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Archway Theatre left out of the loop

BY RYAN QUINN
The Archway 1 Theatre Company and Coffee Co. cofounders have said they will not go away without a fight, despite the City of Sydney Council’s attempt to leave them out of the loop in the relocation decision.

Theatre cofounders Rachel Jordan and Stefan von Reiche, as well as supporter David Misiluki, addressed the City of Sydney at an October 19 council meeting in an attempt to improve the theatre’s prospects.

A decision was made in their absence at a subsequent October 26 meeting.

It was decided that the City would help to relocate the theatre elsewhere within the area.

City of Sydney Deputy Mayor Robyn Kemmis told the chamber on October 26 that she had received an email that indicated that the cofounders were actually agreeable to the decision.

“I received an email from the ex-Mayor of Leichhardt, Maire Sheehan, who said ‘I think opening up the arches is now generally agreed. The open space areas will be very welcome, especially given the development at Harold Park’,” Clr Kemmis told the meeting.

“She [Ms Sheehan] also went on to say that ‘the theatre group, my understanding is that they understand that they must vacate by 2016 and are agreeable to that’.”

In an email to , the cofounders denied this and said that they are not “happy with the compromise”.

“We have not compromised upon our ten year existence and the investment our community has made in our arts initiative, under the archways,” Ms Jordan and Mr von Reiche wrote.

They also denied coming to any agreement with council regarding a relocation, and as of November 3, had not heard back from council regarding relocation.

Ms Sheehan said that she understood from a conversation with Ms Jordan and Mr von Reiche that they were clear that their lease expired in 2016 and would have to leave.

Despite the cofounders being open to working with council, the theatre has been faced with several issues surrounding development consent and exclusion from the Johnstons Creek Parklands Master Plan 2013.

City of Sydney Greens Councillor Irene Doutney said she had “tried her best” to represent the theatre’s wishes in chambers over the past months.

“There was a really good little theatre, and they tick all the boxes for what our policy says, and they just get the flick,” she said.

“I’ve been trying to help them, and it’s like banging your head against a brick wall. The rules and regulations, they pick them out of their pockets—it stops people doing anything.”