Page 2205 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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Initially, the Canberra Theatre Centre was built as a 1,200-seat lyric theatre originally intended to house national and international touring companies, with the Playhouse seating 310 and being used for local arts companies and smaller scale touring companies. Beside the 310-seat theatre, the Playhouse also comprised a small visual arts gallery, a meeting room and a restaurant, which proved to be very popular with the centre’s patrons. In 1971 the covered walkway, which linked the two venues, was enclosed to create more foyer and function space for the Canberra Theatre and improve box office facilities. And, of course, there has been a series of extensive capital works upgrades in the life of the centre to improve the services provided to their patrons. As members are aware, the Canberra Theatre Centre link is under way with a redevelopment project of the territory government that should enrich the Civic Square cultural precinct with a building that will house both the Civic Library and Canberra Theatre Centre patron services.

This centre has seen some exciting performers pass through. These have included the legendary Dame Margot Fonteyn who graced the Canberra Theatre stage with the Australian Ballet in October 1970 to rapturous applause. In October 1973 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and his Royal Highness Prince Philip attended a performance of the Australian Ballet. And in July 1992 Bell Shakespeare presented its first season with Hamlet, the Merchant of Venice and Richard III. The company continues to make regular visits to Canberra.

The Canberra Theatre Centre has a number of celebrations going on to recognise its 40 years. The centre is working with the Canberra Museum and Gallery, another wonderful institution we have here, and well managed, to present an exhibition of Canberra Theatre Centre, and the ACT Heritage Library and local theatre historians have undertaken an extensive archive project. The centre has also appealed to the residents of the territory to hunt for memorabilia. The celebrations, which I have been able to attend, started in the Canberra Theatre on 14 May.


DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.14): Mr Speaker, one planet living is a joint initiative between Bioregional and the World Wildlife Fund that aims to make sustainable living easy, attractive and affordable throughout the world. The ACT Minister for Planning recently announced that the territory hoped to be chosen by One Planet Living’s scouts as the location for the development that it plans for Canberra. I made the point to Mr Corbell and to the media that, laudable as this project is, we have our own home-grown version of a similar initiative that is waiting for planning approval.

The Canberra Cohousing group was formed in the year 2000 and is now a large group of people interested in creating a cohousing community in Canberra. It aims to build an urban housing development in the ACT. Cohousing communities, for people who do not know, consist of private, fully equipped homes and extensive shared amenities including a common house and recreation areas. They are designed and managed by the residents who have chosen to live in a close-knit neighbourhood that combines a healthy blend of privacy and community living. Cohousing expects that properties will be purchased by members from a plan for between $150,000 and $350,000 each. Homes are likely to

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