SUBSTANTIAL council funding cuts to the Balaklava Town Hall has driven a major change in direction for the hall committee, which is now working hard to ensure the community-owned facility can stand on its own two feet and secure its long-term survival.
The hall is managed by a small committee of five members, who are working hard to raise the profile of the wonderful facility to increase its usage and community presence.
An Open Night is planned for Tuesday, April 30 from 7.30pm at the Balaklava Town Hall.
BTH committee chairperson, Rod Nankivell, said the public will be given the opportunity to tour the facility, find out what the BTH committee does and be entertained by some of the performances already planned for presentation at the hall over the next few months.
"We will also be presenting what opportunities there are to be involved at committee level as treasurer or in administration, on a fundraising committee or as a Friend of the Balaklava Town Hall," Mr Nankivell said.
"The community will see what is planned for the facility into the future and then consider how they could be involved.
"This is a pivotal moment in the life of the Balaklava Town Hall as we seek new direction going forward and to build this new vision, we need community support.
"We look forward to sharing what is happening this year and hearing what the community would like to see happen in this iconic local facility."
Mr Nankivell said the hall is a valuable asset in the Mid North region, drawing thousands of visitors to the facility and the town through the many events presented at the venue every year.
These include the Balaklava Eisteddfod, the Balaklava Community Arts theatre productions, concerts and productions presented by the Balaklava High School, Horizon Christian School, and the Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir, as well as to social events like bush dances, formal events including weddings, celebration parties and presentation evenings.
"It was the vision of the Wakefield Plains council back in the mid 1980s that the Balaklava Town Hall was developed to be a regional centre," Mr Nankivell said.
"35 years on, the BTH now houses the largest and best equipped theatre facility between Adelaide and Port Pirie.
"The theatre equipment has been maintained to its current high degree by grant opportunities over the years, with grant funds being matched dollar for dollar out of facility funds.
"We have received many endorsements from guest artists expressing their delight at the excellent acoustics and technical equipment provided for their use."
Also housed within the facility is a commercial kitchen, which is able to cater for up to 240 people in a sit down dinner, one of the largest such facilities in the area.
The hall is a State Heritage listed building, owned by the Wakefield Regional Council, which has provided valuable financial support for many years.
"The annual funding was directed into repairs and maintenance, including full painting of the facility, air conditioning, floor covering replacement, underpinning etc," Mr Nankivell said.
"WRC councillors voted to withdraw the annual funding to the BTH, which means that maintenance and any equipment upgrade is now the responsibility of the management committee, as well as the ongoing management of the facility."
Council continues to be responsible for any structural repairs that may be required.
Mr Nankivell said the committee was working to respond as positively as it could.
"The change in funding has provided the committee with the opportunity to seek out new ways of maintaining and operating the facility and we invite the public to be involved in planning this new direction," he said.
A 'Tour of the Facility' will also be on offer, which will take visitors upstairs to view the technical side of the theatre, backstage to where the cast and crew work their magic, and into the commercial kitchen, which as a rule is locked and available by request under the supervision of a qualified person.
Anyone interested in going on a tour can register by calling 1300 655 224 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.