Tamworth’s entertainment precinct steps towards reality
A major step has been taken towards the $128 million Tamworth Performing Arts Centre and Cultural Precinct which is due to begin construction in 2022.
Tamworth Regional Council hopes the precinct will build on the town’s international reputation as the Australian capital of country music and as a tourism hotspot.
The new building will need to be around 10,900 square metres to 13,500 square metres to include a 600-seat theatre, 200-seat studio theatre, 100-seat recital room, 200-seat function room, amphitheatre, event plaza, recording studio, café, studios for ABC New England North West and teaching studios and facilities for the Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music.
The adjacent library and art gallery will be expanded as part of the project.
Council last week voted to engage a lead architect to develop the functional and technical design brief. This, it said, will ensure planning for the project reaches a stage where it is “ready to act on funding opportunities” when they become available.
The performing arts centre was first proposed in 2017, and a business case and concept design by William Ross Architects was approved in 2019.
The council has been leasing the Capitol Theatre as the town’s performing arts venue. But a study by the council notes that demand for the venue exceeds capacity.
“The theatre is fundamentally constrained and inadequate due to its origin as a cinema, with major functional limitations and lack of necessary spaces,” states the report.