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An introduction to Royal South Street Eisteddfod for Volunteers

The Royal South Street Society Mission Statement

To conduct Australia’s foremost eisteddfod, promoting, fostering and encouraging participation and interest in the performing arts.

Our Values

We are friendly and professional We are respectful of diversity We act with honesty and integrity We are committed to excellence We provide opportunities for personal growth (experience, self esteem, participation and performance)

Come and discover Australia’s rising stars

Meet the Royal South Street Society For over 120 years of Competitions, South Street has supported five generations of aspiring Australians. Attaining prizes is not a central part of the South Street philosophy. Every competitor is considered a winner for having the courage to step out on stage and perform before an audience. While there is no expectation that participants will develop careers in the performing arts, South Street aims to encourage a lifelong interest in all areas of art and culture. As a well-established Australian cultural event, the South Street Competitions generates an estimated $14 million of revenue for the Ballarat economy every year. The Society is committed to maintaining strong links with the local community through partnerships with key sponsors, donors, supporters and competitors. In recent times, the 14 weeks of Competitions attracted more than 10,000 entries, resulting in over 40,000 on stage appearances in voice, music and movement, with an estimated paying audience of approximately 34,000 expected each season.

What is it that really makes the annual South Street Competitions the success that it is? It’s the Volunteers of course! From its inception as a Debating Society way back in 1878, South Street has been generously supported by volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Today, there are more than 250 dedicated unpaid helpers, including a Board of nine members. All are passionate about the performing arts and generously give their time and energy each season. Each and every one of these volunteers plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth running of all events over the 14 weeks of competition. Some days this can mean in up to 80 volunteers are rostered to facilitate running the sessions. In 2014, the volunteers contributed about 18,000 hours of volunteered time. It is this very support that enables the South Street competitions to continue. Why not join our existing volunteers, and play your part in the busy, exhilarating life of Australia’s leading Eisteddfod?

What do Royal South Street volunteers do? South Street Volunteers undertake a remarkable range of roles in some fabulous venues in Ballarat. Her Majesty’s Theatre is naturally at the top of this list. Volunteers are stage managers, discipline chairpersons, masters of ceremonies, curtain operators, timers, runners, security officers, technical support (like music oordination), front of house ushers, doorpersons, writers, ticket sellers, board members and more. Not sure these are for you? Well there are administrative roles like registration of performers, data entry, collation of documents or research in archives. The important thing is that you can be an active volunteer as little or as much as your busy life allows.

What do South Street volunteers adore about the competitions? South Street volunteers love meeting and greeting audience members and performers alike. And they just love the thrill of the venue atmosphere whether it’s Her Majesty’s Theatre or elsewhere. They happily share their skills and knowledge with other volunteers as part of the rich friendships that develop along the way. Often volunteer’s children follow in their parents footsteps so South Street can boast generation upon generation of volunteering at the competitions. Volunteers really make a difference to everyone’s South Street experience while promoting the value of the performing arts.

What are the benefits of Volunteering for South Street? Training is offered to ensure all volunteers begin their relationship with the competitions knowledgeable, skilled and confident. You’ll be part of Australia’s leading Eisteddfod, you will have opportunities to learn new skills, while social get-togethers during the off season are fun occasions focussing on involvement in the local community. And if you’re new to this region, South Street will help you create a social network. You will also be entitled to free admission to performances during the competitions, as well as discounts on merchandise*. *Conditions apply

Who can become a South Street Volunteer? Teenagers*, students, young adults, retired people, singles and couples. There is no minimum or maximum time requirement, however, we have found volunteers become addicted and during the competitions can be very busy indeed! South Street soon becomes an absorbing and rewarding experience and can be an impressive addition to your resumÊ. You too, can enjoy the prestige of being part of one of Australia’s longest running Eisteddfods. *Must be over 16 years of age

Testimonials “I have been a part of South Street for 36 years and a volunteer for 14 years. I wanted to give a bit back to something that I love. I enjoy the amazing talent of the competitors and seeing people coming back each year. As well as that, I have made lifelong friends. For me volunteering at South Street means I can put in as little, or, as much as works for me. Volunteering has taught me to be very organised and how to manage my time. In 2014, I managed the Calisthenics Competitions at the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts. I feel quite proud of my achievements.” - Julie Wiseman “I chose to volunteer at South Street following retirement from full time work as I was always interested in the Competitions and felt I had the time. The things I like most are the interaction with the patrons and assisting where I can. I really feel I am putting something back into my community. The friendliness of other volunteers, office staff and management make it a pleasure to volunteer. Rostering is very flexible and I give my time when it suits me.” - Barb Howes

A Little on Royal South Street Society 1891 1891-1900 1902 1903 1906 1908 1921 1936 1962 1965 1987 2014 2016

Inaugural Competitions in the South Street Society Hall in Skipton Street– Chair of the presentation ceremony is the Mayor, the Governor presents the prizes and the Hon. Alfred Deakin gives the oration Singing and music continue to grow – introduction of acting, dance, and brass bands; competitions in spelling, typewriting, cooking, gum leaf playing and school gymnastics Entries (including interstate) exceed 3,500, some adjudicators brought from overseas, attendances of more than 50,000, competitions run for 5 weeks. Special trains bring great crowds from Melbourne Calisthenics introduced Nellie Melba presents Grand Opera prizes South Street Society builds the Coliseum in 77 days - this reputably could hold 8000 people First live radio broadcast Coliseum destroyed by fire Her Majesty the Queen grants permission to use the title ‘Royal South Street Society’, and for the Competitions to be known as the ‘Royal South Street Competitions’ Purchase of Her Majesty’s Theatre in Lydiard Street South Agreement signed between the Royal South Street Society and the City of Ballaarat, transferring the freehold of the theatre to the city. This is part of an arrangement with the State Government to fund major repairs, upgrades, and restoration of the building to the ‘heritage authenticity’ we know today Disciplines – Debating, Pianoforte, Chopin, Speech & Drama, Brass & Concert Bands, Classical Vocal, Herald Sun Aria heats & semifinal, Choral, Instrumental Solos, Festival of Bands, Contemporary Vocal & Country Music, Dance, Calisthenics – over 14 weeks - 10,000 competitors The Royal South Street Eisteddfod celebrates 125 years of competitions

Some well-known South Street competitors Dame Nellie Melba (as Mrs Armstrong) Operatic performances

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Herald Sun Aria

Performance Categories Debating Pianoforte

Jonathon Welch

Speech and Drama

Kallista Kaval

Victorian Band Championships

Sarah Slater

Choral Contest

Roger Lemke

Instrumental Solos

Herald Sun Aria Finalist (Conductor of “School of Hard Knocks”) Speech & Drama (Actress) Instrumental Solo (Trumpeter) Herald Sun Aria

Robert Lemke

Operatic performances

Festival of Bands

Modern Vocal, Duets and Country Vocal (Singer)

Festival of Strings

Dance (Australian Ballet Company principal dancer)

Herald Sun Aria and Classical Vocal

Dance & Vocal (Tap Dancer “Hot Shoe Shuffle”)

Contemporary Vocal and Country Music

Dance & Vocal (Entertainer)


Anthony Callea Kelvin Coe

David Atkins

Denise Drysdale David Hobson Vocal (Singer)

Patti (McGrath) Newton Dance & Vocal (Entertainer)


About Her Majesty’s Theatre 1875 1883 1898 1907 1914 1930 1960 1965 1987 1990

Built by the wealthy Clarke family Opened as the Academy of Music (a name calculated to overcome religious and temperance scruples against patronising a “theatre”) Ballarat Fine Art Gallery formed Operated in the Academy from 1884 until 1890, when the present Art Gallery in Lydiard Street North was opened Sir William Clarke died Bought by local consortium and transformed to the space we know today William Pitt (of Melbourne’s Princess Theatre) remodeled the interior/stage facilities Dress Circle Lobby added Cinema presentations by Hoyts and others Theatre Orchestra provided accompaniment Wired for sound Building for sale The Royal South Street Society purchased the theatre for its Annual Competitions and for use as a community facility and added two levels of dressing rooms below stage Adjudicators Box added into the Dress Circle The State Government led negotiations which saw South Street transfer ownership of the building to the City of Ballarat reserving the right to continue to hold their Competitions at the Theatre every year between August and November Completion of major renovation - upgrades and repairs in cluding restoration of the building to the “heritage authenticity” we see today.

Volunteer Expression of Interest Form Name: First


Date of Birth

Address Street Address


Post Code


Home phone

Mobile Phone


Phone: (03) 5332 1054 Email:

Images coutesy of NL Harvey & Sons, Winkipop Media and The Courier

Royal South Street Society volunteer marketing brochure  

Your guide to the many rewarding volunteer roles at Australia's longest running Eisteddfod

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