A new era will begin today with a name change to the Barossa Arts and Convention Centre with the Tanunda facility now being renamed, Barossa Arts Centre.
Venue manager, Mr Michael Hill said the name change considers the primary use of the centre, but he said they would still welcome conventions and hosting of events that aren’t necessarily art based.
“While we still host conferences and we are increasing the use by the school and the community, the commercial use is less and less focused on conferences and conventions,” said Michael.
“Focusing on the arts and increasing the opportunity for students to interact with visiting artists… there’s opportunity to further build on that.”
Michael said an opportunity last year where Idea of North came in to work with students in the Magnolia Showcase through a workshop process, was a great example of artists working with the students.
“We want to try and build it in so it is less drop in and drop out and look at opportunities to engage with students,” said Michael.
He hoped the new approach would allow the centre to attract more shows to the Barossa, striking a balance between opportunity for students and community groups to also use the complex.
Michael referred to the community groups who are already using the Barossa Arts Centre on a regular basis from dance groups in Kapunda and Gawler to the Barossa Dance Co.
“It is great this facility is available for community use and the commercial use helps keep it running and also provides opportunity for people in the community to see top quality artists,” said Michael.
While this year has only just begun, Michael is already looking at an impressive line up for 2020 including Damien Leith in a tribute show to Roy Orbison, Mirusia – Salutes The Seekers & Classics and John Williamson.
He adds to that shows for next month’s Fringe events, including Music Maker’s Band from Cool 4 Kids, and later in the year Euphoria from the State Theatre Company, and Beep from Windmill Theatre Co.
“Without a facility like this people in the community have to travel to Adelaide,” said Michael.
He indicated the Barossa Arts Centre are developing partnerships with local businesses, particularly accommodation outlets, to offer an entertainment experience for the Barossa which becomes another tourism benefit.
It was in 1996 that the Barossa Arts and Convention Centre was opened in a partnership between the State Government and Faith Lutheran Secondary School.
Following a 20 year agreement, the school took over the ownership and sole management of the complex which also led to a review.
The centre provides the school as a Chapel, a classroom and a performing arts venue, accommodating all major school events such as the annual valedictory service, bi-annual musicals and parent forums.
Michael said as part of the review, it was identified that a name change was needed.
“To have a new brand with the name change it was also important to have a new image for the venue that has brought us into the 21st century and is reflective on the focus of arts as well as acknowledging the important role the school campus plays in the running of the venue,” said Michael.
Michael has been onboard at the Barossa Arts Centre for just over a year now and brings to the centre 20 years’ experience of theatre directing.
“I have loved working on the school events and meeting so many fantastic artists… Fiona O’Loughlin, Ross Noble and I enjoy working with the staff here and I have loved getting to know the community,” said Michael.
After spending much of the past 12 months implementing recommendations from the recent venue review, Michael Hill will pass the management role onto Michael Treasure in 2020.
Michael Treasure brings with him more than a decade of experience in venue operation and event management, and after working closely with Michael Hill in recent months, Michael will continue to shape the future of the Barossa Arts Centre as an important regional destination for the arts in South Australia.