Still in the dark

Save Marian Street Theatre Committee Michael Richardson, John Townend, Wendy Blaxland, Harry Loughnan, James Cadden
Save Marian Street Theatre Committee Michael Richardson, John Townend, Wendy Blaxland, Harry Loughnan, James Cadden

Another report stalls Marian Street revamp

Despite countless attempts by its supporters, Marian Street Theatre has sat idle for over four years.

And despite the council having already spent over $200,000 on studies and reports assessing its future, Ku-ring-gai Council voted in favour of yet another report into the future of this much-loved community asset.

The latest one, set to cost $50,000, will look at the future of theatre across Ku-ring-gai, assessing the various options including a possible theatre in ‘Gordon hub’ as well as the council-owned Killara theatre.

“But how can you do that without knowing the cost of doing up Marian Street?” asked Martin Richardson from the Save Marian Street Theatre Committee (SMSTC).

“It’s a waste of ratepayer’s money preparing yet another report. The council’s had four years to make up its mind. This is just putting everything on hold for another six months at least.”

The theatre, which opened in 1966 as Australia’s first repertory, and has seen David Williamson plays performed there alongside many famous actors including Nancy Hayes, had to close in 2013 as it no longer complied with new Building Codes of Australia (BCA) rules for public buildings, not least its lack of wheelchair access.

SMSTC wanted to launch a huge fundraising drive to raise $2million to get BCA compliances resolved and get the theatre doors open again – and had gone to council to ask for $20,000 to get a feasibility study underway for the fundraising drive.

Cllr Cheryl Szatow said Council had so far spent $205,000 on consultant’s reports “and we still haven’t decided anything – yet we have a group who are willing to undertake a huge fundraising initiative on behalf of the community, to get it open again.”

The latest report is expected to be ready in the middle of the year.

 

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