Theatre forced to modify its birthday plans

Peter Hill

YARRAM’S Regent Theatre is celebrating its 90th year, but much of the celebration has been moved into the virtual sphere.

A range of exciting activities had been planned for the celebrated community-owned theatre, but the COVID-19 state of emergency has meant most have been postponed or have taken place via Facebook.

The Rockwiz Live concert planned for Easter Monday has been postponed until October, as have other concerts and films.

Theatre manager Susan McMillan is still hopeful the history of the theatre can be celebrated with events later in the year.

“At the moment, it looks like we will be celebrating 90 years in 90 days,” she said.

“We have been told it is likely we will not be allowed to hold any events until at least September, but it is very much dictated by the Wellington Shire Council as to when we will be open again.

“At this stage, 13 major events have been cancelled for 2020, the Dance Eisteddfod, the Rotary Art Show, the Yarram Eisteddfod, the secondary college production, the Mirridong production – all major fundraising events for these not-for-profit groups.

“It’s a real shame for them,” she said.

The theatre’s birthday is June 13 and a Gatsby Ball with the 12-piece Cairo Club Orchestra has been put on hold until possible dates later in the year can be organised.

In the interim, Ms McMillan has turned to social media to keep the theatre in the community’s consciousness.

“I have put together five little pieces on Facebook with virtual tours of the theatre or virtual performances and on Instagram,” she said.

Ms McMillan is optimistic about the theatre’s future.

Its part-time caretaker has been able to continue with routine maintenance, work on upgrades to the kitchen and change rooms have continued and an upgrade to the lighting system has enabled a Gippsland-based theatre lighting company to continue with some work after all local productions ceased.