Coralie Wood



In the early 1970s Coralie brought Theatre Restaurant to Canberra. There would have been very few Canberrans who did not see one of Coralie’s shows in the 1970s and 80s.

She introduced computerised ticketing to Canberra which revolutionised the theatre booking experience.

Coralie used her status in Canberra to attract and host world class entertainers, many of whom ended up in Coralie’s front room performing among friends on the piano.

Coralie has also experienced considerable success in theatre publicity, and continues to provide a unique and valuable service to the arts community in this role.

However, it was in 1994 that her real love affair with theatre became evident when she became the founder and funder of the Canberra Area Theatre Awards. Coralie has been its driving force and chief inspiration ever since.

At the centre of Coralie’s obsession with local and community theatre is that it is the art form that engages most Australians and yet it does not get the recognition it deserves. Professionals in all fields get substantial recognition, whether in sport, the arts or business.

However it is Coralie’s belief that everything starts at a community theatre or school level and that is where most people are engaged, as performers, writers and everything else from parents making costumes to stage managers. It is the recognition and encouragement of this incredibly broad base that drives Coralie to continue to grow the CAT Awards.

From the initial six volunteer judges in 1994, a team of 20 now travel the ACT and through about a third of NSW. Each year the judges attend shows produced by over 80 school and community theatre companies across more than 20 regional areas. All up the judges travel over 200,000km per year and have judged literally hundreds of shows. Over the past 23 years, The CAT Awards has been responsible for over 800 awards to individuals, schools and theatre companies. And the ripple effect is impossible to measure.
The CAT Awards has been integral in launching the successful careers of many award winners, and Coralie is incredibly proud of them all.

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