Crystal clear audio and a long-overdue technical upgrade for the Byron Theatre

Our beloved Byron Theatre recently upgraded their cinema screen and speaker system with new state-of-the-art digital audio and visual equipment. This technical upgrade was long overdue as most touring shows expect digital desks for all operations and the theatre was still using analogue components.

We received $200,000 grant funding through the NSW Department of Industry

The technical upgrade was possible through grant funding by the NSW Department of Industry Infrastructure Grant (Clubgrants Category 3) by the Office of Responsible Gambling. The grant funding amount was $200,000. After much professional research on the sound requirements for the space, installation of the new equipment started in January 2020 and was completed two months later in March. All equipment was purchased and installed by local company North Coast Events who have been an awesome long-term supporter of the Byron Theatre and an absolutely fabulous industry partner. 

“This grant has given the theatre an urgently needed technical upgrade that means that we haven’t just met contemporary expectations, we’ve surpassed them,” says Jamie Hunter, who is the new Technical Manager at the Byron Theatre. Jamie was instrumental in the final completion of the audio and video installation. 

“I’m very excited about what the future holds for the theatre, now that the standard of our technical production has been so radically improved. This grant has given the Byron Shire community, its visitors and our performers and artists the modern theatre experience they deserve and raises the bar for regional arts,” he adds.

State-of-the-art audio & visual equipment and local expertise

It took Byron Theatre management nearly 2.5 years to research, purchase and complete the project due to the intimate nature of the space and the intricate and delicate sound issues the Byron Theatre technicians are facing. 

“We needed to purchase audio equipment that would work for all the different events that we host in the theatre, so there was much time-consuming research done with professional consultants from all areas of the entertainment industry,” says Tanja Greulich, Manager of the Byron Theatre. 

“The need to replace the cinema screen to an acoustically transparent screen was unexpected, but has certainly made a huge difference to the space and is a crucial factor in the delivery of the overall exceptional sound experience,” she adds.

The Byron Theatre is ready to host your event!

The Byron Theatre is a local not-for-profit venue and part of the Byron Bay Community Associations social enterprise model. As such, funds raised by the Byron Theatre through tickets sales are used for essential projects and services that benefit the local community, e.g. the weekly Homeless Breakfast and Homeless Showers. 

“The new technical upgrade elevated the Byron Theatre to a high technical standard that is now acceptable for national and international artists and touring companies. We hope that the new crystal clear audio and visual experience will result in more bookings in the future to entertain our local audience & generate funds for our community outreach projects.  Hopefully, we’ll see the space buzzing with shows again very soon, when it’s safe to do so” Tanja Greulich adds. 

The upgrade in more detail for our tech aficionados

  • An Allen & Heath SQ7 audio console, with digital stage boxes run via a Dante network. 
  • Turbosound IP3000 left, right & centre column arrays plus a subwoofer, configurable into several positions depending on the type of events eg film, dance, conference.
  • 4 Turbosound IP300 surround speakers for Dolby (or better sound immersion for music)
  • 3 Turbosound IP300s, left, right & centre for the balcony level.
  • 4 Turbosound floor monitors for fold back 
  • 6 Sennheiser digital wireless microphones
  • An acoustically-transparent projection screen, meaning that the speakers can be positioned behind an accurate Dolby surround sound is achieved. 
  • A full HD matrix HDMI video switcher, for mixing computer graphics with live video from cameras, plus the cabling infrastructure to send and receive signals from various areas of the theatre, and then to the projector itself of course.

Safe shelter during extreme weather events

The Byron Community Centre (BCC) has provided 11 nights of shelter during severe wet weather in 2020. 

Safe and secure shelter for those sleeping rough

The Sever Wet Weather Shelter project offers a comfortable night sleep for those sleeping rough. There are plenty of hot meals, king-single camp stretchers, sheets and blankets, toilet facilities and a set of agreed house rules to keep everyone safe and secure.

50 people registered for a bed during the past weather event and 45 people ended up staying for at least one night. Some have stayed for 10 nights.

In partnership with the Uniting and Anglican Churches and Liberation Larder, the BCC has been running the Severe Wet Weather Shelter for the past two years. 

“It requires a lot of organisation each night we run it,” says Elyssa Purdie the Homeless Projects Worker at the BCC.  “Confirming security guard services, qualified overnight crisis workers, cleaners, volunteers, food and other consumables, clean laundry, managing keys, monitoring behaviour and of course keeping an eye on the weather on a daily basis takes an enormous amount of time and resource. The weather is sometimes the most stressful element.”

“To keep the shelter running, we need to access ongoing funding or donations from the community.”

There is no recurrent government funding for this project. The project was made possible by small one-off grants secured in 2017 – 2019 from NRCF, Westpac, Harcourts, the Byron Shire Council and from generous donations from Global Ripple op-shop and Cunning Stunts (Wink Wink Nudge Nudge events at Billinudgel). 

The BCC has enough to run another 16 nights of a mixed-gender shelter or 8 nights of shelter where the genders are separate. 

Louise O’Connell, General Manager of the Byron Community Centre says “For the Centre to keep offering the shelter, we will need to access either ongoing funding or donations from the community.”

“As long as we are here, we are alright.”

Simon Warner said about the shelter after staying for 4 nights “I’d be getting pretty wet sleeping on the street. As long as we are here, we are alright. The staff are really good, give us a hot meal and a coffee and a chat in the morning. I think what is missing is a hot shower. I have to wait till Monday for that at the showers.”

BCC Community Programs Manager says “10 of the nights were run concurrently recently and gave us the opportunity to put the policies, procedures and resources of the project to the test.” “We have reviewed and improved operations each night.”

“I hope we can continue to offer this project into the future.”

She adds “The shelter does not suit everyone sleeping rough. To give you an example, we cannot have dogs at the shelter because we don’t have kennels to safely house them; we can’t allow the use of alcohol and drugs in the venue or even allow someone to play music as it may disturb other guests.  Some people just can’t sleep in the same room as others, and some are suspicious of the security guards who are there to ensure everyone’s safety.  On the positive side, we are offering 20 beds more than anyone else in the shire and everyone who has a dry night sleep is exceptionally grateful.  I hope we can continue to offer this project into the future.”

Donate Today

Help us provide shelter during extreme weather events for people sleeping rough in Byron Bay. Please consider donating to this essential project. Click the button below to donate now. We appreciate your support.

Severe Weather Shelter donations

Thank you for donating to the Byron Community Centre.  We appreciate your contribution.
Please note that we use 20% of every donation to help with admin costs. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Donation Total: $1,200.00 One Time

Seniors’ Festival 2020

The Byron Community Centre invites senior community members to celebrate the Byron Shire Seniors’ Festival 2020. 

Photo: Feather and Nina Mirza.

The Byron Community Centre is hosting the Byron Shire Seniors Festival as part of the NSW Seniors Festival from 17th – 21st February. 

“The Seniors’ Festival is dedicated to our wonderful senior community members. The activities offered during this week aim to foster a sense of community and belonging; to empower older people and bring joy to their lives.”, says Pippy Wardell, the Seniors’ Activities Coordinator at the Byron Community Centre.  

There will be activities throughout the week with a special Mayor’s Morning Tea taking place at the Byron Theatre on Tuesday, 18th of February. The program includes Seniors’ drumming in the morning, followed by the Bay Singers choir and the Morning Tea held in the Byron Community Courtyard where Mayor Simon Richardson will give a presentation. The program finishes with a performance from Studio 55 (Public Act Theatre). 

For the full program visit the Byron Community Centre website or contact Pippy Wardell on 02 6685 6807 or email

Helen Hamilton is Byron’s Citizen of the Year 2020

Last Saturday, 25th January, our president Helen Hamilton received Byron Bay’s Citizen of the Year 2020 award. This award recognises citizens for their service to the community. 

To read the full article from Echo Net daily click here.


We are very proud of our president, Helen certainly deserves this honour. We want to congratulate all the winners and are especially proud our amazing volunteer Margaret Robinson who received an award for being Volunteer of the Year as she ushers at the Byron Theatre and our wonderful board member Laura Peck for receiving the award for Community Event of the Year with local fundraiser parties Nudge Nudge Wink Wink.

Photo: The 2020 Byron Shire Citizens of the Year (

Elder Beats at Beef and Beach

On Tuesday, 3rd December, our popular seniors’ drumming group ‘Elder Beats’ received a special treat. Beef and Beach restaurant owner Troy Lister generously supported our wonderful group with a special Christmas luncheon. 

“Elder Beats” drumming session at Beef and Beach restaurant

The event started in the morning with a drumming session in the restaurant. Followed by a delicious and freshly prepared lunch for 47 seniors and seniors’ activities volunteers. 

“The event was put together after we hosted another function on reducing ageism in our community and two of the drummers Feather and Nina Mirza were there drumming at 98 ½ years old. It was so inspiring to see our senior citizens bucking the trend and keeping active and social in the community. I thought it would be great to have all the drummers in and then shout them a really nice Christmas lunch, they definitely deserve to be appreciated, said Troy Lister.

Christmas luncheon at Beef and Beef

Byron Community Centre general manager Louise O’Connell and seniors’ activities coordinator Pippy Wardell are grateful for the generosity and support they experienced from the local community. 

“We are truly grateful for Troy’s generous offer to host this year’s Christmas feast and celebration for our lovely seniors at Beef and Beach,” says Louise O’Connell. 

“It was such a joy to see our fantastic group of seniors and volunteers getting excited about the luncheon,” says Pippy Wardell. 

“Watching our drumming group perform in the beautiful restaurant that is Beef and Beach was nothing less of spectacular. Everyone had a great time,” she adds. 

“We want to extend a huge thank you to Troy and his team for this special event and for showing our seniors and volunteers a great time,” says O’Connell. 

The Byron Community Centre runs a weekly program for seniors which aims to connect older residents and create a sense of belonging. Activities include “Elder Beats – Seniors’ drumming”, Chair Yoga, a choir, ukulele classes and a morning tea. 

“The Byron Community Centre’s seniors’ program aims to foster a sense of belonging and community connection for older people,” says seniors’ program coordinator Pippy Wardell. 

For more information about the Byron Community Centre’s seniors’ activities visit

For more information about Beef & Beach Byron Bay visit

The Beachside of Life

HELLO all market seekers, locals and well anyone! If you are seeking something funnn to do on a Saturday – have I got some news for you and trust me YOU WILL appreciate it! 

The Beachside Market is back!

Back just in time for YOU to get in and see what Beachside-market-life is all about, cause guess what? The Beachside market is all about living. And may I say the Beachside market is all about LIVING WELL – and on THE BEACHSIDE of life! This rare event happens RARELY, so – my suggestion, kick up your heels and GO

Discover Your Byron

You will find anything and everything there: food, drinks, people and the best bit – GREAT LOCAL ARTISAN MADE PRODUCT, that, I assure you, YOU WON’T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE. 

Newcomers, now I assure YOUUUUUU – if you want a pinch of Byron, you can get a sprinkle and a dash at Beachside. It is the best place to see exactly what Byron. Is. All. About.

Markets with a cause

AND its ran by the COMMUNITY CENTRE, hooray! So you know that this is an event for the community that also HELPS THE COMMUNITY. Yay? YEP, cause a percentage of the fees we receive from our stallholders, goes straight back into the projects we have to help the community! Yay!

This fantastic event is HAPPENING NEXT SATURDAY (July 13th ), check it out!

Come and see the Beachside of life! 

Our seniors activities, Part 2: Seniors Morning Tea

by Sarah Webb

Good morning (or any time of day!), I’d like to invite you all to meet one of our loveliest activities, OUR SENIORS – MORNING – TEA. Hooray!

Welcome all tea, coffee, hot beverage or even milk loving seniors, if you are after something that’s a little bit nice, sweet, warm and a whole lot of inviting, the seniors morning tea is just for you!

Enjoy yourself

We take good care of our seniors here at BCC and we want you to feel warm and welcomed, so come and have a tea with us and about 30 other tea  (coffee, hot beverage or even milk) loving seniors just like yourself!

Take a seat in our stunning courtyard and enjoy yourself.  You don’t have to lift a finger! Just turn up and receive a spread of biscuits, cake, sweets to accompany a selection of our much-loved teas and coffee, all just for you!

This nifty little event is run completely by donation, so you can pop in, mingle, have a tea, a sweet and give us what you can! All we really want is to see our seniors giggling over a tea and chatting over a biscuit! That sweetens our morning latte’!

Join us every Tuesday

Seniors Morning Tea hits BCC every Tuesday from 11:30am – 12:00 pm and takes place after our Seniors Drumming (please click here if you would like to read more about our senior-rific drumming). Seniors Morning Tea is open to any senior who wants to join in!

Come along; have a tea and a sweet with us and 30 other lovely tea loving seniors just like yourself.

Hooray for Volunteers Day!

By Sarah Webb

Hello readers and welcome again to yet another one of our posts highlighting the great things that happen here, not only for the community but for our community volunteers! And guess what? Last Monday (20th May) was our VOLUNTEERS DAY in celebration of National Volunteer Week and – of course – our amazing volunteers! And if you haven’t read it in the title, I will repeat it again HOORAY, readers, HOORAY FOR VOLUNTEERS DAY!

So, like EVERY VOLUNTEER I was invited and like every volunteer event, I had a jipper of a time! There was clothes swapping, the movie ‘nine to five’ featuring good ol’ DOLLY PARTON and nibbles after. I was there for the whole day and let’s just say it went OFF.

THE CLOTHES SWAP, oh my, the clothes swap! I had a ball and so did the rest of the volunteers who attended. SO, the concept was, you bring in a bunch of your old clothes and you leave with NEW CLOTHES which are other volunteers OLD CLOTHES which is; like your NEW best friend.

There were racks and racks of lovely garments waiting to go to their next owner and while everyone gabbed and giggled while trying on their next garment, I giggled away – dancing in my brilliant NEW shirt that I got for FREE. HOORAY! This event brought some serious joy to many volunteers and those who thought they weren’t going to find anything – guess what – THEY LEFT WITH ALMOST EVERYTHING. Well not THAT much stuff, but they left with a lot of brilliant new garments to show off while VOLUNTEERING YAY.

The movie was hilarious and as volunteers “work 9 – 5, a way to make a (happy) living”, we all joyfully sang along to the tunes of the movie and danced away. Not only was their singing and dancing; IT WAS A COSTUME SCREENING. Yep, we all dressed up in our BEST office attire and we rocked it!

Last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, the party continued with Nibbles and yep, THOSE WENT DOWN WELL. It was a wonderful way to polish off VOLUNTEERS DAY and a wholeeeee plate of cake and if you have read our previous VOLUNTEER POSTS, OUR VOLUNTEERS LOVE CAKE, so THIS DAY WAS CONSIDERED A COMPLETE SUCCESS.

The Wet Weather Shelter

by Sarah Webb

Greetings BCC readers, and welcome to the blog where YOU can see all the good and WONDERFUL things that WE do for the community here at the Byron Community Centre.

In this post, I would like to shine some light on a bright venture functioning in otherwise “over cast” situations, the wet weather shelter project! This sunny venture provides emergency shelter to people in need through severe wet weather.

video by Chris Knowles

Wet Weather Shelter project coordinator Elyssa Purdie mentions that The Wet Weather Shelter is “a project in coordination with two local church halls in town to provide emergency shelter during severe wet weather for the homeless”.

And on Wednesday the 27th of March, we ran this Shelter for the first time as we were expecting severe rainfall!

HOORAY, THE SHELTER WAS A BRILLIANT SUCCESS, in the way that everything ran smoothly and worked brilliantly, but there was one event we didn’t account for – there was no wet weather!

In fact, we are calling this wonderful weather miss, a dry run! Everyone was dry, warm, fed and accounted for and all the policies and procedures run smoothly. Hoorayyy!

Now we are truly ready for our next severe weather event! (when the weather is actually severe!).

If you would like to learn more about our Wet Weather Shelter project please click here.  

Proud to be a part of BCC

Annual Report 2018

by Sarah Webb

Hello, fellow community enthusiasts! I am glad you have joined us for this weeks post! Becauuuuuuuse, this post is all about the goooooood and wonderful deeds that we do here at Byron Community Centre and may I tell you fellow community enthusiasts – there is a lot.

As you may know (and if you don’t, strap in your seat belts – because I am about to tell you) that BCC is a social enterprise, WHICH MEANS (drumrol.l.l.l.l.I) all the goods and services we provide, are provided for the community to promote cultural and social inclusion. And that’s not all, we are a NOT FOR PROFIT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE which means (we are awesome) THAT ALL THE PROFITS WE MAKE FROM OUR COMMUNITY GOODS AND SERVICES – we put straight back into the community, to better the lives of those in the community. What we do get to keep for ourselves is the joy we get for helping the community!

The phenomenal work we do is completely mind-boggling, the figures from our good work are incredible. And honestly, as a fellow BCC volunteer (and community enthusiast) I am proud to say that we have reached some incredible goals in the year 2018.

You can have a browse through our impact update of 2018 for yourself to experience complete mind boggle-ness, but, like the proud BCC volunteer I am – I am going to tell you (and also possibly yell them from BCC’S rooftop, so I hope you are all looking up!).

The projects and services we run under our social enterprise are the coffee box (coffee, YUM), the Byron theatre (Theatre – good!),  Byron Markets (everything Byron and more – Byronlicious), and our venue hire (yay).

All of the profits made from these areas go right back into the community. This means Coffee box’s coffee – to the Community! Byron Theatre tickets – to the Community! Byron Markets Stall Holder fees – to the Community!  Venue room hire’s room fees – TO THE COMMUNITY!

The profits are then put straight into community mending projects such as the Homeless Breakfast and our Homeless showers which greatly impact our community!

So, I must say – (hold my laptop while I scream this from the rooftop) “this is a social enterprise I’m VERY proud to be a part of!”.

Let’s get serious, and when I say serious – I mean, I’m about to tell you some SERIOUS figures that will blow your mind (seriously).

BCC overall invested ONE POINT EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS IN TWENTY EIGHTEEN in order to better the lives of those in the local community. THAT’S $1,800,000 in 2018. WOW.

Some figures to also be EXTRA PROUD OF is the fact that throughout 2018 we provided a monthly average of 98 HEALTHY breakfasts and homeless showers to 56 vulnerable community members!

Our Coffee BOX has an 8O% reported increase in community connection (That’s what we like to see!), 85% of coffee box training program attendees are NOW EMPLOYED, STUDYING OR VOLUNTEERING IN THE COMMUNITY (YAY!), AND 1OO% HAD A reported increase in self-confidence – wow, just wow.

ANDDDDDDDD we have had 45 MARKETS which is made up of 14 Community Markets, 27 Twilight Markets and 4 Beachside Markets – WOWEE! These markets had a combined total of 6744 stalls! That’s a whole lot of stalls!

And of course! we can’t forget OUR volunteers! In 2018 we had 334 volunteers subscribe to receive volunteer e-news and updates. GOOOOO TEAM!

As you can see, this is a ‘social enterprise’ to be very PROUD OF. So jump on our website, take a look for yourself at the 2018 Impact Update and prepare yourself!

You’re in for a shock (the good kind) ☺.

Hooray BCC!