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THEATRE supporters gathered together last night as the curtain rose on the Ulumbarra Theatre for the first time.
Patrons who had watched the Old Bendigo Gaol transform into the $25.8 million project were able to walk up the steps and through the foyer for the first time.
Downstairs was packed as words such as magnificent, marvellous, proud and impressive were heard from the admiring crowds.
City of Greater Bendigo CEO Craig Niemann said at the start of the official opening that Ulumbarra had secured the certificate of occupancy just four hours before opening the doors.
But the crowd of people who were using the theatre seats formally for the first time were excited to see the finished product.
It is an experience and memory that lasts a life time.Mayor Peter Cox
Inside the theatre, seven-time ARIA award winner David Bridie had produced the entertainment for the night that included indigenous musicians and dreaming stories performed by the Dja Dja Wurrung people.
After a welcome and entrance song from the young Djaara singer, Emma Donovan, Tjimba Possum-Burns and Kutcha Edwards, Jessie Lloyd, James Henry, Benny Walker and Jida Gulpilil performed for the crowd.
This was followed by a Waa Totem dance and a song called Ulumbarra that celebrated the way forward.
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Peter Cox said after seeing the project come to fruition, it was important for theatre patrons to show off the facility to friends and family.
"Seek out a friend of family member who has never seen a theatre show," he said.
"I remember my grandmother's first show at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne when I was eight.
"It is an experience and memory that lasts a life time."