Civic Hall has reopened its doors to the public again after a second stage of works was completed, finishing off the project to fix up the venue that was once closed for more than a decade.
The $2 million second stage including fitting the hall with a commercial kitchen and a new stage access lift, along with a power upgrade, roofing works and some on stage elements.
Civic Hall will reopen with a bang on Thursday night when it hosts the 2021 Federation Business School Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards celebration party.
Getting Civic Hall reopened and upgraded is especially important as capital works planning is in development for Her Majesty's Theatre and contingent programming under way, with council venue management to utilise alternative venues such as Civic Hall and other key sites throughout the city during 2022.
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Upcoming events include comedy specials from Anh Do, Jimeoin and Ross Noble; theatre shows such as Mono, and live music performances from John Williamson, Jon Stevens and Paul Kelly.
Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said the upgrades would allow Civic Hall to be scalable for smaller events through to large concerts.
"I ultimately want to see a range of facilities across the entire city that cater to a whole lot of different pricing points and opportunities. This particular one is ultimately a flexible venue that can do many different things," he said.
"The first stage was to get the building open again, to do a lot of the basic infrastructure and make it an attractive place to have events. The feedback was that we wanted to have a basic kitchen as well as a lift to the stage, they were a couple of the next key elements that promoters and event hirers told us they really needed.
"The nature of these types of venues is that you try to get them as heavily used as you possibly can and if there's need for any future upgrades, we can do it."
Cr Moloney said the kitchen and lift were not included in the original plans as the focus at the time was on restoring the building and proving there was a market for its use and it could make a return on the investment.
"I started on the last council back in 2016 and one of our priorities was to get the hall open and we also knew we wouldn't be able to do absolutely everything all at once, both for financial reasons and the size of the budget required as well as the amount of time required to do it," he said.
"We also wanted to prove that Civic Hall, after such a long absence, would be used again and embraced by people.
"I think it was really a case of us wanting to prove there was a market there before investing any further and that's why I see the Civic Hall as a project that could be delivered, potentially, in stages."
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