Black tie gala to launch new Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre theatre | Photos

A LARGE crowd of famous faces dressed up to the nines graced the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre on Friday night for the grand opening black tie gala. 

The event marked the completion of the centres' upgrade to include a new 250 seat theatre, The Cube, function rooms and a full commercial kitchen. 

Sunrise presenter and Bunbury girl Natalie Barr hosted the evening and took an insightful look back at how Bunbury has changed in recent years. 

"It is a wonderful centre and in my day there was nothing as fancy as this in Bunbury," she said. 

"When I lived here it really was just a little town but now this centre which the people have built and furnished is testimony to how far Bunbury has come." 

She joined BREC general manager Joel McGuinness, board chairman John Ventris, Premier Colin Barnett, Mayor Gary Brennan and Bunbury MLA John Castrill on stage to cut the ribbon and declare the theatre open for business. 

The upgrade is the biggest building project undertaken by the City of Bunbury and Mayor Gary Brennan said the facility is important for both current and future generations of the South West. 

"I am keen to see Bunbury become the South West hub for arts and culture and this centre will be the key to that," he said. 

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett congratulated Bunbury on its vision and perseverance to make the centre what it is.

"The government is pleased to be a part of this project," Mr Barnett said. 

"You must thank Mr Bunbury, John Castrilli for his help - he is a good friend and a relentless, annoying advocate for the South West." 

The crowd were then entertained by comedian Peter Rowsthorn and Swing On This featuring the Perth Symphony Orchestra. 

To finish the month long grand opening celebrations, BREC will host a community concert on Saturday night. 

For more coverage of the black tie gala grab your free copy of the Bunbury Mail on Wednesday. 

Pictures by Ashley Pearce.