It is a little while since I ran a Wednesday Forum. I stopped because while they attracted interest and web traffic, they also attracted limited comments. There didn't seem much point in running a forum without comments.
I have decide to try again, if only because the Forums act as another record of current issues.
To set the scene for this forum, this is a 2007 photo of the Victoria Theatre in Newcastle.
I didn't know until Stu commented on Selling New England to itself that this is the oldest theatre still standing in NSW (and New England). It was opened 1876 and rebuilt during 1890-91. Stu wrote:
Music and the arts are opportunities for Newcastle to thrive and give Sydney a run for its money.
I'd love to see the Victoria theatre in Perkins St restored and more bands, plays and shows visit Newcastle.
This is NSW's oldest theatre and restored would be on par with any offering in Australia.
Venues like this ad to the cultural fabric of a city and the historical aspect makes the experience more memorable. I would compare this to the Brixton academy in London, giving Newcastle and New England a cultural icon that Sydney would envy.
The next photo comes from Mark's post Wuthering Heights @ Bald Nob. It is in fact a photo of one of the oldest still standing coach stops.
In the days when the horse was king, stations line this were to be found at regular intervals along all of New England's roads.
The coach from Grafton would come to a halt here to allow passengers to have a break and to change horses. Even when I was child, the derelict remains of places like this were to be found everywhere. Now they have largely vanished. Just as with the Victoria Theatre, it would be nice to see
This brings me to the point of this forum. What are the things that you would like to see preserved across the broader New England and why?
The Victoria Theatre is a wonderful building. Unfortunately the image of a decaying old theatre doesn't do it justice. I don't remember it operating as a theatre. I think that it closed when I was still quite young. But it used to house Easthams clothing company and I used to love going there to marvel at the 19th C interior of the building which was still largely intact as a theatre....
Itt would be a tragedy if the Victoria eventually either burnt down or just decayed beyond repair. It is an irreplaceable part of our heritage and would be a great loss.
I have often thought that, if renovated and restored as a theatre, it would be a wonderful venue for live music. The Kings at Lambton has undergone a rennaisance as a live music venue (now Lizottes). Something similar at the Victoria in the heart of Newcastle would be a great asset to the city and a marvellous attraction.
What a pity that such a historic part of our heritage is allowed to fall into neglect and disrepair.
As an aside - the Victoria is one of a number of old theatres that have been lost to the city in recent decades. The theatre Royal, the Kensington and the Lyric in the CBD are no longer theatres. The Regent in Islington is now a rennovators warehouse and the Strand (CBD) and Century (Broadmeadow) were both demolished after the earthquake.
Newcastle had an extensive and extraordinarily rich theatre heritage, most of which is now gone. It was one of the oldest and most extensive theatre districts in Australia.
The Civic Theatre is now the oldest surviving theatre in Newcastle. If you have never been there, I would thoroughly recommend it. It is an art deco style and the interior is lavishly decorated. It remains as one of Australia's best historic theatres.
You can find a little about the Civic here.
Checking back posts, I realised that while I have done some limited posts, the theatre tag does not properly represent them. I really need to go through and do a better consolidation!