Curtain raises for new Manning Entertainment Centre studio

NSW Nationals

NSW Nationals Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin and Federal Member for Lyne David Gillespie have officially opened the Beryl Jane Flett Studio – a new multi-purpose theatre space within the Manning Entertainment Centre at Taree.

The $4.7 million project was co-funded through the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund, the Australian Government, MidCoast Council and a generous bequest by the Flett family in memory of passionate musician, Beryl Jane Flett.

Nationals’ Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said the new studio will be well utilised by both locals and visiting artists and is an example how the Nationals in government are putting regional people first.

Minister Franklin said the state-of-the art, multi-purpose studio ensures the people of Taree and visitors to the Mid Coast region can now enjoy more art, theatre, dance, music, film and events for many years to come.

“The community of the MidCoast is passionate about the arts and this stunning theatre space is a testament to this passion. I’ve no doubt the people of Taree, the Midcoast region and beyond share my immense pride in opening this wonderful new venue,” Mr Franklin said.

Dr Gillespie said through the development of the former Federal Coalition Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, over $1-million in Federal funding had been invested in the project.

“In addition to our strong focus on investing in local roads, we also recognised the need to support critical community infrastructure projects like the Manning Entertainment Centre expansion and redevelopment and I was delighted to be able to support the allocation of Federal funding to help get this project over line,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Investing in regional facilities like this deliver important social and economic benefits to our region and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank the staff and contractors on their work in making it a reality.”

The project was brought to life thanks to a $1.57 million investment from the NSW Nationals in the state government’s Regional Cultural Fund, which boosts access to the arts through the delivery of world-class, fit-for-purpose cultural infrastructure in the regions.

The Beryl Jane Flett Studio project received a significant $1.1 million bequest from the Flett family – a founding family in the area and a long-time patron of the arts in Taree.

The multi-purpose space, with seating for up to 159 people, has been designed to accommodate a range of performances for local and touring productions, rehearsals, cultural events as well as community and commercial use.

In further positive news for the MidCoast region, Minister Franklin and Mr Bromhead announced additional funding to upgrade the Manning Entertainment Centre facilities through the NSW Government’s $72 million Creative Capital initiative.

MidCoast Council has received $159,130 from Creative Capital Minor Works and Equipment Fund to install accessibility ramps, lifts and supports, improving access and inclusion for patrons with mobility issues.

Taree Film Society Inc will also receive $99,463 to install equipment to enhance the sound clarity and flexibility for screenings in the Beryl Jane Flett Studio.

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