ACT Hub brings four companies together in Causeway Hall, Canberra’s first theater venue | The Canberra Times

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When actors once again take the stage at Causeway Hall, they will breathe new life into Canberra’s first venue, in a bold project that the directors hope will bolster the local theater scene. The 96-year-old venue will become the new home of the Australian Capital Theater Hub, providing a permanent stage for four local, independent groups: Mockingbird, Free-Rain, Everyman and Chaika theater companies. It’s a fitting location, with actors returning to the site of Canberra’s first community production: a March 1926 season of Douglas Murray’s The Man From Toronto. Mockingbird Theater Company’s Artistic Director Chris Baldock said he was making history. could see the venue and that it was a coincidence that it would once again be a home for local theater. “It’s come full circle, as far as I’m concerned. We’re all very proud and humbled that we’re doing that,” he said. Mr Baldock said he wanted to show things that were challenging and different from the usual Canberra productions, and build an audience for work never before seen in the ACT. “I just hope that Canberra’s theatre-goers, and people who aren’t so much ordinary theatre-goers who will become ordinary theatre-goers, will say, ‘There’s a play tonight that wouldn’t normally be seen here that’s a bit more interesting, a bit more provocative, a little more challenging, but still entertaining and still thought-provoking. Let’s go see,” he said. “We want to grow to the point where we’re full and then we get too big for this place. And then we can go and say, ‘Now it’s time for our audience to be at The Playhouse,’ or whatever. to be. But we have to grow.” Anne Somes of the Free-Rain Theater said that in its long history the Causeway Hall had been everything to the community, and ACT Hub was just another step. “I think Canberra is coming to the cultural forefront and I think we’re in a position where we can now show that’s the case,” she said. Ms. Somes, whose company was founded 27 years ago, said the hub would support the professional careers of local actors and hopefully would bring people back to the ACT to perform in front of a growing and committed audience.” We want to be able to say that there will always be something that will appeal, and also in a diverse demographic. The possibilities are endless and I think the timing is right. We’ll see how we go, but we’re excited,” she said. Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said the exciting proposal would mean transforming the venue within the boundaries of its heritage registry into a multi-purpose space for performances, an initiative that aligned with the strategies in the government’s statement of ambition for the arts.”With a season of eight shows, classes, workshops and several special theater events throughout the year, the ACT Hub will also focus on providing development opportunities for emerging directors and designers,” said Ms. Cheyne. READ MORE: Ms. Cheyne said the venue would be leased by the government to ACT Hub on an initial two-year lease with priority use of the venue, and would still be available for community events and casual tenants. She said community consultations found strong support for the project earlier in the year Built in 1925 by volunteers from the Canberra Social Service Association with supplies from the Federal Capital Commission, Hall is the last remaining substantial building from the original Causeway settlement. As the first purpose-built hall, it was Canberra’s main nightlife venue in the city’s earliest years. Movies, dances, concerts and boxing matches were held in the hall. It was on the heritage list in 2005. Our journalists work hard to provide local, current news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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ACT Hub brings four companies together in Causeway Hall, Canberra's first theater venue | The Canberra Times 2

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