The Wyndham Theatre Company is this year celebrating five decades of entertaining the community.

Originally called the Werribee Theatre Company, the group began in 1968 and staged its first show that year.

The theatre group was instigated by a local book club, of which Werribee husband and wife Peter and Elizabeth Ross were members.

The couple went on to act in many of the company’s productions. They have also both served as company president, while Mr Ross volunteered as the treasurer for 20 years.

Other early members of the company included Alan Peel, Jan and Pamela Tulen, Joan Pearson, Norm McGregor, Merle Gardner, Gwen Laird and Bette Mantello.

The company staged its shows in many locations across the years, including the Diggers Road Hall and the Werribee Park theatre.

Mr Ross said Werribee Park was only meant to be a “temporary home” for the company, but they remained there for 20 years.

He said the dressing rooms at the park were “old wooden structures” mainly occupied by possums – which sometimes also joined the actors on stage.

The theatre company even gave out “Possum” awards to its members every year.

Mr Ross said one of the company’s most popular shows was Dimboola, which they revived three times.

“If we were running low on money, we knew we could stage Dimboola and fill the coffers,” Mrs Ross said.

She said that during the ’70s and ’80s the theatre company welcomed many members from the RAAF Point Cook and State Research Farm in Werribee.

“We had a dress-up ball in 1985, with 19th century dancers from Ballarat, someone dressed as Queen Victoria entered to three trumpeters from the RAAF band and dancers who did the can-can,” Mr Ross said.

The Wyndham Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary show, Point of No Return by Werribee playwright Alaine Beek, will be staged on Friday July 27 and Saturday July 28 at 8pm at the Wyndham Cultural Centre. Tickets: $35, concession/group of eight or more: $30, student/under-25: $20, under-15s: $15. See for details.