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Haese repeats Croquet Club concerns

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Lord Mayor Martin Haese has again voiced his concern over the temporary use of public spaces in the city by venues such as the Royal Croquet Club, questioning whether it was just a “giant bar”.

However, organisers of the Victoria Square-based Fringe venue say the mix of activities proposed for 2015 includes more shows and community events than its debut season in 2014.

“If we have a council who doesn’t respect that people have taken a risk and signed a lease and employed people, and often taken out a mortgage against their home to fund their business and do all types of things, I think that puts us in a pretty spot of bother,” Haese told ABC’s 891 Breakfast program this morning.

Haese expressed similar concerns during his election campaign, suggesting that the Royal Croquet Club, and other temporary spaces, pose an unfair risk to the ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses of surrounding districts.

“My feeling is the pendulum in the past may have just swung a little bit too fast in one direction,” Haese said today.

The Royal Croquet Club is a Fringe festival venue and bar, which is booked to host a broad range of acts in 2015, including some from overseas.

Haese said there were potential benefits of initiatives such as the Royal Croquet Club, but questioned whether it was just “a giant bar”.

“It’s got some many, many good attributes,” Haese said.

“What I’d like to do is really put an end to these debates about either/or.

“I think the point of conjecture about the Royal Croquet Club is more about as to whether it’s a giant bar or whether it’s actually a community space or there’s an element of community space.”

Royal Croquet Club’s driving force Stuart Duckworth told InDaily that the initiative was much more than a bar, with the venue to offer a different mix in 2015.

“We only received approval of our application a week prior to Fringe registrations closing (in 2014), so we had to put together our entire Fringe content program within the space of a week, which without having any knowledge of the Fringe process,” Duckworth said.

As a result of the late time frame, the venue didn’t book as many artists as it would have liked.

However, Duckworth offered an assurance that the same will not happen again for next year’s Fringe, with more acts and community events planned.

“We sent them (program directors) to source new shows, shows that haven’t been seen in Adelaide,” Duckworth said.

“So we’re not stealing shows from any other venue, we’re not stealing anything from anyone – we’re trying to bring new shows, new theatre and new concepts and new genres to Adelaide to promote the Fringe even further.”

 

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