The 2000s - People and Projects
In the Noughties, NT remained a membership-based organisation with most work apart from office administration, publicity and bookings performed by voluntary labour under the guidance of a management committee. Before its own website was set up, Marghanita da Cruz publicised the theatre’s activities on her own site.
Adversely affected at the box office by the Sydney Olympics, the New in 2001 embarked on a massive fundraising campaign to keep its doors open. Major support came from members, the NSW government and the estate of Stefan Kruger. 2008 saw another drive to pay for major fire safety upgrading and disabled access. Undertaken in 2014-5 were improvements to the foyer including the installation of glass entrance doors, re-upholstering audience chairs and commissioning a street front mural, upgrades made possible by crowd sourcing and the generosity of NT members and supporters, particularly the Australia-Russia & Affiliates Friendship Society.
Key NT members and supporters who died in the years 2000-2015 included: artist Roy Dalgarno; the Bushwhackers’ Chris Kempster and John Meredith; theatre party organiser Bill Bailey; NIDA graduate actor Jim Kemp; casting agent Mitch Mathews; actor, singer, writer and director Cedric McLaughlin; Melbourne NT’s Dot Thompson; writers Len Fox and his wife Mona Brand; wardrobe co-ordinator and stage manager Glenda Major; actor Harry Lawrence; actor Brian Vicary; long-term NT supporter Basil Corvesor Thomas; designer, actor and director Eddie Allison in Canberra; musical director Betty Leone; singer and “poet lorikeet” Denis Kevans; NT Secretary Freda Brown; costume designer trans-gender Gayle Jenkinson; Street Theatre organiser Graham Richards in Hobart; choreographer Susan O’Brien; actor Gary Smith; actor, director and NT president Frank McNamara; and actor and director David Ritchie.
The New continued to produce Australian plays, notably world premieres such as A Nasty Piece of Work, Mad Before Midday, Pandora’s Garden and works in the New Directions series. Large-scale musicals proved popular: Assassins, Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, The Venetian Twins and Sweeney Todd.
Outside hirers included Railway Theatre, headed by ex-NT Artistic Director Mary-Anne Gifford, O’Punsky Theatre, the Gay Games V1 Sport and Cultural Festival, Sydney Homotones, Sing Over King and Theatresports.
NT actors participated in regular commemorations of the Eureka Stockade at the Writers’ Centre and similar venues.