The Arts Theatre Cronulla will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Friday night - a huge milestone for a small amateur group in a beach suburb.
During its lifetime, the theatre has faced many challenges, but none like COVID, which caused productions to be cancelled and the building cast into darkness for many months.
In a new edition of the Arts Theatre's history, president Michael Gooley writes, "We are very fortunate that we were able to survive the pandemic shutdowns without any major consequences, and, through the efforts of our dedicated volunteers, we are back doing what we have been doing successfully for 60 years".
The Leader reported on October 23, 1963 the theatre would open on Saturday November 13 with the English comedy titled Will Any Gentleman?
The beginnings, however, dated back to 1946 when the School of the Arts Dramatic Society was formed and presented plays in various Sutherland Shire halls.
In 1958, a stage was built in the auditorium of the Cronulla School of Arts, but as the venue was not licensed for public performance, only members could attend.
The theatre began public performances once the licence was approved in 1963.
Since then, there have been more than 240 productions.
Actors who have performed there include Anthony LaPaglia, Brendan Cowell and Joyce Jacobs, who went on to play Esme Watson in the popular TV series A Country Practice.
In a Leader report on the theatre's 40th anniversary, resident producer Joy Baker said there had been many highs and lows.
She recalled one performance that was attended by six people, including the director and his wife.
Then there was the actor who liked to nip over the Cecil Hotel for refreshments between appearances on stage.
Ms Baker also recalled that, before the building was modified, actors exiting one side of the stage had to go out on to Surf Lane to re-enter on the other side.
Friday night's 60th celebration will consist of two short plays followed by light refreshments.
Michael Gooley said the milestone was "a marvellous achievement".
"I have been involved for 35 years in the life and soul of the theatre," he said.
"I believe in it very strongly, and I think it's great that it has reached that milestone and hope it goes for a long time into the future.
Mr Gooley said the theatre continued to stage four plays a year.
The next big project, planned for 2025, will be to replace all the seating, which is "a little cramped".