Spiegeltent Speech Final


I hear you saying, “Not him – what’s he going to whinge about now!

Cr Sam and I have a lot in common. For instance, we both belong to a political party that starts with a capital ‘L’.

We also believe in the importance of HMT and its valuable contribution to the performing arts in our community.

In actual fact, I firstly want to congratulate HMT and Council, particularly Cr Sam McIntosh and Natalie Reiter for supporting this initiative and seeing the potential of the Spiegeltent experience.

May I also acknowledge Cr Vicki Coltman, former Mayor Mark Harris and Craig Coltman. I also acknowledge our state members Sharon knight, Geoff Howard and Simon Ramsay who can’t be here as Parliament is sitting for the final time before the election.

At the launch of the Spiegeltent, both Cr Sam and I saw this ‘tent’ as an opportunity to further promote the arts in Ballarat. Thank you Mitchell Harris for fuelling our enthusiasm and for your support tonight.

And what a week it has been! On behalf all of you, I want to congratulate Graeme and his team for the excellent cabaret festival they have presented over the past week.

Why is tonight’s function called an “outrageous event”, and why is it being held on a Monday night? It’s because this is the only night we could hold such an event in this fabulous space; the tent packs up tomorrow!

Tent entertainment has been part of the Ballarat landscape since the 1850s.

The Spiegeltent is about Cabaret in appropriate yet different places and spaces in the CBD, particularly during the lockdown of HMT by the South Street competitions.

And now to the point of tonight. We are here to kickstart community fundraising for our historic Her Majesty’s Theatre.

HMT is the oldest continuously operating theatre in Australia. It is the pride of Ballarat and is its premier performing arts facility. It now needs our financial support.

Support comes in several forms – awareness of the significance of the arts, the role it plays in our community, participation by attending performances or being part of vibrant amateur theatre, and also being a voice to support funding for Her Maj theatre.

A vibrant arts community supports and enriches the social fabric of our community; HMT is an investment in the wellbeing of our community.

The arts minimises social isolation, maximises social engagement and encourages civic engagement.

You will have read over the weekend that 1 in 7 people in Australia live below the poverty line. In Ballarat, it would be more like 1 in 6. Do you know that 50% of adults in Ballarat are on some form of welfare?

We here tonight are in fortunate circumstances, but for those less fortunate the arts can provide pathways for jobs, participation in the arts improves self-esteem, social engagement and confidence to actively contribute and participate in the community.

Funding support for the restoration of HMT requires $26 million (with $1 million for seats alone) from both sides of politics, in both state and federal jurisdictions. Yes, it does require bipartisanship in order for this initiative to be successful.

Our state and federal representatives, I know, will support this initiative, but their advocacy and support will only be effective if there is strong backing from the community. I also acknowledge our current state members of Parliament are apologies, Parliament is sitting for the last time this week before the election.

Regional Victoria tends to get forgotten by Melbourne-centric attitudes from all sides of politic unless you represent regional Victoria, we have been fortunate to have Premiers Bracks, Brumby and Napthine who understand and support regional Victoria.

And for the philistines in our community who deride the arts, what they haven’t yet realised is that they too are a part of the artistic cause because in some way they will apply their creative ability to aspects of their lives. Arts is about the “creative”.

Participation in community life enables us to appreciate and understand the value of the arts to Ballarat, and, in this particular case, the valuable contribution Her Majesty’s Theatre – the oldest theatre in Australia – and what it makes to community life.

We need to be proud of our arts history; we also need to ensure the arts continue to play a central part in Ballarat’s future.

Thank you for supporting this first initiative. Please let us know of your interested in being involved in future community fundraising efforts by joining the “Friends of Her Maj” support group. And enjoy your night

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This post was written by , posted on January 5, 2015 Monday at 12:15 pm

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