Constance backs Twyford Theatre

Bega MP Andrew Constance with Arts Minister Don Harwin and president of the Twyford Hall committee Bill Deveril.
Bega MP Andrew Constance with Arts Minister Don Harwin and president of the Twyford Hall committee Bill Deveril.

Hopes are high for the proposed Twyford Theatre after member for Bega Andrew Constance said he saw the development of both the Merimbula theatre and the Bundian Way, as priorities.

Mr Constance was speaking as the NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin visited Twyford Hall on Monday, August 7 to see the plans for a 220 seat raked theatre. Twyford Hall committee is preparing to submit an expression of interest for the Regional Cultural Fund which has been set up to invest $100 million over four years to drive growth in arts, screen, cultural and heritage infrastructure in regional NSW.

The project has been many years in planning including building associated shops so that the hall would have a continuous income.

President of the Twyford Hall committee Bill Deveril, said the committee was seeking council’s support for the project.

The Mr Constance’s backing was in no doubt as he emphasised the need for a co-ordinated approach.

‘I really need council to get behind this 150 per cent and then we will work with council as we always do,” Mr Constance said.

Mr Harwin said it was important to see regional NSW gets its fair share of resources. 

“The Regional Cultural Fund is an opportunity to supercharge the reach of arts and culture in regional NSW.

“Improving performance spaces not only enhances the experience of those attending the performance and local groups like Spectrum, it also increases the likelihood that the major performance art groups will include those towns on their schedule. Improving regional touring opportunities is a big priority for me,” Mr Harwin said.

Touring companies require a certain standard of facilities and those towns which have such facilities can attract shows, music and plays from organisations such as Bell Shakespeare, something that would be of benefit to local school students, Mr Harwin said.

Mr Constance and Mr Harwin visited Bega to discuss the art gallery and went on to Batemans Bay.

The regional gallery is looking for larger premises and during discussions there, council’s general manager Leanne Barnes indicated that another building was available in Merimbula. This is believed to be a reference to the Bega Valley Regional Learning Centre.

However Mr Constance said that the Twyford Theatre proposal was the most advanced of any project being discussed.

 Up to $25 million will be available in the first round of arts infrastructure funding.

Expressions of interest must be submitted by September 4 and the successful projects will be notified by October 23. Final business cases are due January 15, 2018 with announcements expected in February 2018.

Mr Deveril said he was very pleased with the meeting.