Council backs arts venue

SOUTH Gippsland is closer to having a new performing arts venue.
South Gippsland Shire Council last Wednesday voted to allocate $25,000 towards planning for the possible renovation of Mesley Hall in Leongatha.
The project of Leongatha Lyric Theatre would see both levels of the rear of the hall reconstructed, providing for double the stage area and major improvements to access, orchestra location and dressing rooms.
The funding, to be part of council’s 2018-19 budget and to be approved on June 27, would go towards preparing a more detailed design brief, updating a concept plan completed previously and engaging a quantity surveyor to prepare a cost plan.
Council’s funding is subject to a Community Joint Use Agreement being signed by Lyric, council, Leongatha Secondary College and any other parties, as Mesley Hall is controlled by Leongatha Secondary College.
Lyric president Kerrie Giles said, “We are just thrilled with council’s response and that it was a unanimous vote. The council is so supportive of Lyric in helping us to improve the facilities for our members.”
Mrs Giles said Lyric was now at the second step of the process. The first step was a study by arts consultant Rob Gebert, funded by a $9000 community grant from council, to investigate the viability of renovating the rear of the hall.
He found the works would benefit Lyric and the broader South Gippsland community.
Cr Meg Edwards said Mesley Hall was a community asset.
“This project is one that can potentially give the most bang for buck for getting a performing arts space in Leongatha for the lowest possible cost in the short term,” she said.
Cr Edwards said a commitment of government funding could be secured during the election campaign.
She said while some people were concerned Mesley Hall was not on council land, council had supported other projects on other public land, such as the Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club redevelopment and a viewing platform at Agnes Falls.
Cr Alyson Skinner said of Lyric’s shows, “The productions that are going on in that space are amazing given it is woefully inadequate”, adding some aspects of the hall were non-compliant.
Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt said the state of Mesley Hall was encouraging some theatre volunteers to leave Lyric for Wonthaggi Theatrical Group.
Cr Andrew McEwen said the arts had long been underfunded in the shire compared to sports.
Mrs Giles paid tribute to Lyric member Peter Western for his extensive work in researching and driving the performing arts venue project.

Standing ovation: from left, South Gippsland Shire councillors Meg Edwards and Maxine Kiel, Leongatha Lyric Theatre president Kerrie Giles, Lyric member Laurie Martin and Councillor Alyson Skinner were all smiles after council last Wednesday voted to allocate $25,000 to further planning for a major renovation of Mesley Hall, Leongatha.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25054

Posted by on Jun 5 2018. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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