30/07/2008 - 22:00

Performances of a different kind mooted for new sports stadium

30/07/2008 - 22:00

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Perth's planned new sporting stadium at Subiaco could include innovative venues for the presentation of theatre and music to sports fans attending big games.

Performances of a different kind mooted for new sports stadium

Perth's planned new sporting stadium at Subiaco could include innovative venues for the presentation of theatre and music to sports fans attending big games.

The idea is being pushed by corporate lawyer Rob McKenzie, who bridges the arts and sporting sectors as a director of the Black Swan Theatre Company and commissioner of the WA Football Commission.

"I went with Matt Lutton - one of Australia's most exciting new theatre directors - to look around Subiaco Oval to see if there was performance space available for people to stay after the match and give them a taste of what an art performance is like," Mr McKenzie told the WA Business News boardroom forum.

He said the arts sector could become more relevant to the community by boosting exposure and integration.

"I am really keen to see the football stadium have some venues used to showcase art performances, because you're going to have 60,000 people leaving the stadium after the match, if you can trap 1,000, it's a big audience for the arts," Mr McKenzie said.

"It is quite restricted at the moment in term of space, but we did find a couple of spaces where we could do that, but the issue at the moment is the liquor licensing; you can only serve alcohol 20 or 30 minutes after the match finishes."

Mr McKenzie believes the city end entrance of the stadium could be a good venue to set up a theatre performance, and said there was also a small space on the first floor of the Subiaco end that could be used for music.

With the $1.1 billion football stadium having recently been given the green light, Mr McKenzie believes the timing is perfect to lobby for the inclusion of spaces for theatre and art performances.

"I am trying to champion the idea for the new stadium by mentioning it to a few people that are involved with the project and I received quite a good reaction to the idea; they want the space to be used as much as possible," he said.

WA Art Gallery acting director Gary Dufour agreed with the idea of bringing arts into the sports stadium.

"You could have two minutes on the stadium screen at every game and you'd commission artists to do a feature work on the screen," he said.

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