For Rachel Hammond and her family, theatre is an essential part of life
‘I’ve been coming to plays since the early 1990s. My mum and dad used to see plays at Russell St and still subscribe each year. The special, standout plays for me have been Bombshells, Ladies in Black, Berlin and As You Like It. We recently saw The Sound Inside and we were riveted. The quality of the productions never ceases to impress!’
Rachel’s parents, Don and Anne, have been attending MTC productions since the 1970s and happily list some of their favourite productions which include August Osage County, The Blue Room, Dinner, The Drowsy Chaperone and Berlin. As they speak about shows they have loved over the years (as well as some they didn’t) it becomes clear that this family’s passion for theatre runs deep.
‘My dad has been in amateur theatre most of his life, so seeing live theatre is in our blood. Now, I buy my daughter Claire a subscription each year and it’s something we love to do together. Three generations loving MTC productions!’
Rachel and Claire particularly love to come on forum nights, as it gives them the opportunity to delve deeper into the plays and hear from the cast and creatives.
While attending As You Like It together last year, Rachel got the idea to dedicate a seat to her late sister.
‘My sister Ellice loved theatre too and acted a bit herself. It has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time to remember her and somehow imagine her there enjoying the productions with us. She was never one to feel sad about life and told a story with humour and zeal. When we saw As You Like It last year, I got goose bumps when I heard the line “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” We all have our exits and entrances, playing many parts in our lives and this really resonated. Hence the quote we chose. We also loved the fun and frivolity of the production itself – we were in the forest too!’
With the perfect quote in mind, the choice of the Sumner Theatre was an easy one.
‘The Sumner Theatre is an amazing space. When I settle into my seat, I feel peaceful, excited and ready to fall into the story. There’s a story with all the seat dedications too and it felt like a really special celebratory thing to do, to celebrate my sister in this space.’
For Rachel, this seat dedication wasn’t just the perfect way to honour her sister’s memory, but also a way to show her family’s appreciation for theatre and the arts during challenging times.
‘With all the COVID lockdowns I also felt it was an opportunity to give back to the arts in some small way. I felt so emotional coming back to the theatre when we could – I had missed it so much!’
Celebrate your love of theatre, honour a family member, friend, group or company with a personalised name plaque on one or more seats in the Sumner. Learn more about naming a seat.
Published on 29 July 2022