The historic raked stage of Her Majesty’s Ballarat officially re-opened to the sound of opera music today.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh joined Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison, Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle and Member for Ripon Louise Staley to celebrate the completed works at the historic theatre and to welcome the next stage of works.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh thanked the Victorian Government for the initial stage of works, supported by a $2 million grant under the government’s Living Heritage Program, on top of the City of Ballarat’s significant contribution of $5.3 million.
Cr McIntosh also applauded the Victorian Government for its announcement of $10 million, which will help deliver the next vital stage of works.
“Her Majesty’s Ballarat is owned and operated by the City of Ballarat however it belongs to our entire community – it’s a much loved cultural icon,” she says.
“The City of Ballarat contributed $5.3 million to the now completed restorative works and activated the community’s voice to secure the future of the theatre with the Save Her Majesty’s – The Time is Now campaign.
“We would like to thank the Ballarat and wider community for rallying behind our campaign to Save Her Majesty’s,” she says.
“The community has donated more than $100,000 to the Her Majesty’s Foundation, signed a Royal South Street Society petition, which has reached almost 3,000 signatures, and has sent numerous messages of support to our campaign website – savehermaj.com.
“This support was instrumental in securing the Victorian Government’s $10 million commitment for the next stage of works.
“This additional $10 million will make Her Majesty’s Ballarat stronger and able to deliver an even more accessible and enjoyable performing arts experience for our residents, performers and patrons.”
The repair and restorative works have been a collaborative project. Ballarat contractor AW Nicholson and its sub-contractors, heritage architect Lovell Chen and the City of Ballarat’s Major Projects and Her Majesty’s Ballarat teams have worked tirelessly to deliver the project on-time to the City of Ballarat.
The extensive works included urgent repairs to the roof trusses to strengthen the roof of Her Majesty’s Ballarat, reconstruction and repair of the historic raked stage, rebuilding the new dressing rooms under the stage to improve functionality, solid and decorative plaster repairs and painting conservation works in the Auditorium, damp remediation works and service renewal works for fire and emergency lighting,
The City of Ballarat will now begin the complex task of planning the next stage of works for the 145-year-old building.
Established in 1924, the Aria event - Australia’s oldest and most renowned prize for emerging classical singers - will return to the historic stage on Friday 13 September. It will be the first event to return to the stage of Her Majesty’s Ballarat since the theatre was closed for extensive restorations in late 2017.
The City of Ballarat is still campaigning for the additional $5 million of federal funding needed to achieve more of the works identified in the vision for the theatre. This will achieve a greater degree of safety, accessibility and functionality for the theatre to work towards bringing it up to current standards.
Note: As part of today’s launch, Ballarat opera performer Rebecca Rashleigh will perform Song to the Moon, from the Dress Circle. Rebecca won last year’s Royal South Street Society’s Herald Sun Aria competition when she performed the same song, which is featured in Antonin Dvorak’s opera Resalka.