Council to consider funding detailed theatre design

Published on 30 November 2018

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Surf Coast Shire Council will consider funding detailed design for conversion of Torquay Sport and Recreation Centre into a theatre and arts space.

A 2018 Torquay Theatre Feasibility Study has found the centre suitable for accommodating a ‘black box’ studio theatre and art exhibition area.

Councillors resolved at their November meeting to consider funding detailed design through the 2019-20 budget.

Torquay ward councillor Martin Duke said the study had included basic design concepts but detailed design would be able to confirm actual layout.

“There has long been interest in developing a proper theatre performance and art space in Torquay, which is not surprising given the extraordinary creativity existing and emerging within our community,” Cr Duke said.

“Council highly values the health and wellbeing benefits of participating in creative activities.

“It’s an important first step to find out that the centre can be converted. Now we have to consider whether we’re able to fund this and other projects in the upcoming budget process.”

A black box theatre provides a versatile flat performing space enclosed by black walls or curtains.

The study estimated capital cost of the stadium conversion at $1.775 million, and first year operating cost at $162,000.

The centre will be vacant after the transfer of indoor sports to a new Surf Coast Multi-Purpose Stadium at Torquay North in 2020.

The feasibility study considered the building structure, an operating and management model and potential funding opportunities.

It found several of the stadium’s existing facilities would easily convert for theatre use, including toilets, change rooms, commercial kitchen and reception area.

Some structural reinforcement would be required to hang lights, sound system and curtains.

A project working group helping inform investigations included representatives of the Torquay Theatre Troupe and other visual and performing arts groups, and individuals.

An arts space feasibility study adopted by Council in June 2015 identified the centre as a potential future performance and arts space.