Urgent calls for permanent home for Mousetrap Theatre

Published 5:00am 31 August 2023

Urgent calls for permanent home for Mousetrap Theatre
Words by Jodie Powell

Redcliffe’s Mousetrap Theatre has issued an impassioned plea for Moreton Bay City Council to find it a permanent base.

The 70-year-old theatre company was forced to move from its home of more than 60 years at the Redcliffe Showgrounds after serious structural issues were discovered in July 2022 during a Council inspection of the building.

Since then, the theatre company has been using other buildings including the Redcliffe Senior Citizens Centre and John Naumann Hall at Deception Bay to stage productions, including the latest – the interactive murder-mystery She Dies in Moonlight – which is opens on September 8.

Fulltime space needed

Speaking during the Community Comment section of Moreton Bay City Council’s meeting this week, Alan Braithwaite said while Mousetrap Theatre was incredibly grateful to Council and Councillor Karl Winchester (Div. 6) for finding temporary accommodation, they needed a more sustainable solution until a permanent home could be found.

“Last year Moreton Bay Council outlined serious structural issues to our building that would require an extraordinary cost to repair or replace,” Mr Braithwaite told the meeting.

“This led to the closure of the Mousetrap Theatre auditorium – our home for performances.

“While Council offered suggestions and alternative venues, most were either unsuitable or unavailable.”

Mr Braithwaite said the venue’s closure had placed Mousetrap Theatre’s future under threat.

“Although the use of John Naumann Hall has offered some financial respite, it’s a temporary solution.

“We really need a fulltime space on the Redcliffe Peninsula.

“The income per show has dropped from an average of $5000 to $1100 at Deception Bay.

“Many patrons will not travel to Deception Bay at night to see our shows.”

Declining patronage

Urgent calls for permanent home for Mousetrap Theatre

Mr Braithwaite said recent figures showed membership had fallen by nearly 30 percent, audience numbers had almost halved and directors were reluctant to stage plays in venues that could not be modified or were unsuitable.

“Many Mousetrap volunteers are over 60 years of age and are finding the set up and dismantling involved (at shared venues) physically very demanding.

Mr Braithwaite said access to John Naumann Hall was also problematic.

“We are unable to get access to the hall for rehearsals and daytime matinees as it is needed by other community groups.”

Urgent help needed

Mr Braithwaite asked Council to urgently consider Cr Winchester’s suggestion of the theatre company using the “under-utilised” former Redcliffe City Council chamber as a temporary home.

“We also thank the Mayor and other councillors who supported this idea, which has resulted in an investigation into the building’s suitability.

“In summary, we are asking for your help to secure the Redcliffe City Council chamber as we believe it to be cost-effective to the Council and could be easily modified into an intimate theatre space.

“Our future depends on exclusive access to a venue on the Redcliffe Peninsula.”

Petition presented

Mousetrap Theatre president Karen Matthews said this week's plea followed the presentation of a petition to Cr Winchester last week calling on council to help the group secure a suitable building for its performances and activities.

The paper petition gathered more than 1000 signatures, while an online change.org petition has amassed more than 1500 signatures.

Find out more about Mousetrap Theatre and make a booking for She Dies in Moonlight here.

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