Theatre plan revealed

MAJOR VISION: How the Ipswich Performing Arts Centre could look.
MAJOR VISION: How the Ipswich Performing Arts Centre could look.

PLANS for an Ipswich Performing Arts Centre with a 1500 seat auditorium and 600 seat function centre have been revealed by Mayor Paul Pisasale.

The riverside theatre on Bell St next to David Trumpy Bridge has been four years in the planning and is waiting for state and federal government funding.

The Mayor said the Ipswich Performing Arts Centre (IPAC) project in today's dollars would cost $88 million.

He said the IPAC wasn't an election promise but it came after Peter Luxton promised a festival hall if he was elected mayor.

The Mayor said the need for a first class venue with larger audience capacity was identified in the Ipswich Regional Centre Strategy in 2008.

In 2010, the Federal Government provide a $500,000 grant from the Better Regions program to pay for a feasibility study into a multi-purpose venue for live theatre, conventions and touring events.

"The most important thing this city needs is a major performing arts centre," the Mayor said.

"This is what annoys me. The things that Peter Luxton is bringing up, he needs to find out what's happening in the city.

"The festival hall was closed down in Brisbane because they needed something different; the modern thing is a performing arts centre. You need to have an auditorium with 1500 seats and you need a function centre with 600 seats for conferences.

"As a temporary measure we've upgraded the civic hall but we can't get the big performers because we don't have the capacity."

As well as funding, the project will need agreements from the State Government, Queensland Health and TransLink to get the land.

"We've developed a model and we've utilised the river and we've gone out and consulted with every stakeholder group in the city to find out what's needed in the performing arts, different organisations and conferences," Cr Pisasale said

"The key is when government funding becomes available, we'll be ready. That's why Ipswich is ahead of the pack."

Mr Luxton said a festival hall was the best way to stimulate the CBD.

"I'm trying to breathe some life into the city. It's the only way to revive the city centre," Mr Luxton said.

"Newcastle's doing it, Townsville's doing it, Port Pirie's doing it, Geelong's doing it and if Ipswich doesn't do it, we'll be dead.

"Having a cultural district is reviving these dead city centres.

"I'm not talking auditoriums and all that stuff; it is just basically a festival hall, a seat in the round concert arena. It's not going to be a big flashy thing.

"With something like a festival hall I'm sure you would get corporate sponsorship; you'd have naming rights or whatever; they'd do it as a goodwill thing. You've got big rich mining companies in Ipswich, I'm sure they'd like to give money back to the city.

"As a last resort, it is pertinent to borrow for major assets."

Ipac facts

  • Stage with 1500 seats and balcony-style theatre.
  • Secondary space for functions or meetings.
  • Space for smaller meetings or functions.

Topics:  ipswich performing arts centre

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