The Arts Centre Cootamundra is finally making a return to live performance, with “A Few Quiet Ales” fully booked out within a day of release.

On Saturday October 10, the popular Stephen Holt and Peter Cox return to the Arts Centre and into “a pub”, telling some yarns, “having a few ales”, and giving the audience something to smile for again.

Pioneer and Committee Member of the Cootamundra Creative Arts and Cultural Centre Isabel Scott said, the support of the community is what drives the viability of the centre during the past 18 years she has been involved.

“The centre is a community centre and people have been fantastic,” she said.

“Since COVID, they have all done their part and bring their own coffee, tea, their own food and even clean up  after themselves utilising the space. Everyone has also been complying with the restrictions well too.”

Under current restrictions through the guidelines of Council, tables in the centre must be sold in blocks to minimise movements within the premises.

A maximum of 50 guests are allowed with four big tables and four small tables accommodated, audiences must also purchase the entire table if they wish to sit at one.

Individual patrons in attendance will be sat on a chair along the walls, to maximise social distancing measures.

With continual interest for the show, performers have said they are willing to come back for a Sunday show at 5pm, although Member Isabel said it would only go ahead if the added show sells out too.

“The way things have turned out this year, is shows cancelled as well as our movies stopped in March,” she said.

“COVID has closed our doors in income for at least three to four months. If Sunday’s show is just a few numbers, we are unable to cut even and we can’t afford to take a loss at this stage.”

And in addition, volunteer numbers also reduced during the past few months with the remainder of the committee having to step into multiple roles to keep the centre functioning.

Stringent cleaning, on-the-ball ushering as well as policing of social distancing, are a few things the volunteer-based organisation had to adopt this year.

And despite all odds, Isabel is determined to finish the year strongly as well as  kick-off 2021 positively, with submission of applications for state government grants at the end of this month.

“We hope to put another show on before Christmas, depending on our financial situation,” she said.

“We are currently applying for Regional Arts NSW Recovery grants, which will allow us to put workshops on and new disciplines into the centre.

“It’s all about adding value to the community, as well as embracing the talents of the community.”

If the grants are approved in January, programs such as film workshop and make-up courses will go ahead for the following two years.

For film workshops, funds will be utilised to engage experts from the industry in producing and editing a film.

At the end of the session would be a massive viewing at the centre, for the rest of the community to view participant’s films.

Make up courses are all about tools and resources to build a make-up set, as well as methods to budget for a shop.

So, if anyone is interested in a matinee performance for “A Few Quiet Ales” next Sunday at 5pm, they must express their interest to the centre as soon as possible.

Leaving down a name and a phone number is sufficient at this stage and if the show does go on, a formal booking and payment can then be made.

Interested patrons can contact the centre at 6942 4773, email at info@theartscentrecootamundra.org.au or walk in at 18-20 Wallendoon Street tomorrow at 9am to 12pm.

Christopher Tan