Council’s Manager, Project Delivery Ned Tripkovic says, “Community groups will enjoy a greatly enhanced rehearsal and performance space. The modifications we’ve made are designed to broaden the venue’s use and appeal for touring ensemble and music festivals, inviting a wide range of cultural experiences for our Shire. The Bowral Memorial Hall Refurbishment project was funded by Wingecarribee Shire Council and the Commonwealth government. It is now the Southern Highlands’ premier, multi-purpose cultural and events venue and the P.A people played an important part in delivering the successful project.”
The P.A. People were asked to deliver solutions for Audio, Lighting, Stage Management & Video (functions) within the new facility, which has seen a ‘complete restoration’ of the outside of the building while the interior has essentially been converted to predominantly facilitate orchestral events.
Audio: Left & right arrays were installed using QSC KLA-12 and KLA-181 subs, QSYS Core DSP, Allen & Heath SQ5 mixer and digital stage box, and cabling infrastructure for various points around the building as well as a hearing loop.
Lighting: ETC ColorSource 40 lighting console; Pathport DMX gateway and DMXC splitters; LSC gen6 dimmers; 4 fixed lighting bars (front-of-house); small fixtures on-stage directed to the sound shell
Stage Management: Paging to dressing rooms and foyer; PTZ camera with stage view links to dressing rooms & foyer – all with touch-panel control
Video: Panasonic 8000 lumen projector and screen with inputs to feed/relay images; a 275” screen; various Showtech fresnel and profile LED lights
Theatre Consultant Richard Stuart has worked on aspects of this project over a period of 11 years, starting with converting the Memorial Hall to a theatre. Richard commented; “subsequently, a change of direction led to refurbishment of the Hall to a boutique concert hall, as the primary performance venue for the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra – which has gone from strength to strength with concerts in the Region. To this end, the designs for the Hall were reconfigured to allow for the exacting technical and acoustic demands of orchestral concerts. The refurbished hall has a high level of technical fit-out, with orchestral and stage lighting, AV presentation and a high-quality sound system, which will allow for a wide variety of performances.”
About the Venue
Wingecarribee Council website describes Bowral Memorial Hall as originally a two-storey Queen Anne style building constructed for the School of Arts in 1884. In 2023, the hall was redesigned into a modern and versatile space to accommodate a range of events including concerts, theatre performances, milestone celebrations, cultural events, engagements and weddings, art exhibitions, corporate functions and presentations, and conferences.
The Council (description) continues: Bowral Memorial Hall was designed to be the premier events venue for the Southern Highlands. The facility includes a concert hall auditorium with retractable seating and mezzanine floor, orchestra and stage lighting, a platform stage with forestage steps, acoustic walls and seating, and a lighting and audio-visual control system. Outside the auditorium is the foyer, box office, cloakroom, bar and kiosk, commercial kitchen, patron amenities, and lift access to all floors. The venue includes a rear stage crossover and assembly area, performer dressing rooms and amenities, back-of-house technical facilities, a green room, and provision for event ticketing.
A long history
The Bowral Memorial Hall consists of a number of building elements constructed at various times over its long history. The hall was fronted by the original School of Arts building – a two storey Queen Anne style public building constructed in 1884 with 1913 and 1920s alterations.
In the mid-1920s a hall was incorporated into the School of Arts building to form Bowral Memorial Hall.
During the early 1960s a stage wing was incorporated into the eastern end of the hall with an annex along the southern side containing kitchen, amenities and a new building entry. The whole building was extensively remodelled and refurbished at this time.
Since then there were some minor alterations and additions including stabilisation works and façade changes. The main façade change being the construction of an extension to house an access toilet and the replacement of the entry canopy. The building has also been used for a variety of public functions including library, community centre and more recently the YWCA.
Wingecarribee Shire Council engaged Belmadar Pty Ltd as Principal Contractor to successfully deliver the Bowral Memorial Hall Refurbishment project.