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Sue Dyer 1947-2010

Sue_Dyer Sue Dyer was appointed as a Civil Marriage Celebrant in September 2009.

TEAM SUE – 2010 Frankston Relay for Life Journalist Editorial 

Sue has spent a lifetime committed to the arts.  As an actor, practitioner, manager and community representative, Sue has engaged in the arts with passion and a sense of service to the community.  She has fostered, encouraged and supported many individuals over the years.  In 2005 Sue was awarded the Edith Harry Award from the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria for her outstanding service to amateur theatre, and in 2009 Sue was similarly recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) at Government House in Melbourne.

As a young woman, Sue was the Chairman of the Malton and Norton Operatic Society in North Yorkshire from 1970 – 1972 and was heavily involved in the English pantomime scene.  At the end of 1972, Sue travelled the high seas to Australia as a ‘ten pound migrant’ on a working holiday.  She found herself on the Mornington Peninsula and promptly become involved with PLOS Musical Productions.  Needless to say, Sue never returned home.  Sue has been a member of this company from 1972.

In 1973, Sue became the Secretary of PLOS and her keen secretarial and organisational skills came to the fore.  In fact, in this role, Sue secured the talents of a rehearsal pianist, Arch Dyer, who later became her husband.  In 1976, Sue became the President of PLOS and her passion for fostering talent and producing quality live theatre on the Peninsula became a reality.

Always keen to have an involvement in the local community theatre scene, Sue remained on the PLOS committee for many years whilst raising a family.  There is nothing Sue wouldn’t do.  If there was a job that needed doing, Sue would always be the first one in there to organise it.  It became apparent over the years that PLOS needed a ‘home’ and the infrastructure to support the growing productions being mounted.  Sue was instrumental in lobbying local council to assist with this important construction.  ‘The Shed’ was created and since then, has become a crucial component in the ongoing success of the company.

Between the years of 1980 and 1995, Sue owned and managed ‘The Dancing Years’ Ballet shop in Frankston.  This provided another link to the theatrical world and an opportunity to build strong relationships with the younger performers in the community.  This proved to be an extremely successful venture, and was in part due to Sue’s commitment to fostering and encouraging young performers.

This belief and passion for young performers extended to assisting Toorak College, with their Grade 6 production.  Originally only ‘helping out’ in 1989, Sue went on to Co-Direct another 15 productions.  Her willingness to volunteer time and expertise has always been at the centre of her work.  Clearly enjoying her involvement with young people, Sue was never scared to share her passion for theatre.  Her infectious enthusiasm and ideal that ‘anything is possible’ inspired many students to achieve their best during this time.

1989 saw Sue and Arch, together with two other couples, create Rainbow Theatre; a company that would re-create the traditional English pantomime at Christmas.  This link back to her early days in theatre was incredibly ambitious.  With her own money on the line, Sue believed in the tradition of the English pantomime and the magic associated with presenting such performances to young Australian families.  Good, clean, family entertainment was what it was all about.  Sue helped write these productions and acted as the company’s Administrator.  These shows became a regular feature on the calendar of many families on the Peninsula, and seeing the ‘Rainbow Panto’ was a must.  With casts over 100, and sell-out seasons of over 11 shows, Rainbow Theatre was an extremely important part of the history of theatre on the Mornington Peninsula, and helped to launch many successful professional careers.

Whilst still maintaining a strong link with PLOS Musical Productions, Sue acted as President and Vice-President of the company between 1990 and 1996.  Sue was passionate about Frankston having a state of the art theatre to showcase local talent, and together with other key stakeholders in the community, lobbied local government for such a venue.  In 1995 The Frankston Arts Centre opened its doors for the first time and has become an iconic landmark receiving approximately 250,000 visitors through its doors each year.  Sue has continued to enjoy a healthy and dynamic relationship with Centre management of this venue over the years.  Utilising her keen administrative skills, Sue has acted as the Company Ticket Coordinator with the Frankston Arts Centre Box Office on behalf of PLOS for over 10 years.  Sue has coordinated the donation of free tickets to the Menzies Home for Children and Frankston Retirement Villages on preview nights of many PLOS productions.

Sue’s next venture in 1999, Storytime Theatre, would see the creation of quality live performances for the much younger members of the community.  Capturing the imagination of the toddler age-group, these productions produced in the school holidays provided an inexpensive and educational alternative to watching television and visiting McDonalds.  Again, with a core belief in presenting quality work that would challenge and excite these young members of our community, Storytime Theatre presented 7 impressive productions.

Sue Dyer is one of those people everyone calls when they don’t know where else to turn.  Her knowledge of the theatre community on the Peninsula, and willingness to help those around her has made her one of the most important faces in theatre circles.  Always willing to pitch in and lend a hand, Sue is not challenged by competition, but more, has always had an ‘inclusive’ policy that is extended to everyone she comes into contact with.

Sue’s commitment to theatre on the Peninsula has always been a family affair.  Her daughter, Emma, is a Drama teacher at Geelong Grammar School and her husband, Arch, a successful Musical Director in his own right, has been heavily involved with many of her ventures.  It is most probable that her two grand-daughters, Annie and Rosie, will also be involved in the performing arts scene in the years to come.

Sue was diagnosed with cancer in February 2010 and since then has spent many weeks in Flinders Ward at Beleura Hospital in Mornington.  The 2010 Frankston Relay for Life is a chance for family and friends of Sue Dyer to join together and have fun whilst raising very important money for the Cancer Council’s research and support programmes.  Those people who may have been associated with Sue over the years are encouraged to join to TEAM SUE or donate to the team via the Cancer Council’s website.

From Christine Davies:

Sue Dyer was born on 23/1/1947 and died on  4/11/2010.   Sue has had a very full life, and had spent several years looking after her elderly and frail mother who lived with them. At the same time her husband had many health problems of his own.  Five years ago she trained as a celebrant with Australian Celebrations, in Frankston,  hoping that one day she would have something she could do for herself, that she knew she could enjoy and would do well.  Having been approved in September 2008 she conducted several weddings and had further bookings ahead, when earlier this year she was diagnosed with cancer and learned that she would not get better.

She leaves a husband Arch, daughter, Emma, and very young grand daughters, Annie and Rosie.

Christine Davies
Authorised Civil Celebrant
Member ACMCV and ATCN


Last modified on Friday, 29 June 2012 20:27