Ideas shaping up for performing arts centre

The concept design for a new Performing Arts Centre is forming in a collaboration between specialist arts consultants, the local performing arts community and council.

A newly formed Latrobe City Council Project Reference Group is working with arts management and theatre production consultants, architects and Get it Built – an advocacy group dedicated to establishing a new performing arts centre in the Latrobe Valley.

Get it Built proponent and Project Reference Group member Dan Clancey said he was impressed with the ideas put forward by the consultants, but also their willingness to be consultative with the community, business groups and council staff.

“They were keen to hear our ideas and said ‘go back to your people’ at Get it Built. It’s been about what we want to do, whether it’s sexy architecture or something more functional,” Mr Clancey said.

He told The Express about a broad range of ideas discussed at the first meeting before Christmas, including a performing arts school and another workshop or theatre spaces to create additional income streams when not being used as a theatre.

“These are concepts, we don’t want to be too prescriptive in a business case, and talk about how else the centre could be used,” Mr Clancey said.

The process will involve creating a business case and concept design by early March, before making funding submissions to the state and federal governments.

The group will put forward a three-way state, federal and local government funding model.

Latrobe City mayor Michael Rossiter said securing funding for the project was the main aim.

Councillor Rossiter said the business case would build on the existing plans for an arts centre in the region, focussing on how the facility could deliver significant economic and employment benefits to the area.

He said the concept design would demonstrate the functionality of the facility, the uses of the various spaces and how they might relate to one another.

“It’s an exciting part of the process, but is not a detailed design. That phase comes after funding commitments have been secured,” Cr Rossiter said.

He said once at the detailed design point, council would seek broader input to ensure the facility was one that suited the needs and desires of the community.