21 years in The Clink
THE Clink Theatre in Port Douglas turns 21 late this month, but while the celebrations will be heartfelt the leading lights behind the cultural landmark are fighting a constant struggle to keep the show on the road.
The Clink’s administrator, Claire Tierney, is battling on various fronts - over more money to fix up and maintain the 1930s building, and over the need to find greater community involvement that leads to more helping hands. It’s about money and time.
When it comes to a target for fixing more or less everything that needs doing, plus ongoing maintenance, it is $52,000, as assessed by professional appraisal.
About $30,000 would go on structural fix ups such as stairs, railings and seating. After that there’s the replacement and repairs of things like air conditioners and lights and sound gear (at the moment two volunteers provide lighting and sound control, using their own gear. They’ve done this for years).
Ms Tierney looks back to before her time, when it was obviously easier to raise money and get sponsors - say, the late 1980s, when the town was buoyant. ‘‘When The Clink was rebuilt back then it was easier to raise money. But you just can’t get it any more,’’ she says. That lively cohort of sponsors, actors and donors are now in their 70s and their replacement counterparts of not apparent, though the theatre does have about 126 subscribing members, many of whom are students doing acting classes there.
‘‘So every month we are doing a BBQ lunch fundraiser at the Sunday Markets, which do really well.’’ The problem is, these too are largely reliant on volunteers giving their time.
Ms Tierney has offered the venue for hire to any interested party but since it only seats 160 it’s limited in its utililty for visiting acts and shows.
‘‘I need hands!’’ says Ms Tierney. ‘‘We need people! Volunteering is people doing something even if it’s just for a few hours. If I had 40 people who gave just a few hours of their time per year to work the sausage sizzle or something like that we’d be a lot better off.
‘‘People should imagine what it would be like not to have The Clink here. It gives balance to the community. It is appreciated - when we do something it’s well attended.’’
When it comes to recurrent costs The Clink had a break on its insurance costs - which were running at $7000-$8,000 a year - when the CRC listed it as an asset on its books and so took over the insurance payments. But Ms Tierney is envious of other bodies which receive government aid to stay in existence. ‘‘At the moment we don’t get anything,’’ she says.
By the way, anyone looking to get involved with The Clink is welcome at the annual general meeting on Tuesday, October 22, at 5.30 pm.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: young students celebrate the Clink anniversary