Arts on Tour launched Backroads in 2022 with the aim of activating alternative venues in across NSW. What exactly constitutes an alternative venue can be hard to define, so we've assembled some resources to help. We have prepared a spreadsheet of suggested venues, and you can peruse a few feature venues below. This is in no way a complete list of independent or community-run venues in NSW - it is intended as a sample, highlighting touring options for artists and producers to consider.
Should you manage a venue you would like added to the spreadsheet, please get in touch.
With a capacity of 140, volunteer-run Murrah Hall predominantly hosts touring musicians, but there is enthusiasm from audiences for professional theatre and other artforms. The hall has 100% lighting coverage, so shows can be staged either on the stage or on the floor, with portable rostra providing raked seating. Previous theatre seasons have all been 6 - 8 performances, averaging 85% - 90% capacity. Murrah President Howard recommends “a minimum of 3 or 4 shows, allowing for word-of-mouth to create community excitement, and including a matinee for the many who do not like to drive at night amongst the suicidally inclined wildlife.” Accommodation in the region is expensive, a funding consideration for those hoping to tour to the venue.
Re-opened in 2018, the Malachi Gilmore Hall is a privately owned multi-use arts space in Oberon that offers a varied programme of visual and performing arts through the artist-run initiative, Oberon Live Projects. With an audience capacity of 150, Malachi has flexible staging options with a choice of proscenium arch stage (6m x 3.5m) or performing in the round on the auditorium floor. Detailed tech specs and a venue hire application form are available on the venue’s website. The venue has fine acoustics for live performance, a beautiful timber floor for dance, and the capabilities for new media performance and multimedia exhibitions - all enhanced by a charmingly luxe interior in an extraordinary State Heritage listed building.
Halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, Bellingen is a small town with a busy and vibrant main street and a creative community culture. Bellingen Memorial Hall has recently had a major redevelopment and is open for bookings across two performance spaces. With new AV and lighting, seating and projectors, it looks amazing! Originally a picture theatre (circa 1929) the main hall is licensed for up to 600 people, and there are 185 fixed tiered seats and approx. 250 theatre style chairs. There are portable stages for flexible use as well as the original raised stage. A black curtain can divide the main hall in half for intimate performances or film nights. The additional multipurpose space also accommodates approx. 80 seated and up to 100 standing.
Supported by Eastern Riverina Arts, this group of venues are collaborating to bring local and interstate artists on tour to their region. The venues include:
Operating for four years on the NSW Central Coast, this community-led arts and entertainment incubator and production haus produces and manages conscious theatre, artists, events, festivals and venues, connecting artist, audience, ideas and possibilities. Naughty Noodle Fun Haus Ettalong Beach seats 200-400pax, and boasts state of the art lighting, sound and projection in a traditional 1900s community hall. Portable stages allow for flexible use, as well as the original raised stage. Programmed by Creative Director Glitta Supernova, the venue has hosted the likes of Electric Fields, Kasey Chambers, QueerScreen and Phunktional Dance Theatre.
The smaller Fun Haus Factory in Gosford suits 60 – 120pax intimate performances, live music, cabaret, DJ collectives, film nights and spoken word.
Applications for Backroads have closed for 2023. To stay in touch for 2024, sign up to our enews or follow us on social media.
If you wish to discuss the initiative, email Maeve Marsden for further information.
GET IN CONTACT!
If you're involved with a community-run venue or you're a producer with a work you'd love to get out to smaller towns and remote communities, we'd love to talk to you.
Give us a call or send an email to Maeve Marsden.
Arts on Tour is based in Redfern NSW and we respectfully acknowledge the Gadigal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the unceded land on which we work.
As we tour artists and productions across these vast lands, we pay our respect to all First Nations Elders, past, present and future.
We celebrate their continuing connection and contribution to culture, country and community, and thank all First Nations peoples for their wisdom in caring for the land, the sky, the rivers and the sea.