NOBODY loves the Gladstone Entertainment Centre more than Wendy Barker.
One of the most recognisable faces in Gladstone's art scene, Ms Barker is director of the Young Dancers Company of Central Queensland and runs her own dance school in Gladstone. She has special memories of the entertainment centre and the performances that have been seen there.
Ms Barker believes the centre has played a vital role in the region's cultural development, especially since its creation in the 1970s allowed for a new level of performances to be seen. "With the Entertainment Centre, we are able to offer professional productions," she said. "We are able to offer the cultural side (of life) to the community." Ms Barker also cherishes the opportunity the centre has given youngsters to experience the thrill of the stage.
Now that the Gladstone Entertainment Centre is set for a massive expansion, Ms Barker's opinion of the project is mixed is mixed. She believes the huge new flat-floor space will be a source of pride for the region and allow a new range of activities. However, the performer in Ms Barker would have loved to see the stage expanded in the auditorium.
In the expansion plans, the auditorium will not be expanded, but the renovations will include structural improvements that allow the expansion of the auditorium further down the track. Ms Barker said, while the stage has been wonderful over the past four decades, it is small compared with bigger cities and as Gladstone expands, it is outgrowing the current stage.