Renovations to the Newcastle Theatre Company, totalling more than $350,000, have been unfurled today.
The theatre was forced to close its doors to the public due to the pandemic, but the shutdown provided an opportunity to make improvements to the Lambton site.
Newcastle Theatre Company President, Claire Williams, expressed her delight at being able to bring back community theatre after the COVID shutdown.
“It’s absolutely wonderful to be back in business after a nine-month break,” she said.
“We’re possibly a little bit rusty, but the pleasure that we have in being back together and doing good work is wonderful and we’re so looking forward to welcoming audiences back.”
Funding for the renovations came from a NSW Government grant, the Rotary Club of Newcastle Enterprise, and community donations, for which Ms Williams expressed her gratitude.
“The support of our members – we have nearly 200 patrons – and others in the community means everything to us,” she said.
“We are a community theatre company, probably the largest in NSW.
“So, we’re looking to our supporters to continue their interest, to come along to see our shows, and help us in any way they can.”
Upgrades include new air-conditioning in the auditorium and a new facade and laneway, as well as the installation of a seven-metre long mural cerebrating the theatre’s 63-year history.
Wallsend State MP Sonia Hornery said the theatre was an important part of the community and added she was looking forward to visiting it as a patron.
“Well it’s obvious the theatre means a lot to our local community, because Newcastle Theatre Company was voted number one for community projects for the Wallsend electorate, which meant $190,000 from the State Government,” she said.
“So I thank the State Government for the funding, of course, and through all that it’s an organisation that’s [run] by locals.
“That’s been entirely successful but life has been difficult and challenging this year because box office hits haven’t been brought in.
“I know the community loves the theatre, and I know the $190,000 has been very well spent by the Newcastle Theatre Company.”
Visit the theatre’s website for more information.