Saltpillar Theatre was founded in 1986. Five members of the cast and production team of the first AUJS-Victoria (Australasian Union of Jewish Students) Comedy Revue resolved that the time for the establishment of a Jewish based theatre group was long overdue.
The original five, Ernie Schwartz, Steven Curtis, Eugene Berkovic, David Beresh and Ian Rubinstein soon converted ideas into action. In order to establish a true “community” group, they sought to involve a wide variety range of people. By April 1987, a nine-person committee, representing a cross-section of the Melbourne Jewish community, was already planning its first production. In March 1988, Saltpillar staged its first production, the Australian premiere of On Edge, by local playwright Yvonne Fein.
Since then, Saltpillar has staged many productions, fostered Jewish writing through the Samuel Weisberg Playwriting Award and given many people the opportunity to be part of a Jewish theatre group. Saltpillar has built a strong reputation on the quality of its productions and the high level of professionalism brought to them by all involved.
Saltpillar Theatre aims to foster Jewish creative talent in all spheres of the performing arts.
Saltpillar Theatre will stage a variety of theatrical events appealing to all tastes and age groups of interest to the Jewish and broader communities.
Saltpillar Theatre will maintain the highest standard in the art of theatre and its administration.
Saltpillar Theatre aims to be the performing arts resource centre for the Jewish community.
Saltpillar Theatre aims to be a self-funding body, ensuring funds are raised from donations, returns from theatre activities and all other appropriate means.
LOT'S IN A NAME - WHY "SALTPILLAR"?
It took about 12 months before we settled on a name for the company. Minutes of committee meetings were headed “The As Yet Unnamed Theatre Company”. A number were considered and rejected. At one meeting, someone offered “The New Habimah Players” – a reference to one of Melbourne’s earlier Jewish theatre companies. This was also rejected when another person said, “We don’t look back”. “That’s right”, responded another, “We’re like Lot.” (The character in the bible whose wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back as they were fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah”. Lot didn’t look back and lived.)