It was standing room only at the newly opened Katoomba hall shell in the old Katoomba library on Saturday when the community rallied to the call for a theatre in the town.
More than 200 locals flocked in to hear Katoomba Theatre Company outline its hopes for the site.
KTC artistic director, Larry Buttrose, told the crowd that the town had not had a theatre in more than 60 years.
“That is six long decades. Two generations of children and adults have been denied the very normal amenity of a theatre in their town. Why?
“Our unashamed agenda is to use our creativity and experience to build a theatre here to showcase the vast array of talent of this community. In the process we will create new jobs, while making existing jobs more sustainable.
“The Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise has estimated that the loss to our community from last year’s bushfires was $100 million. Around 500 local jobs were lost. There is no better way to provide sustained recovery from that disaster than to create a brilliant new attraction in the town that is synonymous with the Blue Mountains.”
Dr Buttrose said the theatre would be made available to all theatre, dance and music groups, local, amateur, professional or touring. It would also be made available to community groups for meetings, seminars, rallies and conferences, as well as specialty film screenings and performance art.
Federal member Louise Markus and state member Roza Sage both addressed the meeting, pledging their full support to KTC. Both members also said they would seek out whatever financial support they could for the venture.
The newly endorsed Labor candidate for the seat of Blue Mountains, Trish Doyle, also spoke, saying she was there to listen to the views expressed.
Other speakers included the founding director of the Festival of Sydney and founding artistic director of the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia), Stephen Hall, who has promised to help source sponsorship for KTC.
More than 450 petition signatures were collected in less than two hours out on Katoomba Street.
Blue Mountains City Council will vote on the theatre at its next meeting, on April 29.