The home of premium performing arts and entertainment in the Barrington Coast, the MEC offers first class facilities for the performing arts, from school presentations and the local Arts Council to artists and acts of national and international acclaim.
Taree's Manning Entertainment Centre (MEC) is a 500 seat venue and for over 30 years has been hosting a broad range of entertainment, ranging through theatre, ballet and modern dance to contemporary music, experimental drama, children’s entertainment and film.
The MEC is the home of the annual Taree and District Eisteddfod, one of the largest regional eisteddfods in Australia, and the Taree Arts Council, who were instrumental in the Centre’s creation. We support local community and school groups through special hire rates to ensure that the space is accessible to a wide range of user demographics.
Each year the Manning Entertainment Centre presents an in-house season of varied shows, workshops and masterclasses, as well as hosting outside hirer performances, such as touring shows, and international acts. We aim for excellence in service and skills, and have developed an enviable reputation for professionalism and friendliness that keeps the touring acts returning year after year. Our future is particularly exciting, with the planned design and construction of a 100 seat studio space to compliment the larger auditorium
Our membership program Friends of the MEC promotes the advantages and benefits that come from supporting this vibrant space. You can become a Friend of the Manning Entertainment Centre for just $25 and enjoy discounted ticket prices for selected shows throughout the year. As a friend of the MEC you'll enjoy exclusive VIP benefits that are offered throughout the year such as early ticket releases, a complimentary drink (excluding spirits) before a show of your choice, savings on tickets to most shows and more.
Regional entertainment centres face unique challenges that are not necessarily shared by urban or city-based theatres. The luxury of presenting niche and ground-breaking forms of theatre, music and dance is not always available to a council funded cultural centre like ours. This is because our charter is to serve a wide community and ensure that the entertainment that we program offers something attractive to very diverse demographics.
Programming becomes a fine balancing act where we weigh up shows with sheer entertainment value and guaranteed box office return with newly established Australian artists and companies who clearly have the potential to make an enduring mark upon our cultural landscape and need support and time to develop and grow.
In terms of actually getting bums on seats, sometimes help arrives in the form of a generous benefactor. Take, for example Latrell Mitchell. Latrell is an indigenous professional rugby league footballer who plays as a centre, wing or fullback for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, and Australia at international level. Latrell was born in Taree and has maintained strong family ties in this town, and when the Manning Entertainment Centre programmed Circus Oz’s spectacular show “Model Citizens” in the 2018 season, Latrell paid for every child attending Manning Gardens school, a school with a large indigenous student base, to attend the performance. Some students at the school, both indigenous and non-indigenous, had never before seen a show in a theatre. This marvellous, vibrant, exciting, rambunctious show was their introduction to live entertainment, and every child there was enthralled and thrilled by what they saw. Those kids left the theatre feeling happy and exhilarated, and that is truly where an understanding of the importance of arts begins.
Great entertainment gets you out of your head and transports you for a time into a space of emotion, memory and heart. The arts are an essential component of a healthy community. It doesn’t need to be lofty or “worthy”, it can be as primal and simple as a fantastic set delivered by a tight band.
At the Manning Entertainment Centre we are dedicated to bringing all aspects of performing arts to as wide an audience as possible and doing it with professionalism, integrity and skill. We cherish our faithful local patrons and are keen to welcome new friends from near and far. We warmly welcome you to join us for a night that may change your life. You’ll never know until you make it to the MEC.
Become a Friend of the MEC and you'll enjoy exclusive VIP benefits throughout the year.