About Local Stages

Local Stages supports the development of the performing arts in the Bathurst Region and the Central West of NSW.

The program was initiated to “unlock” access to BMEC’s facilities and resources for the development of contemporary and innovative performing arts practice. There was a realisation that as regional theatre companies were disappearing regional performing arts centres were arising and that these could become hubs for a diverse range of regional contemporary performing arts development.

In 2007 Local Stages was funded as a three year pilot project by the Theatre Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts NSW (now Create NSW) and Bathurst Regional Council (BRC). Seven years later Local Stages has firmly established itself as a vital regional program and funding is obtained from a range of sources with core funding continuing from Create NSW and BRC. Projects are also supported by Regional Arts Fund and Australia Council for the Arts.

The position of Creative Producer was established to coordinate the Local Stages program and to act as an animateur of local projects and of the relationship between local artists and appropriate artists outside the region. Margie Breen held the position for the first two years and was succeeded by Kylie Shead who is the incumbent Creative Producer.
Since its inception Local Stages has assisted with the growth of the Catapult Festival, instigated the Aboriginal Performing Arts Program, established Smashed Arts, worked with local partners to create the Bathurst Writers’ and Readers’ Festival and the Central West Short Play Festival. Local Stages also developed the Local Emerging Artists Program (LEAP) at Inland Sea of Sound and created strong links between local artists and some of the finest professional artists around Australia and generally extended the horizons of possibility for performing arts practice in the Bathurst region.

Local Stages is now part of the heart of BMEC and is intertwined with every element of BMEC performing arts activity.

Here is a short clip showing some of the work Local Stages supported in 2016. 

The Central West Short Play Festival has been creating skills development and performance opportunities for this community since 2012. It has run free workshops for writers to develop 10 – 15min plays with mentorship from talented writing professionals. The Festival has successfully focused on this short-form structure to enable newly developed skills to be applied speedily with participants being able to see and hear their work on stage within months of writing it. However, there are many writers who have mastered this short style and are looking for new challenges.

In 2018, the Central West Short Play Festival is running a residency program for 10 local playwrights designed to further their writing skills, and provide writers and theatre makers with opportunities to tell our own stories in a professionally supported environment. The project has several stages of development set up to assist the participants in fully developing their concept. Throughout the year the scripts will be read by actors in public readings and selected works will be finally performed in full scale productions at the end of the year.

For more information regarding application and project details go to Central West Short Play Festival on Facebook.


Invisible Body 

Invisible Body performed at Writers' Festival in May 2015 Pic by Steve Woodhall



Niamh Ann was a participant in the Local Emerging Artists Program at Inland Sea of Sound, and performed at Cabaret Kite. Pic by Clare Lewis


Unsustainable Behaviour by Lingua Franca Pic by Phil Blatch


For more information about Local Stages contact Kylie Shead.