The process of calling for expressions of interest to build the Theatre Twyford in Merimbula is underway now that the funding has been formally released from NSW Treasury a year on from the announcement.
President of the Twyford Hall Incorporated Bill Deveril said that the project management contract had been let to a Canberra company with a meeting on Tuesday morning ahead of the EoI call.
Following the EoI process, tenders will be called for and Mr Deveril believes a decision about the builders could be made by mid year and then it would be a matter of when the company was available to start work.
The new 200 seat raked theatre will be built next to the existing Twyford Hall above the existing Twyford Room and adjacent shops on Market Street Merimbula in 2019-2020.
"The first thing to happen will be the removal of the back of the stage. A false wall will then be put up and that will provide access to the site. Access will also be provided through the Twyford Room as well," Mr Deveril explained.
Mr Deveril, said he was delighted that the funding of $7.4 million had now been released by the NSW state government from the Regional Communities Development Fund, following the initial announcement by NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Development, John Barilaro and Bega MP Andrew Constance in May 2018.
"The remainder of the project is being funded through Twyford Hall's own resources, private donations and corporate sponsorships, which will go towards completing the internal fit out of the new theatre." Mr Deveril said.
Plans for the new theatre were developed by local architect Michael Marshman & Associates and development approval has been obtained for the work from the Bega Valley Shire Council.
Construction of the theatre building shell is expected to be completed in early 2020. Work will then concentrate on internal fit out and the new facility will open in the second half of 2020.
Twyford Hall Incorporated, which manages the Twyford Hall properties on behalf of Bega Valley Shire Council, has been lobbying various governments for 20 years to have the new theatre built.
Mayor Kristy McBain said the news was most welcome.
"I know how hard the Twyford volunteers have worked to make Theatre Twyford happen. When built it will enhance the existing cultural, festival and conference infrastructure in the shire, providing a valuable boost to our local economy," Cr McBain said.
"This project will extend the range and breadth of live performances possible in Merimbula. Its modern facilities will not only raise the bar for local performers, it will also attract more touring shows, which rarely come further south than Nowra." Mr Deveril said.
"Historic Twyford Hall, that has been serving the Merimbula community since the 1930s, will remain and continue to operate in a limited capacity during the construction phase, but undergo some internal changes to accommodate the new theatre's construction." he added.
More information is available at www.twyfordhall.com.au.