Moreton Bay Regional Council has agreed to allow Mousetrap Theatre Company to use John Naumann Hall at Deception Bay, rent-free, while it continues to look for a long-term home for the organisation.
It comes as online and paper petitions supporting the group continue to gather momentum and follows news in mid-2022 that the building the theatre has called home for more than 60 years needs to be demolished due to serious structural issues. Read previous story here
Since then, Mousetrap Theatre Company has used other buildings to stage productions including the Redcliffe Senior Citizens Centre and John Naumann Hall at Deception Bay.
During its general meeting on June 14, Council decided to provide John Naumann Hall rent-free until June 30, 2024.
Mayor Peter Flannery says it is important to support grassroots art and theatre.
“We need local artists to immortalise local stories, talent, history and culture. Supporting a vibrant local arts scene is an investment in our community identity,” he says.
“Council was happy to waive the hire fees here, in recognition of the disruption the closure of their space in Redcliffe has caused.
“I thank the Councillors for voting unanimously in favour of this, and Council staff are now turning their attention to finding a suitable long-term solution for Mousetrap.”
Cr Karl Winchester (Div 6) says he is pleased Council found the company an appropriate interim space.
“It was critical that we found somewhere quickly that was convenient for the company and fit for their purposes to minimise disruption to their rehearsals and programming,” he says.
“John Naumann Hall is less than 10km away from Mousetrap’s original home in Redcliffe so it’s close for locals and big enough to house their props, costumes, and equipment.
“Since the closure of Mousetrap’s building in August they’ve had to hire several other venues which has created a logistical headache for them and their members, so this provides them with certainty through to at least June 30, 2024.”
Trying to plan for future
Mousetrap Theatre President Karen Matthews says the group will keep using the existing building for rehearsals and storage for as long as possible, because they have nowhere to store their sets and equipment and nowhere to rehearse at present.
“Having free rent (to stage performance) at John Naumann Hall is really helpful though,” she says.
Online and paper petitions continue to gather momentum as the community backs calls for Moreton Bay Regional Council to find the group a permanent home.
The group says new premises would need to contain or be suitable for refurbishment to include a stage, auditorium, rehearsal space, storage area, performer changing areas, kitchen, lobby/foyer.
Members and supporters are also calling for a long-term solution rather than ‘temporary short-term options’.
Almost 600 people have signed the paper petition and there are more than 1500 signatures on the electronic version.
Mousetrap Theatre volunteers have been at the Redcliffe Markets for the past three Sundays asking for signatures and support.
“We’ve had a lot of public support, a lot of people saying they didn’t know (the building is earmarked for demolition),” Karen says.
The organisation has submitted a request to Council to investigate a building it believes would be a suitable long-term option.
Karen says she has been told council is considering the request.
“Knowing that they have decided to investigate another building for us makes some of us feel a little more that things are being done. People are very cynical and will be until they see something happening,” she says.
“We have made it quite clear having access the building for as long as possible is really important.”
There are four full shipping containers onsite and about the same quantity of equipment, sets and props stored within the building.
“If we have to vacate the building before we have somewhere to go, it will be a problem,” Karen says.
Show must go on
In the meantime, the show must go on and Mousetrap Theatre has a number of performances coming up.
There is a Lip Sync Battle fundraising event at Scarborough Bowls Club on July 22. Head here for the details and to buy tickets
There are two Grimley plays for those who love British comedies – Murder in Little Grimley and Lockdown in Little Grimley. They will be staged in August at John Naumann Hall. Head here for the details and to buy tickets
There is an interactive murder mystery call She Dies in Moonlight in September at John Naumann Hall and a cabaret in October called Broadway Beyond the Grave at Scarborough Bowls Club. Follow the Mousetrap Theatre Facebook page for details.
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A remote village in Papua New Guinea has received a helping hand to build raised garden beds thanks to members from Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI). Find out more about the project here