Troubled times for group

Troubled times for group

Roleystone Theatre members Rod Padgett, Jo Padgett and president Keith Thomas-Wurth. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Hard-hitting questions surrounding the ongoing maintenance of the building, the future of the group, and the Roleystone Theatre’s temporary home, were put to one of the City of Armadale’s officers at a meeting last week.

More than 40 people packed the theatre’s new home at Roleystone Hall on October 16 to quiz Armadale executive manager of community services Neil Kegie about the future of the building and the organisation.

President Keith Thomas-Wurth said while the council had provided support to date, the future of the building was not certain as far as a performing arts venue.

“The two Hills ward councillors are very supportive of the theatre as they see Roleystone Theatre as a critical part of Roleystone and invaluable in terms of the cultural and social impacts it provides for the community,” he said.

“We would like to meet with all the councillors.”

At the meeting Mr Kegie told the members and residents that it was no surprise they were there to discuss the building given the number of additions that had been built over the years.

He said the group would be supported no matter what happened and that a report would go back to council in December with the costs and a plan for a new theatre building.

“We have been meeting regularly with representatives from the theatre group about the theatre itself and how the group would continue to operate in the interim,” he said.

“We are developing a concept of a redeveloped theatre, which would see the hall of the old auditorium remain and the fly tower, dressing rooms and green room to be removed and rebuilt.”

He said the officers would also look at options in the auditorium including retractable seating, which would open up different performance options for the theatre.

At the meeting Mr Negie continually said that the development of the theatre had “popped up out of the blue”, which disgusted residents who said funding should have been put aside in previous financial year budgets for its ongoing maintenance.

Mayor Henry Zelones said the responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the building was shared under the conditions of the agreement between the city and the group.

“This funding is for the maintenance of a building and is not intended to fund the replacement of buildings when they reach the end of their practical life,” he said.

Mr Zelones said the councillors were well informed on relevant issues and would consider all aspects of the theatre and the hall.

The group will operate out of the Roleystone Hall in the interim and will likely perform at outside venues such as the revitalised Armadale District Hall once it reopens.