13 April 2023

From starstruck youngster to Entertainers' director, Georgia was born for the stage

| Katrina Condie
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Entertainers’ director Georgia Sadler is a ball of energy on and off the stage. Photo: MU Entertainers.

Georgia Sadler remembers being “completely mesmerised” while watching her first Milton-Ulladulla Entertainers show at the age of five or six, and now she’s warming up to direct her third community showcase.

“I was in kindy or year one and I remember thinking, ‘these people are famous’ and waiting outside to get their autographs on my program,” she said.

“I wanted to be dancing and singing along on stage with them.”

Every show since, little Georgia stood alongside the long-time “legendary” director the late Patti Yates, and “infamous” Marg Sheedy handing out programs and longing for the day she could join the group of local performers under those bright lights.

Finally, when in year 10 at Ulladulla High School, she was old enough to hit the stage for her first Entertainers performance as Jasmine from Aladdin singing A Whole New World, which she says was significant because it had previously been sung by local teen singing sensation Aryan Rumantir, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2000.

“I felt under a bit of pressure because I wanted to do the song justice for Aryan,” Georgia said.

Almost every year since, barring three when she was at university, a bubbly and energetic Georgia has wowed audiences with her extraordinary voice and spectacular stage presence. And, even when she was at uni, she came home to help backstage during the shows.

The Ulladulla Public School teacher and new mum has proven she is a powerhouse both on and off the stage, last year taking on the mammoth role of vocal director while heavily pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter, Scout, just three months before opening night.

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She directed the show and rehearsed with an ear-muffed Scout strapped to her, and the cast and crew were only too pleased to ”adopt” the baby and have cuddles between Georgia’s performances.

Taking on a six-month directing role while pregnant and with a newborn would seem crazy for most, but Georgia said she had the best time, and she has returned this year to do it all again – with a now-toddler in tow.

“Scout wasn’t fazed at all as a three-month-old, and this year she’s running around, dancing along and having the best time,” she said.

“Doing last year’s show was an amazing experience and it was surprisingly fun and easy.

“I really liked the fact that I was more than a mum, because post-partum you can often lose yourself. I loved that I went and did something that I felt passionate about, and had this purpose aside from Scout and being a mum. It was a really nice time and I missed it when the show finished.”

Georgia has always loved the stage, taking part in school spectaculars, Milton Follies productions and singing, dancing and acting at every chance she could get. Her love of the arts rubbed off on her younger sister Lyndsay and her mum and dad, who have all been involved with the Entertainers over the years, either on stage, building sets and props or selling tickets.

As a teacher, Georgia’s thrilled to be working alongside some of her former students in the show, and she adores the older members who dazzle year after year, including Terry Thompson, who is in his 80s and remains a crowd favourite.

She says the group is a great way for performers of all ages and from all walks of life to get together and do something they love. The Entertainers is a whole-of-community effort, with hair, make-up, costumes, props, photos all handled by volunteers.

This year, Georgia is being assisted by band coordinator Maya Holstegge, vocal coach Elissa Skinner, choreographer Jess McKay, creative director Sharon Mccutcheon and acting coordinator Crystal Moore, all of whom will also hit the stage.

The Entertainers is more than just a showcase of local talent, it has become an institution in the Milton-Ulladulla community, with locals lining up to buy tickets the day they go on sale.

Georgia says that for more than 30 years, ordinary locals, from butchers and bankers to teachers and lawyers, hit the stage and “just have fun”.

“The Entertainers becomes their family. The performers are very brave and put themselves out there and have a laugh. That positivity and happiness is infectious and people want to be part of that,” she explained.

It’s the energy that keeps audiences coming back to see those they have come to know and love, year after year.

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The Entertainers has raised more than $1 million for local charities in more than 30 years and there’s hardly a local who hasn’t been assisted in some way, from local emergency services, sporting clubs, schools and charities to community groups.

“All the funds raised go back into the community and you can see the impact the money has had over the year – whether it’s the new bed in the cancer outpatients ward, a new wheelchair for someone that really needs it, or a whole library of books for Budawang School,” Georgia said.

A ball of energy, Georgia is also warming up her vocals to hit the stage as a community favourite alongside some of the show stalwarts including Matt Dell, Scott Kenny, Kate Graham and Ebony Millard.

This year’s show, Now Is The Time, she says, is all about “the way time impacts our lives, as we grow older, celebrating the good times, those big milestones and tangible time: months, weeks, clock, calendars and also the way the world has changed over time”.

With a cast and crew of 45, Now Is The Time opens at the Ulladulla Civic Centre on 12 May and runs until 20 May, with matinee and evening shows as well as a special Mother’s Day luncheon performance. Tickets are on sale now.

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