RELATED COVERAGE: New Bendigo theatre build well underway: Photos, video
RELATED COVERAGE: Donate a seat in Bendigo's new theatre
THREE Bendigo residents have joined the ranks of the city's newest arts patrons after donating to the Ulumbarra Theatre's Take Your Seat! campaign.
The campaign aims to raise funds to cover operating costs at the $25.8 million theatre and honors donations with name plaques on seats in the venue's auditorium.
Judith Hall, Ian Dallas and Glenis Pitson said they jumped at the chance to be personally involved in the development of Bendigo's new state-of-the-art performing arts complex.
Ms Hall said her family had a long history of involvement with the city's arts scene.
"My father was one of the driving forces in the arts council and the Bendigo Competitions Society and he was involved in the operatic socity and directed shows at the teachers'college," she said.
"My mum worked very hard in Arts Bendigo and was very much involved in the group that saw the refurbishment and opening of the Capital Theatre."
Ms Hall herself was a keen participant in community theatre and said she and her husband Ian were excited to be able to help contribute to the new theatre.
"We really wanted to make a contribution to it. Community theatre was an important part of my life and the lives of our kids and we'd like to celebrate that," she said.
"I think it gives the city a great creative focus, a place to explore ideas and feelings and will open up so many opportunities for the local community to be enriched."
Community theatre was an important part of my life and the lives of our kids ...Judith Hall
Ms Pitson said she would dedicate her contribution to the memory of her late aunt, Mavis Webster MBE, who taught singing in Bendigo for more than 50 years.
Mrs Webster led choirs at schools then known as St Mary's College and Girton College, as well as the Forest Street Uniting Church and formed the Benola Singers, a community choir which continues today as the Bendigo Chorale.
"To be able to subscribe to this program brings a personal aspect to the exciting project," Ms Pitson said.
"(My aunt) was unable to continue studies overseas because of the outbreak of World War and Bendigo was fortunate that her professional life was given to musical development in the city.
"Mavis’ influence over the years on hundreds of music students is inestimable and I know she would be thrilled with the coming of the new theatre and its wonderful facilities to stimulate, encourage and enjoy the performing arts."
The new donors join businesses Hip Pocket Workwear & Safety and Bendigo Advertiser as contributors to the campaign.
For more information about the project, visit www.ulumbarratheatre.com.au