ON WITH THE SHOW! Mildura Rural City Councillor for Arts and Culture, Jason Modica, Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, Member for Mildura Peter Crisp, and Council’s Arts and Culture Development manager, Antonette Zema, welcome a $200,000 Commonwealth grant for a new stage lift, and other works, at Mildura Arts Centre. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

MILDURA Arts Centre (MAC) has received a major financial boost this week after receiving $200,000 in Federal Government funding.

Funding was awarded through the Commonwealth’s Building Better Regions Fund, and will go towards a new stage lift, and other  works.

Mildura Rural City Council will also inject $200,000 into the project  – $100,000 of which will come from the ‘444 Foundation,’ a community fund-raising initiative – taking the total cost of the project to $400,000.

Mildura Rural City Council Arts and Culture Development manager, Antonette Zema, said the upgrade will result in more flexibility, capacity and functionality at MAC.

“Which means being able to attract larger performances and productions, while also achieving operational efficiency,” she said. “It will allow us to seat 500 people, which for a regional venue is huge.”

Ms Zema said that while it was a case of “watch this space” in terms of what new productions MAC will target, the opportunities were endless.

“Big orchestra events can now be catered to, not to mention more of the ballet-type productions we have hosted in recent times, the list goes on,” she said. “This stage lift will even offer a boost to those local school productions that sell out the theatre.”

Mildura Councillor for Arts and Culture, Jason Modica, said the project will also help link the Mildura riverfront to MAC, giving people the opportunity to utilise the facility to the best of its potential.

“We want to be a beacon for the arts in northern Victoria, and this takes us a step close to achieving that goal,” he said.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, who made the funding announcement on Tuesday, said he was really pleased to see the Commonwealth inject money into the region’s arts sector.

“People are lifted by the arts,” he said. “A new stage lift will help take the arts in the Mildura community to the next level.”

Mr Broad said the Mallee, in general, had proved major winners through the Commonwealth’s Building Better Regions Fund.

“Close to $26million has been allocated to various projects through this fund, including $10million for the recent Mildura Airport runway upgrade, which was jointly funded by the Victorian Government and Mildura Council,” he said. “That’s more than any other electorate in Australia has received.

“What has worked, and why we have achieved such good outcomes, is the partnerships formed, and collaboration across all three levels of government.

“When you have Council, State and Federal members working together, you get things done.”