I'm the CEO of the Royal South Street Society in Ballarat - Australia's oldest performing arts eisteddfod. Her Majesty's Ballarat has been our spiritual home since the mid 80s and is our unfair advantage. It brings people to our competition and to our city. After 144 years, this historic theatre needs major restorative and access works to ensure it can continue to be a place where everyone can gather to enjoy a range of professional, amateur and community performances. The theatre was forced to close for emergency safety works in December 2017. With the theatre being closed, our entries dropped dramatically, putting the society at risk financially and with less people coming to Ballarat our business community has also suffered. We plan to return to the famous raked stage in 2019 but there is still much to be done.
We are thrilled that the state government committed $10 million to restoration works at Her Majesty's Ballarat during last year's election campaign, however more is needed to take our much-loved 'Her Maj' to the next level as arguably Australia's best regional theatre. We will continue to advocate for the $5 million needed to complete the works. Without this funding, the theatre will fall behind - it will fail to provide all ability amenities, such as lift access for performers to the stage and audience members to the dress circle and balcony - meaning only some members of the community can enjoy all areas of this magnificent theatre. We want the Australian Government to commit to this. To do this, we need you - the community - to get behind this petition to help ensure it catches the attention of the politicians in Canberra. Together, we can secure the future of Her Majesty's Ballarat for many years to come!
The Royal South Street Society was formed in 1879 as the young men's debating society and is still relevant, offering performing arts opportunities to people in 2019. We are over a century old and until Her Majesty's was closed we were steadily growing year on year. South Street has survived a year without the theatre and we are excited to announce that we intend to return in 2019.
We are one of Australia's largest eisteddfods. In a normal year we have about 11,000 competitors and a paying audience of around 34,000. We are a genuine not-for-profit community organisation that not only helps young performers but we also engage more than 200 volunteers, mainly retirees, who work side of stage or as an usher, in administration and security, timing and writing. Volunteering gives them a sense of achievement and pride and helps build their network and skills while giving many young Australians an opportunity to achieve pure performance gold.