Good public performance venues needed
I feel there is a need for good public performance venues on the Peninsula.
There is real difficulty accessing those that exist on the Peninsula for public performances, despite the significant number of great creative artists and performers in the area and a large potential audience.
The flow on social, cultural and economic benefits from providing better facilities would also benefit the local community and tourism.
Recently, I attended the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.
This is a world-class festival with both Australian and overseas artists.
The festival is held in public buildings in Wangaratta.
The population of Wangaratta is only about 19,000, according to the latest census.
They do, however, have good public buildings, two large halls with stages and a very good theatre for cultural events.
The combined population of the Peninsula area around Woy Woy, Umina, and Ettalong is considerably larger than this, but there seems to be a complete absence of any cultural centre type buildings.
The population of the Peninsula is over 37,000; Woy Woy-Blackwall 13,924;
Umina, Booker Bay and Patonga 23,590.
The Community Centre in McMasters Rd does have a hall capable of seating a few hundred people, but every Saturday it is booked for Bingo.
Also, the building does not have a stage, so I don't think it was intended to be used as a performance venue.
The other rooms in the complex are not really sound proofed.
One room is a dance studio and cannot be used for jazz, theatre or other music performances as the floor could get damaged.
There is another room which opens off the large hall which would have limited use when bingo is on due to noise considerations.
There is a seniors room which could probably accommodate about 70 people seated, but on bingo nights, all the seats are used for bingo.
Car parking is also an issue on bingo nights.
I think some modifications to this centre, sound proofing, provision of stages, extra seating and parking, would go a long way towards improving the situation for performers.
This would also be fairly economical.
Perhaps some assistance could also be given to local clubs to help improve their performance venues.
I'm a member of the Troubadour Central Coast Folk Club and we hold our meetings at the CWA hall in Woy Woy.
It's good, but does have major limitations for size and artist facilities.
Mozart's Requiem is being performed next week at St John the Baptist Church in Blackwall Rd, Woy Woy, by Central Coast Philharmonia.
It is a wonderful space, but it's not really a public building as such.
Peninsula Theatre is also excellent, but the hiring costs are very substantial and it consequently lies vacant for much of the year.
Some consideration needs to be given to providing new, good, multi-purpose public buildings and ensuring that these are appropriately fitted out and available for use by the public for performances sponsored by the local community or intended for their benefit.
We can and will get by, but we also need to look where we are headed.
Land needs to be put aside for these public buildings before it is claimed for other purposes.
Email, 13 Nov 2017
Ken Grose, Woy Woy