Dancers from the Clarence River Dance Academy struggle to get through the backstage of the Maclean Civic Hall
Dancers from the Clarence River Dance Academy struggle to get through the backstage of the Maclean Civic Hall Adam Hourigan

OPINION: Community hall too hot to handle

AS YOU can see from the multitude of photos in the paper and on our website this week, it's the season for dancing concerts. And whether you have kids in lessons or not, there's some great talent and entertainment to see out there.

PHOTO GALLERY: Valley dance studio concerts in pictures

On photographic duty, I managed to get around to three of them; one in the beautifully restored Saraton Theatre, one at South Grafton High with a newly installed lighting rig and one at the Maclean Civic Hall.

The experience at Maclean Civic Hall sticks out like a sore thumb.

Earlier this year I wrote a feature piece about the age and unsuitability of the hall for its primary purpose. It is cramped, the dressing rooms are actually staff rooms for the council, and the sound system isn't fit for purpose. All things dutifully acknowledged by the powers that be, but unable to be replaced or renovated.

One thing stands out above all others though, and while you could say the dancing was hot, the hall is hotter. Much, much hotter.

The fans that barely rotate from the ceiling are either too noisy, or don't work, and on a near 40 degree day, the word of young dancers collapsing from heat exhaustion adds weight to the thought that maybe we could do better.

Like everything else, the first suggestion comes straight from the arts community that "maybe we could do a fundraiser", as that's where everything else - stage, sound booth, sound equipment - has all come from.

Air-con isn't cheap, but it would turn a totally unusable space for everyone in the hall into one where the performers are challenged to adapt - something the Lower Clarence arts community is getting used to.

How about it council? A breath of fresh air?



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