Speaking on Notice of Motion 4, for the 16th August 2022

Thank you Mayor Pettett and Councillors.

In its August Newsletter the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society reprinted the Member for Ku-ring-gai, Alister Henskens’ recent speech in the NSW Parliament where the local member praises the great work of the Historical Society and talks about the legacy left by our LGA’s founding fathers and in particular James Edwards. The MST is one of few buildings that offer us a physical link with that history of Ku-ring-gai. The original hall that has become the MST was enabled through the work and vision of local community leaders back in 1906.

Council commissioned consultants to determine the preferred home for theatre in Ku-ring-gai and the decision unanimously adopted is MST. The reasons are clear: it offers easy train access, provides parking and it has a history of theatre to which many residents both within and beyond Ku-ring-gai recognise and relate.

The discussions, reports, community and other feedback, through to the architectural plans are all complete and ready to  renovate and reopen MST; let’s not be distracted now. Council and the community have worked together to get to this point and beyond. It began with Council’s decision to close MST in December 2012 because of maintenance and compliance requirements. With the Council’s decision to close the theatre came a commitment by Council to reopen MST, a decision that Council has been working on ever since. In 2016 the then Mayor challenged some of us as community members to show that the community wanted Council to reopen the MST. Thousands of residents have become involved in the initiative ‘Support Marian Street Theatre’. The Community has said ‘yes’ to reopening MST, Council has said ‘yes’ unanimously to reopening MST. Let’s not be distracted by a quick grab for money as is demonstrated in NM4; be part of the Can Do Council that brings live professional theatre back to Ku-ring-gai by voting against NM4.  

The final challenge of Council’s decision is to work through the financing of the MST redevelopment. There are a number of funding sources that can contribute to the project. Can Council focus on how to fund MST now that everything else is in place, so the community’s long awaited expectations can be fulfilled.

“Finally, let’s rejoice that the restored Marian Street Theatre will be a theatre for all ages, with thoughtful access for those with all abilities.  Adults will be able to enjoy refreshments in or outside if they wish, while watching their children safely playing in the adjacent park.  It will also be a theatre for multiple ethnicities, allowing us to explore and enjoy the rich range of arts and cultures in our community.”