Bellingen Memorial Hall grand reopening postponed

Nearly ready but not quite, Bellingen Memorial Hall renovation delays have pushed back the Grand Opening to May.

IT IS not the news that Bellingen Shire Council wanted to deliver, but the planned celebrations around the town’s Memorial Hall Grand Opening have been pushed back to May to allow for the finishing touches to be completed.

Committed to delivering a great experience for everyone, the Council has announced the new dates as May 29 to June 3, to suit the performers and organisers.

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However, an earlier event to be held at the Hall will be Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) in April, as the film festival returns to Bellingen after a two-year hiatus.

This will give the community a chance to experience the Hall before the official opening event in May.

Council and the local community have planned a multi-arts performance program across five nights to show off the new facility and its audio-visual capability, now scheduled for May.

Council staff, along with contractors, have been working hard to make sure the re-opening of Memorial Hall is a great experience for both the performers and the audiences but as the planned mid-March opening loomed, it was clear a postponement was required.

First hit by COVID forcing ‘down tools’, the Memorial Hall redevelopment has seen many challenges including floods and stormy weather events.

Building materials shortages, supply chain issues, and access to trades have delayed various stages of the upgrade.

The unforeseen delays that upgrading a 100-year-old structure requires, to ensure it meets today’s building requirements, was another setback for the development plans.

Despite these delays, the Memorial Hall refurbishment is very close to completion.

New features include a new multipurpose studio including kitchenette and audio visual capability, upgraded green room facilities for large performances and stage productions, new seating on a stepped platform for increased capacity and improving the view to the stage, and additional parking and accessibility including upgraded bathroom facilities, stage lifts and ramps.

The construction of the Memorial Hall upgrade is part of Bellingen Shire’s Community Vision 2035.

The vision for Memorial Hall is so that the Shire has the facilities needed to foster collaboration, community and creativity.

The refurbishment of the Hall and associated amenities will welcome diverse performances and nurture a healthy creative culture within the community.

The upgrades included making the venue accessible and suitable for a range of artistic expressions.


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