Castlemaine’s Phee Broadway Theatre is bustling with creativity after being almost inactive for three years.
Creative community groups are set to fill the theatre as a result of a new residency program.
Up to nine creative projects take over the theatre thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Council’s At Home residency program.
Red Room Theatre’s Kate Stones said it was good to see the theatre being fully utilised after years of inactivity.
“There was a period where there wasn’t much community access to theatre at all,” she said.
“It was about three years because of a few different things like safety issues that needed attention and a bit of a knee-jerk response from council to force community members to pay for a duty technician to be present.
“The theatre was empty as a result and nobody wanted that. But local community members and organisations did a lot of work to get us back into the theatre. That combined with having new leadership in the Shire and arts officers who took initiatives helped make it a living space.”
Ms Stones developed Abattoir Noir as part of the 2018 At Home program. She said have a theatre space to develop a work in was invaluable.
“It’s great to have a bigger audience to draw on and to be able to work in a professionally appointed theatre space with all the things that come with that like professional technicians. It is invaluable,” Ms Stones said.
Ms Stones’ Abattoir Noir was offered a further development opportunity at The Engine Room in Bendigo and has also been recommended to the team at The Meat Market in Melbourne.
“For us, the increase in profile was great,” Ms Stones said. “We often perform in our own home, which people love, but we can get more people in (the theatre) and some people feel more comfortable in a known theatre space.”
Expressions of interest for the newly developed 2019/20 program close at 5pm on February 11 with the temporary residencies allowing local talent to create, play and exhibit in the theatre.
As part of Create At Home, three creatives/groups will each be granted a three-week residency in the theatre. A further two residencies are scheduled in partnership with the 2019 Castlemaine State Festival and Punctum Inc.’s Seedpod program.
One individual or group will be granted free use of the theatre over 12 weekday sessions to try out a new monthly or weekly program of events as part of Play At Home.
Exhibit At Home will see five creatives/groups will be granted a six-week show in The Foyer.
The program includes free venue hire, technical and promotional support, public liability insurance and use of the venue’s ticketing system.
In total the At Home program investment is valued at more than $22,000 with Create At Home residents will also receive a bursary of $3,300 each to bring their work in development to the public.
Mount Alexander Shire cultural development officer Vicki Anderson said Regional Centre for Culture’s support allowed Council to collaborate with the community in exploring what the Phee Broadway Theatre can be.
“Our community took full advantage of the opportunity in 2018 and we can’t wait to see what new ideas will animate the space and engage the community this coming year,” she said.
For more information on criteria and how to apply visit www.pheebroadwaytheatre.com.au or contact the Cultural Development Officer via 5471 1700.
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