Item 11.2 - Attachment 3

Minutes of Riverside Advisory Committee 14 June 2012






Owen Eckford (Chair), Sue Coleman (Group Manager City Services), Virginia Judge, Clr Scott Lloyd, Luke Mackey, Keiasha Naidoo, Christopher Tooher and Jane Witter




Robert Love (Director Riverside Theatre) and Joy Bramham (Minute Clerk)




Apologies were received from Julianne May, Clr Michael McDermott, Amanda Rose, and Clr Andrew Wilson


1          Welcome


Owen Eckford welcomed everyone to the meeting.  


2          Minutes


The Minutes of the meeting of the Riverside Advisory Board held on 12 April 2012 were taken as read and confirmed as a true record of the meeting.


3.               Resident Production Company


Sue Coleman spoke on the discussion paper from the 10 May 2012 working party tabled as Attachment 1.


There are advantages in establishing a resident production company including facilitating the longevity and consistency of artistic goals as well as having substantive engagement with the community. A new resident production company, while a likely additional cost, is unlikely to receive additional Council funding.


Undertaking an interim study (perhaps funded from the existing 2012-13 Riverside budget) on the establishment of a new resident production company will put everything together including the framework and give Councillors confidence in the project. It will be reported to the next Council, probably in November and will give Councillors an opportunity to see what future arrangements are possible.


Riverside will need the continued support of Council that the arts and performing arts are integral to the future development and success of Parramatta. The Board could engage councillors more effectively by holding a workshop to explain why a resident company is needed and the potential ways forward. It would also allow Councillors to be able to put a ‘face’ to the Riverside Board.


The Board discussed the need for better facilities and also a less Sydney City focus on the arts as all of the sub-urban areas, including Western Sydney, have in many ways been overlooked. There needs to be an overarching Greater Metropolitan Arts Plan that can incorporate Western Sydney in a strategic vision.


The Board noted that it would not be possible for any future resident company to focus entirely on Parramatta because the market is limited.  However, Western Sydney as a whole has potential.


The Board noted the need to look at the priorities of the State Government and Government agencies (including Arts NSW) and how these can be used to best solicit funding for Riverside. Other opportunities for funding, including partnerships, were discussed. It may need to have a company that wants to come to Parramatta and has something to offer, that Council can then match with facilities or funding incentives.


It was noted that people are more likely to fund new and emerging companies than a building and that Parramatta is a good area to begin as potential sponsors and donors may get more (including recognition) for their money than in the City. There are only a few very small performance companies outside of Sydney CBD, and Western Sydney has only one permanent professional performance production organisation based in Bankstown.


There may be an opportunity to build something working with other smaller NSW regional centres to have something that is relevant outside of Greater Sydney and that can tour to a number of centres. The Board noted that there might be a possibility of working in collaboration with Orange and the surrounding areas as they have received funding and may be looking for collaborative opportunities and partnerships.


MOTION (Judge/ Mackey)

That the Board endorse the Resident Production Company Report


4.         Development of Riverside Theatre


Sue Coleman spoke to the discussion paper from the 24 May 2012 working party tabled as Attachment 2.


The people who attended the workshop explored what they would like to do if they had $1M, $5M and $50M as another way of looking at short to long term goals for Riverside.


It was noted that the theatres were not perfectly designed for what they are currently used for - the remodelling Rafferty and Lennox Theatres into one theatre (with greater flexibility of staging and seating) could be worth more investigation.. The need for multifunction areas, foyer and entertainment facilities, breakout spaces and exhibition space was noted. The lack of back of house facilities, especially for large community groups, was noted and, if ongoing community programming were to be encouraged, then there needs to be better backstage facilities.


It was noted that the main theatre is unique in Sydney and that it is a good size.  This could be ideal for many Sydney based production companies. However, it is also difficult to consistently fill a 700 seat theatre, every night.


The possibility of using the existing space in different ways was noted, including the possibility of opening the building up into Market Street, and changing the current front entrance that consists of office and toilets to make it more accessible and using ‘dead space’ for unattractive office and toilet facilities.


Any redesign would have to consider the possibility of shifting requisite production/rehearsal facilities that are currently off-site (Connect Studios)  back to on-site. There is also the development of future Arts precinct sites including the Old Kings School and Lennox Bridge Carpark.  Even if rehearsal/production facilities are incorporated here and are still off-site, they will be significantly closer to Riverside than those currently available at Connect Studios.


The Board noted that things might be done differently to the current methods of operation if there were a resident company established.  This may required a change to the current building and its facilities. The resident company and the development of the Riverside  building are interlinked projects, although not entirely dependent on each other.


It was noted that Riverside has the potential to become an iconic landmark, and has a wonderful position on the river.


The Board noted the need to have a Masterplan and to have a clear set of owner needs and requirements. The Masterplan would also assist in the staging of any envisaged future redevelopment of Riverside. A first stage could include the extensions to the foyer areas and leveraging off the new development on the Lennox Bridge Carpark.  A second stage could leverage off any potential closing of Market Street.  It was also noted each stage could also increase visibility into Riverside as each stage is undertaken.


There is also the possibility of extending the larger Riverside Theatre’s current footprint  (with gallery and/or café space)  by extending the second and third tiers of the Riverside Theatre out towards the river.


The need to increase the amenity of the current theatre experience was emphasised.  People will return if they enjoy the experience, even if they do not enjoy the programming.  People remember the parking, seats and toilets.


The Board discussed methods of funding the Masterplan, and architectural concept including, pro bono work, workshopping, and design competitions.


It was also noted that the Strategic Asset Management Unit and Property Development Group may be able to assist, as Riverside is an important asset of Council.


5.         25th Anniversary


There has limited progress since the last report to the Board. There will be a focus on a community event to celebrate the anniversary, but the focus will also be on looking forward to the next 25 years. It cannot be just a party, but an opportunity to influence people and showcase the strategic future of Riverside. It would also be an excellent opportunity to announce the winner of a design competition if this is undertaken.  


The Board discussed the option for having a high profile artist/personality as a focal point  to galvanise community interest and involvement in Riverside’s future. It was noted that there had been past ambassadors and patrons that have consisted of senior business leaders and members of the artistic community. It needs to be someone who is ‘sexy’ to attract young people and can be advertised through social media. The 25htn Anniversary would also be an opportunity for the public to be a part of the Future Strategy, and an opportunity to exhibit the Masterplan, or even parts of the Masterplan.


People and entertainment needs to be booked, a steering committee needs to be formed to assist in the planning, and Council needs to  be well briefed on this significant event as $25,000 will not go far and will need to be well spent to ensure impact. Additional funding may have to be found through private sponsorship.There could be a campaign  to solicit  small donations and sponsorships so supporters can feel involved in the 25th Anniversary and the future of Riverside . It was noted  that Council needs to approach organisations and people in accord with the Local Government Act provisions  especially if approaching people with Council contracts.


A first draft of a program of events and a development timeline will be presented at the next Board meeting. 


6.         Operational report


An update on previous events and performances was provided. 


Government has an arts Sydney City centric focus with limited emphasis on arts infrastructure development and operational support in Western Sydney. It is difficult to get people in government and business in Sydney City  to attend anything in Western Sydney.


It may be beneficial to secure private sector funding and then ask government to match it. Need to have the strategic relationships in place and the networking capabilities and opportunities to achieve this .


Need to be able to break the fundraising strategy down into smaller areas including naming rights opportunities. It was noted that philanthropy and sponsorship for buildings is quite low, even in the City. People prefer to sponsor activity and groups, not buildings. It was also noted that NGOs are more likely than Council owned activities to gain funding and private sponsorship.


It was noted that cross promotion through business is important.  The Coleman and Grieg Women in Business program sponsored a fashion parade and function  at Riverside where monies raised were donated to the disability and youth programs at Riverside,



Jane Witter and Virginia Judge to propose ideas at the next Board Meeting on a future fundraising model that might assist in raising funds for Riverside.


7.         General Business


Council has obtained $600,000 of federal climate change funding that Council will match to assist in the installation of new lighting and air-conditioning.



The possibility of working more closely with UWS was noted. Riverside already works with the Whitlam Institute, but there is the potential for more targeted educational links. Need to work more closely with senior management at UWS.


Next Meeting

Next Meeting will be the last meeting before the local government election in September. New Councillor Representatives on the Riverside Board will be appointed  at the first new Council Meeting.



Meeting closed at 8.23pm




Next meeting Thursday 9 August