An enthusiastic crowd gathered on Wednesday (July 11) at the Brunswick Picture House to hear producer Peter Castaldi introduce its plans to seek a combination of government and private funding for a renewal of the popular venue.
Planned works include a new roof, a disabled-access toilet block and, to the delight of the crowd, more comfortable seats and air-conditioning.
Owner Brett Haylock said hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent so far on the long-term project, pointing particularly to a $60,000 fire hose, and thanked the local community for their strong support despite ‘attempts from some quarters’ to derail their plans.
‘There are very few secrets around the Picture House; we tend to shout loud and proud about everything we do. But one thing most people are not in any way aware of, is that we are not-for-profit and that my partner Chris Chen and I have brought in significant private sector investment and this has funded all the works to date,’ Brett said.
For the first time the Picture House will now be making applications to Regional Arts NSW, and other government agencies for the next phase of a long-planned capital works program.
Chris Chen said that ‘in order to fully fund detailed future venue improvements, we will now need to expand our financial support base to both government and private sectors.’
The total cost of the new fit-out is estimated to be around $1 million.
An animated and passionate Ben Franklin MLC addressed the crowd, vowing to ‘give 100 per cent’ of his effort to support the venue’s funding applications, telling Echonetdaily that the unique, creative venue was ‘exactly what this local area needs’.