Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

The Arapiles Community Theatre (ACT) is a local volunteer-led arts organisation that supports a wide range of creative practices, helping artists develop their work, and regularly hosting arts events at the local Natimuk’s Soldiers Memorial Hall. They’re dedicated to keeping the arts scene vibrant in the local Wimmera region and promoting local artists and their work.

Although it’s a beautiful old brick building, the Memorial Hall has some limitations, particularly when it comes to the audiovisual (AV) equipment. It requires IT expertise to set-up and troubleshoot any issues, which makes it hard for volunteers to use the equipment and discourages many from booking the venue.

This led to ACT applying for a grant to purchase a simple ‘plug and play’ AV system, which is easy for those with limited IT knowledge to use, yet still ensures high-quality projection and sound and delivers a satisfying experience for both the user and their audience.

ACT received a $5,000 grant from FRRR through the Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants program. Coupled with an equal grant from the Horsham Rural City Council, they were able to buy a comprehensive and permanent AV system for the Hall. While the heritage hall presented difficulties, the community’s determination saw them through. They faced and overcame the hurdles, learning and showcasing their skills during the process.

This investment in a meaningful, community project plays an important role in the viability of the hall and the vibrancy within the region. The long-term benefits for the broader community are highly significant. With new, easy-to-use equipment, more people want to rent the hall. The new AV system meets the high standards required for visiting screening opportunities, which helps ACT committee host more events and consequently, makes the hall a better place for social, economic, and cultural connections.

In finalising their project, Jacqui from the ACT committee said that this grant was fantastic for their hall and community. They expressed gratitude to FRRR and Nutrien Ag Solutions for their support. The revitalisation has led to more upcoming upgrades and has brought a positive impact to the entire region.