$1.2 million upgrades finished at Northern Festival Centre

With audiences now set to enjoy top-class entertainment in state-of-the-art comfort, a greater vision is set to be explored for the Northern Festival Centre.

OPPORTUNITIES: Country Arts SA arts program director Anthony Peluso, Northern Festival Centre manager Jenny Stephenson and Country Arts SA chief executive officer Steve Saffell are exploring a grand vision for the centre.

OPPORTUNITIES: Country Arts SA arts program director Anthony Peluso, Northern Festival Centre manager Jenny Stephenson and Country Arts SA chief executive officer Steve Saffell are exploring a grand vision for the centre.

Northern Festival Center manager Jenny Stephenson celebrated the final day of refurbishment work on the centre with Country Arts SA chief executive officer Steve Saffell and arts program director Anthony Peluso on Monday.

The upgrades saw a more modern and energy efficient heating and cooling system installed at the centre.

The planning for the project began during the 2015/16 financial year and for Country Arts SA chief executive officer Steve Saffell, the time and investment was worth it.

“It is a fantastic investment in our audience,” Mr Saffell said.

“It is a fantastic arts centre here, but I think many have experienced some extremes in temperature both hot and cold in our auditorium. “This has detracted from the experience a little bit.

“It is fantastic that the South Australian government were able to invest in upgrading the air conditioning plant.” Northern Festival Centre manager Jenny Stephenson said the unit has had a positive impact on audience comfort.

This was especially so through the hot summer months. Work also involved creating a more-functional Barbara Welch Room.

This upgrading work included connecting air conditioning to the space for the first time.

With the air conditioning unit now installed, a grander vision for the 30-year-old arts centre is being explored.

Mr Saffell said that results of a community consultation saw strong interest in creating “alternative performance spaces”. “When these theatres were built they were built for a different era,” he said.

“A lot of the work that is out and about now is intended for much more intimate audiences.

“To have a small performance on the main stage with such a large auditorium does not do the artists any justice.”

Jenny agreed and said the facilitation of smaller performance spaces at the centre would benefit local groups, who were looking to have more control over the amount of tickets sold and their performance schedules.

The Country Arts SA CEO also said that options were being explored to offer an additional film screening session in the auditorium.

Discussions surrounding the implementation of a permanent outdoor performance area were also being explored.

“It is something that has been on the back-burner for a while but it is just a matter of the funding stars aligning, so to speak,” he said. “The opportunities are endless.”