The Mid-North Coast community is celebrating a $1 million injection in new arts and culture funding for the Manning Entertainment Centre (MEC), thanks to the NSW Nationals in the federal government.
NSW Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said the funding will support the MEC to bring the best of arts and culture to the people of our region.
“Arts and culture is about enriching communities with sound, colour and creativity,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The MEC has been the Arts and cultural heart of our region for 30 years and these upgrades will ensure we attract a larger number and more diverse acts closer to home.”
The new theatre will be a multi-purpose space with state-of-the art facilities featuring retractable seating for up to 150 patrons. There’ll be a versatile rigging system to accommodate many different types of shows, cinema projection equipment and audio gear.
Rod Illidge from Committee of the MEC said this space will be perfect for smaller and more intimate productions. It will also facilitate masterclasses and workshops, so the number of in-house events will increase markedly.
“Our final designs of the theatre space have now been completed, DA approved and out to tender, we expect construction to begin in the first half of 2021,” Mr Illidge said.
MidCoast Council mayor David West said the planned upgrade is the single biggest investment since the Manning Entertainment Centre was built as a bicentennial project in 1987.
“Our community is richer for having cultural facilities like the MEC & Art Gallery and I am so very grateful to our local Nationals Members David Gillespie and Stephen Bromhead for their investment,” Cr West said.
“It’s really exciting we are building an Entertainment and Cultural precinct that will deliver amazing shows, concerts and events to the MidCoast.
“This fund is all about building on that rich arts and culture offering and enhancing it – not only for those living in our regional towns, but for those who’ll flock to those towns as visitors, keen for a unique arts and cultural experience.”
The MEC upgrades are possible due to $1.55 million in funding from the NSW Nationals in the state government’s Regional Cultural Fund and $1 million bequeathed from the estate of local philanthropist, Beryl June Flett.
The NSW Nationals in the federal government’s contribution is funded from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.