93 new jobs to be created as result of Norpa's new project
NORPA has secured more than $1 million in funding to enable it to have stage productions of the same technical quality as big Australian venues such as The Sydney Theatre Company.
And the project and its flow-on effects are expected to create more than 90 new jobs in the community, while also boosting audience numbers.
The funding was part of the State Government's Regional Cultural Fund and will pay for a major upgrade of Lismore City Hall and its theatre equipment, including an eight metre "Vegas sign" to attract more patrons to what's on at Norpa throughout the year.
Lismore MP Thomas George made the announcement at City Hall alongside Mayor Isaac Smith, Norpa general manager Patrick Healey and Norpa chairman David Wolff.
Mr Healey said the $1.116 million was the final piece of two years of work and planning to source and secure funding for the "performing arts centre project".
"The upgrades will secure Lismore City Hall as the only contemporary performing arts centre venue between Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast," he said.
Norpa will replace the venue's halogen lighting with LED lighting, significantly reducing Lismore City Hall's operating costs and carbon footprint through reduced electricity consumption.
The theatre's staging, sound and lighting equipment will also be upgraded to meet the technological needs of national and international touring companies.
Norpa production manager, Karl Johnson, said they had been working with inadequate technical equipment for many years.
"We can finally replace the stage curtain. I think it's the original from 1965. This funding takes us up to where we need to be," he said.
The project includes a large LED digital sign that will be erected on the Bruxner Highway outside Lismore City Hall.
The sign will available to emergency services during natural disaster and emergency events to help disseminate information quickly.
It will also be available to promote local cultural events using different lighting displays, including the Lantern Parade, exhibitions at the Lismore Regional Gallery and the Northern Rivers Conservatory of Music.
"It is conservatively estimated the new signage will increase audiences by eight per cent in the first year," Mr Healy said.
"Our economic modelling shows that Norpa and the flow-on effects of the project will create the equivalent of 93 jobs in the community.
"That comes about through visiting audiences, artists and crews purchasing accommodation, food and other services in Lismore."