by Jenny Dowell
Lismore Theatre Company is celebrating after Lismore City Council voted unanimously at its May meeting to grant the company a new five year lease for the Rochdale Theatre on Ballina Road Goonellabah.
In 2015, Council had agreed to examine interest from potential buyers of the building at the end of the current lease in July this year but fortunately, staff recommended that the current lease arrangements to LTC offered the best use of the building from both an economic and social perspective.
President of LTC, Sharon Brodie who addressed the meeting prior to the vote, expressed her appreciation to the councillors and staff, ‘The unanimous vote was wonderful news. We now have security for the next five years allowing us to plan for our shows well into the future.’
Part of the lease arrangements will be a negotiated higher lease fee that may prove a challenge to the company particularly as the current pandemic induced closure continues.
Sharon added ‘Long term, we may be interested in purchasing the building but we would need a grant or a generous benefactor to help if the committee decides to go down that path’.
During the downtime of the current Covid19 restrictions, the committee has not been idle. The new roof has been installed plus insulation in the ceiling, seating has been repaired and the theatre has been thoroughly cleaned.
‘The set for Educating Rita that was due to open on 20 March is intact and the cast Elyse Knowles and Gray Wilson continue to work on their lines. The Company has also been exploring other possible productions via Zoom readings’ said Sharon Brodie. When the restrictions allow, LTC will be ready to once again entertain the community with high quality productions.
Pic President Sharon Brodie (front centre) and committee members at Rochdale Theatre.