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

View of the new amphitheatre from the park
View of the new amphitheatre from the park
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 Ku-ring-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 Ku-ring-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@savemarianstreettheatre.com

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