Negotiations leave Conservatorium’s future undecided

The future of the Wollongong Conservatorium is uncertain with Wollongong City Council’s negotiations over the venue’s lease continuing.

The lease to the council-owned Gleniffer Brae house has run out while both parties are still discussing the terms.

According to Wollongong Council spokesman, Lachlan Harris, the negotiations have now been extended from this Sunday, until later next month.

“As this is a commercial agreement, I am unable to comment on the term’s of the lease,” said Mr Harris.

“Gleniffer Brae house is a heritage site, so the fees [contribute to] the cost of maintenance. The Council reduced the rent in 2006, after the Conservatorium experienced financial difficulties, but [they] have been paying normal lease fees for the last year,” he said.

According to former Conservatorium student Matthew Tsalidis the current ‘Con’ is not up to standard due to poor funding.

“It’s really sad to see such an institution have such bad funding, it’s something we should be investing in, and because of the funding they’ve had to increase tuition fees so they can afford to keep the Con afloat,” Said Mr Tsalidis.

Fortunately, the Conservatorium is now partners with Gateway City Church, and will be able to perform in an old picture theatre located inside the church.
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Gateway City Church business manager, Graeme Brown said: “We felt a synergy between our church and the Conservatorium. It’s a good mix; our venue can sit 1200 people and should have good acoustics and suit the style of the performers.”

According to Mr Tsalidis, the partnership is an opportunity for students to have a better recital venue.

“Thank goodness that they now have access to a performance space at Gateway, which has good acoustics and enough seating. It’s a clever partnership; it’s just sad that there isn’t the funding for them to have their own,” he said.

The Conservatorium’s first performance in the Gateway City Church’s Regent Theatre is a jazz showcase that will be held next Friday from 7pm.

TESS BRUNTON

 

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Words: TESS BRUNTON
Video: LIZZIE HUNTER
Pictures: DOMINIQUE MCGOVERN & MATT ROLPH

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