FREMANTLE’S cultural life continues to dribble away, with Harbour Theatre confirming Wednesday it is leaving the port city after more than 50 years.
The amateur troupe has signed a lease with the Mosman Park Arts Foundation to relocate to Camelot Theatre on April 1.
Harbour president Nicola Bond told the Herald the troupe was sad to leave Fremantle, but had no choice.
“After Port Cineaste is gone there is no other theatre in Fremantle,” she said.
When the Herald reminded her the company had been negotiating with Fremantle council about using Deckchair Theatre’s old digs in Victoria Hall, her answer came through slightly pursed lips: “Victoria Hall is not a theatre.”
“Fremantle council told us it was not available and that they had a mandate to use it as a community hall,” she said.
Granted life membership of the theatre in 2009—in the main for her efforts to keep it in Fremantle—she says a bright side is Camelot is a “beautiful building” and Mossie Park paves the way to expand membership and audiences.
The move may also finally give Harbour a permanent home. For many years it was based in the Evan Davies library building (now empty after Kulcha’s demise) but lost that site when the council decided to pursue commercial rates. It moved to the Princess May Building but was again moved on when the Fremantle Education Centre decided to expand.
Harbour was given a temporary home in the council-owned Port Cineaste building, but that’s due to be knocked down as part of a major hotel redevelopment.
The lease at Camelot is only to December but MosArts chair Libby Eustance intimated her organisation is ready for something more permanent.
“The lease is like an engagement, and we’ll see how we get on together before getting married,” she laughed.
by STEVE GRANT