Grant gives BREC chance to life audiences

Emily AceSouth Western Times

The Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre has been awarded $111,000 from Lotterywest to expand its audiences and the services it offers to the community.

Centre general manager Sharon Custers said she was “very happy” to receive the money which would be specifically used to “develop new audiences”.

“We will use it to subsidise shows that would not make enough money to be put on normally, so it’s about growing audiences in specific areas,” she said.

“For example, productions for younger audiences in general, shows with indigenous content and basically having a wide variety of different kinds of shows that we can offer our community.”

Ms Custers said part of the money would also be used to support local theatre makers to produce work in the centre.

“That is definitely a big aspect of it, as well as hosting professional residencies with touring artists to come and spend a bit more time with our local artists so they can help them to develop their skills,” she said.

Ms Custers said the centre applied for the grant each year, but was “a bit cheeky and asked for more money this year than we usually do”.

“We are actually really expanding what we are using the grant for and we obviously put a good argument forward about how we were going to use it,” she said.

“I think using it to help build the capacity of our local artists is what got it over the line.”

The grant is the second success for BREC in a matter of weeks, after it was named the Australian Performing Arts Centre of the Year at the drover awards last month in Sydney.

The injection of funds will be particularly welcomed by the centre after Bunbury City Council last year endorsed decreasing the centre’s operating subsidy from more than $400,000 to $387,300, in lieu of an annual 10 per cent reduction, in a move to make the centre “self-sustaining”.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the grant would provide “direct benefits to our community”.

“It is clear all associated with BREC have a passion for engaging the community in all the performing arts has to offer and I am very pleased to see this passion has been recognised,” he said.

“All communities benefit economically, culturally and socially from an active arts and culture sector, and in the South West, BREC is a key contributor of these benefits.”

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