Beryl Jane Flett Studio open at the Manning Entertainment Centre

Published on 24 January 2023

Beryl Jane Flett Studio opening 1.jpg

The Manning Entertainment Centre’s new Beryl Jane Flett Studio officially opened today Tuesday 24 January.

The vibrant new theatre space provides an accessible and affordable performance space that will allow for a greater range of performance options for the MidCoast community.

The project was made possible thanks to a generous bequest from the estate of June Neruda Flett, in honour of her mother Beryl Jane Flett. This enabled Council to obtain further funding from both the NSW and Australian Government.

Connected by an extension to the existing Manning Entertainment Centre foyer, The Beryl Jane Flett Studio seats up to 159 people and can accommodate smaller scale events such as intimate theatrical productions, children’s entertainment, choral performances, classical and contemporary music as well as meetings, events, conferences and trade fairs.

The studio also supports large events and performances that require multiple spaces for rehearsal, break-out or performance activities.

“The Beryl Jane Flett Studio is an exciting new multi-purpose performance space that provides performers with a professional and accessible space, and audiences with a diversity of performances,” said MidCoast Council Mayor, Claire Ponton.

“The studio complements the existing 500-seat main auditorium, and is a wonderful opportunity for the MidCoast to draw world-class performers to the region,” said Mayor Pontin. 

Minister for the Arts, Ben Franklin travelled to Taree to officiate the opening on behalf of the NSW Government.

“This stunning, state-of-the art studio is a testament to the community’s passion for the Arts. I’ve no doubt the people of Taree, Midcoast region and beyond share my immense pride in opening this wonderful new venue, where they will enjoy performances and events for many years to come,” Mr Franklin said.

“The addition of the Beryl Jane Flett studio to the existing Manning Entertainment Centre facilitates both local performance arts initiatives and touring productions.”

The NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund provided $1.57 million for the project.

Local Federal Member, David Gillespie was also in attendance to acknowledge the contribution of the Australian Government to the new studio space, as well as the broader Manning Entertainment Centre enhancement project. The federal funding has helped pay for the new studio as well as other improvements to the Centre.

The Australian Government has provided $1.2 million for the project through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

Taree Arts Council has also recently contributed $56, 200 for projection facilities for community use and to complete the fit out of the back stage dressing rooms.

The concept for the project was born after a generous local bequest was provided from the family of Beryl Jane Flett. Community and key user groups of the Manning Entertainment Centre identified the need for an intimate, versatile performance and rehearsal space.

The studio space was designed by local architect Austin McFarland and construction of the studio by a local builder, Reeman Constructions began in 2021.

The expansion to the site will provide a permanent home for the Taree Film Society to operate, store new NSW Government funded equipment and allow for a strong local film culture to grow.

The MidCoast is also home to a growing number of creative artists and performers who have a continuing need for modern and accessible cultural facilities.

MidCoast Council will continue to make improvements to the MEC and grow the range of facilities in order to meet current and future needs and opportunities.

The first public performance in the studio will be Banjo, showing from 23 – 26 February.

The Beryl Jane Flett Studio is a community space that will be available for bookings from early March. For enquiries, please contact the MEC on [email protected] or call 02 6592 5466.

Visit https://mec.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/Plan-Your-Visit/2023-Season-Guide to see our 2023 Season Guide.