Theatre group hits funds snafu

Paige Newmark ponders the future of Shakespeare WA. Picture: Jon Bassett.
Paige Newmark ponders the future of Shakespeare WA. Picture: Jon Bassett.

‘The letter itself seemed to indicate we could come and collect it, but it certainly did not say we had to by June 30 last year,’ group artistic director Paige Newmark said.

Shakespeare WA was a two-year occupant of the council-run Memorial Hall in Lochee Street while it produced Shakespeare in the Park in King’s Park.

The theatre group moved to the Town’s offices while the council was renovating the hall.

‘As Memorial Hall is currently closed, please advise me when you have sourced alternative rehearsal space and-or office space, or when you are able to return to Memorial Hall, and arrangements for payment can be made,’ staff said about the grant in the October 15, 2012 letter.

A month ago, Mr Newmark referred to the letter when he asked for the grant after returning to the hall to find the council’s rent had quadrupled.

However, councillors refused the request at their meeting last week.

Only Mayor Ron Norris and Cr Libby Estanace voted in favour, after Cr Greg Pollock said the council should not be subsiding offices for a group that did not perform in Mosman Park.

Mr Newmark said he would now get legal advice from his board about the letter, seek other venues for the company outside of Mosman Park and alternative sources for the grant.

Mr Norris said the letter had been written in good faith under the belief the money would have been granted and the current situation was the result of councillors having to reconsider the application.

‘Had Paige Newmark asked before June 30 he would have got it without going to council,’ Mr Norris said.