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Live music returns to Plaza Theatre

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Coonamble Times

29 March 2024, 8:20 PM

Live music returns to Plaza TheatreTheatre doors re-open to live music: Jamie Lea Trindall (Outback Arts) with performers Nerida Cuddy , and David & Travis Jones outside the Plaza Theatre on Sunday.

Locals came out to The Plaza Theatre over the weekend to hear the first live music set there in years. 

Canowindra-based singer-songwriter Nerida Cuddy performed in a laid-back Sunday afternoon session on 24 March to a small but enthusiastic crowd on the final stop of her Strength of Stories Tour.

Part of the ticket sales will go to renovations for the venue.

Nerida left Sydney over 30 years ago to head out west when she was 17. She first lived on a farm in Bourke before lodging in Coonamble for a year. 

“The year in Coonamble was my first year in a small country town and we were pretty involved with young people and doing some stuff in the high school,” Nerida said.

“I was part of a volunteer youth work team and we ran the squash courts [now the site of the REDI.E Youth Centre]. 

 “Some of the people here will remember Pizza Runners and Chicken Runners. That was a business that we ran. 

“And we just were involved with youth groups and a bit of stuff in the high school.”

Local father-son duo Dave and Travis Jones of Castlereagh Connection opened the concert, with a performance of a freshly completed original song 'Small Town Country Boy'.

PHOTO: David and Travis Jones opened for Nerida Cubby at the Plaza Theatre on Sunday.

“It was our very first time playing it anywhere,” David told the Coonamble Times.

“Travis only learnt it that morning - that’s how fresh it was!”

The composition was a real family affair with mum Lisa Jones contributing lyrics and the boys creating the chords and melody.

Their rendition of Stand By Me, sung in Gamilaraay and English, which grabbed the band national attention when they played it on The Voice in 2022, was a popular inclusion in their set. 

The pair even treated the crowd of up to 30 people to an encore of a Charlie Pride classic.

Regional arts non-profit Outback Arts bought the plaza last year and began hosting events in the theatre last month to fundraise for the renovations, including work on the roof.

Outback Arts Director Jamie-Lea Trindall said she is optimistic about the effort.

PHOTO: The crowd enjoyed listening to Nerida Cubby.

“The fundraising is at the very beginning,” Jamie-Lea said. “We’re really excited to open the plaza and start events.

“We’ve opened the doors as is in hopes that we’ll just continually find money and obviously there’s a fair bit to fix.

“We need a new roof to start with, because the current roof is leaking, which means we can’t fix anything else until the roof’s fixed. 

“We hope that there will be future music lessons and dance lessons and all that kind of thing pretty regularly. That would be our dream.”

 “We have already submitted two grants, which we haven’t heard back from yet because it’s only March.”

In her set, Nerida spoke about her journey into the country, from losing her dad around the time she left Sydney to dealing with heat, mice plague and floods in small rural communities. 

She said supporting venues like The Plaza will bring bigger acts to out west. 

“That’s when the acts will come,” she said.