Image: Retro artistic impression of a refurbished Liberty Theatre.

Friends of Liberty Theatre and Culture Centre have progressed to the next round in their grant application for the restoration and refurbishment of the building.

Committee member Ian Wearing said the group aren’t guaranteed any funds yet, but this is encouraging news for the Yass community.

“We’ve gone through the first stage, so they’ve accepted our application,” he said. The next step is to prepare a substantive and compelling submission by March next year.”

The group applied for a $2 million Creative NSW grant earlier this year to restore the iconic theatre.

Committee member Bimbi Turner said although there’s no guarantee the group will receive any funding, it’s one step closer which is rewarding.

“Hopefully it will give some hope to the young people that we’re going to have something that we can actually entertain them and educate them in,” she said.

The second stage in the application process requires completion of another application form, which the group has until March 28 to submit. As the next step is a competitive process, there is still no assurance the Liberty Theatre’s application will be funded.

At last month’s public meeting regarding the restoration of the theatre, Bimbi said the National Trust in New South Wales has already classified the theatre as a building of national significance.

“The grant would ensure that the Yass and wider regional community retains this unique infrastructure asset as a fully working theatre and culture centre,” she said.

Bimbi said the group doesn’t plan to remove any original features or make large structural changes other than what is necessary to make it usable.

The building needs repairs along the southern wall in Lead Street and the shop in the foyer will be removed and reverted to how it was originally presented in 1939. The area behind the foyer will be kept vacant but upgraded for art exhibitions, film and theatre premieres and other public events.

The upstairs gallery will be revamped, and the chairs will be repaired or replaced.

“The theatre has great acoustics for film, music and drama productions on the current stage despite the need for a rebuild,” Bimbi said. “It’s structurally sound inside and out and still retains most of the Art Deco features.”

The roof sheeting needs replacing and the asbestos wall sheeting on the western end of the theatre safely moved and disposed of. Purpose-built dressing and storage rooms will be included in that area.

If you wish to donate or join the Friends of the Liberty Theatre and Culture Centre then you can email Bimbi at bimbiturner53@gmail.com.

By Brianna O’Rourke