A new stage has been set for performing arts in Lake Macquarie City with an upgrade to the historic Rathmines Theatre now complete.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser was joined by Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper at Rathmines Theatre today for a walkthrough of the theatre following a $3.3 million refurbishment.

Jointly funded by the NSW Government through its Stronger Countries Community Fund and Lake Macquarie City Council the upgrade included an internal fit-out, new bathrooms, new audio-visual equipment, disabled parking, an accessible ramp and landscaping, renewing the facility inside and out. 

Cr Fraser said the project had given the historic building a new lease of life.

“The refreshed facility will help to reinvigorate the cultural scene in western Lake Macquarie and will deliver significant economic benefits to the area,” she said.

“This state-of-the-art facility offers a place for performers to take centre stage and share their talents with the community.

“It is also home to the Heritage Centre, a place where our community can visit to learn about the history of Rathmines and Lake Macquarie City.”

The council’s Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism Jacqui Hemsley said the redeveloped venue provided a great opportunity for the arts community, and an ideal tourism destination.

“Rathmines Theatre will offer unique programs and exhibitions unlike anything Lake Macquarie has experienced before,” she said.

“This revived venue provides a space for performance artists to be inspired and connect with their audience attracting visitors from across the region to our city to experience something memorable.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Catherine Cusack, thanked the council for making a positive contribution to the social and cultural fabric of the local region.

“This upgraded theatre ensures that we will continue to attract and host productions for many years to come – introducing younger generations, and welcoming visitors, to the magic of theatre,” Ms Cusack said.

“This is exactly the kind of project the Stronger Country Communities Fund is designed to deliver, projects, upgrades and amenities that make a big difference to everyday life.”

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