Manning Entertainment Centre officially approved COVID Safe business

MEC reopens with the focus

The Manning Entertainment Centre is set to reopen and the focus will be "live and local", in an effort to support local artists.

"Being unable to open and gather since the MEC was temporarily closed in March has been devastating," theatre manager Chris Tippett said.

"However, we have been busy behind the curtains getting the MEC ready and we've also been finalising a number of required changes to ensure the safety of all patrons, staff and volunteers."

The Manning Entertainment Centre is now an officially approved COVID Safe business, and details of the changes are on the website theMEC.com.au.

The current capacity of the theatre has been reduced from 505 patrons to 200 with reduced seating to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to, which means a more intimate experience, with smaller audiences.

The first event on Tuesday, September 22 will be an encore screening of the popular National Theatre Live film 'One Man Two Guvnors', starring James Corden of Carpool Karaoke fame. There will be two screenings - 10am which includes a free morning tea and 7pm.

In October and November, a further two National Theatre Live film screenings will be shown and the Taree Arts Council is working on a special performance for Saturday, October 17.

"Our initial focus will be supporting local artists and with the reduced seating capacity and hunger for live entertainment, some shows are going to sell out fast," Chris said

The "Local and Live" line up for October is:

- Friday, October 9 - Goodfellas (Matt Zarb) and the Jay Davis Band.

- Saturday, October 17 - Taree Arts Council - Musicals Variety Performance

- Friday, October 23 - The Swamp Stompers and Darren Jack Band.

"We know many people cannot wait to attend live performances again and it's what's needed for our communities to recover in these uncertain times," said Chris.

"We are doing everything possible to ensure patrons can return to a safe place and continue to enjoy the entertainment we provide, albeit at limited capacities.

"We suggest that all patrons have a look at our COVID Safe Plan before returning so they know what to expect on arrival," Chris said.

"We have also created a video that is on both our website and Youtube Channel welcoming everyone back and talking patrons through the changes."

The MEC is now in its fourth decade of providing an important cultural asset for local performers, with regular use by local schools, dance schools and groups including the Taree Arts Council, Manning Valley Choral Society and Taree and District Eisteddfod.

To view the reopening guide video visit https://youtu.be/oxCMDLN5Bc4