Act now, says Mar­ian Street back­ers Bring per­form­ing arts back to Ku-ring-gai

Monthly Chronicle - - News - Jenny Bar­lass

While the Mar­ian Street back­ers put the fi­nal touches to their Busi­ness Plan to go be­fore a coun­cil meet­ing next month, they’re ask­ing lo­cals to spread the word about mod­erni­sa­tion plans for the theatre re­vamp.

Am­bi­tious plans for the theatre in­clude over­haul­ing the 300 seat main au­di­to­rium and adding a 200 to 300 seat am­phithe­atre for out­door mu­si­cal events and link­ing the theatre with the park next door, as well as a 140 seat per­form­ing space down­stairs for smaller events like cabaret and one man shows.

A cof­fee shop, en­larged foyer and art galleries all com­plete the new look venue.

“If we’re go­ing to make this space im­pact­ful with the com­mu­nity we need to bring Mar­ian Street Theatre into the 21st cen­tury,” says Save Mar­ian Street Theatre Com­mit­tee chair­man John Townsend.

“It’s es­ti­mated to cost $7.5m to do this and we have a lot of fundrais­ing to do.”

Un­der the Busi­ness Plan Ku-ring-gai would put in an ini­tial $2.5m cap­i­tal out­lay to­wards the over­all cost of the build, the rest com­ing from fundrais­ing. It’s hoped Coun­cil will also pay be­tween $1m and $1.5m a year to fund its up­keep, and ex­tend the theatre’s lease to 25 years.

“This is crunch time for MST. We know that Ku-ring-gai not only needs but wants a top-class per­form­ing arts venue. Mar­ian Street Theatre is the ob­vi­ous choice.

“But we can’t do this by our­selves – we have to have sup­port from vol­un­teers out­side the com­mit­tee and we need the com­mu­nity be­hind us. We need to get the word out there to let peo­ple know about the amaz­ing com­mu­nity re­source they have. There are 60,000 res­i­dents in Ku-ring-gai and a lot of them are new to the area and don’t know the his­tory and very ex­is­tence of the theatre.

“We need man­power and money to make this hap­pen. We want to let­ter­box every house­hold in Kur­ing-gai, and we need walk­ers for that, and money to pay for flyer print­ing. We also need vol­un­teers to li­aise with schools, to hand them out at train sta­tions, and to put posters in shop win­dows.

“That way peo­ple can be part of the process, ex­press their opin­ions and in­flu­ence their ward coun­cil­lors.

“The sup­port of the com­mu­nity – of the mums and dads who saw the plays put on by John Krum­mel at the theatre over so many years, and of the thou­sands of now grown-up chil­dren who watched or per­formed in plays staged by the Mar­ian Street Theatre for Young Peo­ple – is crit­i­cal to our suc­cess.”

A de­ci­sion about whether Kur­ing-gai coun­cil­lors will agree the Busi­ness Plan goes be­fore a vote at a coun­cil meet­ing in March.

If you want to help get the project off the ground with leaflet­ing or help­ing in other ways, email: info@ save­mar­i­anstreetthe­

View of the new am­phithe­atre from the park

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