A SWIFTLY announced lockdown has been the final nail in the coffin for Nexus Bendigo Youth Theatre's production of Oliver.
It is the second time in as many months the company was forced off the stage before curtains could go up on the production.
When the July lockdown was put in place, Nexus director Julie Lovell resolved to get on stage by September but the current lockdown on regional Victoria has left few performance options for the teenage cast.
"We had another set of dates that was potentially in early September but when we found out we are locked down until September 2, we knew we wouldn't be able to put a show on at beginning of September knowing there would be school productions, (Tribe Youth Theatre's) Cats and exams.
"We knew we couldn't get back onto the stage when this lockdown happened. We knew we were done."
It is a disappointing end for the cast and crew who had been working on the show since late 2019.
Through Victoria's extended lockdown in 2020, the company remained resilient and were prepared to perform to crowds of 100 for their rescheduled dates that fell this week.
Ms Lovell said despite not getting in front of an audience at The Capital, Nexus got to perform for 75 parents of students cast in the show.
"Our plans were to run through the show (last) Friday but as things things deteriorated around the state we made a snap decision at 4.45pm on Friday to do a dress rehearsal that night for the year 12 cast's parents," she said.
"It was a massive decision and watching the show we realised every parent of a cast member needed to see it. So we planned two dress rehearsals on Saturday and got through one before we went into lockdown at 1pm.
"The show was amazing. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of The Capital but it felt like we were on Broadway. The 75 parents who saw it are the luckiest 75 people in the world."
Following Olivers' cancellation, Ms Lovell spent three days this week calling cast members just to catch up.
She said there was an overwhelming feeling the experience was worth it despite the show not getting an official opening night.
"We didn't get to do a show but learned a lot of things about ourselves, our resilience and our ability to adapt," she said. "The results are disappointing but the year was not without benefit for the cast.
"The directors were able to to develop acting skills in the kids that they can take to any show. We were able to develop a sense of community, belonging, family and love.
"In talking to the kids, asking if was worth it, the overwhelming reply was 'absolutely', because it wasn't just about the show, it was about the whole experience. "My cast is so grateful they got to do what they got to do."
Ms Lovell said the most disappointing aprt of going back into lockdown after cancelling their show was seeing people breaking lockdown rules.
"I was gutted to be shutdown twice but I think the most devastating thing was coming home on Saturday and seeing 4000 people selfishly marching in Melbourne," she said. "If Australia can't figure out how to put others above themselves, then we have lost the battle.
"Nexus' goal is to be a community that puts the wider community first. So coming home after pulling the plug on our show and seeing 4000 people think only of themselves was incredibly difficult for the cast. I hope people can start to think about others."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: