Help secure the future of Her Majesty's Ballarat
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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 143 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 need state and federal governments to provide another $15 million in total ($5 million from state and $10 million from federal) to take our much-loved 'Her Maj' to the next level as arguably Australia's best regional theatre. 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.
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 2018. 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 but a second year without it would put us at risk of closing - and we want the show to go on. 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.
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