If you like a good laugh, go along to the Medimime at GPAC- and rest assured that your money is going to a good cause. ‘This year we are performing Sleeping Beauty, a show we haven’t done for quite some time. Tickets are on sale now. www.facebook.com/medimime/ The Andrew Love Cancer Centre is the worthy recipient of the funds – another cause close to my heart as I am an oncology nurse on Baxter Six, the in-patient haematology/oncology unit.’ We hear from Linda Menzel. ‘Medimime Productions was established in 1974 by Gerald Haywood, Don Robertson and John Zelcer under the auspices of The Geelong Hospital. The idea was to follow in the tradition of English hospitals by staging annual Christmas pantomimes with hospital and allied medical staff as the cast. The cast and crew comprises, where possible, hospital employees, Barwon Health and allied health professionals. Family and friends are also involved.
By performing to the local community, Medimime helps scale back the doctor/patient and hospital/patient relationships and strengthens ties. Medimime Productions Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation, with monies raised being used to cover costs, and the rest going back to the hospital. Last year we raised $30,000 for Heath Wing Six.
In recent years Medimime has extended the audition opportunity to children. Some are children of hospital staff. The inclusion of the young people enables them to get a taste of theatre in a safe and supportive environment with reduced competitiveness. It forges stronger ties across generations as well.
The cast of Medimime loves the excuse to dress up, act, sing and dance for a great cause. Some of us have also worked backstage, while others prefer to remain behind the scenes as crew members each year.
Every year it’s really funny and interesting watching the dame (male dressed up as a female) grow into the role. Lately we have had new men frock up for the shows and to see them firstly quite inhibited in their padded bras and huge costume skirts is really funny. The first time they have to appear at rehearsal in their costumes is priceless. There is inevitably a lot of laughter and many comments about how stunning they look! As their character takes shape it’s just brilliant to see how they warm to the role. You never quite know what’s going to happen, especially with a live audience with whom we interact. I’ve seen quite a few dames in my time plonk themselves in the laps of the nearest male in the front row!
I’ve been involved both on and offstage in over a dozen pantomimes since 1990. Last year I was honoured to be included as a life member. My children have also been involved over the years. As a nurse who began my career at the hospital in 1984, I’m very passionate about Medimime and what it stands for.’