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									WESTSIDE PAC: FUTURE DIRECTIONS “Furthering the Dream”
Discussion Paper Only
NOTE:
         This paper is provided as an outcome of initial meetings aimed at reviewing the achievements of the WestSide PAC over the
          last 10 years and setting out a plan for the facility‟s future.
         The meetings have been attended by representatives of Greater Shepparton City Council, Mooroopna SC and the broad
          community.
         This initial discussion paper aims to summarise the results of initial „strengths and weaknesses‟ analysis conducted at the first
          two meetings and offers ONE viewpoint of future directions that might be pursued.
         It does not represent the specific preferred position of any particular stakeholder.
         The aim is to develop a “Future Directions” document that is acceptable to ALL stakeholders and includes provision for an MOU
          for the facility‟s use by the schools and wider community

Vision:

The ‘dream’ which underpinned the original building of WestSide was to achieve a sustainable arts facility that will
serve the needs and aspirations of the Shepparton Community and Education generally, in terms of providing for
teaching/learning and participation/experience of the Performing Arts.

At this time, 10 years after opening WestSide, some aspects of this vision are being met to a very high level but
some practical and operational issues and limitations remain which threaten the sustainability of the WestSide
‘dream’ into the future.

This paper aims to recognise the achievements while addressing these limitations. It remains committed to
achieving the original vision of a partnership between Council, Community, College and Education, supported by
State Government, to deliver outstanding programs and projects in Performing Arts presentation, practice and
education.

The ideal outcome of the current review of WestSide will be a strategic plan that will consolidate and sustain the
considerable Community, Council and State Government contribution already committed to the facility while
ensuring on-going achievement of the ambitious objectives of providing a centre which is at the forefront of ‘best
practice’ in delivering community cultural development outcomes and valuable educational programs.

Overview (our agreed starting points):

The original ‘dream’ of those who drove the planning and fundraising which resulted in the building of WestSide
PAC encompassed providing a facility that would serve the needs of both Education and the Community.

It is now time to reassess those needs and any needs that have since emerged, to evaluate the degree to which
these are currently being met, and where necessary to initiate plans to ensure the facility continues to be vital,
active and sustainable in the future.

Council has reaffirmed its commitment to delivering and presenting the community performing arts program (the
‘Riverlinks” program.) The WestSide PAC facility is essential to Council’s capacity to deliver this program and it
cannot be delivered at the Eastbank Centre alone.

WestSide PAC currently only meets the community needs in terms of presentation of finished work; it does not
meet any community aspirations for a place to learn new skills, share resources and ideas, rehearse or
participate in developing or creating work.

If a strong partnership between College, Community and Council can be developed to articulate a united vision to
address current problems and deficiencies, to sustain the things achieved so far, as well as to meet new and
emerging needs and opportunities, there is a strong likelihood that it could be supported with funding from a
range of sources.


                                                Discussion Paper 7th June, 2007                                              1
Situation analysis:

„Strengths‟ (What we have NOW…)                            „Weaknesses‟ (What we do not have …)

A well designed 400 seat proscenium arch theatre          Adequate dressing room and backstage facilities.
enjoying high occupancy levels and regularly              Adequate audience facilities (foyer, toilets, etc)
showcasing work from professional, community              A smaller ‘black box’ theatre (100 seats) more suited to a
and school productions.                                   range of other theatre/music activities and performances.


Growing interest and involvement in teaching and          Teaching and learning spaces available every day,
learning in music, drama, theatre studies, dance          including rehearsal, workshop and studio spaces.
and media studies at MSC and at other schools in          A regional ‘centre of excellence’ in teaching performing
the region.                                               arts.


An active and relatively well supported program of        Full technical requirements for community and
touring professional performing arts, funded and          professional company needs. (eg more counterweight
managed by Council and supported by Arts Vic.             sets)
                                                          Strong and consistent use of this program by schools.


Active use of the performing space for                    Facilities available to community groups for
presentation of end-products of community and             teaching/rehearsal/workshop use.
schools performing arts practice.                         Hub/meeting place for community arts groups and
                                                          location for a Community Arts Officer.
                                                          Schools and Community users well trained to make use
                                                          of professional theatre facilities.


A number of active community perf/arts groups             Rehearsal spaces they can access easily and
(eg STAG, Turaton, GVCO)                                  economically and where greater community participation
                                                          can be generated.


A significant level of community performing arts          Rehearsal and teaching spaces they can access easily
activity (eg Dance schools, Drama schools, GV             and economically and where improved access to
Voice, etc)                                               activities is provided.


Professional Tech staff and opportunities for             Methodical application of this opportunity and access to
training development in theatre tech fields in the        appropriate certificates.
context of delivering productions.


The weaknesses identified above go to the core of the issues which now threaten the WestSide ‘dream’.
     The schools do not have the teaching spaces needed for the Performing Arts.
     WestSide Theatre alone does not provide suitable day-to-day teaching/learning spaces.
     WestSide Theatre does not provide suitable audience facilities in terms of the foyer, toilets and
       hospitality amenities/services.
     Current use of WestSide as a Community PAC impacts on the College’s ability to access the space.
     The Schools’ use of the space impacts on the Community use.
     Where necessary, separation between community use and college use is difficult to achieve.
     For WestSide’s on-going sustainability as a shared resource, an MOU needs to be developed that
       defines the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the parties involved in use/management/scheduling.

                                         Discussion Paper 7th June, 2007                                    2
What‟s the solution?

Simple answer: More space and spaces need to be built.

One solution would see a piece-meal building program that tries to place new facilities in and around the existing
facility, but retains the ‘W’ rooms and the Coulson Centre in their present usage. This pragmatic solution does to
address the present ‘interface’ problems caused by incongruence of use/purpose of the internal spaces.

A second solution is to take a more ‘global view’ by looking at the potential for the entire ‘WestSide’ block of
buildings (including the Coulson Centre Gym) to be used for Performing Arts/Arts by redeveloping the existing
internal spaces and replacing the facilities ‘lost’ in this process elsewhere on the College Campus.

The resulting ‘complex’ would contain, in the one building, a professional standard 400+ seat pros arch theatre, a
professional standard 100 seat ‘Black Box’ theatre, suitable backstage facilities for both, suitable foyer and
audience facilities for a professional theatre, accessible small rehearsal/instrumental teaching rooms, larger
rehearsal spaces (equivalent to the main stages), a dance studio, an orchestra space, a scenery studio, storage,
breakout spaces, an admin point/office and a central arrival/meeting space separate from the main theatre foyers.
The rehearsal and studio spaces would all be able to be used regardless of whether a professional or community
production was on show in the main theatres and could be accessed without accessing the main theatre spaces
or foyers.

This complex would be called The WestSide Community Performing Arts Activity and Education Centre.
(WestSide PAC would be only one part of this complex).

The complex would serve the present and future needs of the College, the Community and the Professional
Touring sector.

In addition, the complex would place Shepparton/Mooroopna at the forefront of delivery of education in the
performing arts linked directly to community cultural development and delivery of community cultural services.

Possible actions for discussion:

    1. The Coulson Centre (with WestSide) becomes part of the Community Performing Arts Activity and
       Education Centre providing workshop spaces, small rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, a band studio, a
       large rehearsal room, a scenery workshop and a community cultural hub/Community Cultural
       Development Officer’s location.

    2. The redevelopment delivers teaching and learning spaces (and storage) accessible and available to the
       college all day every day and available to community users out of school hours. The College administers
       and hires the spaces to community users (as at present with the Coulson Centre.)

    3. The space also provides a small 100 seat ‘Black Box’ space/theatre, available to the school and the
       community and accessible both from the rehearsal spaces and from the main foyers. This sort of flexible
       performance space would be well suited to touring shows by small and independent theatre companies
       as well as education uses and ‘experimental’ work.

    4. The space also delivers the opportunity to cost effectively install suitable audience toilet facilities for
       theatre attending audiences, (as well as separate toilet and change facilities for the studios and
       rehearsal spaces) and provides for the necessary expansion of backstage dressing/toilet/shower spaces
       for the main theatre and ‘Black Box’ theatre.

    5. The ‘W’ rooms provide for the required foyer spaces (for both the main theatre and the ‘Black Box’
       theatre), as well as a formal function and reception space for Community/College use.

    6. The ‘W’ rooms space would also provide room for improved kitchen facilities and a café/restaurant/bar
       zone.

                                        Discussion Paper 7th June, 2007                               3
    7. The existing spaces ‘under’ the tiered seating of the main theatre provide theatre office and
       administration spaces and box office.

    8. The College builds a new Gymnasium/PE/Sports facility that has retractable seating (say, for 1400) so it
       can also be used for showcase sporting events and whole school assemblies.

    9. The College builds a new Middle Years teaching and learning centre to replace classrooms lost from ‘W’
       rooms’ redevelopment.

ANOTHER solution? Suggestions invited please.

A possible Funding Partnership

DEET and the College could demonstrate their commitment to this ‘Centre of Education Excellence’ in Performing
Arts by contributing to the Coulson Centre redevelopment and the new Gym and Middle Years Centre.

Arts Victoria would demonstrate its commitment by contributing to the development of the ‘W’ rooms into theatre
foyers/audience facilities, the stage and back stage developments and the development of the ‘Black Box’ space.

Greater Shepparton City Council could demonstrate its commitment to the partnership by contributing to the
‘Community Performing Arts Activity Centre’ aspect of the Coulson Centre redevelopment and the theatre’s ‘W’
rooms’ redevelopment as theatre foyers/audience facilities upgrade. In addition, the major contribution by Council
would be the cost of on-going management of the theatre program and facility.

A strong case will need to be made for major Philanthropic contribution to the project.

Management Structure.

This redevelopment process will also encompass development of an effective MOU to cover the management,
ongoing financial management and future sustainability of the centre. The role and responsibilities of Council’s
officer(s) and the role and responsibilities of the College and its officers will be clearly spelled out.

Financial accountabilities and responsibilities would be defined, performance targets and indicators established
and a joint committee or board representing all stakeholders set up to monitor the performance and policies of
The WestSide Community Performing Arts Activity and Education Centre.

The outstanding issue of the planning permit process should be addressed and resolved as a priority in this
process, to enable adoption of a binding MOU, providing certainty into the future for all stakeholders.

What‟s Next?
   1. We are asking groups and individuals to consider this discussion paper and provide feedback in writing
        by July 31, 2007 to:
             Rob Robson (Manager for Performing Arts COGS) - rob.robson@shepparton.vic.gov.au
             Gary Fletcher (Principal Mooroopna SC) – fletcher.gary.w@edumail.vic.gov.au

    2.   Our intention is then to convene a public meeting to ratify the proposal at Westside on Weds 8 August.

    3. This would this be formally presented to: Greater Shepparton City Council, MSC Council, DE&T and Arts
       Vic. in order to commence exploring funding opportunities.

    4. In addition, we would need to seek philanthropic financial support for the development.

    5. If you have questions please contact either Rob or Gary.

    6. People are encouraged to distribute this discussion paper to any interested party and to provide input.

                                         Discussion Paper 7th June, 2007                              4

								
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