Theatre redevelopment officially opened

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan (fourth from left) and Corangamite Shire Councillor Jo Beard (second from left) officially opened Camperdown’s Theatre Royal upgrade alongside various representatives on Wednesday.

CAMPERDOWN’S Theatre Royal will shine brighter and sound better after audio and lighting upgrades were officially unveiled on Wednesday.

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan took the honour of opening stage one of the Theatre’s redevelopment, which saw $216,000 spent improving the historic venue’s sound and lighting capabilities.

The Federal Government provided $108,000 from the Building Better Regions Fund and the State Government $50,000 from the Stronger Regional Communities Plan.

The Corangamite Shire Council, Camperdown Theatre Company, Mercy Regional College and St Patrick’s Primary School all contributed to the remaining costs of the project.

Representatives of those groups and Member for Western Victoria Beverley McArthur were present at the opening.

The improvements included a new sound system, sound absorption treatments, stage traps for various audio and lighting connections and a remote retractable lighting bar at the front of house.

Mr Tehan said the project would have flow-on benefits increasing the number and type of arts and cultural offerings in Camperdown and the ability to market the venue for conferences and events.

He said it was wonderful to see the difference in the building having been at the venue to announce the proposed upgrades 12 months ago.

“This is a wonderful outcome for the Camperdown community, with the completed project providing the installation of new sound systems, sound absorption treatments, front of house lighting, helping to return this multi-use venue to its former glory,” he said.

“What this means for the Camperdown community is increased performances at the theatre leading to economic benefits and jobs for both the town and the region.”

Councillor Jo Beard welcomed Mr Tehan and thanked the Federal Government for investing in quality entertainment and cultural events for shire residents.

“Since it opened in 1928 the theatre has been part of the cultural lifeblood of the area, hosting plays, movies and dances,” she said.

“It’s an essential part of major events like the annual Robert Burns Scottish Festival and Rock the Clock Festival and Corangamite Film Festival. In recent months we’ve had Co-Opera’s production of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni and Camperdown Theatre Company’s Spamalot.

“This month there are school holiday movies and in a few weeks James Blundell will play here as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival so, for a long time, this theatre has played a massive role in the cultural life of the shire.”

Cr Beard said the modernisation works would help the Theatre Royal attract more professional touring productions.

“With this new state-of-the-art equipment, the theatre will be capable of holding really high-quality productions that people would otherwise have to leave the shire to see,” she said.

“When audiences have dinner before the show, and maybe stay for the night, there are significant economic flow-on benefits for the community, on top of the social and entertainment value.”

Cr Beard also thanked the theatre’s school and community users for their contributions and congratulated them on their sustained efforts over many years.

In an additional project, the hardwood floorboards were replaced as part of council’s 2018/2019 capital works program, ensuring a new lease on life for the grand old building.

MultiTek Solutions managing director Gavin Hulme shows Theatre Royal users Toby McKenzie, Michael McKenzie, Tim O’Sullivan and Harrison Smith (sitting) how to operate the theatre’s new lighting panel.

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