The Whitehorse Centre will get a new home (same spot) thanks to an investment by the city of Whitehorse.
Councillors had to decide between spending $78 million on a total redevelopment which would increase the theatre size to 600 seats and a new multi level car park or spending $14 million in basic refurbishment.
Cr Davenport said the redeveloped Whitehorse Centre would be a “white elephant” and Cr Ben Stennett likened the refurbishment option to “a pig with lipstick”.
Speaking on behalf of Theatre People.com.au, our CFO Richard Thomas said the Whitehorse Centre was a once “reputable venue” when he first performed there in 1998, however it was now “virtually unworkable” and the redevelopment was essential.
“When this new centre is built — not if, but when — it will be the jewel in the crown of our local area,” Thommo said.
“There’s no business like show business… and there’s no business like council business for that matter. You have heard the people sing, now it’s time to get on with the show,” he said. Well done Thommo! Your theatre community is incredibly grateful for your contribution. We’d also like to thank everyone else who have fought long and hard for many years to help get this across the line.
Williams Ross Architects led a business case and feasibility study into the redevelopment of the thirty-year-old performing arts centre in a sensitive parkland setting.
Market and needs analysis by Positive Solutions and Artefact Consulting confirmed that redevelopment would ideally include a 600 seat proscenium theatre, 200 seat multi-purpose studio theatre, rehearsal room, improved external soundshell stage and 300 person function rooms, together with associated support facilities.
The study included review of existing conditions, theatrical and services scope investigations, flood mapping and car parking analysis, which identified the need for 200 additional car parks. Positive Solutions and Artefact Consulting prepared a five-year business case and operating budgets.
(Disclaimer – We are aware that there were other parties involved in the success of this project (well done it you all). But Thommo’s our boy and let’s face it… He had the greatest number of theatre one liners in his speech, so extra points for that…)