Stage set for Mar­ian Street up­grade

Monthly Chronicle - - News -

The iconic venue Mar­ian Street Theatre in Kil­lara is to re­open as a state of the art $9.8mil­lion cul­tural cen­tre with three per­for­mances spa­ces, cafe and art gallery.

The theatre, which has sat idle since 2013, has been saved by a per­sis­tent and pas­sion­ate group of com­mu­nity mem­bers af­ter a two year bat­tle and many fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies by Ku-ring-gai Coun­cil.

The re­vamp is ex­pected to be ready by 2021.

The lat­est busi­ness re­port was agreed, and the $9.8 mil­lion needed for the build was ring-fenced at a Ku-ring-gai Coun­cil meet­ing ear­lier this month, be­fore a packed pub­lic gallery.

Jes­sica Blax­land Ashby, the third gen­er­a­tion of Blax­land fam­ily as­so­ci­ated with the theatre and now its Busi­ness Man­ager, said: “It guar­an­tees a home for Mar­ian Street Theatre for Young Peo­ple - a modern theatre needs youth out­reach and youth theatre is an in­te­gral part of the daily op­er­a­tions of any theatre though it’s not the case for many other the­atres.”

Other fea­tures in the plan in­clude a Cre­ative Learn­ing Cen­tre to in­tro­duce young peo­ple to the per­form­ing arts, a the­atri­cal rig­ging sys­tem, new studios, more re­hearsal space and an ad­di­tional lift for car park ac­cess.

A Ku- ring- gai Coun­cil spokesper­son added: “With com­mu­nity in­put we will now de­velop a de­tailed de­sign and op­er­at­ing model for the theatre.

“The up­grade pro­posed by the Save the Mar­ian Street Theatre Com­mit­tee would cost nearly $10 mil­lion and the Coun­cil will need to in­ves­ti­gate ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing sources.”

The next step is for Coun­cil to set up a Project Steer­ing Com­mit­tee to set the Busi­ness Plan and de­sign and build­ing process in mo­tion.

The fight to save Aus­tralia’s long­est con­tin­u­ously run chil­dren’s theatre was backed by ac­tors Hugo Weav­ing and Miriam Mar­golyes.

Jes­sica Blax­land Ashby per­form­ing in Beauty and the Beast at Mar­ian Street in 2002

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