Sydney Theatre Company (STC) will soon begin a $60 million redevelopment project to upgrade its facilities and enhance the theatre experience for patrons. The redevelopment will be the first significant upgrade for Sydney Theatre Company in more than 30 years since it moved to its home in the Walsh Bay Wharves precinct in 1984.
The redevelopment will be partly funded by the NSW Government with a $30-million grant. Upgrades planned for the STC include modernising the theatre spaces in the Wharf 1 and 2 buildings with flexible seating; new foyer spaces; rest rooms; upgraded administrative offices; two new accessible public entrances; a more welcoming entry point on Hickson Road; and the ceiling in the workshop to be raised to allow the company to build larger theatre sets.
Designed to enhance the theatre watching experience, the upgrade in the theatre spaces is in accordance with the original vision of Sydney Theatre Company’s first artistic director Richard Wherrett. According to STC, more flexible theatre spaces will allow their work to more easily transfer to other venues, and reach broader audiences.
The redevelopment project is part of a $139-million project to redevelop the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. Designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the project encompasses upgraded spaces for the Australian Theatre for Young People, Bangarra Dance Company, a new 450-seat auditorium for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and a new waterfront square between two piers.
The NSW arts minister Don Harwin announced additional funding of $68 million for the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct transformation, of which $30 million will be allocated to Sydney Theatre Company and the remaining for the rest of the precinct.
Sydney Theatre Company will match the government funding dollar for dollar in private donations for its redevelopment project. The facilities will be closed for renovation in 2018 and is expected to reopen in 2019.
The project team includes Hassell (architect), Tropman and Tropman Architects (heritage architect), Charcoalblue (theatre consultant), Arup (building services, fire engineering and sustainable design), Taylor Thomson Whitting (engineer) and MBM (quantity surveyor).