses to program their own TV channels. Users can access luxury brands, make recommendations on products and services, and find information on events.
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Feb 4, 2023
Recording it. Learning from it. Interpreting it. Any way you slice it, there is time and consideration involved. For a businessman with endless enthusiasm, Out of the Square Media founder and managing director Marty Adnum certainly has a significant amount of patience when it comes to reviving the Victoria Theatre, the oldest-standing theatre in NSW, located on Perkins Street in Newcastle's East End. Last year, Adnum and his company donated their time and services to creating 10 social history videos recording the history of the Victoria Theatre. A video history recording with Fay Steggles and Vilma Hunter, who were usherettes at the Victoria Theatre more than 70 years ago. Pictures by Out of the Square Media The videos capture the memories of the Victoria from the people who worked there, attended events there or had family members involved in the theatre. The videos are now available for viewing on the Victoria Theatre website, and, from this weekend, on the Lost Newcastle website and social media pages. "In this day and age, when we've all got limited attention spans, these are designed to be bite-sized pieces, to get a bit more buy in," Adnum says. At left, key participants in the social history project, Century Venues executive director Greg Khoury, interviewer Gavin Patton, camera operator Hannah Jordan, and Out of the Square Media founder Marty Adnum. Above, Don Owens with Civic Theatre manager Leonie Wallace and a framed poster of Owens' mum, who performed as Little Madge Bennett in the theatre. Greg Khoury is executive director of Century Venues, which owns the Victoria Theatre. The company is dedicated to theatre and entertainment, operating some of the top venues in Sydney, including the Enmore, Metro, Factory and Chatswood Concourse sites. For Century, the Victoria is a project in reviving a great theatre. Century bought it in 2015, and has stayed the course on repairing it and making plans for restoring its glory. While the project still has a long way to go, with eyes on a possible opening date of January 2025, Century has always believed the people of Newcastle must be its willing partner for the plan to succeed. "History informs how we go forward," Khoury says. "This place was a social enterprise. The people of Newcastle wanted a first-class theatre, and they created it." The stories Among the stories told in the video series: Don and Richard Owens recount the accomplishments of their mum, known as "Little Madge Bennett", who performed at the Victoria in 1918 at the age of eight. She was a member of Dix & Baker's Dramatic Players, and attended school for one hour a day and rehearsals five days a week to perform in matinees and evening shows such as East Lynne and Dean Maitland. She played Little Eva in a run of eight shows of Uncle Tom's Cabin at the theatre in March 1918. She later became Madge Owens, as her sons Richard and Don recall in the Vic Theatre video, and often danced at home in recollection of those days. Memories from the oldest-standing theatre in NSW: Four video stories from Newcastle's Victoria Theatre In the process of recalling her story for the video, Don Owens began searching for a poster of his mum as "Little Madge" and was only reconnected to it in December when Leonie Wallace, manager of the Civic Theatre, presented it to him from the Civic's memorabilia collection. Pat and Don Todd met for the first time in the theatre on a blind date in 1959. "That was entertainment," Pat says. "You gotta laugh. It was somewhere to go." The couple, who live in Belmont North, are keen to see the theatre come alive again. Pat & Ron Todd (Blind Date) Dennis Jackson got a job in the Victoria as a teenager. A self-identified "scalliwag" from Dawson Street, Cooks Hill, Jackson told a small crowd when the videos were launched in December last year that he recalled the day they "gave me a crimson jacket, with gold braid and brass buttons". "It's fantastic," he said. "The prestige of having that jacket on made you feel like you were part of the show." He carried a tray with drinks, Maltesers, Jaffas and Fantales. Fay Steggles and Vilma Hunter were usherettes at the Victoria. Vilma began in 1949, Fay in 1952. "All I wanted to do when I went to school was be an usherette," Vilma says in the video segment. "That's all I ever wanted to do. I loved every moment of it." The pair recall stories of the theatre's ghost and their uniforms, and never wanting to leave their jobs. "It was a wonderful life because we became a family," Fay says. Carole Egan and Libby Dickenson (Grandfather performed) There are also stories from solicitor Peter Evans (whose father was a member of the syndicate that ran the theatre), Chris and Kristen Tola, Carole Egan and Libby Dickenson, and Max Donnan, who was a projectionist. What next Adnum became involved in the "Reviving the Vic" project in 2015 when the theatre was going to be sold by the Laundy family. His main intention was to see the building saved for use as a theatre. The events that followed - the purchase by Century Venues, the process of evaluating the condition of the building and gaining approvals for upgrades through Newcastle City Council and NSW Heritage Council - have taken considerable time and money (Adnum's company was one of 10 to donate $10,000 each to fund some of the research into the project. Others, called ambassadors, included Peter Evans, Catherine Henry Lawyers, Crosbie Wealth, Richard Owens' family, Schwarzler Nicholson, TEG, Constant, Century, and MCA Insurance Brokers). But Adnum knows the project needs to be kept in the public eye, and the social history project is part of that strategy. "I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process," he says of making the videos (the time and production was donated by Out of the Square). "I could not get over that connected passion that people seem to have of the past and the future. How they want to reminisce over their experiences, whether it's Dennis [Jackson] the lolly boy or the usherettes. These are life-long memories that these people have got. And then, they have the future focus thing of how passionate they are to see it up and running again. I found it a joy." These are life-long memories that these people have got. And then, they have the future focus thing of how passionate they are to see it up and running again. - Marty Adnum There will be more to come, he says. "These stories will bring out others, too," Adnum says. "Others will come. We'll build on it over time." Greg Khoury of Century knows the importance of finding these stories and capturing them. The first event held at the theatre after Century bought it was in 2018, when the University of Newcastle presented a virtual reality vision of what the theatre looked like in 1891, before further changes were made. After that event, Khoury and his cohort Zoe Davies (now head of Sydney Fringe) decided it was worth finding the stories of people who had an association with the Victoria. "It is the social history that brings these buildings alive," he says. "It's really the people that bring a place alive." View all the videos at victoriatheatre.com.au/remembered Share
SQUA.RE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was SQUA.RE founded?
SQUA.RE was founded in 2006.
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SQUA.RE's headquarters is located at The Workplace, London.
What is SQUA.RE's latest funding round?
SQUA.RE's latest funding round is Private Equity.
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