Many entertainment venues on the Far North Coast are using COVID-19 downtime to upgrade their facilities.
Lismore’s NORPA is one such venue as they look forward to re-opening City Hall and flashing their upgrades to the region.
In 2019 NORPA received a $1.16 million dollar grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund to upgrade the audio and lighting equipment, along with outside signage and illumination at Lismore City Hall to elevate the venue to the standard of contemporary performing arts venues.
NORPA’s Artistic Director and CEO Julian Louis says the upgrade is a turning point for NORPA and the community. ‘We can’t wait to open the doors to our community in Lismore and beyond, when we are able to do so legally and safely.
‘Lismore City Hall and NORPA, are crucial to the nightlife and night-time economy of Lismore. Local businesses know when there’s a show on because there are more people around and they are busier.’
More live music and local talent at Lismore’s City Hall
Mr Louis says NORPA are looking to expand the use of the venue even further with a live music program which will include showcasing local talent at their new Courtyard Bar and regular band and cabaret nights in the Studio. ‘We will continue to build on our relationship with Kate Stroud, formerly of the Dusty Attic live music venue, in making Lismore City Hall a space for our music-loving community to come together.
Venue and Events Manager Jumana Schriefer is excited to get the lights back on. ’Lismore City Hall has gained recognition among national and international promoters and touring companies as a premiere venue to include on their national tours.
‘We’re actively talking with the industry during the lockdown as touring is expected to increase dramatically once restrictions are lifted.’
The upgrades will significantly reduce electricity consumption and the costs of maintenance, equipment hire and labour. It provides opportunities for established technicians and young people in the region interested in technical production.
Shining a light on NORPA and City Hall
Production Manager Karl Johnson, who has worked at NORPA for 20 years, says the venue improvements shine a light on the importance of NORPA and Lismore City Hall to the broader arts and culture economy of our region.
‘The venue improvements cement Lismore City Hall’s place as vital infrastructure for our community. NORPA is an anchor employer of lighting, sound and staging technicians in our region.’
Julian Louis says he is looking forward to gathering the community together to mark the reopening of an important cultural and community asset for Lismore. ‘When the time is right we’ll invite the community to come together and celebrate Lismore City Hall.
‘It holds a special place in our hearts and history as a meeting place for our community for some 55 years.
‘There is great pride and responsibility in managing and carrying this tradition for our town.’