The much loved Regent Theatre evokes a passion amongst the community, it's driven some of us to protest its recent development application and it's divided a town in some respects about the future plans for the grand old dame.
One thing we can't be is narrow minded in the approach or shape the future of the theatre - the usual "it will never survive as a theatre" - who ever purchases the theatre needs to take a fresh approach with the theatre and map out a plan for maximising its usage without losing its charm.
If I had the money to buy the theatre, I would buy it in a heartbeat - the marketer side of my experience tells me that it can be used a multi-purpose venue - live bands, theatre shows, concerts, weddings and of course the movies. The maternal side of me tells me - create something to take my family to or encourage families to have a great time at the movies - grab the popcorn, the choc top & the biggest drink you can to wash it all down with, sit back and enjoy a movie.
I've been interviewed about Mudgee on the ABC 702 Night Program - one was about a Sydney-sider escaping to the country, I was positioned with Andrew Mercado who had done the escape and bought the old theatre at South West Rocks - immediately I wanted to be Andrew and run a theatre! I could see how after a bit of hard work and support, we could make the grand old dame sing again and be a centre to bring locals together and of course the tourists.
I also recorded a podcast for this very paper and we started talking about "what gets on my goat" and one was the need for a venue to bring acts to that could perform and I referenced the old theatre in Lambton in Newcastle, Lizotte's where music and good dining combine to be an epic night out!
The economic benefit to a town with an ability to bring good quality acts can't be under estimated - people will travel to see their favourite entertainment in a unique setting.
A good act appearing at a venue brings people from everywhere - we travelled four hours to get to Lizotte's in Newcastle to see our favourite band. The economic benefits to the rest of the town also plays a part.
Don't get me wrong it's not about being nostalgic and trying to recreate your childhood - it's about retaining the legacy of the theatre and the streetscape of Mudgee's appeal within a profitable business.
So whilst I can't put my money where my mouth is, I can put my opinion forward and hope that the successful bidder has a similar vision or dreams big for the grand old dame to be revived again.