Dramatic pause

MELVILLE council has given itself a breather to find a new home for the Melville Theatre Company and space for ballroom dancers who hire the admin centre’s Main Hall.

The groups were heading towards a crush at the hall, with the thespians needing a new home and the dancers saying they couldn’t find suitable alternative venues if that forced them out (“Theatre steps on toes,” Herald, September 19, 2020).

Relief

But at this week’s second instalment of the council’s monthly meeting, councillors June Barton and Matthew Woodall combined to give them some relief.

Cr Barton added a number of amendments to a staff recommendation, directing the CEO to broaden the council’s strategy and look at a wider range of options to accommodate both groups.

Cr Woodall chipped in a last-minute addition to ensure the theatre company could stay put until 2023, saying its home at the Roy Edinger Hall wouldn’t be needed until then by developers planning an aged care facility.

The club was told in 2012 that it had to be out by 2021, and Cr Woodall confirmed with staff that an updated timeline on the aged care project hadn’t been passed on.

MTC president Susan Lynch told the Herald the decision was welcomed.

“We have a place to stay for now so we’re in a better position than some other groups,” Ms Lynch said.

“Let’s hope it can all be resolved in the long run without too much turmoil.”

Ms Lynch said the hall was the only venue in the city the company had been able to find that suited its needs, and council staff had been very helpful.

“In recent years, we have had detailed discussions about the possibility of tenancy in the proposed Cultural Centre, and, when that became less certain, the possibility of an upgrade to the Main Hall to make it suitable for theatre performances.”

She said the MTC would be making significant compromises if it moved to the hall, as it would only be a hirer rather than the sole occupant as it currently is at the Stock Road site.

“Although we anticipate having some dedicated storage and dressing room space in the theatre’s new location (wherever that may be), we will essentially have to move in and out of the main space for each production.

“If the Main Hall becomes the eventual location for Melville Theatre, we would be happy to think that other groups would alsos get the benefit of the improved space.”

Cr Woodall told his council colleagues that the extra income the council would receive from developing the Roy Edinger site would easily pay for any upgrades to existing council facilities to make them suitable for actors or dancers.

by STEVE GRANT

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