First class act

LEONGATHA Lyric Theatre is hoping to have a reason to sing when South Gippsland Shire Council considers its submission for funding towards the next stage of a revamped performing arts venue in Leongatha, estimated to cost $2 million.

Lyric has sought up to $25,000 in council’s 2018-19 budget to further progress planning for the Mesley Hall extension and infrastructure upgrade in Leongatha.

Lyric’s project facilitator Peter Western addressed council during its budget submissions hearing last Wednesday.

Lyric is seeking to rebuild both levels of the rear of the hall, providing for double the stage area and significant improvements to access, orchestra location and dressing rooms. The project would be completed within three years at the earliest.

The group has spent $100,000 on enhancing Mesley Hall in the past three years, including installing 280 new seats, curtains and carpets.

“We now have a real opportunity to continue the momentum that I have mentioned towards delivering, in good time and economically, a practical and functioning performing arts centre for the shire,” Mr Western said.

Mesley Hall is in the grounds of the Leongatha Education Precinct and is controlled by Leongatha Secondary College. Any redevelopment of the hall would benefit the school and broader South Gippsland community.

Lyric commissioned art consultant Rob Gebert, funded by a $9000 community grant from council, to investigate the viability of renovating the rear of the hall. He has worked on Federation Square and the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne.

His report indicated the Mesley Hall project would:

  • enable higher quality events to be held;
  • offer improved efficiency and cheaper cost for user groups;
  • improve safety;
  • offer better stage access;
  • encourage greater participation in the performing arts; and
  • increase the prospect of Leongatha hosting more professional performances.

The report suggested Lyric now undertake further planning, funded by the $25,000 sought from council.

Mr Western said that would go towards preparing a more detailed design brief, updating the concept plan and engaging a quantity surveyor to prepare a cost plan.

Lyric will also talk to schools to clarify the long term use by the community and negotiate a Community Joint Use Agreement between Leongatha Secondary College, South Gippsland Shire Council and Lyric.

Funding from the State and Federal governments would be sought, as well as from philanthropic organisations.

Lyric has established a building fund to which show profits are allocated.

The theatre company is so busy this year, with four shows scheduled, that its rehearsal studio in Leongatha’s industrial estate is fully occupied.

Lyric spends tens of thousands of dollars in the community, including sourcing supplies and services, to stage shows.

The forthcoming production of Annie has cast members from Leongatha, Foster, Fish Creek, Phillip Island, Wonthaggi, Inverloch, Korumburra and Poowong.

“Lyric changes a lot of people’s lives when they just have not found their niche yet,” Lyric Theatre president Kerrie Giles said, adding Lyric offers opportunities in performing, lighting, stagework, set building and costume making.

The group has a strong membership of several hundred.

Council will consider Lyric’s request for further funding at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).

Milestone moment: Leongatha Lyric Theatre president Kerrie Giles (right) presents South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt with a copy of the Business and Development Planning Report for the Mesley Hall Stage Redevelopment on Friday. The report was funded by a $9000 community grant from council. Project facilitator Peter Western watches on.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24966

Posted by on May 29 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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