A MEMBERSHIP drive will help Castlemaine's Theatre Royal continue its restoration work.
The Loyal Royal program, which launched last year and attracted 500 new members, has already helped to restore 60 cenima seats, replace 15 couches, upgrade the speaker system and re-tile the foyer.
Theatre Royal owner Tim Heath said this year had been a challenge for many people and businesses but that communities still wanted to support organisations.
"We noticed other organisations, such as community radio have done really well," he said. "I think people understand businesses like ours have really suffered in the pandemic when you can't have customers in the building and the building isn't doing what it was designed for.
"(Last year's drive) gave members a great feeling of belonging to the community and that they felt they were helping with survival of the theatre.
"Hopefully we hit that (500 person) target but we understand it's tough times for some people."
Mr Heath said he is hoping to have more seating restored and restoration work completed on the exterior of the theatre.
"There is a long list of things we want to fix and restore," he said. "So we are taking it case by case and seeing how many members we get.
"(Members) are kept up to date with a newsletter, which is a good opportunity to let the know what we're doing. We have got a very engaged community."
During the pandemic, the theatre has been shut for movies and music but its cafe has remained open.
Easing restrictions also saw the Royal team open up its beer garden.
Mr Heath said they were eager to re-open but would be waiting on government advice first.
"The community have got behind us ordering pizzas and whatnot but it's still sad seeing a big, empty room that is usually filled with films or live music,' he said.
"That's our biggest income stream, so it's sad not to do that. But rather than sitting around being sad, we're being proactive in getting income through our pizza and bottle shop.
"We will wait and see what the government says (about reopening) and work around restrictions on how to approach live music with processes to keep everyone safe and healthy.
"Regional Victoria has done an amazing job and, hopefully, it won't be too long."