Top marks to town hall

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Con­sis­tent sell-outs for a broad va­ri­ety of shows at busy Hor­sham Town Hall have prompted venue staff to urge peo­ple to make sure they get tick­ets for per­for­mances or events early.

Mar­ket­ing co-or­di­na­tor Cha­ree Smith said af­ter 12 months of oper­a­tion since the open­ing of the multi-mil­lion dol­lar re­de­vel­op­ment, the town hall sched­ule showed lit­tle sign of slow­ing down.

“In fact, it is only go­ing to get busier. Most shows have been sold out or close to ca­pac­ity. Peo­ple now know they can’t leave it to the last minute to book – be­cause the shows are sell­ing out,” she said.

“We are at a stage where peo­ple are des­per­ate to know what’s hap­pen­ing next. While it makes it all in­cred­i­bly busy, it is also ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing.

“We’re start­ing the year with a heavy com­mer­cial pro­gram and we’re close to pub­lish­ing our next event cal­en­dar.

“It is just so ex­cit­ing how well the com­mu­nity has em­braced the venue.”

An ex­tended team of up to 80, in­clud­ing core staff and vol­un­teers, is pro­vid­ing sup­port for the var­i­ous com­mer­cial and com­mu­nity events at the town hall and art gallery.

Ms Smith said word in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try was that per­form­ers were keen to re­turn.

“We’re also get­ting amaz­ing com­ments from pa­trons. Some say they don’t need to go to Mel­bourne for ma­jor shows any more,” she said.

Ms Smith said apart from com­mer­cial pro­duc­tions, the cen­tre was de­signed and de­vel­oped for com­mu­nity use.

“We have this lovely large flat floor space per­fect for award nights, con­fer­ences, cabarets and more. We en­cour­age com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions to get in touch with venue man­age­ment to see how hir­ing the hall op­er­ates un­der the re­de­vel­oped pro­gram,” she said.

“Hor­sham has grown in de­vel­op­ing this cen­tre to be­yond the days of sim­ply giv­ing some­one a set of keys. It’s a multi-mil­lion dol­lar fa­cil­ity run by pro­fes­sion­als who are there to sup­port com­mu­nity users. They need to ask to find out how it works.”

Hor­sham Mayor Pam Clarke said re­sults from 12 months of oper­a­tion were sat­is­fy­ing, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the pro­ject in­volved lengthy and at times heated de­bate.

“Some­times out of pain comes great things. There have been sev­eral oc­ca­sions where orig­i­nal pro­ject de­trac­tors have come up to say their minds have been changed and they are now great sup­port­ers. This hap­pens a lot. Many peo­ple sim­ply didn’t re­alise what a per­form­ing arts cen­tre was,” she said.

The lat­est piece of a cul­tural precinct jig­saw in­volv­ing the town hall is in place with Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil con­firm­ing op­er­a­tors for the build­ing’s Pynsent Street bar and restau­rant.

Hugh and Ni­cole Gold­son will op­er­ate a new ven­ture called baa 3400, of­fer­ing Hor­sham a new so­cial din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The 40-seat busi­ness will of­fer a ‘non­cours­ing’ shared-plates menu, fea­tur­ing all-day Mon­day-to-satur­day din­ing.

Mr Gold­son is a Miche­lin Star-trained chef, hav­ing worked in exclusive Bri­tish restau­rants and Mrs Gold­son has a man­age­ment de­gree.

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