NORPA ready to light up Lismore’s nightlife!

NORPA looking forward to re-opening Lismore City Hall as upgrades make it the premiere arts centre in our region.
In 2019 NORPA received a $1.16 million dollar grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund to upgrade the audio and lighting equipment, along with outside signage and illumination at Lismore City Hall to elevate the venue to the standard of contemporary performing arts venues.
The upgrade increases the profile of Lismore City Hall and awareness of the cultural activities that happen in and around the building. In addition, a large LED digital sign will soon be added to the corner of Molesworth and Bounty Street establishing the Lismore City Hall precinct as a prominent gateway to Lismore and the CBD. 
NORPA Artistic Director and CEO Julian Louis says the upgrade is a turning point for NORPA and the community. “We can’t wait to open the doors to our community in Lismore and beyond, when we are able to do so legally and safely. Lismore City Hall and NORPA, are crucial to the nightlife and night-time economy of Lismore. Local businesses know when there’s a show on because there are more people around and they are busier.”

Lismore City Hall, Bounty Street entrance and Courtyard. Image: Kurt Petersen

“We’re looking to expand this even further with our live music program which will include showcasing local talent at our new Courtyard Bar and regular band and cabaret nights in the Studio. We will continue to build on our relationship with Kate Stroud, formerly of the Dusty Attic live music venue, in making Lismore City Hall a space for our music loving community to come together.”

Ben Franklin MLC was delighted to see the outcome of almost two years of work. “The refurbishment of Lismore City Hall is one of the most exciting things to happen in the cultural space in the Northern Rivers in the last decade. It has become an arts, culture and entertainment hub for the Northern Rivers and beyond, and deservedly so. I hope once the pandemic is over the community will get behind it.“

View from the Fountain. Image: Kurt Petersen

State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin congratulated NORPA on transforming Lismore City Hall into a vibrant contemporary performing arts centre by using the Regional Cultural Fund grant to best advantage.
“It now looks like a performing arts centre.  I have been watching this take shape as I do my afternoon walks.  I secured funding when I was Federal Member for Page to begin the work of modernising the hall, along with the former Mayor Jenny Dowell, and these State-funded improvements to sound and lighting will greatly enhance future theatre and dance productions, and music concerts,” Ms Saffin said.

Exterior of the Fountain Room. Image: Kurt Petersen

“You simply cannot go past this venue now without noticing its entrance signage. I congratulate NORPA’s Artistic Director and CEO Julian Louis and his team, and chair David Wolff and his board on a job very well done.”    

Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith was equally positive about the improvements. “This upgrade of Lismore City Hall enhances NORPA’s ability to attract high quality touring productions to our town and to stage local productions. It’s a major boost to the cultural vibrancy of our city.”

Venue and Events Manager Jumana Schriefer is excited to get the lights back on, “Lismore City Hall has gained recognition amongst national and international promoters and touring companies as a premiere venue to include on their national tours. We’re actively talking with the industry during the lockdown as touring is expected to increase dramatically once restrictions are lifted.”
The upgrades will significantly reduce electricity consumption and the costs of maintenance, equipment hire and labour. It provides opportunities for established technicians and young people in the region interested in technical production.
Production Manager Karl Johnson, who has worked at NORPA for 20 years, says the venue improvements shine a light on the importance of NORPA and Lismore City Hall to the broader arts and culture economy of our region, “The venue improvements cement Lismore City Hall’s place as vital infrastructure for our community. NORPA is an anchor employer of lighting, sound and staging technicians in our region.”

View from the Bruxner Highway. Image: Kurt Petersen

Mr Louis is looking forward to gathering the community together to mark the reopening of an important cultural and community asset for Lismore, “When the time is right we’ll invite the community to come together and celebrate Lismore City Hall. It holds a special place in our hearts and history as a meeting place for our community for some 55 years. There is great pride and responsibility in managing and carrying this tradition for our town.”