The Moscow Ballet, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and singer Guy Sebastian could soon be performing live in Goulburn.
These are just some of the names rattled off by Raina Savage, who is in charge of creating an exciting program of theatre, dance, music, circus, comedy and children’s shows for when the $18.95 million, 400-seat Goulburn Performing Arts Centre opens in November 2021.
The centre will incorporate the existing McDermott Centre on Auburn Street, which was Goulburn’s town hall from 1887 to 1990, and it will be transformed into the centre’s front of house, including a cafe, offices and foyer.
The modern building currently being built at the rear will include the stage, fly towers, control rooms, change rooms and a green room.
Ms Savage, the performing arts centre manager, wouldn’t confirm which shows are in or out, but did say she’s in discussions with major performing arts companies that have regional touring shows running in 2022, including The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
“The venue will also be for hire for larger commercial shows by the Moscow Ballet, Human Nature, Guy Sebastian and the local community,” she said. “I’ve been out talking to groups that are already working really hard in the space, including The Lieder Theatre, Rocky Hill Musical Theatre Society and Hume Conservatorium.
“We’re really keen to allow those organisations to use our first-class facilities, for young people and aspiring talent to have the experience of performing on a professional stage with the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art audiovisual technology.
“I’ve also been talking to schools about the opportunity for their students to do work placements with us – to work with theatre equipment and be part of larger-scale productions.”
The 2022 program will be revealed during a special evening in early 2022, and it is exciting to think that in around six months locals could be sitting in the centre’s cafe or wine bar ahead of a show that would usually require a trip to Sydney or Canberra.
“It will be a rich and varied program, full of classical and contemporary experiences – something to appeal to most people in the region, from different ages, demographics and cultures,” said Ms Savage.
Goulburn Performing Arts Centre will host between two and three performances per week once it is up and running, and is looking at using the second performance space in part of the old building for smaller or specialised performances such as poetry, acoustic music, play readings and workshops.
“I really want this to be a creative hub for the community – a great place in the middle of town that people feel belongs to them and there’s always going to be something happening,” said Ms Savage.
The centre will require four full-time staff in addition to Ms Savage, including a technical coordinator, technician, box office and marketing officer, and venue coordinator who will be supported by a larger number of casual staff at the front and back of house.
Ms Savage said recruitment will begin shortly, with the technical coordinator and box office and marketing officer due to be hired in July, and the venue coordinator, technician and casuals later in the year.
Additionally, the cafe will run as a social enterprise, engaging young people who need to gain skills for employment.
Ms Savage is no newcomer to the performing arts industry. She left her job of five years as the Griffith Regional Arts and Museum manager to come to Goulburn.
She has more than 10 years of experience, having previously worked in Western Australia as an arts development manager, which included organising the state’s only regional fringe festival.