Renmark’s Chaffey Theatre masterplan includes new performance space, visual art and digital hubs

Emilee Geist

A masterplan to develop the Chaffey Theatre in Renmark has been unveiled and includes an enlarged foyer, digital hubs and a smaller performance space for contemporary dance and theatre. Key points: A 20-year masterplan has been developed for the Chaffey Theatre in Renmark It includes a new 200-seat contemporary dance […]

A masterplan to develop the Chaffey Theatre in Renmark has been unveiled and includes an enlarged foyer, digital hubs and a smaller performance space for contemporary dance and theatre.

While the 500-seat auditorium will remain the hub of the theatre, there are also plans to include new spaces for visual arts, 3D artworks and outdoor projections.

Country Arts South Australia chief executive, Anthony Peluso, said the masterplan was shared with stakeholders and the community this week and would shape future planning for the next 20 years.

The masterplan was developed by Adelaide architect firm Grieve Gillett Andersen following consultation with local government, educators, Aboriginal representatives and the wider community in May 2019.

A more inviting and casual forecourt and an expanded foyer will greet patrons.

“It’s lovely at the Chaffey but it is a little slim,” Mr Peluso said of the foyer space.

The forecourt will be expanded to include nature play and cater for outdoor projections and festivals.

Man stands in front of theatre with sign that says Chaffey Theatre.
Country Arts SA chief executive Anthony Peluso in the Chaffey Theatre forecourt, which will be developed to create a more engaging space.(ABC Riverland: Anita Ward)

The expansion will build on existing facilities, but is set to include smaller theatre and visual arts spaces with room for hanging artworks.

“It will be a space that the audience and community will engage with quite naturally as they move through the venue,” Mr Peluso said.

New era for local artists and audiences

The back of the theatre is currently used as a drama studio by Renmark High School and will be expanded for the whole community to use.

A flexible 200-seat black box space will also be established for contemporary theatre and dance performances.

“The seating is completely retractable so it can be used for meetings, or cabaret events,” Mr Peluso said.

In keeping with modern and future technologies, the plan also identified two new digital hubs that will allow for streaming and gaming.

Mr Peluso said the organisation would be seeking investment from the arts, corporate and government sectors to make the plan come to life.

“It will take a mix of all that investment and energy to get the project off the ground,” he said.

He said depending on funding available, it could be rolled out in stages.

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