Austin McFarland Architects has been appointed the project architect for the new studio space at the Manning Entertainment Centre and consultation with major stakeholders is underway.
The architects will deliver the design for the new theatre later this year, with construction due to commence in 2020.
"We understand the importance of delivering a space that can cater for smaller and more intimate performances and we're excited to be part of this project at the MEC," said Austin McFarland Architects director, Russell McFarland.
In 2018 MidCoast Council successfully applied for funding to design and build the new studio space through the NSW Government's Regional Cultural Fund.
Austin McFarland Architects is working closely with specialist theatre design architects Scott Carver throughout this project, who has worked on various arts and cultural buildings including the Sydney Opera House, the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta and the Victoria Theatre in Newcastle.
"At the MEC we want to ensure audiences experience a diversity of performances and the new theatre studio space will allow for intimate shows, be it theatre, drama, film or music, as well as a range of other uses," council's director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell.
Built in 1988, the MEC currently hosts between 75 and 100 performances and productions each year to an annual audience of approximately 30,000.
"The MEC is an important asset for local performers, with regular use by groups such as the Taree Arts Council, Taree and District Eisteddfod and Manning Valley Choral Society, Sinfonia Mid North Coast, Manning Valley Concert Band and local schools and dance schools," said Paul.
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