Richard Nicholson is more familiar than most with the stage at Her Majesty's Theatre - where the spotlight will shine once again this weekend. He has trodden those boards many times and his father, Peter, was once the president of the Royal South Street Society. Mr Nicholson remembers having a strong connection with the venue from a young age.
So when it came to rejuvenating the historic Ballarat theatre, the family building company he runs, Nicholson Construction, could scarcely have had a more personal link. His knowledge of the stage would become even more in-depth than he ever imagined as young South Street participant.
These things were not known about until the work was started. They were able to cope with those types of things and just get on with itCouncillor Daniel Moloney
After involvement in many city projects, from Ballarat Aquatic centre to Mars Stadium - and now the GovHub works - Nicholson became the main building firm behind the fourth major restoration works in the building's long history.
Ballarat councillor Daniel Moloney is the chairman of the board at Her Majesty's Theatre. He is full of praise for how the company carried out the works and kept to challenging timelines.
"There were things discovered that no one could possibly known were there," Cr Moloney told The Courier. He recalled some "interesting discoveries" - including rotting timber in the middle of brick structures, polystyrene plugging wall cavities, and seepage issues off Lydiard Street, but said the builders took them in their stride.
"These things were not known about until the work was started. They were able to cope with those types of things and just get on with it," Cr Moloney said. "We're really grateful to have a local contractor who can do those type of things."
Brett Macdonald, the CEO of Royal South Street Society, agrees, saying Mr Nicholson really understood the push to get things ready on time. He made particular mention of roof repairs above the stage when the stage couldn't take the weight. "If their planning hadn't worked it would have held the whole project up," he said.
So many people have been on that stage. To think that it's back to its former glory is a wonderful thing.Richard Nicholson
Now the stage that Mr Nicholson knows so well, both as performer and now as a builder, will be back in action this weekend after almost two years. He admitted that the timelines were "pretty terrifying" and the work was complex but said that being pedantic and having access to workers doing historic trades was crucial.
He also paid tribute to the role played by architects Lovell Chen. "We have done a lot of projects with them over the years and they have taught us a lot," he said.
For the man whose role was instrumental in bringing it back to life, the re-opening will be a memorable moment.
"It's a special building for Ballarat," he told The Courier. "So many people have been on that stage. To think that it's back to its former glory is a wonderful thing."
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.