One of Australia’s premier regional performing arts companies, NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts), has been devastated and needs the support of the performing arts sector to get back on its feet.
General Manager, Patrick Healey, has estimated the damage bill to be well over $300,000. “Lismore is in a flood zone and there is little insurance coverage in the region”. Patrick added that so far, “there has been no emergency relief money made available for the not-for-profit or business community”.
NORPA is one of only a few remaining regional theatre companies in Australia creating original work. They give a unique voice to Indigenous and non-Indigenous stories. They eagerly contribute to our national narrative and cultural landscape. It is important to the cultural sector that their voice is kept alive and the stories of regional Australia can continue to be told.
On Thursday 30 March the Northern Rivers region experienced a once in one hundred year flood event caused by ex-tropical cyclone Debbie.
This created the largest flood event in Lismore since the devastating 1974 flood, but the damage caused has been much more severe as the flood waters rushed over the levee that was designed to protect the city. The entire CBD was flooded with NORPA’s offices being one of the worst impacted as flood water and sewerage reached depths of 2 metres through the entire ground floor. The flood was sudden and the evacuation order given so quickly there was little time to save equipment. NORPA did save their photocopier, six computers and some historical archive materials from shows like The Cars That Ate Paris, Railway Wonderland, Cockfight, Dreamland etc.
The damage to NORPA is extensive with irreparable damage to most of their administration offices, box office, rehearsal and studio space, dressing rooms and green room. The flood also destroyed their telecommunication systems, PABX, many computers and other IT. Also swept away in the flood was the bulk of their venue equipment; chairs, tables, AV technology and monitors – that is having a significant impact on NORPA income and their need to get operational is urgent.
Thankfully, their second floor escaped serious damage, and the theatre foyer, auditorium and stage area are repairable.
NORPA has managed to find a studio space out of town and their creative development of Djurra will go ahead as planned starting 24 April.
Helping NORPA as quickly as we can will help them get back into the business of making great Australian performance and generating much needed income from venue hire.
To read the most recent e-news NORPA Quarterly released the week before the flood click here
For information on NORPA’s new work program – NORPA Generator click here.