BOWRAVILLE Theatre is set to receive an upgrade after the Bowraville Arts Council successfully applied for a grant as part of Stage Two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.
The $754,610 grant will fund new dressing rooms and disabled access, to enable people of all abilities to attend and participate in theatre and arts activities in the iconic building.
According to Dale Hawkins, Secretary of Bowraville Arts Council, the success of the application was the result of a massive team effort from everyone involved.
"Nambucca Valley Council have been so supportive throughout the whole process, they applied on our behalf, and we are all delighted to have been successful," she said.
"This is actually the second grant we received to upgrade the theatre; we were first successful back in 2008, but after a change in government, the grant was rescinded, and we had to start again.
"It's a lovely old building, with a bit of chequered history, due to its segregation laws back in the 1940s, however, it has since gone on to provide a vital service in the community.
"Schools use the space for events, and Nambucca Heads High School hold their HSC course here, so students get the chance to see how a real theatre production works."
After the enhancements, it will be in line with other modern theatres, which Dale says will benefit everyone, especially if you enjoy live shows.
"The arts council often use the space to hold productions and screenings for the community, most recently the Koori Comedy Showcase," Dale said.
"Once the theatre has been upgraded, we will be able to attract productions which would otherwise overlook us due to our lack of adequate facilities.
"Life will be made a lot easier, with no dressing rooms, it has been a severely limiting factor on what we can do.
"This is a great boon for us, and the town, when big productions are on, more people come to the pub, visit the cafes and shopping centres."
The plans are the same ones from 2008, and in need of an update to fall in line with current building codes; a lot has changed in 13 years.
Dale hopes that once the plans have been revised, construction will be able to start in the next 6 to 12 months, depending on COVID-19 restrictions and if a builder can be found.
"We are technically still waiting for the grant, but hope to at least start looking for a builder in the next six months, that may take longer though," she said.
"It's a tricky time to get work done; with builders in such high demand at the moment, everyone seems to be building a house, adding extensions or renovations in lieu of overseas travel."
The Bowraville Theatre was among a host of other projects that received funding from Stage Two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.
The Nambucca Valley was one of the few areas to receive multiple grants, totalling over $5 million.
The lions share of the cash, $2.45 million, will go toward the Nambucca River Foreshore Walk and Cultural Way Improvements project.
Uniting received $400,600, Nambucca Valley Council got $990,000 to improve mobile reception in rural and remote areas of the Valley with a telecommunications tower.
The council also scored $719,250 for the Community Halls and Facilities Upgrade Program, and $412,940 for the Bowraville Innovative Social Enterprise Precinct.
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