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An idea that began with a group of friends in tap dance class, to raise money for an important cause, is still going strong two decades later through their performance company called the Intrepid Travelling Troupe (ITT). The troupe’s dedicated team of volunteers have raised over a million dollars in donations, through their comedic musical theatre shows, with the Cancer Centre for Children being transformed over the years by their generosity.
On awarding them a Hospital Benefactor’s Award in 2017 Deborah Carr, Nurse Unit Manager, said, “With 150 to 200 new patients each year from babies through to teenagers, attending for cancer treatment, the support provided by the Intrepid Travelling Troupe has been vital in creating an amazing environment for our young patient’s receiving treatment.
“From walls decorated with fantastic murals, great distraction resources, toys and games, comfortable furniture and medical equipment, their contribution is immeasurable.”
Recently they supported the employment of a part-time Child Life assistant in the Oncology Treatment Centre, Angelica Torrijos, whose sunny personality is much loved by the children she helps. She plans and coordinates activities including play sessions, storytelling, entertainment, craft activities, themes days and much more.
Families might be surprised at how much of their waiting room and clinic experience has been shaped by ITT donations. That such a large group of entertainers has consistently achieved so much also speaks to their passion and comradery. High quality production values contribute to the troupe’s success with experienced writers, directors, prop makers, costume sewers, set designers and choreographers part of the unit supporting a cast of at least 30 actors.
“I just think ITT has evolved, being made up of a group of very generous, giving people who give a lot of time and commitment to do what is necessary, like rehearsals three or four times a week for three months,” said troupe coordinator Wendy Nightingale, who is also a doctor at the Cancer Centre.
Shows are scripted to generate laughs but are also child friendly, with no uncomfortable innuendos or jokes, making the matinee shows a popular choice for families. An evening of melodrama and music with ITT has a social element too. “The atmosphere tends to have a party feel,” said Wendy. “People bring their own refreshments and food for during the show, and at night-time they can bring alcohol as well.”
Last year’s show, ‘The Doom of the Tomb of Total Karma’, was an Egyptian extravaganza, with a detailed hieroglyphed backdrop and elaborate costumes, that brought a time of pharaohs and ancient gods alive in a hilarious spoof.
Their next performance will be on the 9,10,16 and 17 of April in 2021 with more details to be released closer to the event.
The appearance of a new artwork at Oncology reception, recently, has attracted notice from families and has people talking about ITT again in the Cancer Centre. It features the words, ‘Together we make a beautiful family’. It is another contribution from ITT, helped in their choice by staff, which encompasses all at the centre.
“A lot of people have commented on the artwork,” said Mira Halilaj, Clinical Support Administrator. “One father was so moved he even took a photo.”
Find out more and have a fantastic night of music, dance, drama and fun with the Intepid Travelling Troupe.
Make a difference and donate to the Cancer Centre for Children.
Photograph- top: The Intrepid Travelling Troupe
Photograph- bottom left: The Doom of the Tomb of Total Karma cast
Photograph- middle L-R: Mira Halilaj, Donna Dell'Unto, Wendy Nightingale and Deborah Carr.