4 August 2023

Dance and performance finds a new home in the Bega Valley as the curtain falls on stadium

| Claire Sams
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FLING members performing

FLING members performing PUFFER, a show created by Ms Rose. Photo: Lorna Sim.

Following years sharing a space, a youth dance organisation is making the move to their very own purpose-built studio.

FLING Physical Theatre co-artistic director Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Rose said the group had been operating out of Bega Indoor Stadium since 2009.

“If you can imagine starting with an empty stadium, we would convert it into a beautiful theatre, with help from volunteers and local businesses.

“FLING ran all of our training programs out of Bega out of the stadium, and we also put on 90 per cent of our performances there,” Ms Rose said.

Founded in 2001, FLING Physical Theatre is based in the Bega Valley and has three performance companies separated by age, with those aged fourteen and older able to participate in original works.

They also run community classes for children and adults in Bega and Bermagui, as well as for people with a disability, and have residencies for independent artists.

“We really want to be a hub for dance and performance in the Bega Valley,” Ms Rose said.

But under an agreement with Bega Valley Shire Council, they had to share the space.

“While we were using it, we had to ensure that the community had access,” she said.

“That meant sporting teams like hockey, volleyball, basketball and other groups would utilise the space.

“It was actually a very busy space, and we would use it whenever there was time available.”

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When they were informed council was planning on redeveloping the site, they began to look elsewhere.

“It got to crunch time, because they’re actually going to demolish the building and we knew we’d need to find a new home,” Ms Rose said.

“Now we have found that space, it feels like we can relax a little bit.”

Their new location is a purpose-built dance studio, but getting it to that point took a lot of work – and some help.

“FLING got support from Create New South Wales through their Creative Capital fund to support the renovation of the building, plus we got some other funding from the Foundation of Rural and Regional Renewal.

“We now have a fully sprung floor [which absorbs shocks] to work on, mirrors, heating and cooling and functioning bathrooms.”

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Ms Rose said that once they move into their new studio, the team at FLING Physical Theatre will be keen to hit the ground running (or rather, dancing).

“As we move into the space, we will be offering a slightly more expanded community engagement program,” she said.

“We’re also looking at our next major show called The Tent that is a follow-on from one of Rob McCredie’s prior work and will be held at our new space.”

Though the Bega Indoor Stadium had been their home for 14 years, Ms Rose said the stadium’s redevelopment will be the new start for many.

“So many people in the community have danced in the stadium with FLING or they’ve played sport there, so it’s quite an iconic building in our region that’s going to disappear,” Ms Rose said.

“But I think it’s going to be a really exciting chapter for the sporting clubs in the region to have a new, really amazing space for them to work in.”

To close the door on their time in the Bega Indoor Stadium, FLING Physical Theatre is holding a performance from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Saturday (5 August).

Called The Stadium’s Last Hurrah, the performance will consist of four new works, Ms Rose said.

“We’re looking at it like it’s a little bit like a memorial, a little bit like a final party and very much a celebration of the space.

“It’s a chance for the community to come and see FLING dance there one last time,” she said.

Tickets for The Stadium’s Last Hurrah can be purchased through the theatre’s website and the cost is on a sliding scale.

FLING Physical Theatre’s new studio is located at 45-47 Eden Street in Bega.

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