The campaign for a theatre space as part of stage two of the Katoomba civic centre refurbishment is gaining momentum with the establishment last month of the Katoomba Theatre Company (KTC) by Larry and Belle Buttrose and endorsements from key community leaders and groups.
In April the Gazette reported on the Buttrose’s request to make adjustments to the project’s budget to include a moveable theatre stage, curtains and professional standard stage sound and lighting to be housed in the space that will become vacant after Katoomba library relocates to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre building, estimated to be completed by early January 2013.
The plan quickly gained the support of the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community and last week received a boost with the backing of Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage.
Ms Sage said she was acutely aware the City of Blue Mountains was “sadly lacking an adequate performance space.
“A dedicated space with a professional company could also add to job opportunities of a permanent nature for those in the entertainment industry,” she said.
“The Blue Mountains is a place that is rich in talent both of visual and performance artists and likes to pride itself as the City of the Arts — it would be advantageous to be able to employ that talent locally as well as encourage a new generation of performers.
“I endorse and support your (KTC’s) efforts and your future ventures.”
Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles said council would commence a public consultation process for groups to show interest in uses for the soon-to-be relocated library space in the second half of this year.
“It is rare for such a prime location to become available for a different use and I look forward to dialogue with all potential users,” Clr Myles said.
The Katoomba Theatre Company has expressed interest in hiring the site if it is refurbished as a theatre and events venue.
“Naturally we would see ourselves as being only one of many parties in the community interested in hiring such a space,” Mrs Buttrose said.
“Our first objective is to stage children’s theatre, which is so obviously lacking here. Parents should not have to travel to Penrith or all the way to the Sydney Opera House to be able to introduce their children to the magic of live theatre.”
KTC members and supporters will join the Winter Magic Festival’s grand parade this Saturday to add colour to their campaign for the theatre space.
A council spokesperson said “council is interested in KTC’s and other proposals for the use of the site and will consider it as part of the planned community consultation process before deciding on how this community space will be used”.
Council would look at how to accommodate a broad range of potential uses for the site, she said.