New Wyong performing arts venue a boost for Central Coast culture
Opened at the end of May, The Art House performing arts and conference centre in Wyong is proving a major drawcard for the cultural and business community of the NSW Central Coast.
Designed by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the $12.7 million cultural centre includes a 500 seat theatre, 130 seat studio space, meeting room, exhibition space and a café/bar area.
The proscenium arch theatre incorporates a motorised five-story fly tower that can accommodate professional touring productions.
State-of-the-art technical elements in the facility include a high end audio system, full led lighting rig in the theatre and flexible spaces to allow for an orchestra to be located in the theatre or studio.
Since opening with the Wyong Musical Theatre Company’s production of Oliver! the venue’s opening season program is featuring productions by Wyong Musical Theatre Company, Monkey Baa Theatre Company and Tantrum Youth Arts.
First conceived almost a decade ago, the new venue replaces the former Wyong Memorial Hall that, according to Central Coast Council’s Administrator Ian Reynolds, has been “transformed into a state of the art facility that will benefit our community for generations to come.”
Uniquely, while supported by the former Wyong Shire Council, the facility was built purely with Council money, with input from the NSW or Federal Government.
Speaking prior to the opening of the venue, then acting Executive Director Julie Vaughan told the Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate that many big shows had avoided the region in the past because they felt our theatres were not large enough to accommodate their productions.
Vaughen explained “we will turn that around ... we hope to attract theatre and dance companies such as Bangarra and the Bell Shakespeare Theatre Company.
“The National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association will have its midyear and end-of-year performances here. They usually go to Sydney.
“The theatre is technically excellent and there is the bonus of a flexible studio space with 130 seats for performances that retract for rehearsals.”
Now led by recently appointed Executive Director David Barrett, The Art House team includes technical management, sales, box office and front of house staff. Barrett joined The Art House from the Marion Cultural Centre in South Australia, bringing over 10 years’ experience in the performing arts industry to the role.
Former Wyong Shire Mayor Doug Eaton welcomed the new facility, commenting “I think The Art House will turn the area into a cultural hub. We all know the wealth of talent on the Central Coast which, I think, makes gives the region a reputation as a cultural hub anyway but The Art House will enhance this reputation.
“It will really energise the area.’’
For more information go to www.thearthousewyong.com.au
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