The Yellow Gums Performance Space at Jan Juc’s Bob Pettitt Reserve took centre stage on Monday 6 December, when the community space was officially opened.
The project was jointly funded by the Australian Government under the Community Development Grants Program with a $140,000 contribution. Surf Coast Shire Council, Torquay Community Enterprise and the Jan Juc community contributed $50,000 to the site’s landscaping and irrigation.
The new facility – located to the west of the play, skate and bike area – is designed to complement the reserve’s natural surrounds, and is nestled amongst a stand of Bellarine Yellow Gums.
Surf Coast Shire Mayor Libby Stapleton said Jan Juc’s creative community collaborated to produce the space where performers can share their talents.
“It’s been a wonderful partnership project led by the community right from the start, and I know how excited the Jan Juc Live group is to see all their hard work come to life,” Cr Stapleton said.
“The local arts community has been calling for a place where locals can come together for boutique events like Christmas carols and acoustic performances.
“Yellow Gums Performance Space facilitates and allows artists to showcase their creative diversity, and it’s something the community can enjoy for years to come.”
The permanent outdoor stage structure has been constructed predominantly from natural materials, with landscape works featuring a grassed and irrigated amphitheatre.
“The Yellow Gum stage is a beautiful, architecturally designed masterpiece with a curved timber lined roof, curved rammed earth wall, sculptured timber columns, and a decorative proscenium arch, all of which complement the natural environment,” Cr Stapleton said.
“This past 18 months in particular has made us realise just how important spaces like these are, connecting us all through community events.”
Jan Juc Live member and project champion Paul Thompson said after nearly four years of hard work by the committee, he was rapt that the space was being utilised – kicked off by a community celebration on 14 November.
“It’s our community’s space for music, small local performances and locally grown events, combining nature and the creative arts in perfect harmony under the Yellow Gums,” Mr Thompson said.
“Many local businesses have been involved in the planning, design and creation of this space and we thank them for their support. With what everyone has gone through the past two years, we can look forward to a variety of entertainment and events.”
The Jan Juc Live committee acknowledged the efforts of local Phil Avery who passed away before the project’s completion.
“We want to acknowledge our friend and fellow visionary Phil Avery, who tragically passed just before works commenced, but will always be connected to this delightful space,” Mr Thompson said.
The stage structure was designed by Zen Architects, with creative input from Mark Trinham Art and Design, and Perry Mills & Associates Landscape Architects. Construction was delivered by R & B Kahle Building and Landscaping, with landscape works predominantly by Turfcare & Hire Pty Ltd.