A NEW chapter for the Stratford Courthouse has officially begun, as new managers take the reins.
With support from Wellington Shire Council and Regional Arts Victoria, and after much soul searching, the venue is once again up and (almost) running as a vibrant community hub that showcases the best in arts and entertainment.
While COVID-19 social distancing restrictions had forced the venue’s closure for more than six weeks, the formalisation of a new community committee of nine people and the easing of restrictions means the opening of the doors is nigh.
The first big event will be a return of the popular Stratford Singer Songwriters and Storytellers, albeit livestreamed, on July 31.
The historic courthouse building has operated as a popular arts venue for the past 10 years, under the management of owner Gavin Roberts.
But with Mr Roberts wanting to pursue other avenues, members of the Stratford arts community got together and decided to take on the challenge.
Committee member Aynslie Watson said the residents had worked hard for the past 10 months or so to form a committee, and had secured funding and support to ensure the courthouse was kept for community use.
“It’s been such an important community venue for this region and we didn’t want to lose that,” she said.
“It’s really exciting now that we can now plan for the future.”
Ms Watson said once social distancing restrictions eased, the venue would run much like it did before, opening to community groups, performances and other events.
The committee has a lease for two years, with the option of extending.
To book the venue or keep up to date on events at Stratford Courthouse, visit the Facebook page.