CenterStage Geelong have begun to settle into their new home, Warehouse 26, after a build that was a long time in the making. Privately funded for the benefit of the company and sharing with two other musical theatre groups and a dance studio, CenterStage looks ready to move into a new and more settled phase of their performing life.
Theatre People spoke to David Greenwood (the companies President) about the future of CenterStage, and what it means to the group and their collaborators to have a purpose built rehearsal and performance space.

“While I wouldn’t say that it is necessary for an amateur company to have their own purpose built space, there is no doubt that CenterStage is going to have a much easier time putting on a show in the future. Not only economically, but now we can build our sets and rehearse in the same space – keeping all aspects of our company and our shows contained in one building is efficient, and our group can work together to create a family space. It feels like a home, and it’s great to have a space where we can both work and relax.”

Above: The atmosphere presented at Warehouse 26 begins in the foyer and travels through to each room in the building.

Currently heading into Evita rehearsals (the show will be performed in July), Warehouse 26 has allowed a different approach to multiple creative aspects of the musical, and has allowed the production team to work a little differently to normal.

“In past years we have had to hire out spaces, so this year the Warehouse has definitely made things a lot easier for many parts of our production. Evita is a massive show, things like choreography and dance rehearsals will be a lot easier and a lot less cramped. Our old rehearsal space was about a quarter of the size available to us at the Warehouse, which is around 800 square metres in total. We don’t have to be on top of each other anymore, our choreographer is excited about that!”

Above: Vocal Tuition Room B, featuring a poster from the upcoming Evita!

Speaking of excitement, Mr. Greenwood was also happy to talk to Theatre People about future opportunities for the space, telling us that CenterStage is planning on installing a lighting rig in order to use the space to not just rehearse, but to also perform their smaller yearly production. According to Mr. Greenwood, the opportunities available in the space are endless. With multiple rehearsal rooms equipped with a grand piano each, a sound system running through the building and rooms created specifically for set construction, props and costumes, everyone is very excited to get to work on a new chapter of the CenterStage life.

“It's unbelievable how much we have managed to achieve in the five years since this company started. We love theatre, and it is fantastic that the people that have worked with our company have given us their support. We are all about Geelong Theatre, so it feels great to give back somehow… When our cast first saw this space it was just a shell. To see them come back now and to be so surprised at what we have achieved – it’s fantastic.”

Above: Previous show props adorn the walls of Warehouse 26.

Another exciting aspect about the development of Warehouse 26 is that CenterStage have not only worked on making a user-friendly space, but a beautifully designed and decorated space too. Mr. Greenwood believes that this ties in to the idea of making a home for the company, rather than just a rehearsal space.

“We have used new and vintage furniture to make the Warehouse look and feel comfortable as well as all different types of artwork. We've got office spaces, storage rooms, everything that a company needs to function, but we definitely wanted to make sure it felt like a nice space to live in too. We work for so many hours to put a show in front of audiences, it's important to make sure everyone loves the space we rehearse in. I'm amazed at how it turned out, and I'm sure that anyone who visits us will be excited to explore our new home!”

Publicly launched on March 25th, Theatre People are certain that Warehouse 26 will continue to bring joy to Geelong performers for a long time to come. You can check out a full gallery of images from Warehouse 26 at this link and you can like CenterStage on Facebook here.